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

Drinking coffee in old-time Phoenix


It's 1899, we're in Phoenix, and I'd really like some coffee. Jump into the back of the buckboard and let's go to Coffee Al's, which is on Washington just west of Center Street (Central Avenue).

Yes, I know we had coffee at the boarding house this morning - if you can call it that! The brown muck that Mrs. Stick-in-the-Mud, or whatever her name is, serves there ought to be against the law. I poured mine out onto a cactus and I hope it didn't kill it!

Here we are at Coffee Al's. Yes, it's also a lunch counter, so maybe I'll get some sandwiches that we can eat later. Give me a dime - that should be more than enough, I'll bring back your change. You stay here with Efron and Wilhelmina, they seem to be a little nervous this morning, it must be all of the traffic on Washington. This town gets more crowded all of the time! I'll be right back.


Here you are, I got us each a cup of coffee, and a sandwich that we can share. It was a little bit more expensive than I had thought, sorry. Here's your change.

I mixed in a little honey in our coffee. Isn't it wonderful! Yeah, I think the beehives are over by the town ditch, I'm not sure. It sure is better than that boarding house coffee, don't you think?

1900 ad for Coffee Al's, Phoenix, Arizona.

It's been a busy day, what do you say about stopping at Coffee Al's on the way back? No, don't worry, we don't have to turn the buckboard around, there's a counter on both sides of Washington. People in Phoenix love their coffee!

Thank you for drinking coffee with me!

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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.

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.

Become a PhD (Phoenix History Detective) with Brad today on Patreon!

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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.