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

Phoenix, Arizona, a welcoming place for strangers


“Howdy, stranger” has been the culture of Phoenix, and of Arizona, for over 100 years. If you're new to Phoenix, and are already getting a welcoming feeling, it's not surprising. Phoenix is not a place “for locals only”.

I lived in Southern California for several years, and remember it as not being a welcoming place for strangers. It was a place for locals, who resented the newcomers. The bumper stickers that I remember said, “Save California, when you leave, take someone with you”.

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Historically, Arizona has been different. In Arizona, it has always been bad manners to ask a man his name. If he wants to tell you, fine, but his background, and what he may, or may not, have done, was his own business. Arizona was a place for people to start again. Yeah, you know what I mean here, criminals, outlaws, that sort of thing. It was a place to build a better life, and it still is.

I moved to Phoenix when I was a teenager, and have always gotten the feel of the Old West here. No, I don't mean people wearing cowboy hats, I mean the way people treat each other. Good fences make good neighbors. Don't ask a man where he comes from, or about his family. No places are “for locals only”. All are welcome here.



By the way, if you're a bad guy, and intend to commit crimes in Phoenix, keep in mind that there has always been a very tough Sheriff there, like Enrique "Henry" Garfias. That's him at left in the photo. He was good with a gun, and not afraid to use it! So, let's all get along.

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