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

Time-traveling back to the good old days in Phoenix - the 1990s


If I've learned anything from collecting and sharing old photos of Phoenix, I've learned that there were always "good old days". Those were the days when life was simpler, when everything was better, the time before all of the things that are around now changed everything. And the good old days will always be whenever people say they were. Today will be the good old days some day. For me, the good old days in Phoenix were the 1990s.

Time-travel with me to a time when people didn't carry around cell phones, when they couldn't get a question answered in seconds on Google. It may be hard to imagine, but it was true.

When the 1990s started, there was still a bank in Phoenix called "Valley National Bank". Yes, I know it sounds like I'm making it up, but that's what it was called. I worked there, in the Marketing Department, as a Graphic Designer, and we had just started using Macintosh Computers, which were made by a company called Apple. The software we used was called Pagemaker, and we saved the files onto little discs that were stored in little cardboard boxes. In 1992 a bank called "Bank One" purchased Valley National Bank, and the building downtown where I worked, which was called Valley Center, became the Bank One Building. Bank One even built a baseball stadium in downtown Phoenix, which was called Bank One Ballpark, affectionately known as "BOB". Bank One, by the way, was purchased in 2002 by Chase.

The 1990s were a big year for the Phoenix professional basketball team, the Suns, who played at the America West Arena (now the Talking Stick Arena). Enthusiasm was high, and there was a lot of purple around town! This was the Charles Barkley era, and you can go Google him to find out more. Wow, you couldn't say "Go Google" something in the 1990s! Well, I guess you could, but people would have had no idea what you were talking about. Google?

My career at Bank One ended in 1996, when I resigned, and started teaching Graphic Design at the Art Institute of Phoenix, which had just opened up the previous year. I liked being there, and remember that they were still rearranging the interior walls when I was doing my first classes. At the risk of sounding as if I were giving them a plug, they were (and are) amazing - state-of-the-art computers (mostly Macs) with the emphasis on professionalism. If you can hire an Art Institute grad, especially from the '90s, do so. They're good. I'm an old ASU grad, and they got nothing on AIPX when it comes to training for a career in Computer Graphics. OK, end of free plug!

There were a lot of people who were afraid about what would happen when the '90s ended. Apparently the fact that computers hadn't allowed for the dates to change from 1999 to 2000 would cause the economy to collapse, and planes would fall from the sky. I remember that my next-door neighbor was horrified at what might happened, and comforted that it would mean the Second Coming of the Lord, and I knocked on her door the evening of the 31st of December 1999 and assured her that I was right next door, and she could call me. Not sure what I would have been able to do if planes were falling from the sky, but it seemed the neighborly thing to do. Of course she would have had to have called me on a regular telephone (now called a land line), but everyone had them in those days.

I could go on and on about the good old days, and I probably will, but just not in this blog post. I like time-traveling, and I like to imagine all kinds of good old days in Phoenix, from Territorial Days to present day, and even into the future. Yeah, the 21st Century will be the good old days some day, and they probably already are for some people, that's how it works.


Image at the top of the post: At Corporate Center in 1992, 23rd Avenue between Peoria and Dunlap, Phoenix, Arizona. With my brand-new Saturn SC.

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