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

Why you couldn't get a beer in Glendale, Arizona until 1933


If you're a history buff, you know that intoxicating beverages, including beer, became illegal for a while in the United States. It spanned from 1920 to 1933. In Glendale, Arizona, it started much earlier than that, because it was established as a temperance colony.

1890s ad for the Temperance Colony of Glendale, Arizona Territory.

A temperance colony is a term used for a community where liquor was not sold. And when Glendale, Arizona began, it was dry. That is, it was established with the assurance that intoxicating beverages would be illegal. That would be soon after the Arizona Canal was finished, in 1885. The Arizona Canal, by the way, is just north of where I'm writing this right now, in Glendale, Arizona. And rest assured that you can buy liquor there. I bought a can of Dox Equis beer at the Circle K this afternoon. It's perfectly legal now, and has been, even here in Glendale, since the national repeal of Prohibition in 1933.

Nowadays I don't see many references to Glendale as a dry town. Glendale was established by William Murphy (who was involved with building the Arizona Canal), and it was his idea that it would be a temperate community. If the name sounds familiar, you may have been to Murphy Park in downtown Glendale, or you may have ridden your horse along the Murphy Bridal Trail on Central Avenue. Yep, that's the guy. Murphy died in 1923, so he never got to see his Glendale become a place that wasn't dry, and I have no idea how he actually felt about the legality of intoxicating beverages.

By the way, if you've been following me here, you should now understand the joke of the pic at the top of this post from 1915 - "Who said Glendale was dry" during some serious street flooding. They meant that while the streets flooded, you still couldn't get a drink.

Memories are short. But I still imagine the old-timers being outraged when they saw people openly drinking intoxicating beverages, including beer, in Glendale. Or they may have been pleased to be able to enjoy a beer with their burger, I don't know.

Thanks for having a beer with me in Glendale!

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