This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

August 25, 2016

Where to get a bargain in old-time Phoenix - Five Points


Five Points is the intersection of 7th Avenue, Van Buren, and Grand in Phoenix. The reason that it's called Five Points, is that you can go in five different directions from that intersection - 1) west on Van Buren, 2) east on Van Buren, 3) south on 7th Avenue, 4) north on 7th Avenue and 5) northwest on Grand.

Let's time-travel back to Phoenix in 1913. This is waaaayy out on the edge of town. And there's no trolley to that destination, so it's kinda difficult to get to. You can walk there, or you can take one of those new fangled "automobiles", or you can ride a horse. But since there's no trolley line to there, it's not as convenient a place to shop as most other shopping areas in Phoenix, so it's a place for bargains. Kind of like Outlet Stores are nowadays.

In the 1913 ad at the top of this post, it looks like walking there was being encouraged. And they're showing why you should be able to get bargains at Five Points stores. Even though it's only five blocks from the Post Office (which was on Van Buren and 1st Avenue), it's out of the "high rent district". Other benefits were live, energetic merchants, and hitching posts to tie your team (of horses). And there was a Post Office there, too. Post Offices were very important back then!

Let's walk over to Five Points. Everybody's doing it now. We can go to the Famer's Exchange, the Missouri Clothing Store, Five Points Barber Shop, the Cowboy Corral, the Variety Store, the Blue House, Five Points Livery, Osborne Concrete Company, Five Points Painting Shop, L.C. Eblen Hardware, the Golden Star, Henderson Brothers (I need a fly swatter!), the Log Cabin Bakery, Smith and Mason Blacksmiths, W.E. Atkinson, the Arizona Bottling Works, William Wetzler, and the J.D. Halstead Lumber Company.

Thanks for visiting Five Points with me today! My ankle hurts, so can I ride your horse back into town?

O.S. Stanley at Five Points in the 1940s. As of this writing, the building is still there, on Grand north of Van Buren.


1894 ad for Five Points Saloon. Pepper's whiskey and the coolest and freshest glass of draught (draft) beer in the city at 5 cents.


Thank you to my patrons on Patreon who help support History Adventuring! If you like these blog posts, and would like to make suggestions for future ones, please go to patreon.com/PhoenixHistoryAdventuring where you can show your support for as little as $1 a month. Thank you!

What Patreon is http://bradhallart.blogspot.com/2016/03/supporting-creators-on-web-with-patreon.html

August 22, 2016

Why Phoenix is a suburb of Los Angeles, and San Francisco


Every once in a while I hear someone say, in a joking way, that Phoenix is a suburb of Los Angeles. And I agree. Because while the distance is great, the connection is very tight. And if you go back further in time, the connection is with San Francisco. And like a child yearning for independence, there has always been a little bit of a resentful attitude towards these California cities.

Los Angeles when Phoenix was young.

In this blog my main focus in Phoenix history, but you can't study Phoenix history without including California, especially Los Angeles and San Francisco. And that's because Phoenix began with reliance on San Francisco, in the 1800s, and continued with Los Angeles in the 20th Century. And while Phoenix has become more self-reliant in the 21st Century, the influences remain.

As long as I can remember, people in Phoenix have said that they "don't want to be like LA". And that meant freeways, sprawling suburbia, smog, that sort of thing. But it happened. But Phoenix has been watching Los Angeles, and as a distant "suburb", has learned from its mistakes. Yes, there are freeways, but they're much better engineered, and attention has been placed on controlling air pollution, and attempts have been made to control sprawl. But, like any LA suburb, there are freeways, smog, and sprawl.

San Francisco in 1906

If you time-travel back further in time, it's all about San Francisco. Because as big and important as Los Angeles is nowadays, back in the 1800s, it really wasn't much. San Francisco was it. Ships arrived with goods from all over the world, and Phoenix needed that stuff, which was brought in by train.

As a former Angelino, I find it just adorable when my favorite city, Phoenix, stands up and insists that "it's big", like a three-year-old insisting that it can do it itself. And Phoenix has gotten big, and when people say that it's really just a suburb of Los Angeles, it can rankle. But Phoenix has a long way to go, and along its journey it will continue to look over its shoulder to the City of Angels and the City by the Bay.

Image at the top of this post: Flying over downtown Phoenix in the 1960s. From a postcard.


Thank you to my patrons on Patreon who help support History Adventuring! If you like these blog posts, and would like to make suggestions for future ones, please go to patreon.com/PhoenixHistoryAdventuring where you can show your support for as little as $1 a month. Thank you!

What Patreon is http://bradhallart.blogspot.com/2016/03/supporting-creators-on-web-with-patreon.html