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!

Eating at the Phoenix Restaurant in 1899


It's 1899, I'm hungry, so let's go eat at the Phoenix Restaurant. It's a new place that just opened up on 1st Avenue between Washington and Jefferson. Right across from the Court House.

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I just saw an ad in the paper that says that it's the best and cheapest eating house in the city. They serve meals at all hours, so we don't have to be there at lunch time, or dinner time, we can eat whenever we get there. Yes, I know it's a long dusty ride from the ranch to downtown Phoenix, but let's go. We just got our wages, and I'm tired of the food that they've been serving us here. If you can call that  "food"!

The Phoenix Restaurant in 1899, next door to McKee's Cash Store

Let's see, it's supposed to be right next door to McKee's Cash Store. I don't see it yet, we could ask. Wait, I have an idea, let's go to the top of the Court House and look from there. Say, it's quite a view from here. Now I see it!

1900 ad for the Phoenix Restaurant

You tie off Snowbell and Rapunzel and I'll go on in. And knock some of that dust off yourself, and take your hat off! What? A menu? I have no idea. No, I don't see a menu. I'm sure what they'll be serving will be good. Come on, I'm hungry!

Sadly, the Phoenix Restaurant went out of business in 1901 after a fire.

Image at the top of this post: Looking east from the Court House Building on 1st Avenue between Washington and Jefferson in 1899, Phoenix, Arizona.

How the attitude towards drinking and driving changed in the 1980s, Phoenix, Arizona


As someone who learned to drive in the 1970s, I often consider myself the first generation of people who cared about safety behind the wheel. Not everyone my age did, of course, but my generation got to see movies during Driver's Ed that showed what happened to people when they wrecked their car. It's been a long time since I've seen those images, and I still remember them vividly.

The attitude up to that time had been to hope that you would be lucky. Wearing seat belts was not cool, there were no air bags, and if someone died behind the wheel, or was maimed, it was just considered bad luck. And as the nation's roads got more and more crowded, a lot more people were having bad luck.

Of course drinking and driving was common. The laws really weren't all that stringent, and if someone wrecked while drunk, it was just "bad luck". Seat belts had been in cars since the mid 1960s, and side-impact protection started in the 1970s, but that wasn't enough. A lot of people were dying. And attitudes started to change.

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By the 1980s, businesses that served alcohol and then turned loose a bunch of drunk drivers on the road for the police, and hospitals, to deal with began to be pressured to do something about the death and destruction. It just wasn't funny anymore. Mothers Against Drunk Driving started in the 1980s, and the days of laughing off drunk driving were coming to an end.

The ad at the top of this post, from Minder Binders in Tempe in 1984, represented the attempts that bars were making to try to "sober up" their clientele with coffee and hot cocoa at midnight. It may seem pathetic now, but it was a beginning.

Times have changed.