Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California.

Living in suburban Phoenix without a car


Phoenix is all about cars. The city is older than the invention of cars, but not much. It may have started growing with Street Cars, but most of its growth has been designed for automobiles. So if you plan to live in Phoenix, or suburban Phoenix, or anywhere except downtown Phoenix, you really gotta have a car. Not surprisingly, the traffic congestion is awful, and amount of collisions (I refuse to call them accidents - they're really inventibles), and Phoenix still leads the country in red-light running.

Walking along a sidewalk along any of the major streets in Phoenix is like walking along the edge of a freeway. It's horrible, and very dangerous. The streets have been widened, and widened, and widened, and the most of the entrances to parking lots (which cross the sidewalks) are designed like exit and entrance ramps on freeways. Crossing those points of the sidewalk on foot or on a bike is deadly. And I'm not criticizing the drivers here, drivers aren't expecting pedestrians or bikes there anymore than on a freeway exit.

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Cars are so deeply entrenched into the mindset of people that I talk to, it seems impossible for them to even imagine not having a car. Their conversations revolve around the price of gas, traffic jams, road construction, or getting a great parking spot. I've heard people refer to the mile streets as being "a block apart", as if nothing in-between matters. For example, Peoria Avenue is a block from Cactus, which is a block from Thunderbird. Car scale is BIG!

I haven't really needed a car for years, so I sold mine recently. I do  my work here at home on my computer, and the last "analog" job I had (where I needed to be there in person) was just a few blocks away at the local Community College. I've learned how to ride the bus, the Light Rail, and use Uber. I just got a cool recumbent trike so I can noodle around. I have my groceries delivered by Safeway, and other stuff I've been ordering on Amazon for years. I really don't like doing errands, so I haven't done them in years. I'll tag along with friends to the mall, or I can get there in about fifteen minutes using the bus that stops two blocks away from my house every half-hour. There's an app for that, by the way, that tells you exactly when the bus will arrive - they have GPS now. I can step out of my house, walk the two blocks, and time it just right so the bus is there in just a few minutes.

Getting out of my car has given me a much better view of what it would have been like when Phoenix was new. Yes, cars are wonderful, especially when it's hot (gotta love A/C!) but they really give you the feeling of being transported in an elevator. Even if you look out the windows, you're mostly just seeing taillights, and stoplights. Driving a car takes intense concentration, and you really can't look away, for even a few seconds. Once you're behind the wheel, you're working. When you get out of a car, so many other things are revealed. I've been noodling around the Sahuaro Ranch on my trike, which is between 59th and 63rd Avenues a half-mile north of Olive. It's pedestrian-friendly, and I've known people who say they've driven past it for years and had no idea it was there. My point exactly.

So you have to evaluate your situation. If you can't imagine life without a car, maybe you need to unleash your imagination. That's what this is all about.


Image at the top of this post: at the Automatic Transmission Exchange in the early 1970s, 4120 E. Washington, Phoenix, Arizona. Not having a car means never having to repair it, pay for repairs, or wait for repairs.

How the desert became beautiful


The Sonoran Desert, where Phoenix, Arizona is, has looked the same since the end of the last Ice Age, 10,000 years ago. But the way that people see it has only recently changed. It has changed from ugly to beautiful.

If you've never visited the desert around Phoenix, Arizona, I highly recommend that you do. There are amazing views, stunning landscapes, and plants, like Saguaro Cactuses, that are seen no where else in the world. The colors are absolutely astonishing, especially in the spring, after a rain. And did I mention the delicious smell of the desert, especially after a rain? I could go on and on, but I want to time-travel a bit with you.

Let's go back to a time before air-conditioned cars, and cupholders, and convenience stores where we can get a hot dog, some Cheetos and a Coke. Let's go back to a time when the desert is horrible, and ugly, and frightening. I'm going to wave a magic wand and take away all of the roads. We are now out in the middle of the Sonoran Desert.

Without food and water we will die fairly quickly. And yeah, you may be able to squeeze a little moisture out of a cactus, but it's not the same as opening a cold bottle of water from the Circle K. And if it's summer, we will be dead very quickly, even if we find some shade. Temperatures in the Sonoran Desert in the summer routinely get over 100 degrees, often over 115. And if it's winter, the desert is a painfully cold place, with temperatures below freezing.

The pioneers of Phoenix, in the 1860s, knew about that. To them a desert was a horrible place, a place of misery and death. It wasn't a place to live, it was a place to cross over as quickly as possible on your way to somewhere else, like California. So they changed it from a desert to an oasis. They built dams, and canals, and channeled the flood water from the Salt River up into the valley to grow crops, and plant trees. They transformed the desert. Their goal was to erase the desert.

But attitudes change, and now the desert is a precious thing that people like me love, and want to preserve. I'm old enough to remember the graffiti on the signs on Shea Boulevard east of Scottsdale Road that advertised the new subdivisions - the writing on the signs said, "Save Our Desert!"

I'm happy to live in the desert. I have all of the modern conveniences, and I'm not gonna die of starvation, or thirst, in Phoenix (unless I can't get to a Circle K fast enough!). The desert is a beautiful place, and I love looking at it, especially through the window of a car that has handy cupholders. The Phoenix pioneers would have no idea of my point of view. The desert has become beautiful.

Image at the top of this post: A Giant Saguaro Cactus in the 1920s. You're looking east towards Camelback Mountain at where Stanford and 32nd Street are now, 1/2 mile north of Camelback Road, Phoenix, Arizona.

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The demolition of the Victorian houses in Phoenix, Arizona


As someone who's interested in history, and architecture, I have a particular fascination with Victorian houses. Here in Phoenix, they were mostly along what was known as Millionaire's Row, which was on Monroe between Central and 7th Street. The Rosson House is an example of one that was preserved and restored. The other ones, like the one in the photo at the top of this post, which was at 725 E. Washington, were demolished.

If you've ever visited a beautifully-restored Victorian house, you may wonder why they were ever demolished? But if you had seen what these houses had become by the 1980s, you'd understand. Time-travel with me.

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After the wealthy people moved out of these gigantic homes, beginning in the 1920s, they quickly became apartments. What were once spacious homes were subdivided into tiny rooms that allowed people with limited budgets to have a place to live. And as you would expect, the upkeep of these houses wasn't as good once they became apartments. I saw one of them in the 1980s in Los Angeles, when I was looking for a place to live, and I still shudder at how horrible it was. There wasn't nothing "quaint" or "historic" about the place, it was hardly fit for humans to live in. I was poor, so I was considering it.

And that's what happened to these big old houses. Over the years they got worse and worse until the city stepped in and condemned them, and tore them down. They weren't even safe for people to live in, mostly because the electrical systems were a fire hazard. The photo up there is from the 1930s, and if you can imagine a place like that getting more and more run down, just add another fifty years to it. They were unimaginably horrible. And they were a disgrace to the city to allow people to live in them.

The World's Largest Cactus in the 1940s. Well, some of them.


I just found this postcard of the World's Largest Cactus near Phoenix, Arizona in the 1940s. It's a saguaro, which are fairly common in the Sonoran Desert, and they get very big. Amazingly big. This one was in Paradise Valley. And I've found lots of photos of wonderful gigantic saguaros in the same area around the same time. There was a fairly new resort out there, called Camelback Inn, and back at the time it was pretty much all alone in the desert, with the saguaros.

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Of course, these aren't really the world's largest cactuses (cacti?), but there's no "truth in advertising" law that applied to postcards in the 1940s. I like postcards, and they can be a lot of fun, but you gotta remember that, like Instagram, they portray a world that's just a little too perfect to be completely true. I'm OK with that.

Giant Saguaro Cactus in the 1930s, Paradise Valley, Arizona. Camelback Mountain is in the background.

If you live in Arizona, or have visited there, you know how amazingly big saguaros are. And they really are the symbols of the Sonoran Desert, and they only grow there (in spite of the fact that just about every cartoon that shows a desert shows a saguaro cactus). But as big as they are, they're small compared to their big brothers in Mexico, called cardons (Pachycereus pringlei). Hey, I'm not dissing the mighty saguaro, but if you've ever seen a cardon, they make saguaros look small.

Giant Saguaro Cactus in 1929, Paradise Valley, Arizona.

The Sonoran Desert must have been astonishing for people to see back in the 1930s and '40s. The photos that I find I'd like to think of as the first changing of the attitude of the desert from being a terrible place, to being a place of beauty, worth preserving, which is how most people feel today.

These giant saguaros weren't preserved in Paradise Valley, of course, but a lot were elsewhere in the Sonoran Desert. There's a whole forest of them that you can visit near Tucson, and it's worth a visit. And whether you see the World's Largest Cactus or not doesn't really matter, you'll still be seeing a wonder of the world.

Playing at the Hollywood Golf Course in 1923, Phoenix, Arizona


It's 1923, there's a brand-new golf course here in Phoenix, Arizona, and I want to go there with you.

It's way out on the Tempe Road [32nd Street and Van Buren] but I have a new Marmon Phaeton, so we'll be there in no time, arriving in style. Got your baffy, your niblick and your mashie? How about plenty of gutta-percha balls? OK, let's go!

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Wow, this is a nice 18-hole course. I think the idea of golf courses around Phoenix is going to catch on, don't you? No, no, please, you go first. I'll help you tee up. Let's see, we need to make a little pile of sand for your ball to sit on before you drive. Luckily, this is the desert, and there's plenty of sand around here!

1923 article about the new Hollywood Golf Course, Phoenix, Arizona. A high-resolution version, which is easier to read, is here http://bradhallart.com/super_high_res/Article_Hollywood_Golf_Course_Mar_18_1923_SHR.jpg

Nice drive! I didn't know that you can hit that far. That's great. No, wait, wait... just a minute. Hang on, yeah, I think you're swimming. Yep, your ball just landed with a splash. You're in the town ditch. Yes, you can take a drop from there, or you can just hit again. I'd take the drop.

They tell me that this is an historic site, and that the original townsite for Phoenix was out here. I've heard it called Pumpkinville, but mostly Mill City. And look, there's the crumbling remains of the old mill, that belonged to old man Hellings. That adobe is tough, but it's melting away. Pretty soon there won't be a trace of it. I understand it's from the 1860s.

The remains of Helling's Mill in 1923 on the Hollywood Golf Course, it was made of adobe in the 1860s

OK, I'll stop talking now. Great mashie shot! Wow, you're on the green. Me? Well, I got a hole-in-one so I'll just walk along with you. Just lucky, I guess.

What a great day for golf!


This golf course was about where the Celebrity Theater is nowadays. The town ditch, also known as Swilling's Ditch, or the Salt River Valley Canal, is long-gone, but is still underground as part of the storm drain system of Phoenix.

Using Sanborn maps to time-travel to old-time Phoenix


I just love walking around Phoenix. I do it in real life as often as I can, and also a lot in my imagination. And something that works for me is old maps. I recently discovered Sanborn maps, and although I really don't understand them, they help me to visit old-time Phoenix in my mind.

The Sanborn map at the top of this post is from 1893. Of course, it's just a tiny section - they were huge. Their purpose was to meticulously record detail about buildings for fire insurance purposes. There's a complex code of colors, and numbers, and abbreviations, and a lot of stuff. You can find out more about Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps online, they did a lot of cities.

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Walk with me. It's 1893 and we're at the intersection of Monroe and 1st Street. The old-timers still call it Montezuma, but young people like us insist on using the modern name, which is just a number. That really annoys the old-timers. Of course if we ask directions, we have to know both names. The map, by the way, has North facing left.

Along Adams is the Stevens and Filbright Livery and Feed Stable. Let's go look at the horses. Maybe old man Stevens will let us feed his horses some carrots. Watch your fingers! We can enter here next to the Buggy House. OK, we're in the stable area, and from here we can see the whore houses. My parents don't want me to use that term, it's supposed to be "houses of ill repute" or "red light district" (on the Sanborn map they're labelled as "Female Boarding"). Let's walk over to Monroe. Look! There's a grocery store, maybe they'll have a jar of pickles, and we'll get one for free!

Thank you for walking with me.

How to see the historic trees of Glendale Community College


If you want to time-travel, and see trees that were planted over 100 years ago, all you have to do is to go to Glendale Community College, at 59th Avenue and Olive. They march right through the center of campus. They were originally along the driveway to the Sahuaro Ranch, which is just north of the school, and were moved into their current position when the campus was built, in 1965. But you can do more than that - you can see the original trees in their original position. Come along with me.

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By the way, these aren't the common palm trees that you see everywhere, like the ones on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. These are California Fan Palms and those are Mexican Fan Palms. Technically, they're Washingtonia filiferas, not Washingtonia robustas. And when places like Phoenix, and Los Angeles, started planting robustas, filferas pretty much disappeared. And you really can't blame them, robustas (as the name implies) grow much faster, and stronger. They don't live as long, which is why the robustas planted on Palm Walk at ASU just died recently. Filferas live a long time!

OK, enough nerdy palm tree talk. And as much as I like palm trees, I'm darned if I can really recognize the difference between a filfera and a robusta. Filferas tend to be thicker, and they grow slower and live longer. And the only reason that I know that these are filferas is that my palm tree experts have told me, and besides, that's what would have been planted back when the Sahuaro Ranch was fairly new, well over 100 years ago.

The historic palm trees in their original position, at the northeast corner of the Glendale Community College north parking lot.

Walk with me. The best way to do this is to park in the south parking lot of Glendale Community College, just west of 59th Avenue and Olive, over by the Admissions Building, where there's visitor's parking. Then walk north straight through the center of campus. Those are the trees that were moved into place when the campus was built. Now keep walking to the north parking lot. Keep walking to the far northeast corner, over by the garbage area. Yeah, this is an area that most people never go to. When they moved the trees in 1965, they found that they had enough for the main campus, so they left these in the same place where they've been now for over 100 years.

Exact location of the historic palm trees on the campus of Glendale Community College, Glendale, Arizona.

I was there this morning, and I've been going over there for many years. Don't worry about getting in anyone's way, no one uses that entrance. There's a sidewalk to it, and then it just becomes gravel, and weeds. It was the original entrance from Olive to the Sahuaro Ranch house, and the palm trees were planted to guide the way. They were also planted, like the rose garden, for beauty.

The historic palm trees, in their original position, between the Glendale Community College and the Sahuaro Ranch. Northeast corner of the north parking lot, near 59th Avenue and Mountain View, between Peoria and Olive. You're looking north.

A safe place to stay in the 1950s in Phoenix, Arizona if you're black


Time-travel with me to the 1950s to Phoenix, Arizona. In this story I'm a black man with a young family. I served in World War II, and I have a good job back east. I've been working hard, and I just bought a big, brand-new, beautiful car and I want to see the country.

The United States has some awesome new highways, so we can go anywhere. I just tuned up the car, filled it with gas, and we're on our way. But since it's the 1950s, and we're black, there are some severe challenges to face. This is the time of Jim Crow laws, and segregation. "Separate but Equal" is still the law of the land, and we can be turned away from restaurants, and hotels because we're black.

So we will be taking along the Green Book. It's been printed since 1936, and would stay in print until 1966. It shows places where we will be welcomed. After the mid-1960s, the United States laws changed, and "Separate but Equal" would go away as Unconstitutional.

But it's the 1950s, and since it's still the law, we can be turned away because of the color of our skin. We can be denied use of restrooms, we can be refused food, places to stay, and as horrible as it is, it's perfectly legal. And it doesn't matter how much money I have, this is based on skin color, and this is who we are, how God made us.

What a beautiful country! And the car is running like a champ! I'm glad we took this trip. We're in Phoenix. Let's see, the address is 1021 E. Washington, and we're looking for the Swindall Tourist Inn. OK, everyone out! Kids, go stretch your legs, but stay out of the street.

The Swindall Tourist Inn building is still there, at 10th Street and Washington. It just looks like any other ordinary old house, but as part of Phoenix history, it's extraordinary.

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Exploring the Sahuaro Ranch, Glendale, Arizona


The Sahuaro Ranch (yes, it's misspelled that way) is an historic ranch and park which is open to the public. There are old buildings, gardens, and wide-open spaces. The ranch goes back to 1886, and there are a bunch of historic plaques around explaining that kind of stuff. I visit there as often as I can, both in my imagination and in real life, and I was there this morning. It's located between 59th and 63rd Avenues in Glendale, south of Peoria Avenue. It's directly adjacent to Glendale Community College, which is on Olive. It's a big place, but you can't see it from any main streets, so you may have gone past it many times even if you live in the neighborhood.

I've always sought out places like this to sooth my jangled nerves. I have no excuse for having jangled nerves, I know, but I do. When I lived in California, I called it the LA Hee-Bee-Jee-Bees, and it was brought on by traffic, and crowding, and mostly just be being a nervous and anxious person.

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In the photo I took this morning, I'm trying to show what I'm looking at, and what I'm feeling. There are nice wide-open spaces, where often all you can hear is the breeze in the trees, or the call of peacocks (yes, that's a peacock there strolling by the porch).

There are events there, but that's not when I go. I like to go when I have the place pretty much to myself, which is just about any day of the week, especially now as it's August, and still pretty hot, even in the morning.

Yes, I understand that most people are in the drive-through of a coffee place while I'm exploring at the ranch. That's their world, and this is mine. I like the ranch.

Why the people of Phoenix are so similar to the people of Minnesota


I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and moved to Phoenix, Arizona when I was 19. Other than the fact that it doesn't snow in Phoenix, and some other minor details, I found the people to be pretty much the same as where I had come from. I really never gave it much thought.

When I moved to California, though, I got hit with culture shock. California is dramatically different from Arizona, and it's certainly nothing like Minnesota. I think that I can tell you why.

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Arizona attracts people from the midwest, especially Minnesota. Sure, there are midwesterners in California, but not as many. The main reason is that California is crazy expensive, and Phoenix is a bargain. People from Minnesota are thrifty, and they love bargains. That's a good place to start. Check the price of a hotel room in San Diego versus one in Scottsdale and you'll see what I mean. Sure, California has the ocean, but is it really all that valuable? People from Minnesota, like me, just want to get away from the snow and cold. And I tell people that there's plenty of beach in Arizona (sand), just not an ocean.

There's something else that makes Phoenix more attractive to Minnesotans than California, and I'll choose my words very carefully here. It's, uh, less complicated. It's less international. When you're in California, especially places like Los Angeles or San Francisco, you feel a connection to the world, which can be nice, or can be overwhelming. OK, I'll come right now and say it, Phoenix is provincial. But that can be nice. I love living in Phoenix, and while I've known a lot of people with narrow minds, that really doesn't bother me as long as they're good people. And they are!

Phoenix is strongly influenced by the culture of people like me. You may not catch yourself saying "You bet'cha" when you hang around me, but you won't find my Minnesota culture all that strange. And places like California will just seem weird. Really weird.

And here is some classic Minnesota etiquette. If you didn't grow up there, you probably aren't aware how terribly rude it is to accept something on the first offer. If someone offers you, for example, a cup of coffee, and you just say, "sure, that's sounds great! Thanks!" you have committed a terrible breach of etiquette. That type of impolite behavior is enough to have someone never speak to you again. Here is how it works. It's always one-two-three:

"Would you like a cup of coffee?"

"Oh no, thanks, I'm fine" (that's number 1)

"Are you sure?"

"I would hate to put you to so much trouble!" (that's number 2)

"It's no trouble, I'm thinking of brewing some right now!"

"Sure! I'd love a cup of coffee!" (number 3)

Then it starts again:

"Would you like some sugar?"


Image at the top of this post: the author, recently arrived in Phoenix, Arizona.

The difference between air cooling and refrigerated in old-time Phoenix


I collect old photos of Phoenix, and post them on the web, and often people will be amused by the mention of the term "refrigeration" on advertising for a motel. And it really was an important selling point.

No, the rooms weren't as cold as the inside of your refrigerator! But the concept was similar. Time-travel with me back to the 1950s in Phoenix.

I love Phoenix, but let's face it, it's hot. It's in the desert, and that desert heat can be miserable, especially if it's hot at night. If you've ever lived in Phoenix and tried to sleep when your air conditioning isn't working (which I did for one night about a couple of years ago, and I still remember!) you know how important air conditioning is. Without it, no one in their right mind would live in a city like Phoenix, or Palm Springs. But air conditioning, like wifi, is a technology that took some time to evolve before everyone took it for granted.

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It started with something called "air cooling". And it was better than nothing, but not much better. Air cooling was often referred to as "swamp cooling" and it was simply a big fan that blew air across a pad that was soaked with water. Some houses in Phoenix still have swamp coolers, although most of them have them in addition to refrigeration.

Ah ha! And there's the distinction. Refrigeration is a newer and much better way to cool down a building, and it's what we just call A/C nowadays. So if I told you that my house has air conditioning, you would know that I mean refrigeration, not swamp cooling, or "air cooling". But in the 1950s, a business like the Egyptian Motor Hotel had to be specific. They were proud of having actual refrigeration, not just air cooling (swamp coolers).

Now that's luxury!

The Egyptian Motor Hotel in the 1950s, 765 Grand Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona. Cooled by refrigeration.

Sight-seeing in Phoenix, Arizona



I love to sight-see. I'm always on a window seat of an airplane, when I take the shuttle I kinda hope that they'll have to do a side-trip so I can do more sight-seeing. As a driver, I was never very good at paying attention to what really matters to drivers, such as moving quickly when the left arrow turns green. By the way, if you're worried that you're gonna be behind me, don't, I've stopped driving. I lost interest in it years ago and I finally sold my car and am dedicating myself to sight-seeing.

I like looking at stuff. I started drawing when I was a little kid, and when I discovered Andrew Wyeth in my twenties, I really got into just looking at things, especially old buildings. I love the texture of old bricks, I love looking at an old crumbling foundation and pondering the building that had been there. For a long time I carried a sketchbook with me, just in case anyone would walk up to me and ask what I was looking at. In a long life, no one has asked, so I've learned to relax a bit about my looking at stuff.

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Of course, the thing I've heard all my life is "there's nothing to look at!", and hearing that makes me sad, because I know that for most people, what I'm seeing, and feeling, is invisible.

In this blog I admit to things that I try to cover up in my day-to-day life. If someone asks me what I'm doing, I'm working on my fitness, or trying to save some money by riding the Light Rail. This makes sense to most people, and it's a technique that I learned from John Steinbeck's character Doc from the book "Cannery Row". Doc was the man I wanted to grow up to be. No, not the character from the movie, the character from the book, they were very different. He was a nerdy guy who was interested in looking at stuff, from the tiniest sea life in the tide pools to the entire United States. In the book he decided to walk across the country just to see it. Just to see it. I can understand that, but most people couldn't. They were distrustful of him until he told them that he was doing it to win a bet. Then they understood, and were OK with him.

So I'm doing this to win a bet, or some other reason that most people can understand. Maybe I'm writing this blog to get rich, or famous. But I do it for the same reason that I like to sight-see. I like to explore. When I can, I do it in real life. When it's raining, I do it in cyberspace, luckily I live in Phoenix, where the weather is almost always beautiful. There's so much to see!


Image at the top of this post. Looking northwest at the Agua Fria River from Lower Buckeye Road. You're looking toward the White Tank Mountains.


By the way, if you're not inclined to just stumble around, here's a list that can get you started:

Individual properties designated with Historic Preservation in the city of Phoenix. The month and year shown is when that particular property was listed on the Phoenix Historic Property Register.

Adams School / Grace Court School
 800 W. Adams St.
 April 1987; boundary adjustment May 2006 (Construction Date: 1911)
Aldridge (Aubrey & Winstona) House
 1326 E. Jefferson St. 
June 2005 (Construction Date: 1950)
American Legion Post 41 
715 S. Second Ave.
 November 2007 (Construction Date: 1948)
Anchor Manufacturing Company
 525 S. Central Ave.
 June 2005 (Construction Date: 1928)
Anderson (Helen) House 
149 W. McDowell Road 
September 1986 (Construction Date: circa 1920)
Arizona Citrus Growers Association Warehouse
 601 E. Jackson St.
 April 1987 (Construction Date: 1920)
Arizona Museum
 Located within University Park between 10th and 12th avenues, Van Buren and Polk streets
April 1989 (Construction Date: 1927)
Arrow Van & Storage Warehouse/Chambers Transer & Storage Company Warehouse Annex 
323 W. Jackson St. 
October 2001 (Construction Date: circa 1930)
Arvizu’s El Fresnal Grocery Store 
310 E. Buchanan St. 
July 2000 (Construction Date: 1900)
Asbury-Salmon House 
7801 N. Central Ave.
 March 2003 (Construction Date: 1934-1935)
Barbara Jean Apartments 
212-214 E. Portland St.
 September 2004 (Construction Date: circa 1927)
Bayless (J.B.) Store # 7 
825 N. Seventh St.
 November 1998 (Construction Date: 1928)
Betania Presbyterian Church 
305 W. Pima St.
October 2007 (Construction Date: circa 1951)
Blake, Moffitt and Towne Janitorial and Paper Supply Company Warehouse
 101 E. Buchanan St.
 July 2000 (Construction Date: 1927)
Bobby Brown Cafe 1714-1718 W. Van Buren St. 
March 2005 (Construction Date: circa 1930)
Bohn (Louis) House 
8001 N. Seventh St. March 2003 (Construction Date: circa 1928)
Boone (Daniel & Clara) House
 1720 W. Elm St.
 November 2005 (Construction Date: 1940)
Bragg's Pies, Inc.
 1301 Grand Ave.
 November 2005 (Construction Date: 1946)
Brockway (Dr. George M.) House 
506 E. Portland St. 
February 2005 (Construction Date: circa 1909)
Bungalow Farm Residence 
6413 S. 26th St.
 January 1993 (Construction Date: 1935)
Campbell (Rev. Henry M.) House 
826 N. Third Ave. 
September 1986 (Construction Date: circa 1910)
Carnegie Public Library and Park
 1101 W. Washington St. 
April 1989; landmark designation March 2004 (Construction Date: 1907)
Cartwright School 
5833 W. Thomas Road. 
June 2007; (Construction Date: 1924)
Carver (George Washington) High School
 415 E. Grant St. 
May 1992 (Construction Date: 1926)
Cavness (William E.) House 
606 N. Fourth Ave. 
November 2004 (Construction Date: 1914)
Central Arizona Light & Power Company Warehouse 
501 S. Third Ave.
 July 2000 (Construction Date: 1928-1929)
Chambers Transfer & Storage Company Central Warehouse
 15-39 E. Jackson St.
 May 1990 (Construction Date: 1925)
Chambers Transfer & Storage Company Warehouse 
309 S. Fourth Ave. 
April 1987 (Construction Date: 1923)
Cisney (George) House 
916 E. McKinley St.
 March 1994 (Construction Date: 1897)
Cobb Bros. Market Warehouse 
430 S. Second Ave. 
July 2000 (Construction Date: circa 1932)
Coe (H.M.) House 
365 N. Fourth Ave.
 October 2002 (Construction Date: 1895)
Concrete Block Bungalow 
606 N. Ninth St. 
February 2005 (Construction Date: circa 1908)
Concrete Block Neoclassical House 
614 N. Fourth Ave. 
September 1986 (Construction Date: circa 1906)
Concrete Block Neoclassical House
 640 N. Sixth Ave.
 September 1986 (Construction Date: 1911)
Converse (Ralph) House
 6617 N. Central Ave.
 March 2003 (Construction Date: 1935)
Conway (Col. Edward Power) House
 7625 N. 10th St.
May 2003 (Construction Date: 1928-1929)
Corpstein Duplex
 417 W. Roosevelt St. 
September 1986 (Construction Date: circa 1920)
Craftsman Bungalow
 1241 E. Roosevelt St.
J une 2006 (Construction Date: 1910)
Cronin (C.P.) House
 2029 W. Jefferson St. 
October 2002 (Construction Date: 1893)
Del Monte Market
 2659 W. Dobbins Road
. August 1992; boundary expansion April 2004 (Construction Date: 1908)
DeMund (Herman P.) House
 649 N. Second Ave.
September 1986 (Construction Date: circa 1910)
DeMund (Lester) House
 363 E. Monte Vista Road. 
August 1992 (Construction Date: 1930)
Dougherty-Peterson House
 2141 W. Washington St. 
March 1994 (Construction Date: 1899)
Douglas (Lewis) House
 815 E. Orangewood Ave.
 May 1990 (Construction Date: 1923)
Dunbar (Paul Laurence) School 
701 S. Ninth Ave./707 W. Grant St. 
March 2005 (Construction Date: 1925)
Dunlap (Charles H.) House 
650 N. First Ave. 
September 1986 (Construction Date: circa 1914)
Duppa-Montgomery Adobe
 715 S. Second Ave./116 W. Sherman St.
 November 2005 (Construction Date: circa 1895)
Eastlake Park 
Bounded by 15th, 16th, Jefferson and Jackson streets
 June 2005 (Period of Significance: 1890-1949)
El Encanto Apartment Building 
2214 N. Central Ave.
 December 1990 (Construction Date: 1939)
El Portal Restaurant
 701 S. Second Ave./117 W. Grant St.
 November 2007 (Construction Date: 1947)
El Zaribah Shrine Auditorium 
1502 W. Washington St.
 June 1989 (Construction Date: 1921)
Ellis-Shackelford House
 1242 N. Central Ave.
 September 1986 (Construction Date: 1917)
Emerson (Louis) House 
623 N. Fourth St.
May 1990 (Construction Date: 1902)
England (A.E.) Motors, Inc.
 424 N. Central Ave.
 May 2006 (Construction Date: 1926)
England-Lawrence House
 6234 N. Central Ave. 
March 2003 (Construction Date: 1929)
Evans (Dr. John M.) House 
1100 W. Washington St.
 December 1986 (Construction Date: 1893)
Faith Lutheran Church 
801 E. Camelback Road. 
December 1997 (Construction Date: 1946-1955)
Farish (William A.) House 
816 N. Third St.
 October 2002 (Construction Date: circa 1900)
Fennemore (Hary M.) House 
501 E. Moreland St. 
September 2004 (Construction Date: circa 1912)
First Baptist Church
 302 W. Monroe St. 
April 1995 (Construction Date: 1929)
First Presbyterian Church
 402 W. Monroe St.
 November 1997 (Construction Date: 1927)
Franklin School 
1625 W. McDowell Road/1414 N. 16th Dr. 
December 2003 (Construction Date: 1926-1927)
Fry Building 
146 E. Washington St.
 April 1987 (Construction Date: 1885)
Gas Works
 401 S. Second Ave.
 July 2000 (Construction Date: circa 1910)
Gates (Neil H.) House
 4602 N. Elsie Ave.
 October 1990 (Construction Date: 1929)
General Electric Supply Warehouse 
435-441 W. Madison St.
 July 2000 (Construction Date: 1930)
George (Mrs. Leonard) House
 6611 N. Central Ave.
 March 2003 (Construction Date: 1929)
Gerardo’s Building
 421 S. Third St.
July 2000 (Construction Date: 1928)

Gibbes (Carter W.) House
 2233 N. Alvarado Road
. April 1987 (Construction Date: 1930)
Good Shepherd Home for Girls
 Near the northeast corner of Northern and 19th avenues
. November 1988 (Construction Date: 1942)
Grace Lutheran Church 
1124 N. Third St.
November 1997 (Construction Date: 1928)
Grant Park
 714 S. Second Ave./701 S. Third Ave. 
November 2007 (Construction Date: 1934)
Greystone Apartments
 645 and 649 N. Fourth Ave.
 September 1986 (Construction Date: circa 1930)
Grier (William & Mary) House
 1942 W. Adams St.
 November 2007 (Construction Date: circa 1901)
Grunow (Lois) Memorial Clinic
 926 E. McDowell Road. 
April 1987 (Construction Date: 1931)
Halm-Howard House
 6850 N. Central Ave.
November 2005 (Construction Date: 1906-1907)
Hanny's 
40 N. First St.
 June 2005 (Construction Date: 1947)
Harmon Park
 1425 S. Fifth Ave.
 October 2007 (Construction Date: 1927)
Heard Museum
 2301 N. Central Ave./22 E. Monte Vista Roa. August 1992 (Construction Date: 1929)
Heard Ranch Grain Silos
 In the vicinity of 30th Street and Vineyard Road
March 1993 (Construction Date: 1930)
Hedgpeth Hills Petroglyph Site
 Approximately ¼ mile north of the intersection of 43rd Avenue and Beardsley Road. 
May 1990 (Period of Significance: AD 700-1050)
Hidden (George) House
 763 E. Moreland St. 
March 1994 (Construction Date: 1896)
Hotel San Carlos
 202 N. Central Ave. 
June 1987 (Construction Date: 1928)
Hotel Westward Ho
 618 N. Central Ave. September 1986 (Construction Date: 1928)
Humbert (William K.) House 
2238 N. Alvarado Road
. April 1987 (Construction Date: 1932)
Immaculate Heart of Mary Church
 909 E. Washington St.
 November 1997 (Construction Date: 1928)
Jacobs (Judge Fred C.) House
 6224 N. Central Ave. 
March 2003 (Construction Date: circa 1928)
Jefferson Hotel
 101 S. Central Ave.
 June 2005 (Construction Date: 1915)
Jones (Harry A.) House
 7215 N. Central Ave.
 November 2005 (Construction Date: circa 1935)
Jones (W.W.) House
 1008 E. Buckeye Road. 
March 1994 (Construction Date: 1879)
Kelly (J.F.) House 44 E. Palm Lane
. August 1992 (Construction Date: 1922)
Kenilworth School
 1210 N. Fifth Ave.
 September 1986 (Construction Date: 1918-1920)
King's Rest Hotel Motor Court 
801 S. 17th Ave.
 October 1990 (Construction Date: 1937)
Knights of Pythias Building
 829 N. First Ave.
 September 1986 (Construction Date: 1928)
Knipe (Leighton G.) House 
1025 N. Second St. 
September 2004 (Construction Date: circa 1909)
Koontz (Kinter K.) House 
7620 N. Seventh St.
 March 2003 (Construction Date: 1929)
Lightning Z Ranch House
 8702 N. Seventh Ave.
 March 1994 (Construction Date: 1904-1908)
Lugo (Luis) Bakery
 415 (417) W. Sherman St./801 S. Fifth Ave.
 November 2007 (Construction Date: 1917)
Luhrs Building 
11 W. Jefferson St. 
January 1990 (Construction Date: 1924)
Luhrs Tower 45 W. Jefferson St.
 January 1990 (Construction Date: 1929)
Maricopa County Courthouse / Phoenix City Hall
125 W. Washington St./17 S. Second Ave. 
April 1989; landmark designation March 2004 (Construction Date: 1928-1929)
Masonic Temple 
345 W. Monroe St. 
October 1996 (Construction Date: 1926)
McClintock (Col. James H.) House 
323 E. Willetta St.
 October 1990 (Construction Date: 1911)
McKinley School 
512 E. Pierce St. 
September 2004 (Construction Date: circa 1919)
Merryman Funeral Home 
817 N. First St. 
November 2005 (Construction Date: 1937)
Monroe School
 215 N. Seventh St.
 May 1987; landmark designation and boundary expansion March 2004 (Construction Date: 1914)
Monterey Ranch Residence 
40 E. Carter Road
. July 1993 (Construction Date: 1927)
Montgomery Homestead 
1721 S. Seventh Ave.
March 1994 (Construction Date: circa 1880)
Morgan (D.B.) House 
8030 N. Central Ave. 
November 2005 (Construction Date: 1927)
Morse-Kelley House 
2141 W. Madison St. October 2002 (Construction Date: circa 1900)
Murphy (William J.) House 
7514 N. Central Ave. / 10 W. Orangewood Ave.
March 1994 (Construction Date: 1895)
Mystery Castle 
800 E. Mineral Road
. May 1990 (Construction Date: 1930-1945)
Neighborhood House
 6029 S. Seventh St. 
May 1990 (Construction Date: 1937)
Nevitt (Guy P.) House 
507 E. Moreland St. 
September 2004 (Construction Date: circa 1919)
Norton (Dr. James C.) House
 2700 N. 15th Ave.
 April 1989 (Construction Date: 1912-1913)
Norton (W.R.) House
 2222 W. Washington St. 
November 2002 (Construction Date: 1895)
Olney-Ellinwood House 
6810 N. Central Ave. 
March 2003 (Construction Date: circa 1912)
Ong Yut Geong Wholesale Market WareHouse
 502 S. Second St.
July 2000 (Construction Date: 1930)
Ong's (Jim) Market 
1110 E. Washington St.
 May 1990 (Construction Date: 1928)
Orpheum Theatre 
209 W. Adams St.
 April 1987; landmark designation March 2004 (Construction Date: 1929)
Osborn (William) House
 1266 W. Pierce St. January 1989 (Construction Date: 1890)
Palmer (E. Payne) House 
6012 N. Central Ave. 
June 1999 (Construction Date: 1929)
Patterson (William H.) Elks Lodge #477
1007 S. Seventh Ave.
June 2005 (Construction Date: 1946)
Peirce (Harry E.) House
 632 N. Third Ave.
 September 1986 (Construction Date: circa 1910)
Pemberton (Sarah H.) House 
1121 N. Second St. 
September 2004 (Construction Date: circa 1920)
Phillips (Lucy) Memorial C.M.E. Church
 1415 E. Adams St.
 June 2005 (Construction Date: 1947)
Phoenix Second Ward L.D.S. Church 
1120 N. Third Ave. / 302 W. Latham St.
 September 1986 (Construction Date: 1929-1932)
Phoenix Elementary School District No. 1 Administration Building 
331 N. First Ave.
October 1996 (Construction Date: 1917)
Phoenix Housing Authority 
1301 S. Third Ave.
October 2007 (Construction Date: 1941)
Phoenix Seed & Feed Company Warehouse 
411 S. Second St. 
March 2004 (Construction Date: circa 1905)
Phoenix Union Station
 401 W. Harrison St.
 December 1986 (Construction Date: 1923)
Pierce (N. Clyde) House
 4505 E. Osborn Road. 
May 1990 (Construction Date: 1927)
Pieri-Elliot House
 767 E. Moreland St.
 June 1997 (Construction Date: 1920-1922)
Pinney (William & Nathalie) House
1938 (1930) W. Adams St.
 November 2007 (Construction Date: circa 1899)
Pratt-Gilbert Building
 200 S. Central Ave. / One W. Madison St. 
October 2001 (Construction Date: 1913)
Professional Building
 137 N. Central Ave. / 15 E. Monroe St.
January 1993 (Construction Date: 1931)
Progressive Builders Association
 2019 E. Broadway Road
. June 2005 (Construction Date: 1953)
Pueblo Revival Residence
 8048 (8050) S. 14th St. 
March 2008 (Construction Date: 1930)
Pueblo Revival Residence
 46 E. Greenway Road
. July 1993 (Construction Date: 1926)
Pugh (Charles) House 
356 N. Second Ave. 
September 2003 (Construction Date: 1897)
Rancho Joaquina House 
4630 E. Cheery Lynn Road. 
April 1987 (Construction Date: 1924)
Rancho Ko-Mat-Ke House
 1346 E. South Mountain Ave.
April 1989 (Construction Date: 1925)
Rehbein Grocery 
1227-1231 Grand Ave.
 November 2005 (Construction Date: circa 1920-1927)
Roberts (Oscar) House 
2004 W. Madison St.
 October 2002 (Construction Date: 1893)
Roosevelt Community Church 
924 N. First St. 
September 2004 (Construction Date: 1925)
Rosson (Dr. Roland L.) House 
115 N. Sixth St. 
Landmark designation March 2004 (Construction Date: 1894-1895)
Sachs-Webster Farmstead
 Located at the southwest corner of 75th Avenue and Baseline Road. 
December 2003 (Construction Date: circa 1909)
Sacred Heart Church 
801 S. 16th St.
 October 2007 (Construction Date: 1954-1956)
St. Mary's Basilica 
231 N. Third St.
 April 1987 (Construction Date: 1903-1913)
Santa Fe Freight Depot
 501 W. Jackson St. 
July 2000 (Construction Date: 1929)
Santa Rita Center
1017 E. Hadley St.
 October 2007 (Construction Date: circa 1962)
Scorpion Gulch 
10225 S. Central Ave. 
October 1990 (Construction Date: 1936)
Seargeant-Oldaker House 
649 N. Third Ave.
September 1986 (Construction Date: 1911)
Security Building 
234 N. Central Ave.
July 1987 (Construction Date: 1927-1928)
Sedler (John) House 
1204 E. Roosevelt St. 
February 2005 (Construction Date: 1912)
Shell Oil Company 
425 S. 16th Ave. 
April 1987 (Construction Date: 1925)
Sierra Vista 
6802 S. 28th St.
March 1993 (Construction Date: 1913)
Sixth Avenue Hotel / Windsor Hotel
546 W. Adams St.
 June 1987 (Construction Date: 1893; remodeled circa 1935)
Skinner (E.W.) House 
917 E. Roosevelt St.
 October 2002 (Construction Date: circa 1899)
Smith (Walter Lee) House
 7202 N. Seventh Ave. 
May 2003 (Construction Date: 1928)
Smurthwaite House 
1317 W. Jefferson St. 
Landmark designation March 2004 (Construction Date: 1897)
Sotelo-Heard Cemetery 
Located southeast of the intersection of 12th Street and Broadway Road. 
October 2007 (Construction Date: circa 1896)
Southwest Cotton Company/Karlson Machine Works 
605 E. Grant St.
June 2005 (Construction Date: circa 1918)
Spanish Colonial Revival Residence 
47 E. Carter Road. 
March 2008 (Construction Date: circa 1927)
Spanish Colonial Revival Residence
 133 E. Carter Road. July 1993 (Construction Date: 1930)
Spanish Colonial Revival Residence
 333 E. Carter Road. July 1993 (Construction Date: 1916)
Spanish Colonial Revival Residence 
1200 W. South Mountain Ave. 
March 2008 (Construction Date: circa 1926)
Spanish Colonial Revival Residence 
6451 S. 28th St. 
March 2008 (Construction Date: circa 1930)
Stag Hotel / Patio Hotel 
27 W. Madison St.
October 2001 (Construction Date: 1931)
Stoddard-Harmon House 
801 N. First Ave.
 September 1986 (Construction Date: circa 1910)
Storage Warehouse (Ice House) 
429 W. Jackson St.
 April 1987 (Construction Date: 1910-1916)
Stoughton (Ralph H.) Estate 
805 W. South Mountain Ave.
 May 1990; boundary adjustment June 2006 (Construction Date: 1930-1931)
Strong (Walter) Residence
 2501 E. Baseline Road. 
March 1993 (Construction Date: 1933)
Stubbs (Courtney and Hilda) House
 1245 E. Ocotillo Road. 
February 2006 (Construction Date: circa 1928)
Sun Mercantile Building 
232 S. Third St. March 1987 (Construction Date: 1929)
Swindall Tourist Inn
 1021 E. Washington St.
 October 1996 (Construction Date: 1913)
Temple Beth Israel/First Chinese Baptist Church 
122 E. Culver St.
June 2006 (Construction Date: 1921-1922)
Title & Trust Building
 112 N. First Ave. / 114 W. Adams St.
May 1987 (Construction Date: 1931)
Tovrea Castle
 5041 E. Van Buren St.
December 1990, landmark designation and boundary expansion March 2004 
(Construction Date: 1928-1931)
Tovrea Land and Cattle Co. Administration Building/Stockyards Restaurant 
5009 E. Washington St. 
March 2004 (Construction Date: 1947; rebuilt 1953-1954)
Tudor Revival Residence
 120 E. Carter Road
July 1993 (Construction Date: 1936)
Tudor Revival Residence 
106 E. Greenway Road
. July 1993 (Construction Date: 1931)
Tudor Revival Residence 
1600 W. Colter St. 
March 2003 (Construction Date: circa 1925)
Tweed (Judge Charles A.) House 
1611 W. Fillmore St. 
September 1988 (Construction Date: circa 1880)
U.S. Post Office / Federal Building
 522 N. Central Ave.
October 1990 (Construction Date: 1932-1936)
University Park Bath House 
Located within University Park between 10th and 12th avenues, Van Buren and Polk streets
April 1989 (Construction Date: 1934)
Vernacular Farm Residence 
2956 E. Southern Ave. 
August 1992 (Construction Date: 1915)
Vernacular Residence
 818 S. First Ave.
 October 2002 (Construction Date: circa 1885)
Wakelin (E.S.) Grocery Company Warehouse
 440 W. Jackson St.
 July 2000 (Construction Date: 1913)
Walker (J.W.) Building / Central Arizona Light & Power Company 
300 W. Washington St. / 30 N. Third Ave.
October 1996 (Construction Date: 1920)
Washington (Booker T.) School
 1201 E. Jefferson St.
 June 2005 (Construction Date: 1928)
Wastewater Treatment Plant Control Building 
2301 W. Durango St.
 October 1992 (Construction Date: 1931)
Webster Auditorium 
Located within Papago Park
October 1989 (Construction Date: 1939)
Western Wholesale Drug Company Warehouse 
101 E. Jackson St.
 July 1987 (Construction Date: 1925)
Whitney (J.T.) Funeral Chapel
 330 N. Second Ave.
 April 1987 (Construction Date: 1926)
Whittier (John G.) School 
2000 N. 16th St. 
March 2005 (Construction Date: 1929)
Wormley (Dr. Lowell) House
 1910 E. Broadway Road
. June 2005 (Construction Date: 1949)
Wrigley (William Jr.) Mansion 
2501 E. Telawa Trail
. May 1990 (Construction Date: 1930)

The middle of nowhere, Phoenix, Arizona


I collect old photos of Phoenix, and most them on the web, and I often get comments about how nice Phoenix was before it was developed. Or before the sprawl. When most of it looked as if it were in "the middle of nowhere". I like those old photos, and I also like going to the middle of nowhere as often as I can, in real life.

I've always been an explorer. And when I get back from my explorations, people often ask where I went. It started when I was a little kid in my grandma's neighborhood. I would go out and walk for hours. When I got back the grownups wanted to know what I had seen. I could have said, "rocks and weeds" but grownups don't like to hear that. They need more structure than that. So I would say that I went to the tennis courts, or down by the railroad tracks. Grownups like that.

I never became a grownup I guess. I still like to look at rocks and weeds. For many years of my life my excuse was that I was an artist, and I used to always take a sketchpad with me. Grownups love that. Nowadays I have my camera, which comes along with me when I take my phone, but I rarely use it. When I do, I know that it pleases the grownups.

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When I've come back from places I've had well-meaning friends ask "why would you go where there's nothing?" But I like to go where there's no Starbucks, no Big Game to watch, no trails to follow, nothing. For me, I'd put a sign that said "scenic overview" in just about the most "nowhere" places that you can imagine.

I love living in Phoenix, and there's a lot of the "middle of nowhere" there, and there always has been. It's true everywhere. There's a lot of the middle of nowhere in Los Angeles, too. But grownups can't seem to find these places. They're looking at freeways, and parking lots, and stadiums, and Starbucks.

I understand. If everyone went out to the middle of nowhere, it wouldn't be the middle of nowhere anymore. And that does happen. One day an area is out in the middle of nowhere, the next day there are parking meters because the traffic is so congested. So people like me keep moving. I'll always be exploring in the middle of nowhere. If you ask me where I'm going, I'll say "right back here". This isn't about a destination, this is about adventuring.

Image at the top of this post: South Mountain when it was the middle of nowhere.