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!

How to enjoy the scenic beauty of Phoenix, Arizona


I was at a routine checkup last Friday, and after the nurse took my blood pressure (I'm fine, healthy as a horse) as she was leaving I casually mentioned that I was going to look out the window. I don't remember the exact the response, but it's typical of what I've heard all of my life, which is that there's nothing to see.

I've lived in some amazing places in my life, and one of those places is Phoenix, Arizona. And there's so much to see that I've had difficulty understanding people who see nothing. And now I know that there's not "seeing nothing", they're just looking at different things than I do. I've been weird this way since I was a little kid, and it looks like I'm never going to change. I am trying to understand what the grownups are looking at, and mostly it makes me sad. These people live in an ugly world, or at the very least a dull one, with nothing to see. But when I looked out of the window (which was the fifth story of the east building of the original Phoenix Baptist Hospital (now Abrazos), I saw a lot. Come and take a look with me.

The mountain pass between South Mountain and the Estrellas.

The face of Montezuma, Estrella Mountains.

The first thing I look for is what I call the "Invisible Mountain Pass" - the pass between the western edge of South Mountain and the Estrellas. I didn't even know that it existed until a couple of years ago, and now I look at it all of the time. And along the Estrellas I look for the face of Montezuma. If you know that story, I'm sure you can see him, still sleeping, waiting for the day when the Hidalgos will leave this land and return it to the people (Akimel O'odham).


The 300 Bowl building in 2017

Ad for the 300 Bowl at Christown in the 1960s

I could also see the architecture of the old 300 Bowl. I've always been fascinated by architecture, and I get a big kick out of what is usually called "Googy". It must have been amazing to see when it was new in the 1960s.



Of course I always look for downtown Phoenix. The downtown skyline of cities where I've lived are like the faces of old friends, I never tire of looking at them. Yes, they change over the years, but I still know them.

And of course the ten-year-old in me just loves seeing the Light Rail. Seeing the trains go by reminds me of every Science Fiction movie I ever saw where people were transported in something sleek like that. If what you're seeing is how bad the traffic is going by, or the parking lots, or the billboard for STDs, I'm sorry, but I understand.

I could go on and on, but as you can probably guess by now I wasn't even close to seeing everything I wanted to see when the door opened and the doctor came in. I turned around, stood up, smiled brightly, and started paying attention to what the grownups were interested in. The doctor seemed very pleased with my health, which is good, and I was very pleased to be able to spend some time enjoying the scenic beauty of my favorite city.


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