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Whatever happened to the Central Avenue Dairy?

If you lived in Phoenix before the 1950s, you probably remember the Central Avenue Dairy, which was between Central and 3rd Avenue, north of Thomas. And if you're wondering whatever happened to it, well, it just kinda grew too close to everything, and it had to go away so that a mall could be built there.

When the Central Avenue Dairy began, in the early 20th Century, it was waaaaay out in the country. The city limits for Phoenix ended at Van Buren. But by the mid 20th century, Phoenix was exploding with growth, and way out in the country wasn't really way out in the country anymore.

Of course, the dairy, and the cows, and the, uh, smell, were there long before neighborhoods and businesses started to grow around it. But people don't really like to be downwind from cows, and besides, they needed a nice new mall to shop in.

So Park Central was built there, and the cows had to move away. And I'm sure that the old dairy was quickly forgotten, except maybe by the old-timers. Nowadays if you go there, you would never know that there had once been a very large dairy there. But if you drive on 3rd Avenue between Catalina and Flower Street, the road still curves around it.

1921 ad for the Central Avenue Dairy

1915 ad for the Central Avenue Dairy

Images from the Library of Congress

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