I like trees. I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where there are a LOT of trees. When I moved to Phoenix, as a teenager, I missed the trees. When I lived in Tempe, going to ASU, I made a point of going to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum when I could, so I could walk under trees. Trees make me feel better. Yeah, I'm a tree-hugger. I speak for the trees. And whenever I see another one cut down in Phoenix, a little bit of me dies, too.
But I understand that I live in the desert. The Phoenix that I first saw was a pretty sterile tree-less place, and I figured that it always had been. But then I started finding photos of old Phoenix, when it was a city of trees. And it all started making sense.
Before the invention of air conditioning, Phoenix had a LOT of trees. The pioneers started planting them in the 1860s, and by the time Arizona became a state, in 1912, Phoenix was a forest of trees. It must have been amazing. All that shade, all of those green leaves. People could walk in the shade along just about every road.
|Looking north on Central from Monroe in 1920, Phoenix, Arizona.|
If you want to see what Phoenix used to look like, drive along Central Avenue between Bethany Home Road and the canal. Or better yet, walk, or ride a horse, under the trees.
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