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

History adventuring in Phoenix, Arizona


I've gone history adventuring with a lot of people in the past few years. Most people start off with a "sentimental journey", maybe visiting the neighborhood where they grew up, and then, if they have the same type of interest in Phoenix history that I have, I try to show them the Phoenix that I see.

The Phoenix that I see isn't just freeways and Starbucks, although those are fine. I see the mountains, the rivers, the canals. I have to admit that I made an out-of-town friend of mine nervous one time as we were going to Tempe and I was giving directions, as I was following the mountains, and the river, and talking about it. As I was sight-seeing, and time traveling, he asked if I needed to use the GPS? There's nothing wrong with GPS, but I've lived here long enough that I knew how to get to Tempe. I was just talking too much!

History adventuring is pretty addictive. And there really is no point to it, except enjoyment. And I would guess that it must seem very strange to be sight-seeing where it seems like there aren't any sights to see. But I can see Pumpkinville and Mill City, I can see where Charles Hayden's ferry was, I can see where the Apaches hid when they raided Phoenix, I can see the Hohokams. I could take photos, but there really is no point. All you would see would be a stop sign, or a Circle K (that's where Swilling's Ditch was).

Don't get me wrong, I love living in modern times, and wouldn't want to live before the invention of air-conditioning. But I like visiting the past. And I really can see it. If you take me along history adventuring, I will try to point out what I see. But you'd better drive, I'm really too much of a sight-seer to pay attention to things like stoplights!

Photo above: Looking north across Grand Avenue on 58th Drive in Glendale in 1915. The streets are paved now, and most of the old buildings are gone, but some are still there. This used to be the main entrance into Glendale, now it's a quiet little side street. If you go there, look for the Sine Hardware building. It has an historic marker on it. And do a little time-traveling, it feels good.


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