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!

Visiting downtown Phoenix, Arizona in 1922


Time-travel with me to Phoenix in 1922. The image that we're about to dive into is from the McCulloch Brothers Collection, which ASU just released online recently. This is the west side of Central Avenue between Adams and Monroe. Specifically, it's just north of the Heard Building (the one on the left, which is still there).

Back when I worked for Bank One in what is now Chase Tower, in the mid-1990s, I used to wander around these streets on my lunch hour. I would try to figure out what all of the buildings were, and I figured that many of them were much older than most of the people I talked to suspected. But it wasn't until the internet was invented that I was able to get the answers that I had been looking for for so long. And I'm having so much fun with this! Come along with me and let's visit the Occidental in 1922.

Oh, in case you're wondering why I say it's 1922, it's because that's a 1922 license plate there on the car to the left. The Heard Building had just been completed in 1920, and it must have been amazing. OK, let's go.

It sure looks like Phoenix is booming in 1922! Here at the Occidental Boarding House, where I'm staying, it seems like just about everyone is selling Real Estate. There's the Action Realty Company right next to Fashion Millinery, and the Casa Grande Land Company. Phoenix is a pretty dusty place, so the Central Cleaning Works get plenty of business! I'm not sure what Rittenhouse & Detwiler does, but they sell Oil Engines and Irrigating Pumps, and I think it must have to do with agriculture.

Real Estate and Loans go together, that's for sure. And that Model T has the name of someone who sells Insurance and Bonds. Can't quite read the name? Joe Something.

Of course, the big money is shown off by Dwight Heard whose new building is next door. It's the tallest building in Arizona - nine stories! He and his wife Maie have gotten very rich with their company, the Suburban Land and Real Estate Company. I hear that they like to collect art from all over the world. They'll probably start a museum some day.

Dwight and Maie (Bartlett) Heard became extremely wealthy in Phoenix, and traveled all over the world, collecting art. And they did start a museum, which they built just north of their house. The museum is simply called the Heard Museum, and it specializes in American Indian Art.

The Heard Building (the one on the left) is still there as of this writing. It's gone through a lot of face-lifts, but it's structurally the same. The buildings north of the were razed in 1929, and the new buildings, which were built in the 1930s, are still there, in the place of the Occidental (which is where State Farm and the Valley Bar are now) and the Central Methodist Church (which would be just to right, off the edge of the 1922 photo, where Michael 's Jewelers and the Subway are now. If you want to see this view nowadays, stand in the middle of Central Avenue just south of Monroe and face west-southwest. And look out for traffic!



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