This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

Time traveling in Phoenix, Arizona


Everyone knows that all of the old buildings in Phoenix, Arizona were torn down years ago and were all replaced with parking lots, right? But since that really isn't true, Phoenix is a great place to time travel.

The trick to time traveling is to have some knowledge of the neighborhoods and the buildings. If it puzzles you to see someone like me walking around a building as if I were inspecting it, it's just because you're not seeing what I am seeing. Once you start to see it for yourself, you don't need *tour guides*, *walking tour apps*, historic signs, or anything like that. And there is a lot of time traveling to do in Phoenix! Here are some of my favorites.

Phoenix of the 1920s and 30s. Yeah, yeah, I know, everything was torn down. Except for:

• The San Carlos Hotel
• The Hotel Westward Ho
• The Luhrs Building and Tower
• The Phoenix Main Post Office

The list goes on and on. Not to mention some incredible neighborhoods around the Encanto area. You can spend a lot of time in the 1920s and 30s!

The house that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his son, David, in the 1950s. It's in Scottsdale.

Phoenix of the 1940s and 50s. The city absolutely exploded with growth after World War II. There is so much to see that I'm not even going to try to list it here. Google *Mid-Century* and start creating your list. You may want to start with Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, but there is so much more to see.

Valley Center (now Chase Tower) under construction in 1972

Phoenix of the 1960s and 70s. If this era of Phoenix has become invisible to you, look again. I like to imagine places like Maryvale when they were brand new. And my favorite building, built in 1972 and designed in the 1960s, is Valley Center (now Chase Tower) at Central and Monroe. If you want to time-travel to the 1970s, that will do it!

Looking west on Washington from 2nd Street in 1905. That's the Fry Building there on the right. Yeah, it's still there. It's where Majerle's is. Stop in and have a burger, and say hi to Dan for me!

Phoenix of the 80s and 90s. And by this I mean both 1880s and 1980s. Worth a look. If you scoff, take a look at my neighborhood here in Glendale, built in the mid-1980s. Or if you prefer the 1880s, take a look at the the Fry Building at 2nd Street and Washington, and have a burger at Majerle's.

The Jefferson Hotel in 1915, southeast corner of Central and Washington. Nowadays it's called the Barrister Building.

Phoenix of the teens. The Jefferson Hotel, on the southeast corner of Central and Jefferson, was built in 1915. And The Sheraton on Van Buren and 3rd Street was built in 2011.

The downtown Phoenix Sheraton, built in 2011

In my experience, time traveling in Phoenix is best done on a quiet Sunday morning. If you go sight-seeing at just about any other time, you are going to hold up traffic and annoy people - all of those people who know that there is nothing to see, anyway!

Image at top: Looking south on 1st Avenue at Van Buren in 1956, Phoenix, Arizona.



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