Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Seeing the very first car in Phoenix, Arizona, 1902


It's 1902 and we're kids going to go see the very first automobile to arrive in Phoenix, Arizona. Come along with me.

Sure, we've seen photos of automobiles, and we know that in other cities cars have been around for a long time, but this is the first one in Phoenix. It belongs to Dr. Swetnam, and he's driving it around in front of the Ford Hotel, which is on Washington and 2nd Avenue. Luckily, I brought along my Kodak, and asked Dr. Swetnam to pose wearing his very best hat. Looking east down Washington, there's no sign of the streetcar, so we don't seem to be in anyone's way.

It is a strange-looking vehicle. How odd to not have a horse in front of it! Well, I guess that's why they call them "horseless carriages". I wonder what the equivalent of power the motor has. I guess it's called "horse power"? I think that I'm going to ask Dr. Swetnam for a ride. Wouldn't that be a swell thing to brag about to the other kids at the Central School?

I have no idea how this machine works, but I do know that I want one. Sure, go ahead and laugh, but I say that in ten years there'll be so many of these here in Phoenix that there will be a parking problem! And in one hundred years they'll probably have music playing inside of them, and even a way to push a button and make it cool inside. I want one of those!

Whoops, here comes the trolley, we'd better get out of the way!

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