Long before Arizona was admitted to the Union (a sweet deal that transpired on Valentine’s Day in 1912), what would eventually become the Grand Canyon State was a U.S. territory whose capital was Tucson.
For a solid decade – commencing Nov. 1, 1867 – Tucson served as the territorial capital by vote of the Arizona Territorial Legislature. The first was Fort Whipple (1863), then Prescott in 1864 and again in 1877.
Phoenix, the present-day capital, was declared the permanent government seat in 1889 – more than two dozen years before becoming the 48th state – due to its location “at the geographical center of this [land].”
– Hannah Van Sickle, The Arizona 100