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!

Why Phoenix relies on Los Angeles


I love Phoenix, but I often jokingly refer to it as a "suburb of Los Angeles", or as part of the greater Los Angeles metro area (with that small gap in the California desert!). And Phoenix does rely on Los Angeles, the way that it relied on San Francisco in the 1800s. So, at the risk of offending people who think that Phoenix could survive without Los Angeles, let's take a look.

Los Angeles connects Phoenix to the world mostly through the Port of San Pedro and Los Angeles International Airport. If you've seen these places, the gigantic scale is something that dwarfs most cities in the world, including Phoenix. Yes, there are other, busier places on an international scale, such as Tokyo, which makes Los Angeles seem small and "backwater" by comparison.

When Phoenix was first platted, in 1870, there were no railroads to it, and Los Angeles was still just a little town. Everything of major importance had to come from the port of San Francisco, via the Gulf of California, and then up along the Gila River. Take a look at a map, it's mind-boggling, but that's how it was done. After the railroads were built, and Los Angeles grew, it made more sense for goods to be shipped to Phoenix from there. So the lifeline changed from San Francisco to Los Angeles. And that connects Phoenix to the world, literally.

I lived in LA in the eighties, and have driven back and forth between there and Phoenix so many times I've lost count. And if you've never noticed, look more carefully the next time you drive there, you will see a LOT of trucks. Also trains, and airplanes overhead. That's the lifeline.

Today, the day after the Dodgers win to go the World Series, I was wearing my Dodgers hat in Phoenix, and even posted a selfie on my Facebook page. And I was surprised to see that many people in Phoenix see no connection to Los Angeles. And that makes me kinda sad, because Phoenix would never have existed without California, San Francisco at first and later Los Angeles. This more than just a historical connection, this is something that Phoenix relies on, and keeps it strong, to this day.

Thanks, Big Brother Los Angeles! Go Dodgers!


Image at the top of this post: Los Angeles to Phoenix in a Ford Roadster in 1912.