This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. This blog is not supported by advertising, it's supported by the generosity of my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

How Sarival Avenue got its name

Sarival Avenue, a contraction of Salt River Valley, was named after Sarival Cotton.

If you know your Arizona history, you know how important cotton has been for the economy. In fact, the town of Goodyear was created by the Goodyear company to grow cotton, which, back in the 1920s, was necessary in the production of tires. It's not true anymore, of course, but back then tires had to have cotton to hold them together, especially long staple cotton.

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Time-travel with me, and let's follow the money. And there was a LOT of money to be made producing tires after automobiles were invented, and especially during World War I. The Goodyear Company had to import its cotton from the Middle East, which was very expensive, and they decided to experiment with growing something similar in the United States, in an area that was very similar to Egypt, the Salt River Valley, where Phoenix is.

The original location of Goodyear, Arizona, south of Chandler. From a 1935 map.

The first little town of Goodyear, which supported the new cotton farms, was south of Chandler. And yes, they were very successful! So successful that Goodyear decided to go find more cheap land elsewhere, and they found it in the west valley. After World War II, they pretty much abandoned the original Goodyear, and moved everything over to the Goodyear that most of us who live in the Phoenix area nowadays are familiar with.

There were a lot of names for the new All-American cotton developed by Goodyear, such as Pima. The name Sarival was just another name that they came up with (it didn't catch on quite as well!). And when roads were built out in the west valley, in addition to naming them Cotton, or Litchfield (after Goodyear executive Paul Litchfield), they named one Sarival.

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1920 ad for the Bank of Chandler, mentioning Sarival Cotton

1920 ad for Sarival Cotton.

Images from the Library of Congress