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

The Salt River Project in 1941


The map above, of Phoenix in 1941, shows the Salt River Project. The artist has shown the areas with access to water looking kind'a like farmland, and those areas outside of SRP as looking pretty much like dirt.

For reference, the area marked Phoenix is downtown Phoenix nowadays, and the angled road to Glendale is Grand Avenue, which starts at 7th Avenue. If you know Phoenix, then you should be able to easily find South Mountain, and although Tempe, Mesa and Chandler have all grown together, their downtown areas are still in the same place. By the way, if you travel north by northwest on Grand Avenue, past Peoria, you will find Marinette, which is where Sun City is nowadays.

Anyway, this area is the Salt River Project. If you're like me, you get a bill from SRP every month, and just think of them as a power company, which they are. But they are the continuation of the reclamation of the the Salt River Valley, which began with the canals dug by people like Jack Swilling in the 1860s.

I love old maps like this. No matter how many times I look at this, I see something new. And the more I learn about the Phoenix area, the more fun it is for me to look at these old maps again. By the way, did you happen to notice the town of Goodyear south of Chandler? And it looks like that non-irrigated area there called "Paradise Valley" would have had some pretty cheap land, if you were crazy enough to buy it!

When this map was drawn it was simply to show the irrigation areas of the Salt River Valley. For me, it lets me time-travel.


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