This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. This blog is not supported by advertising, it's supported by the generosity of my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

The man who bought Phoenix, Arizona - John Alsap


In order for the new townsite of Phoenix, Arizona to be divided and sold into lots, it needed to be purchased from the Federal Government. Probate Judge John T. Alsap did that in 1867.

Just as today, bureaucratic red tape held everything up for a very long time, and it wasn't until December of 1870 that lots began to be offered for sale. And they sold well! Luckily for John Alsap, who had signed for $400 (a considerable amount in that day). So for three years, he owned all of Phoenix, at least on paper.

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Alsap was quite influential in the founding of Phoenix. He was the first Territorial Treasurer of Arizona, the first Probate Judge of Maricopa County, the first mayor of the city of Phoenix, and four times member of the Arizona Legislature, twice from Yavapai County, and twice from Maricopa County, being President of the Council in the 5th, and Speaker of the House in the 18th Legislative Sessions.