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

September 27, 2016

Driving up Central Avenue at Van Buren in the 1950s


Let's time-travel back to the 1950s in Phoenix. We're heading north on Central at Van Buren. It's a one-way now, but it wasn't then. Let's look at the buildings.

I did this with one of my very best PhDs (Phoenix History Detectives) on Sunday. As we drove along, my tour guide, who saw all of this when it was new, pointed out interesting buildings, and I saw them.

Of course they're not all there! Most of them are gone. And so when you find ones that you recognize, like the 1st National Bank Building there (which is now an ASU Building), it's a lot of fun.

The grey building on the left with the radio tower is the Westward Ho, and in front of it is the old Post Office building, which like a lot of buildings in downtown Phoenix, are being repurposed by ASU. Behind the Standard Oil Building (I've moved to the right front now), is the Sahara Hotel, which was where Hattie Mosher's house originally was, and is where the ASU Law Building is nowadays. If you lived in Phoenix in the 1970s and later you may remember the Sahara as the Ramada Inn Downtown.

Of course, the mountains never change. Those are the Phoenix Mountains, with Squaw Peak (now called Piestewa Peak) behind the 1st National Bank Building, and Camelback Mountain to the right.

This photo, which is from a 1950s postcard, was taken from the top of the Security Building. Traffic looks pretty light, it was probably a Sunday.


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

Watching the Arizona Capitol Building being built in 1899


Let's go time-traveling back to 1899 in Phoenix, Arizona and watch them getting started on the construction of the Territorial Capitol Building.

I spent the night in back of the Golden Eagle Livery Stable at 2nd Street and Washington. Not sure where you were, but I see that you're walking from the direction of Melinda's Alley, so I won't ask.

The trolley line goes all of the way out to the Capitol Grounds, but since neither one of us has a nickel, I guess we'll walk. It's not that hot today. Well, not as hot as it's been lately.

The Capitol Ground have been there for almost ten years now, and it's a good-looking park with trees, people picnicking, that sort of thing. I suppose after the new building is completed, people will still take the trolley out there to picnic.

We've been walking for a while and my darned ankle is starting to hurt already. I wish we could jump on one of those cars! Yeah, I don't even have a penny, I sure can't afford to ride the trolley. Man, it sure is dusty - I wonder if they'll ever pave this road?

There goes the trolley! Moves along pretty fast, must be going over ten miles an hour. Amazing how the electrical wires up there work - modern technology! And I understand that it's the tried-and-true Direct Current, not that crazy Alternating Current. Thomas Edison likes D.C., and I figure that he knows what he's talking about!

Well, here we are. Looks like they're making good progress. No heavy machinery that I can see, maybe we should see if they need some help from a couple of strong backs!

See those guys standing over there smoking cigars? That's Moses Sherman - he owns the trolley line and all of the land around here, and he donated the land for the Capitol. And that's the architect, James Riely Gordon. I understand he came all of the way out here from Texas. Maybe I'll go over there and say howdy!

Architect James Riely Gordon

Moses Sherman

The Arizona State Capitol Building in 2012, celebrating 100 years of Statehood.

The Arizona Territorial Capitol, which became the State Capitol, is now a museum. It was carefully restored in the 1970s, is open to the public, and tours are offered. 17th Avenue and Washington, Phoenix, Arizona.

The Golden Eagle Livery Stable was where the Bank of America Building is nowadays, and Melinda's Alley, which was the "red light district", was between Monroe and Adams.



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