Historical Period: Arizona Statehood, 1912
We are now standing in the South Mountain Community Library, which opened in 2011. The library is a partnership between the college and the City of Phoenix, making it one of the only in the country to share systems and space between academic and municipal entities. When you look around, you should get a sense of the special design elements that were incorporated to reflect our state’s unique history.
What do you think the 5CS are?
In the early 20th century, Arizonans began marketing the 5Cs – five industry items unique to the state that would attract the federal government. Copper deposits were plentiful, and attractive during the Industrial Revolution as a conductor of energy; Cattle drives were common as hungry Americans developed their taste for beef alongside the emerging consumer revolution; Arizona provided the perfect growing environment for Cotton, which was used for clothing and rubber; Citrus trees bearing oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit were plentiful in Arizona. And of course, the 5th C, Climate, attracted a larger population to the state overtime and made agriculture the new kid in town.
Question: Can you see any of the 5CS in the library?
As you admire the library’s design, you might catch glimpses of the 5Cs. Do you see the copper paneling on the walls? The bright, airy light creating an ambient climate? How about the etched drawings of citrus or cotton along the stairways?
The architect did not intend to incorporate the 5Cs in the design of the building – this is why you don’t see cattle – instead, he emphasized the agricultural history of South Phoenix itself. This tells us that even accidentally, South Phoenix has been home to several of the pillars of Arizona history from the beginning.
Click the image to see the tour map.