This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

Preserving the history of Phoenix with family photos


I like old photos of Phoenix, and many of them have people in them. My interest started with identifying the buildings (I always wanted to be an architect, but I couldn't do the math), and then I started noticing the people. And it occurred me that these were real people, in real places, in real time. Like the people you see walking around on Google Street View.

Yesterday I had the privilege of looking at some of the most fantastic family photos that I've ever seen of historic Phoenix, the Hanny family, in the 1890s. It all centers around Vic Hanny, who started the clothing store in Territorial Phoenix, and whose name is on the restaurant on 1st Street and Adams, which used to be a clothing store. I have a boxful of photos sitting next to me right now, and I'm scanning as I write this.

I love looking at photos like this, and I respect privacy, because some people don't want any of their family photos to be ever put on the internet. I won't argue with people, but I will ask their permission to share them on my Phoenix Historical Images page. I know that there are a lot of people like me out there who get a huge kick out of seeing places like Hole in the Rock (which is where the guys are there in the photo at the top of this post) back "in the day". I also appreciate that there are a lot of people who would never allow me to share anything, for reasons as varied as thinking that if someone saw a picture of their great-grandfather on the internet, they could steal their identity, or a thousand other reasons that they might have heard somewhere. Or maybe they think that museum would pay a lot of money for something, or that their old family photos have a value on eBay. But these images are priceless, and they really have no monetary value, and museums really don't want to store and display more stuff. So, unfortunately, a lot of precious stuff is lost all of the time, thrown into dumpsters after a house is sold.

I'm not selling anything, I'm not creating a museum, I just like to scan stuff in and share it. And I like the thought that once something is out on the internet, it can never be lost, never be thrown in a dumpster, never locked up out of public view. I just like the thought of that. Please share.

Image at the top of this post: Vic Hanny and friends at Hole in the Rock in the 1890s, Papago Park, Phoenix, Arizona. Vic is at the far right. From the Hanny Family Collection.



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