10: Jack Swilling and Cooperative Irrigation

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    Jack Swilling, a former Confederate soldier, arrived in the Salt River Valley in 1867.  Swilling noticed the remnants of the Hohokam canal system and concluded that irrigation could return to the Valley.  He formed a cooperative of farmers that worked together to dredge out the ancient canals and build new ones to irrigate lands north of the Salt River.  Swilling’s initial vision led to the settlement of Phoenix, and soon other settlements started to spring up along the Salt River in what would become South Phoenix, Tempe, Lehi, and Mesa.  By the 1880s, several independent irrigation systems existed in the Salt River Valley, some using the remnants of the ancient Hohokam system.

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