Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California.

The importance of Goodyear to the history of Phoenix

When Sands Chevrolet put Goodyear tires on my car last year, I was pleased. No, I'm no expert on tires, but I do have a fascination with Phoenix history, and Goodyear has been very important. And it all started with cotton for tires.

If you're a Phoenix history fan, you know that there were two communities centered around growing cotton for the Goodyear company, one south of Chandler and one in the west valley. The one in the west valley is still called Goodyear.


Although cotton is nowadays mostly used for T-shirts, etc., there was a time when it was critical for the making of tires. And not just any cotton, long staple cotton. And when cars were becoming popular, they burned through a LOT of tires all of the time. And tires were very expensive, not only for the rubber they required, but for the special cotton that was necessary, that had to imported from the Middle East (Egyptian Cotton). And so the Goodyear company wanted to see if it could grow its own cotton in a climate similar to the Middle East, and they choose Phoenix.


Goodyear developed what was to be called Pima cotton, which turned out to be great for tires. And not only was the demand for tires for cars going up, it went WAY up during World War I, from 1914 to 1918. And so Goodyear was growing cotton all over the valley, including places like Marinette, which is where Sun City is today.

Image above: the Goodyear sign on I-17 and Grand Avenue in 1968. The sign doesn't say Goodyear anymore, but the shape is the same.

The Goodyear blimp in the 1940s



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