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The first election for county office was held in 1871, when Tom Barnum was elected the first sheriff, running unopposed when the other two candidates, John A.Chenowth and Jim Favorite, fought a duel wherein Chenowth killed Favorite, and then was forced to withdraw from the race.In the 1880s, the arrival of the railroad in the Valley was the first of several key events that altered the economy of Phoenix.Phoenix became a trade center, with its products reaching eastern and western markets.In response, the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce was organized on November 4, 1888.With the arrival of the Santa Fe, Prescott and Phoenix Railroad in 1895, Phoenix was connected to Prescott, Flagstaff and other communities in the northern part of the territory.They grew crops such as sweet corn, tapery beans, squash, lentils, sugar cane, and melons, as well as taking advantage of native plants, such as saguaro fruits, cholla buds, mesquite tree beans, and mesquite candy (sap from the mesquite tree).
These industries remained the driving forces of the city until after World War II, when high-tech companies began to move into the valley and air conditioning made Phoenix's hot summers more bearable.Located in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has a hot desert climate.Despite this, its canal system led to a thriving farming community, many of the original crops remaining important parts of the Phoenix economy for decades, such as alfalfa, cotton, citrus, and hay (which was important for the cattle industry).When the Mexican–American War ended in 1848, Mexico ceded its northern zone to the United States and residents of that region became U. In 1863 the mining town of Wickenburg was the first to be established in what is now Maricopa County, to the northwest of modern Phoenix. Army created Fort Mc Dowell on the Verde River in 1865 to forestall Native American uprisings.At the time Maricopa County had not yet been incorporated: the land was within Yavapai County, which included the major town of Prescott to the north of Wickenburg. The fort established a camp on the south side of the Salt River by 1866, which was the first non-native settlement in the valley after the decline of the Hohokam.