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!

A fascination with the ordinary places and people in the history of Phoenix, Arizona


I collect old photos of Phoenix, and share them on the web. My collection is digital, which means that there's no paper, and that I can store an unlimited amount of them. And I mean that, I have a website and I literally have unlimited storage space, which is included with what I pay every year for hosting the site.

And that's good, because I have an unlimited interest in the places and people of Phoenix. I place no restrictions. And that seems to puzzle some people, who are used to only seeing places that are important because of their association with rich and famous people. But I disagree, and I'll try to explain here.

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Maybe it's because everything can't be covered in school, or maybe it's because everything can't be reported on in newspapers, that people learn that the ordinary places and people don't matter. After all, what class curriculum could literally include everything that ever happened in the history of Phoenix? That would be a long class, and probably very boring. And no newspaper is going to report that a "Glendale man forgot to feed his dog first thing this morning, and then remembered to after breakfast". That would be me, an ordinary person. Who would read a newspaper like that? Well, maybe I would.

Relaxing at the Arizona Motel in the 1940s.

Yes, I have photos of the Biltmore, and Marilyn Monroe, and famous politicians in the history of Phoenix. But I also have images of ordinary places, like the Arizona Motel which I just found. It was an ordinary place, not the Biltmore. I described it as being "never all that luxurious, it was just a basic place to stay" and I think it upset a few people, who assumed from that that I was saying that it wasn't important. But they aren't seeing what I'm seeing. It was a place where traveling salesmen stayed, and ordinary families on vacation, and people who were just a few steps from the law, and downright criminals, and prostitutes. All part of the history of Phoenix.

My fascination with ordinary places and people in Phoenix doesn't mean that I'm not interested in the rich and famous. I'm interested in it all. And that's the point. These things make up the story of Phoenix which I'm enjoying learning, and they all matter to me.

Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to sit here in the sunshine by the Arizona Motel and relax.


Image at the top of this post: The Arizona Motel in the 1940s, 2625 E. Van Buren, Phoenix, Arizona.