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The Nine Things You Probably Don't Know About Phoenix

There's a lot you probably don't know about Phoenix, even if you've lived here for a while. Here are nine extremely interesting facts about our desert metropolis:

9.) South Mountain Park Is the Nation's Largest City Park

There are certainly larger state and federal parks, but no bigger city parks. At more than 16,000 acres, it's nearly 20 times the size of New York's Central Park.

8.) Phoenix Has Gotten an Inch of Snow — Twice

On two occasions in the 1930s, Phoenix got an inch of snow. The only time in the last 25 years that a measurable amount of snow was recorded was from December 21 to 22, 1990, when 0.4 inches of now was measured in Phoenix.

7.) Only 11 State Capitals Are at a Higher Elevation

Phoenix is at an elevation of more than 1,100 feet.

6.) By Land Area, Phoenix Is Bigger Than New York and Los Angeles

By total land area, there are only a few major American cities larger than Phoenix, at more than 500 square miles: Anchorage, Alaska; Jacksonville, Florida; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Houston, Texas.

5.) Parts of Downtown Were Built Over 3,000-Year-Old Ruins

Previous civilizations, including the Hohokam, lived in the Phoenix area. In 2006, while the Phoenix Convention Center was under construction, archaeologists found that the old Phoenix Civic Plaza had been built over 3,000-year-old houses.

4.) Phoenix Is the Most-Populated State Capital in the U.S.

Phoenix is easily the most-populated state capital. At almost 1.5 million people, Phoenix is much larger than the second-biggest capital, Indianapolis, which is home to about 850,000 people.

3.) 40 Percent of Phoenix Residents Were Born in Arizona

Phoenix has a reputation as a city of transplants, and it's well-deserved: About 40 percent of Phoenix residents were born in Arizona, according to Census Bureau stats. There are cities with lower rates of homegrown population (Miami at 28 percent, Las Vegas at 23 percent), but Phoenix's rate is among the lowest. Most suburbs of Phoenix have even lower rates of Arizona-born people

2.) The Lowest Recorded Temperature Was 16 Degrees

Many longtime Phoenix residents can identify the date of the city's hottest day, June 26, 1990, when the temperature at Sky Harbor airport was measured at 122 degrees. You probably won't find anyone who remembers Phoenix's coldest day, January 7, 1913, when the temperature was measured at 16 degrees.

1.) The Definition of "Downtown"

People tend to identify downtown Phoenix as any area of the city with tall buildings. It's not an exact science, but columnist Jon Talton explains, "Downtown Phoenix runs from Seventh Avenue to Seventh Street, and from the railroad tracks to Fillmore, or perhaps Roosevelt. It includes the original townsite and some additions. City Hall's definition taking the northern boundary to McDowell is ahistorical." North of that is Midtown, and north of Indian School Road is Uptown, according to Talton.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX. Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.

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