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!

Phoenix, Arizona as seen through the eyes of Edward Irvine in 1870


Time-travel with me to Phoenix, Arizona in 1870. Today I will be Edward Irvine, who made his fortune in Real Estate in Phoenix.

I'm thirty-two years old, I was born in Ireland in 1838, and my family came to America in 1842. I've been kicking around for a while, in places like San Diego, California, but now I'm in Arizona, watching the townsite of Phoenix being laid out. I believe that I will stay here, and seek my fortune.


Here comes William Hancock, walking around the townsite, writing down block numbers. What a mess this area is, which until very recently was a mass of tangled mesquite. People like Jack Swilling are a few miles east, in the Phoenix Settlement, but Hancock figures that this is a better place for the townsite. He seems to know what he's talking about, and certainly drinks less whiskey than Swilling.

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It's October and it's still pretty hot. Hotter than any day that I remember in San Diego! But it should be pretty nice in a month or so. And in the summer I'll wander on back to California until it cools down again. I'll visit some friends there, come back in the fall.


OK, now it's time for me to invest. I want the block next to the Plaza, Block 22. I'll build a substantial building on that block as soon as I can, show people how much I believe in the future of Phoenix, and that they should, too. Someday Phoenix will be a great city, I just know it!

Irvine's Block in 1885, southwest corner of Washington and 1st Street, Phoenix, Arizona.

Image at the top of this post: Edward Irvine in 1890, age 52. A successful and prominent Phoenix businessman.