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

Exploring the third category of Arizona history

My experience has been that there are two categories of Arizona history 1) Boring stories that require you to memorize dates, and learn about famous people 2) Nonsense stuff that's made up just to be funny. And neither one of these things really interests me. I'm interested in the third type, and that's what I explore here. Please let me explain.

I'm interested in the ordinary day-to-day life of people who lived in Phoenix. I really don't care if they were rich or famous (although I wouldn't hold that against them). I want to know what it felt like to live in Phoenix before the invention of air conditioning, what it was like to see the valley's population explode after War War II, to sit beside a canal when there were thousands of trees lining it, instead of just concrete.

So if you hand me a history book, or hand me a goofy book of "Arizona Tall Tales", I'll hand it back to you, politely. No thank you. I've read the history books, and the goofy books. And I had enough of them a long time ago.

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My exploration of the third category puzzles a lot of people. Many ask me if someone that I just wrote about was rich, or famous. Probably not. But they lived in Phoenix, they may have ridden the trolleys, they may have seen the Heard Building being built. And so there's a foundation in fact in what I'm searching. I have no interest in nonsense goofy stuff that is mostly a joke book. Don't get me wrong, I like joke books, but it doesn't replace my genuine interest in Phoenix history.

So that's my journey, and there's so much more to see, and learn. I've enjoyed learning about George Loring, Jack Swilling, Hattie Mosher, Judge Ruppert, Ichabod the tree, to name a few of my favorites. And each time I discover something, I discover something new. This isn't a process of digging, this is a process of unfolding. And each time I unfold one piece of Phoenix history, a thousand more pieces begin to show.

If that makes sense to you, I'm glad. If not, please stay with me, and hopefully it will. Like any journey, it's best shared. I'm glad you're here.

Image at the top of this post: A group standing on a footbridge over the Arizona Canal in 1902, Phoenix, Arizona. Camelback Mountain is in the background. I imagine that I'm the tough guy on the right, posing confidently.