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!

Phoenix, Arizona in the time of Around the World in 80 Days


In the story "Around the World in 80 Days" the characters travel around the world in 1872. When they traveled across the United States, the Transcontinental Railroad was fairly new and had reduced the time it took to travel from San Francisco to New York from several months to several days.

If they hadn't been in a such a hurry and decided to make a detour to Phoenix in 1872, they wouldn't have seen much, but Phoenix was there, and had been for two years. The townsite, which had been laid out in 1870, went from Van Buren to Harrison (where the railroad tracks are now) and from 7th Avenue to 7th Street. A few buildings had been built, mostly of adobe. Lumber had to come from northern Arizona, so it was wildly expensive. The same with bricks, although some were made locally. The railroad arrived in Phoenix in 1887.

I've been re-reading Around the World in 80 Days, and it must have been amazing to see all of that technology that was suddenly appearing at the time: trains, steamships, that sort of thing. Phoenix had some catching up to do, which it did!

Image above: Looking east on Washington from Central in 1872, Phoenix, Arizona.


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