• 2020 Arizona Lecture Series

    Performing Arts Center
    Apache Junction High School Campus
    2525 S. Ironwood Drive
    Apache Junction, AZ 85120

    Performing Arts Center Manager: Zach Lundquest 480-982-1110 Ext. 2250

    January 6: Bill Harrison Goldfield from Boom, to Bust, to Boom In 1893 Goldfield became a boomtown! The discovery of gold in the rugged foothills of the Superstition Mountains caused the Arizona territory to celebrate! Local newspapers even predicted that Goldfield would be bigger than Phoenix. Hundreds of rowdy men enjoyed saloons, gambling houses and a brothel in Goldfield, Unfortunately, in the early 20th Century, the gold ran out and a fire leveled the town. This is the remarkable story of a ghost town brought back to life. For more than 30 years Bob Schoose has carefully rebuilt Goldfield along the Apache Trail. Today, travelers from all over the world visit the ghost town to experience the excitement of Arizona’s Wild West!

    January 13: Gil Storms:The Lost Ranches of Arizona's Santa Cruz Valley, 2854-1861- Shortly after the Gadsden Purchase was ratified in April 1854, Americans began establishing ranches, mines, and military posts in the Santa Cruz and Sonoita Creek valleys of southern Arizona. But by 1861, most of these new settlements were deserted and in ruins. The most visible causes were the departure of the U.S. Army from Arizona that year and increased raiding by Western and Chiricahua Apaches. When the U.S. Army returned to Arizona in 1865, none of the early settlements were taken up by their former residents. Gil Storms’ presentation explores the early success of the American settlements and the causes of their eventual collapse in the shifting alliances and conflicts among Americans, Mexicans and Native Americans in the region. 

    January 20: Steve Renzi: Arizona’s Greatest Escape On the eve of Christmas in 1944, twenty-five Nazi German prisoners of war escaped from Papago Park POW camp on the outskirts of Phoenix and headed towards Mexico. These men were hardcore Nazis, submariners and U-boat officers, who had successfully dug a 200-foot tunnel that took four months to complete. Many people have heard of this event, but few know what really happened. This presentation tells the story of what happened to these German POWs and the Arizona residents who encountered them.

    January 27: Joe Wiegand as Teddy Roosevelt: "Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders Tribute" Ladies & Gentlemen – Our speaker was born in New York City, New York on October 27, 1858.  He was elected the youngest member of the New York General Assembly. In the years to follow, he served as a United States Civil Service Commissioner, President of the Police Commission of New York City, Assistant Secretary of the United States Navy, Colonel of the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, Governor of New York, Vice-President and President of the United States, all by the age of 42. He was the father of six children and the author of over thirty books. During his Presidency, he declared some 230 million acres of national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, and national monuments. Ladies and gentlemen, the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.

    February 3: Gregory McNamee:Arizona Foods or Deconstructing the Taco-Consider the taco, that favorite treat, a staple of Mexican and Mexican American cooking and an old standby on an Arizonan’s plate. The corn in the tortilla comes from Mexico, the cheese from the Sahara, the lettuce from Egypt, the onion from Syria, the tomatoes from South America, the chicken from Indochina, the beef from the steppes of Eurasia. The foods of Arizona speak to the many cultures, native and newcomer, that make up our state. Join Gregory McNamee, the author of Tortillas, Tiswin, and T-Bones: A Food History of the Southwest, in exploring these many traditions.

    February 10: Bill Harrison: Arizona War Heroes Thousands of young men and women from Arizona have stepped forward in time of war to serve in the armed forces of the United States. None saw themselves as special, only Americans doing their patriotic duty. However, some of these individuals discovered an inner strength when faced with impossible situations and certain death. They didn’t give up or give in. They fought on with stubborn determination that would later be described as extraordinary and heroic. This is a remarkable presentation that focuses on seven brave individuals who sacrificed their lives for America’s Freedom.


    February 17: Jim Turner: Arizona: A Celebration of the Grand Canyon StateIn 2008, Smith Publisher invited Jim Turner to write a coffee table book for Arizona’s Statehood Centennial. Mr. Turner gave more than one hundred PowerPoint presentations in honor of Arizona Statehood in 2012. His presentations covered several million years of Arizona geology, archeology, cultural, conflicts, mining booms, tourism and even golf resorts and hi-tech industries: all the things that come together to make our beautiful Grand Canyon State. This discussion will present new material while preserving the captivating colorful images from his first edition.

    February 24: Ken Sorenson: “John F. Kennedy – “As is true with all of us, our stories did not begin with our birth. They began with our parents, our grandparents and our ancestry”. Come and find out about the personal side of the life of John F. Kennedy and his family. What were his father’s influences?  How did the “unknown” daughter affect the family and the public?  What about the “lost legacy” of the oldest Kennedy son?  What effect has the frozen-in-time concept had on what we think of John F. Kennedy?  How has the image of Camelot stuck in the minds of America? We’ll explore all of this and more in an extensive look at this beloved leader in American history.

    March 2: Erik Berg:Rock Hounds and River Rats: The 1937 Carnegie-CalTech Grand Canyon ExpeditionIn 1937, a group of CalTech geology professors and rough-and-tumble boatmen set out in three small wooden boats on a six week journey through the Grand Canyon to study the ancient rocks of the canyon’s Inner Gorge.  At the time, fewer than a dozen river parties had successfully run the full length of the canyon – often with a loss of boats or crew. Leveraging excerpts from several of the members’ trip journals - as well as original and rarely-seen photographs and video footage - this presentation describes the adventures, hardships, conflicts and triumphs of this important (yet little-known) early science expedition.  Key events include boatman Frank Dodge’s mishap in Upset Rapid and the group’s meeting with Buzz Holmstrom (the first person to run the canyon solo).  The presentation also sets the expedition in the context of earlier Grand Canyon river trips and the study of the area’s geology.

    March 9: Bill Harrison: SPENAZUMA, Legendary Gold Mining Scam in Arizona The greatest Arizona gold mine that NEVER existed! This rush of the 1880’s enticed thousands of young men to bravely seek their fortune in the desolate, rugged hills and mountains of the Arizona Territory. Richard C. Flower wasn’t one of those brave young men. Richard Flower was looking for a way to make easy money; he went under the persona “Doc” Flower and decided to capitalize on gold fever sweeping the country. Near Tucson, he created a fictitious gold mine called “Spenazuma”. He built an entire community filled with actors who provided the perfect front for selling worthless mining stock. With incredible guile and the flair of a polished Vaudevillian, Doc Flower convinced thousands of rubes to buy Spenazuma stock.

    March 16: Dr. Laura Tohe: Armed with Our Language: We Went to War During WWII a select group of young Navajo men enlisted in the Marines with a unique weapon.  Using the Navajo language, they devised a secret code that the enemy never deciphered.  For over 40 years a cloak of secrecy hung over the Code Talker’s service until the code was declassified. They were finally honored for their military contributions in the South Pacific by Presidents Reagan, Bush, and the Navajo Nation.  The Code Talkers’ cultural background, how the code was devised and used, photos and how Navajo spiritual beliefs were used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) form this power point presentation.

    March 23: Wyatt Earp: Doc Holliday The Gentleman Doc Holliday was written by Terry Tafoya Earp. She collaborated with Karen-Holliday Tanner who is the closest living relative of Doc Holliday and author of the book: Doc Holliday - "A Family Portrait" from which the play is primarily based. The setting is in a Denver Colorado jail cell, where Bat Masterson and Governor Frederick W. Pitkin have put Doc in protective custody to keep him out the hands of Sheriff Johnny Behan who wants to take Doc back and Tombstone to stand trial for the shootout. This is after Doc and the Earp's have left Arizona for Colorado. Unfortunately, for Doc a few hours have turned into a few days. To say the least Doc is not very happy about this. Out of boredom and frustration, Doc begins bantering with the other prisoners where you the audience are the other prisoners.



    Tickets: $5 each
    Season Tickets: $50 each
    Purchase by Credit Card online: CLICK HERE
    Curtain Time: 7 p.m.
    Doors open: 6 p.m. 
    Location: Performing Arts Center
    Apache Junction High School Campus
    2525 S. Ironwood Drive
    Arizona Lecture Series programs are presented by the Apache Junction Unified School District Community Services Office.
    For more information call:
    480-982-1110 ext. 2250

    Those attending the Arizona Lecture Series will be introduced to the culture and history of Arizona. Whether you come for one evening or the entire series, we guarantee that you will leave with a greater appreciation for Arizona.

    Lectures begin at 7 p.m. on Monday evenings in the Performing Arts Center at 2525 S. Ironwood Drive. Tickets are $5 for individual lectures and Season Tickets are $50.

    For more information call: 480-982-1110, ext. 2250.