The Norton Family Leaves Legacy On Arizona Desert

By Steve Goldstein
Published: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 2:29pm
Audio icon Download mp3 (12.3 MB)

The Colorado River continues to supply a significant amount of the water used in some parts of Arizona, but the percentage applied to agriculture in the state is drying up.

The Norton family played a big role in the practical use of water in the Arizona desert through patriarch John R. Norton’s participation in the 1889 Breakenridge survey that led to the site of Roosevelt Dam. His son, John Norton Jr., helped craft Arizona’s importance in supplying cotton and livestock to the rest of the country from the end of the Depression through World War II.

Phoenix historian Jack August, the biographer of some of Arizona’s most impactful elected officials including Sen. Carl Hayden and Gov. Raul Castro, writes about the impact of the Nortons in his new book, "The Norton Trilogy." August and 84-year old John Norton III. came to the KJZZ studio.