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!

Rescuing historic photos of Phoenix from the dumpster


I like old photos of Phoenix. I like to scan them in, ponder them, and wonder about what life was like back "in the day". It appeals to my childish imagination to "time-travel". And I get a lot of enjoyment out of sharing what I find.

I'm not writing a book, I'm not teaching a history class, I'm not connected with any historical museums, I'm just having fun "dumpster diving". Because really all I'm doing is trying to rescue photos from being thrown away.

Now waitaminute, calm down, it's not a conspiracy, man. People aren't sitting around right now, laughing manically about destroying Phoenix history by throwing stuff away. It's just a question of logistics. And luckily, all I need to do is to scan in the photo, save it on my computer, and share it on the internet. I don't have to sit in committees deciding what to do, and select what can and can't be kept. I can do it myself.

I know that it's a race against time. I know that even as I write this, boxes of precious photos are being tossed because there wasn't room somewhere, or houses are sold and old smelly photos aren't the most appealing thing to new owners. But I have a secret weapon - the digital world. I can save photos without taking up any space at all. And I can share them on the internet where there's plenty of room.

Today I will be meeting with a PhD (Phoenix History Detective) who rescued some photos of Territorial Phoenix, and has been wondering what to do with them in order for them to be seen. And yes, they were on the their way to dumpster many years ago, and now they're just sitting in a box. I'm anxious to see them.

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History Adventuring blog posts are shared there daily, also there's "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, and super high-resolution photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona

My collection of old photos of Phoenix started with dumpster-diving. Well, I didn't actually dive into a dumpster, I just kept a bunch of old publicity photos of Valley Bank from being tossed in 1992 when they were becoming Bank One. They sat in my garage for years and years until I finally decided that it was time to scan them. Originally I posted them on web pages, and then as social media came around I posted them on Google+ and now they're on Facebook. I have thousands of images, but they're digital. If they weren't I wouldn't have room for my car in my garage!

There are a lot of people like me out there. We see stuff we like, we scan it in, and we share it. Some people sell stuff, but I don't have any interest in turning my hobby into a commercial venture. I do this for fun, and because I enjoy learning, and talking to people who share my interest in Phoenix history. I'm not above being invited to lunch (I celebrate my birthday several times a year!), or having people throw in a few bucks on Patreon, which shows their appreciation, but I'm not selling anything here. I'm just having fun. If you understand, I appreciate it. Please share.

Image at the top of this post: Valley Center (now called Chase Tower) under construction in 1972, Central Avenue and Monroe, Phoenix, Arizona. From a Valley National Bank publicity photo, rescued from the dumpster.