Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California.

Eating hamburgers and weinnies in old-time Phoenix


It's 1920, we're on our way to the Arizona State Fair, and I'm looking forward to eating a hamburger, and some weinnes there.

What? You've never heard of them? They're all the rage. They're ground-up meat served in a roll. I understand that the Arizona Packing Company here in Phoenix makes them. No, you don't need to sit down with a knife and fork, you just pick it up and eat them with your hands.

Very funny - yes, I know that joke - yes, you can eat your hands separately. Sure, I've eaten them before. Where? Up in the City, in California. But they're better here in Arizona. We have lots of cows and pigs here. Yes, a hamburger is made from beef. No, not ham. I'm not really sure why they call it that, I think it has to do with a city in Germany?

The Arizona Packing Company in 1920. You're looking south from what is now called Van Buren on the Tempe Road, which was between Phoenix and Tempe.

Here we are at the fair, at a concession stand. Just go up there and ask. Get a whole bunch of weinnies. And yes, I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

The Arizona State Fair letterhead in 1914

That was delicious. No, I don't want any more. My stomach feels funny. Excuse me for a minute.

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Eating at Henry Sing's restaurant in 1924 - Sing High


It's 1924 and there's a new restaurant here in Phoenix called Sing High. It's at 138 S. 2nd Street and is run by Henry Sing. Let's go!

I just saw this ad in the paper, and the hours seem a little strange, but it's Saturday, so they'll be open from noon to four, and I think we should go there.

OK, there it is! I see that there's a long line, so it must be good. Phoenix has a lot of good Chinese restaurants, but we could always use another one. I wonder how long this one will last? Until the 21st Century, do you think?

That must be the owner there, Mr. Sing. No, I don't think Henry is his real name, I'm sure that he goes by that name so that people like us can pronounce it. I'm going to walk over and shake his hand. I want to let him know that Arizona is a friendly place. What? Oh, sure, I'll bow, too.

Sing High in the 1970s, 3rd Street and Madison, Phoenix, Arizona.

That was delicious. I'm glad we tried the chop suey. No, I have no idea what it is, I just know that it was delicious. I think we should go back often, help Mr Sing keep his place in business.

Sing High in 2017, 27 W. Madison, Phoenix, Arizona. From Yelp. 

Ad at the top of this post is from the Library of Congress

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History Adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.