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

Walking along Melinda's Alley in the 1890s, Phoenix, Arizona


Time-travel with me, and let's walk along Melinda's Alley. It was an alley that ran east and west between Adams and Monroe in downtown Phoenix. If you've spent much time in downtown Phoenix you've seen it, but nowadays it really is just an alley. Let's take a walk in the 1890s.

In the photo above, you should recognize Camelback Mountain back there. We're looking northeast from the tallest building in town at the time, the Adams Hotel. That's where the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel is now, by the way. It's in the same spot, but it's not the same building. There have been three hotel buildings built on that spot, all originally named the Adams Hotel.

That's 1st Street there running past Melinda's Alley. At the time there were houses, and businesses, along Melinda's Alley. The streets of Phoenix had been laid out on such a gigantic scale that these little alleys were all over town, never officially on maps, but known by everyone. You can see references to them in ads in newspapers, in directories.

Look off into the distance, just slightly right of center. That's the old water tower, which was on Van Buren and 9th Street. Don't look for anything elaborate, it just looked like a thin black tower.

No, I have no idea where the name of the alley came from, or who Melinda might have been. Officially, it was never a Phoenix street anyway. She may have had something to do with the businesses that thrived around there at the time, which was the red light district, but I don't know. Just northeast of there was Millionaire's Row, with the big mansions on Monroe (the only one left nowadays is the Rosson House, which is on 7th Street), so Melinda's Alley must have been a little bit of an embarrassment.

Thanks for walking with me.


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