Phoenix-born air ace Frank Luke Jr., Arizona's most famous hero from World War I, with his thirteenth official kill.
Arizona had been a state for little more than two years when the cataclysm broke out in Europe a century ago. When the United States finally entered the conflict in 1917, doughboys and sailors fought under the new flag bearing the perfectly symmetrical 48 stars created with the entry of the "Baby State." While the Great War was not as transformative here as its continuation in World War II, it still brought big changes to Phoenix.
When the guns of August 1914 commenced, Phoenix's population had clocked in at 11,314 in the Census four years before. By 1920, it would be more than 29,000. Although it was the state capital (and home of the "lunatic asylym," which in those days was separate from the Legislature), it was still smaller than Tucson. But downtown had become a thriving commercial center with multistory buildings.
The streetcar "suburb" of craftsman bungalows was taking shape in what are now the Roosevelt and F.Q. Story historic districts and the southeast corner of Willo. The city was tightly bound to the old township, with additions running out to the capitol, north above McDowell, south of Grant and east to around 16th Street. By 1917, bungalows were being built in the Bella Vista addition northeast of Osborn and Central. The Santa Fe and Southern Pacific had completed branch lines to the town, but civic leaders were lobbying hard for a mainline railroad.
In 1914, Phoenix adopted the reformist commissioner-manager form of government. It was meant to tame the corruption of the wide-open Western town. Soon, it was back to business as usual with compromised commissioners. It would be after World War II that meaningful reform would come to City Hall.
Arizona, with 204,354 in the 1910 Census, was still a wild place. It had been only 28 years since the surrender of Geronimo. The state's economy was based on mining, ranching and, in the Salt River Valley, a farming cornucopia.