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

Back to the future, Valley Center, Phoenix, Arizona (Chase Tower)

If you like to time-travel, take a look at the tallest building in Phoenix, Valley Center, which is nowadays called Chase Tower, at Central Avenue and Monroe. And the best way to do it is to go back to the future.

It's the late 1960s, and downtown Phoenix is really falling apart. And the biggest bank in town, Valley National Bank, has decided to step up and build the biggest building in the state right there in downtown Phoenix.

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Even though it's still the tallest building in Phoenix, Valley Center really doesn't look like much nowadays. Just another glass tower. But when it was designed, and when it was new, it was as futuristic as could be imagined. That's because it was designed to look like the future.

Take a closer look and compare the building to movies made in the 1960s, like "2001, a Space Odyssey". There's a particular look and feel to what the future was supposed to look like. And while Valley Center was completed in 1973, it has that feeling that you get looking at a movie made in the 1960s that is trying to project what the future world will look like. Even the font by the elevators is Microgramma Bold.

Valley Center (now Chase Tower) under construction in 1972, Central Avenue and Monroe, Phoenix, Arizona. To the right is the previous headquarters of Valley Bank, the Professional Building (now the Hilton Garden Inn).

The attitude of Valley National Bank was progress. That is, looking forward. They even had a slogan that said, "Progressing with Arizona". Nowadays it's hard to imagine a business being so tied into the community, but Valley Bank was. From the research I've done, Valley Bank was Arizona.

It's 1973 and the building is complete. And no, the building was never called "Valley Bank Center", it was Valley Center. Nor did it ever have a Valley Bank logo on it. The building represented the bank, the valley, and Arizona, just by being there.

Image at the top of this post: Valley Bank "Valley-ettes" displaying the model for Valley Center in the 1960s at Christown Mall.