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

Circle K, Phoenix, Arizona


If you live in the Phoenix area, or visited there, you've probably been to a Circle K convenience store. Or went past one on your way to a QuickTrip. Personally, I like both places, but I really like the cinnamon coffee at Circle K.

I grew up in Minnesota, so I didn't see a Circle K until I moved to Phoenix when I was 19. And I'm not entirely sure how I learned to call it "Circle K", because, really, the sign just looks like K to me. But somehow the fact that the name is supposed to be like a cattle brand (you know, like at a ranch) just seemed to make it so much more Western than, for example, the Tom Thumbs of Minneapolis.

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To me, Circle K is very Phoenix. My memory of being in California in the mid-80s is hazy, so they may or may not have had them around where I lived. Seems to me I recall mostly 7-11s in LA. Circle K seems to make me think of Phoenix, and it's a good feeling.

Walking past a Circle K at McClintock and Palmcroft in 1972, Tempe, Arizona

Looking north up 19th Avenue between Cactus and Peoria in the 1960s, Phoenix, Arizona

Driving past a Circle K in Phoenix in the 1960s, Phoenix, Arizona


Image at the top of this post: looking south on 16th Street towards South Mountain at Roosevelt in the early 1970s, Phoenix, Arizona. Images from the Duke University Library Digital Collections