This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. This blog is not supported by advertising, it's supported by the generosity of my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

How young people dressed in the 1970s in Phoenix, Arizona


If you were a young person in the 1970s, you probably wince at photos of what you wore then. It was, of course, in fashion then but just seems to scream "weird" now. Let's take a look.

These young people in 1973, standing next to the Bug Bus were traveling between Christown Mall and ASU. Their clothes are typical of average college kids. The men, of course, had long hair. Long hair was practically a requirement at the time to show that independent spirit that most young men like to show. Long hair had become popular for young men in the 1960s, with "hippies" and developed into the norm by the 1970s.

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The pants were bell-bottoms, or "flares". That is, they were very wide at the bottom, and the flare was exaggerated starting at the knee. Stripes were "in", on pants being vertical and on shirts horizontal.

Thanks to the help of my PhDs (Phoenix History Detectives) of the female persuasion, I'm told that the young lady was wearing a "crochet poncho". I don't know enough about ladies fashion to say any more than that, but it looks like she's also wearing tights, and that the skirt is fairly high. My memories of being a kid in the 1970s are vague, but I know that skirts were either very short, or very long (called "mini" or "maxi" skirts).

Speaking for myself, I was too young back then to grow a beard or mustache, but they were very popular then, along with sideburns. Big sideburns! The colors were still very bright in the early 1970s, and started becoming "earth tones" in the mid-1970s. Clothing, and kitchens started becoming orange, green, and brown.

Thanks for time-traveling back to the 1970s with me, man. Far out! Out of sight!

The Bug Bus at Christown Mall in the 1970s, Phoenix, Arizona. Groovy.

Walking along the Tempe Canal in 1982


Walk with me. Today it's 1982 and we're going to walk along the Tempe Canal near Apache and Price. We will go from Tempe to Mesa.

In this blog I usually use my imagination to time-travel, but this time I'm going to use my memory. I walked there often during my last year of going to ASU, living in a converted garage on Wildermuth Road as a "starving student".

The first thing we'll need to do is to get the dogs. I don't have a dog, but I have an agreement with my neighbor that I can borrow his dogs anytime I want to. They're big dogs, and they love to run. There's a huge open field across from Wildermuth, and that's where we go, all of the way to the railroad tracks.

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I suppose, if you want to get picky, that we're breaking a couple of laws. The dogs are off-leash, and we're walking on the railroad tracks. In the 21st Century, this would be unthinkable, but in in 1982 it was common. The two dogs, by the way, both of which are German Shepherds, are named Kona and Kamaya. My neighbor has a fascination for Hawaii.

Kona

Kona is an old dog, but does his best to keep up. Kamaya is a young and very strong dog, and loves to chase after the rocks that I throw. She is very fussy about which rocks to run after, they have to be the black ones, never the lighter-colored ones. I'm throwing them along the railroad tracks. We can see for miles in both directions, and there's no train now, although the track is still in regular use.

There's the canal. To give you some idea how empty this area is, there are bee hutches (you know, the kind that farmers use) on the east side of the canal, by the railroad bridge. The photo I found of this area in the 1980s shows apartments, but they weren't there at the time I walked with the dogs, just bees. Let's walk along the west bank of the  canal now, going north.

Kamaya

The dogs are well-behaved, and Kamaya even jumps into the canal and swims. I've never seen that dog tired - even after swimming, she jumps out and runs like a rocket. She must love this, as most of the time she spends in that tiny little yard, locked up with barely room to move.

Look! Horses! The horses at the farm walk up to say hello. The dogs bark, and say "Wow, those are the biggest dogs I've ever seen!" The farm goes from the railroad tracks to Apache, where we turn around and walk home.

Just before we get home the dogs enjoy a nice mud bath in the open lateral along Wildermuth. Mud dogs! It cools them off a bit, and gives them that wonderful aroma that dogs love, mud and whatever has died in the lateral. Then it's time to put the dogs back in their yard and maybe get back to doing my homework.

Thanks for walking along the canal with me, and the dogs!


Image at the top of this post: The Tempe Canal in the 1980s, south of Apache, east of Price. The silos are still there, by the railroad tracks, near Broadway. The bees, and the farm, are gone.