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!

Phoenix before you were alive


Phoenix, Arizona is a young city. That's part of the reason that I like it. There's a youthful vibrance that just sparkles in Phoenix. There's a vitality that the city displays all of the time, with new buildings, the newness of the Light Rail, and so many other things. I mean, have you been to downtown Phoenix lately? A lot of it looks as if it were just built yesterday. And some of it was! And by the time I finish writing this, there will be more. Phoenix is a young city, always under construction.

So if you can't see how old Phoenix is, that's understandable. When I first started collecting historic photos of Phoenix I had a vague idea of the age of the city. My ASU tee-shirt says, "Since 1885" but it didn't really ever register with me. And by the time that school was being established, Phoenix had been there for fifteen years. Yes, Phoenix began in 1870. And Tempe is even older.

So I don't care how old you are, Phoenix was there before you were born. Of course, places seem to begin when we arrive, which for me was in 1977. Since this is my adventure, and my blog, I call that the beginning of "the modern era" - when I arrived. If you arrived in the 1960s, or 50s, or 40s, or 30s, or 20s, or even before that (wow, just how old ARE you?) to you Phoenix would seem to begin there, it just makes sense. You may have some vague idea of what your parents, or grandparents saw, but to you, your Phoenix begins with your personal awareness of it.

I'm a time-traveler. I don't pine away for "the good old days" when children obeyed their parents, or when everything in life was clean and fair. Because those days never really existed.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not looking back with negativity, I'm time-traveling with as realistic an attitude that I can have. With my modern sensibilities, I have a lot of difficulty imagining living in Phoenix without air conditioning, which people did for many generations. I do, however, like to imagine a city of trees, which were mostly all gone by the time I got to Phoenix, in the late '70s.

Thank you for time-traveling with me.

Image at the top of this post: Gardiners Hotel in 1872, which was on the northwest corner of Washington and 3rd Street, Phoenix, Arizona.


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