How Grand Avenue created Glendale, Arizona
Contrary to popular belief, the railroad tracks weren't there before Grand Avenue was built. Grand Avenue was there for many years before the railroad tracks.
Everyone know the story of how towns grow up in the old west - the railroad is built, and towns grow up along the tracks. But it didn't happen that way to Glendale, Arizona.
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Time-travel with me. Let's go to Van Buren and 7th Avenue in 1885. We're at the city limits of Phoenix, Arizona. And as we look northwest, there's nothing but empty desert out there. Sure, Wickenburg is waaaayyyy out there, but there's really nothing in-between. And there's certainly no railroad. But we're hanging around with William Murphy and his "unrealistically optimistic" investors, and we're told that he wants to build a road out to the end of the canal that was just finished, about twelve miles northwest of where we're standing.
I don't know about you, but I'm not investing! He's already convinced some people to start a temperance colony called Glendale. A temperance colony, by the way, is where alcoholic spirits are forbidden. It was written into all of the documents that alcohol would never be allowed to be sold in Glendale, Arizona. But don't worry, you can get a beer there now, the law went away in 1933.
A privately-funded road was built, and it was called Grand Avenue. And it really didn't go anywhere, unless you counted the handful of people living in Glendale. But darned if he wasn't right, after all! Glendale succeeded, and within a few years you could even take a train there. How about that?
Thank you for history adventuring with me.
Image at the top of this post: looking north on 1st Avenue (now 58th Drive) from Grand Avenue in 1915, Glendale, Arizona.
Posted by Brad Hall