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City of Surprise City Hall

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City of Surprise City Hall

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16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374 United States
623-214-7537

October 2016

Honky Tonks, Brothels and Mining Camps: Entertainment in Old Arizona

October 25, 2016 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
City of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374 United States
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In pioneer Arizona, among the best places to experience the performing arts were in the mining towns. Striking it rich meant having disposable income and miners, like the well-heeled of the Gilded Age, wanted to demonstrate their sophistication with culture. From the early popular music of ragtime and minstrelsy during the forming of these communities evolved orchestras, opera and glee clubs—all in hamlets like Tombstone. Here, a miner off shift at the Bird Cage could enjoy the proceedings while gambling…

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January 2017

Pearl Hart, the Lady Bandit- Victim or Vixen… or Both?

January 23, 2017 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
City of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374 United States
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Free

Separating fact from fiction is no easy task when it comes to flamboyant stage coach robber Pearl Hart. A mountain of conflicting stories abound, thanks in no small part, to Pearl herself. So enamored of the Wild West, she embellished her own tale to accommodate the interest of newspapers and public fascination. This presentation will follow Pearl from her modest beginnings in Canada and discover what set her down the road that led from Canada to Ohio, Illinois, New Mexico,…

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February 2017

In the Footsteps of Martha Summerhayes – Surprise

February 15, 2017 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
City of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374 United States
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Martha Summerhayes was a refined New England woman who entered the Arizona Territory in 1874 as the young bride of an Army Lieutenant. Traveling in horrific conditions and dreadful heat, she soon despised the wild and untamed land. She gave birth to the first anglo child born at Fort Apache where the native women took her under their care. Gradually, Martha’s attitude towards the desert changed and she soon came to love the starry nights, the clear air, and the…

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March 2017

Cowboys and Cowgirls: Icons of the American West – Surprise

March 14, 2017 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
City of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374 United States
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Cowboys and Cowgirls: Icons of the American West Few symbols have been more durable than the American cowboy. This program will give an overview of this populist figure, whose image was first defined by painters Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. Also important to the story are brave cowgirls and the Mexican vaqueros. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show showcased mythic cowboy culture, with singing cowboys, pretty girls on horses, and plenty of Indians in his internationally popular extravaganzas that for…

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November 2017

Wild, Weird, Wicked Arizona – Surprise

November 1, 2017 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
City of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374 United States
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For a state that has been home to Geronimo, Wyatt Earp, César Chavez and Wonder Women, you would think Arizona earned some respect. Yet achieving statehood was a 50-year struggle, which finally ended on February 14, 1912. Jana borrows from both her work for True West Magazine and her work for Phoenix Magazine to put the 48th state into perspective. She shares some of the secrets prissy folks would rather forget. You will learn why this small state has had…

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December 2017

Ghost Towns of the Second World War: Arizona’s Historic Military Sites – Surprise

December 6, 2017 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
City of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374 United States
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When America entered the Second World War, Arizona’s sparse population and mild weather made it an ideal location for training facilities and prisoner of war camps.  By war’s end, Arizona had trained more pilots than any other state, hosted the country’s largest POW camp, and was part of the largest military training grounds in history.  This presentation tells Arizona’s war-time role by focusing on the stories of those WWII sites in Arizona that still have significant remaining features from the…

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January 2018

Cowpokes, Crooks, and Cactus: Arizona in the Movies – Surprise

January 10, 2018 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
City of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374 United States
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Free

Tyrone Power, Andy Devine,  Katy Jurado, Steve McQueen and, of course, John Wayne. From the earliest days of film, Arizona has been a setting and subject for hundreds of films. Some, like Junior Bonner and Red River, are considered classics, others, such as Billy Jack and Evolution, surely less so. Some may even be classics in the making, from Tombstone to Near Dark. In this entertaining talk, Gregory McNamee, a frequent contributor on film to the Encyclopaedia Britannica and former…

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March 2018

Arizona Stories: Frontier Characters and Communities – Surprise

March 14, 2018 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
City of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374 United States
Free

From mammoth hunters and canal builders to Native Americans, Hispanics, Americans, Irish, Serbians, and just about every nationality under the sun, Arizona has always been a land of many cultures. And while the Earps and the Geronimo are world famous, Arizona can also be proud of its unsung men and women and cooperative communities. Here we will share Arizona’s experiences from the famous to the little known, from Native American ceremonies to mining booms, cattle drives, cotton harvests, and religious…

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April 2018

Early Western Songs and Singers – Surprise

April 11, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
City of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374 United States
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Free

Whether or not you grew up when Western films competed favorably with the popular films of the day, you will definitely want to take yourself back in time to hear the music that made cowboy legends out of the Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Jimmy Wakely and so many other Western singers. Music Historian Erik Larson will ‘stir the campfire’ and feature a generous number of original Western recordings that were so much a part of the…

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November 2018

Specters of the Past: Arizona’s Ghost Towns – Surprise

November 7, 2018 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
City of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374 United States
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The promise of unimagined riches is what brought many of the earliest colonizers to the Arizona Territory. Following the trail to the discovery of the mother lode, they built, then dismantled and finally abandoned communities when mines played out – leaving behind tantalizing clues of difficult hardships. Some towns survived like Bisbee, Jerome, Tombstone and Oatman. Most disappeared, gradually becoming absorbed back into the desert from which they arose. This presentation explores more than a decade of historian Jay Mark’s…

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December 2018

Dauntless Courage and Boundless Ambition: The Life of Buckey O’Neill – Surprise

December 12, 2018 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
City of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374 United States
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Buckey O’Neill was one of Arizona’s legendary pioneers, even author William MacLeod Raine called him “the most many-sided man Arizona has produced”. Before dying in Cuba while serving as one of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, O’Neill made his mark in Arizona as a newspaper editor, sheriff, mayor, and prospector, among other professions. Whether chasing train robbers across the Arizona’s frontier, promoting the Grand Canyon as a tourist destination, or reforming education practices while serving as school superintendent, he lived with…

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January 2019

The Woman Who Shot Cowboys: Rodeo Photographer Louise L. Serpa – Surprise

January 9, 2019 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
City of Surprise City Hall, 16000 N Civic Center Plaza
Surprise, AZ 85374 United States
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Free

Anyone who has ever stared down an angry bull coming full throttle across an arena will understand why rodeo photographer Louise Serpa often uttered the adage, “Never Don’t Pay Attention.” Born into New York society, Louise ended up out west with her nose buried in the dirt & her eye glued to a camera, becoming the first woman to venture inside the arena and shoot some of the most amazing photographs of rodeo action. The dust and dirt of the…

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