Living in Phoenix, past present and future
As someone who is fascinated with Phoenix history, I am often saddened by people who look back on "the good old days" and give up on today and tomorrow. I'm not one of those people who wishes that he could "turn back the clock", or "wave a magic wand". I'm interested in being part of the history of Phoenix, and I mean right here, right now, and into the future.
Like the pioneers of Phoenix, in the 1860s, I'm "unreasonably optimistic" about the future. When I look back at people like Jack Swilling, or Dwight Heard, I have to wonder what were these guys thinking? Who would live in a place like this? Who would invest? Can you imagine looking out over miles and miles of desert and investing in the Arizona Canal in the 1880s? And how in the world did a gigantic dam get built in 1911?
I collect old photos of Phoenix and I know that it often makes people think that I'm one of those people who wishes that Phoenix was the way it used to be, maybe in the 1950s, or the 1870s. But I'm not. I love the growth of Phoenix, and it fascinates me as if it were watching the growth of a child, going through stages, stumbling along the way, unsure of the future.
I started posting old photos of Phoenix back when the internet was brand new, on web pages, just for fun (I'm a Graphic Designer). When Google+ was invented, I started posting there, and now I'm posting on a Facebook page. And I do it for the same reason that I stop and watch a construction site, because I'm just a kid. And what I see takes me to places and times that excite my imagination. What would it have been like to walk with the Hohokams? How would I have felt when the city of Phoenix was reinvented in the 1920s, and most of the old territorial buildings were knocked down?
A couple of years ago I created this blog so that I could explore these places in more depth. I wanted to go back there, but I wanted to be able to return to the 21st Century, to my air conditioned car, to my Smart Phone. I love getting unstuck in time, but I always want to come home. And Phoenix is my home, not a place that I wish that it used to be. Right now, and for the future, as long as I can stay here, which I hope is forever.
Image at the top of this post: Relaxing poolside at the Adams Hotel in the 1950s, Central Avenue and Adams, Phoenix, Arizona. Where the Renaissance Hotel is nowadays. It's gone, but the Professional Building, at left (which is now the Hilton Garden Inn), and the Phoenix Mountains back there, are still there.
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Posted by Brad Hall