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

Visiting the Sahuaro Ranch in August, Glendale, Arizona


It's the middle of August, with temperatures well above 100, and high humidity, so let's go visit the Sahuaro Ranch (yes, it's misspelled that way). At least it won't be crowded!

The Sahuaro Ranch is a magical place, which goes back to the 1880s, not far from where I live, in Glendale, Arizona. It's one of those places that you drive past a million times, and never even know it was there, even though it's huge, occupying the space between 59th and 63rd Avenues and just south of the Glendale Main Library, which is on Brown, south of Peoria Avenue, down to Glendale Community College, which is on Olive. I've been there more times than I can count, and I love it there. You have to get out of your car.

Palm trees at the Sahuaro Ranch, Glendale, Arizona.
Although you really can't tell by the pics, it was really miserable out there today, with the high humidity of the monsoon season, and the temperatures over 100 degrees. I traveled from shade spot to shade spot, and the trees, even the palms, made a big difference. Contrary to popular belief, the weather was just as hot and miserable in the 1880s as it is now - that hasn't changed. What has changed, of course is that we now have air conditioning, and no one in their right mind would go out in the midday sun.

I was there for about an hour, and saw a total of five people. One person, who worked there, was operating the irrigation, one person walked by, looking very miserable, and asked if I had a cigarette, and I saw an elderly woman walk past me (as I was sitting in the shade taking the above photo), and a couple more people who seemed to be walking across the park towards the library. Come to think of it, I saw some kids on the patio of the Foreman's House.

Terratrike at Sahuaro Ranch Park, Glendale, Arizona.

Anyway, I rode over there on my "lawn chair on wheels", my recumbent trike, which is wonderful for this kind of thing. It's definitely a lot less effort than walking, and unlike a two-wheeler, it can go as slowly as I want (I brake for peacocks!) and don't need to keep moving forward in order not to tip over (a disadvantage of a two-wheeler).

I packed a lunch, and found a nice shady spot. Even then I really can't recommend doing this kind of thing in August! Better to wait for the nicer weather, which is from October to April. Open to the public, no admission.

I like the ranch, even when it's hot and humid.

The barnyard area of the Sahuaro Ranch, Glendale, Arizona.


If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider subscribing to history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a subscriber, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily. The basic tier is a dollar a month, and the PhD tier, which includes "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos, is five dollars a month, and is discounted for seniors, veterans, and students.

How the Phoenix desert was transformed by cash crops


I was watching a documentary yesterday about how forests in Borneo are being cleared away to make way for "cash crops", with the disastrous effects on wildlife, the environment, and ultimately people, who suffer from flooding caused by the land eroding away, because of the lack of forests. And I saw a rescue of an orangutan and her baby, who had been trapped in an area that was too small for them, surrounded by row after row of "cash crop" plants, acre after acre. And since I'm interesting Phoenix history, I started thinking about the transition of the desert here in the Salt River Valley into "cash crops".

Most of the older people that I know remember the endless rows of citrus trees, or cotton that stretched on for miles and miles in the Phoenix area. And of course none of these people are old enough to remember what the area was like before it was converted to cash crops. It's as if Phoenix had always been that way. And it strikes me as how people may remember Borneo generations in the future, just row after row of cash crops, with no memory of the forest. Once something fades out of memory, it's as if it never existed, and the forests and orangutans will be forgotten.

If you're saying, well, the Phoenix are was just a desert anyway, I understand. And personally I like the transformation that people made here in the valley, starting in 1868, with the first canal dug by the Swilling Company. Water from irrigation brought in not only cash crops, but trees for shade, and I like trees. Come to think of it, I like oranges, too. I'm just saying that the Phoenix area wasn't always like that, it was once virgin desert.

The Saguaro National Park, near Tucson, Arizona. In my mind's eye I can see this as the foothills of Camelback Mountain, before everything was cleared away, and forgotten.

You don't need a time machine to see what Phoenix was like before just about every trace of what the area had looked like was cleared away. I recommend visiting the Saguaro National Park, which is near Tucson. I'd never seen anything like that until just a couple of years ago, and to me it was breathtaking. I had never seen so many saguaros, and of course everything else that the Phoenix area had before the desert was erased for agriculture. The Tucson area is a little bit lusher than the Salt River Valley, but that protected area is as close as I've seen to what the desert looked like in the Phoenix area before 1868. No one really knows, but it sure wasn't row after row of "cash crops".

Now don't get me wrong, I like living in Phoenix, with water, food, and air conditioning. If where I am right now looked exactly like it did before the pioneers of Phoenix started clearing away the desert, I'd be out in the blazing sun, with maybe a saguaro for shade. But in my imagination I like to picture it. And while it's gone from modern memory, you can still see it, in photos, and in real life, before the age of cash crops.

Image at the top of this post: the foothills of Camelback Mountain in the 1950s. Not a trace of the desert remained, just row after row of cash crops.

If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider subscribing to history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a subscriber, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily. The basic tier is a dollar a month, and the PhD tier, which includes "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos, is five dollars a month, and is discounted for seniors, veterans, and students.

Preparing for a day of history adventuring IRL (In Real Life) - Bush's Crossing at the Parker Cut-Off in 1918


Although most of the history adventuring I do just in my imagination, and in cyberspace, sometimes I actually get a chance to get out there on the Arizona highways IRL (In Real Life). This Friday I will be exploring the road between Phoenix and Parker, Arizona, at what was the best way to cross the Colorado River in an automobile in 1918, at Bush's Crossing at the Parker Cut-Off.

Like all of my IRL history adventures, this started with something that I discovered which fascinated me, not the usual "historical" stuff. It's about everything that I'm interested in when it comes to history, what ordinary people did. In this instance, how did they drive from Phoenix to Los Angeles, considering that there's a fairly large river that needed to be crossed? Yes, I know that the railroads had done it for decades before that, but you can't drive a motorcar over a railroad bridge! At least you shouldn't. And by 1918, there were a LOT of cars that wanted to cross that river between Phoenix and LA.

1918 ad for Bush's Crossing at Parker, Arizona

Nowadays, of course, we don't give a thought to crossing the Colorado River. I've driven back and forth between LA and Phoenix more times than I can count, and I know that the crossing is at Blythe. That bridge has been there since 1928, but in 1918 the best place to cross was up near Parker, at Bush's Crossing. I'd like to find out more about Bush's Crossing, but right now all I have is an ad and a map that I found in an old newspaper at the Library of Congress. I'm sure I'll find out more, and I'll let you know, of course!

I make a better sight-seer than driver nowadays, so I'm going with a friend who just loves to drive. I'll be mapping out the way, and making suggestions for stops along the wayside, including GPS coordinates, and I'll provide the sandwiches. I always pack a delicious and nutritious lunch when I'm history adventuring IRL, because I don't want to worry about getting hungry. Yes, I know that there will be places to buy food, we're not wandering out into the middle of the desert, but I'd just rather not have to worry about it.

We'll be taking the old route from Phoenix to California, up around Wickenburg. But we won't be going to Blythe, we'll be going to Parker, which is called the Parker Cut-Off in the ad. That means heading northwest after we leave Salome (I've never been there, and I want to confirm how locals pronounce it), then through Vicksburg, Bouse, and on up to Parker. Of course there's a bridge there, and there has been since 1937, but there wasn't one in 1918, just a ferry that took automobiles across. So it's not as if we're going to see Bush's Ferry, we'll just be where it was. There may be an historical marker there, or it may have been forgotten about.

I'm looking forward to history adventuring IRL!

Image at the top of this post: the map to and from Bush's Crossing in 1916. I turned it sideways so it would make more sense to me. I like north to be up!

If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider subscribing to history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a subscriber, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily. The basic tier is a dollar a month, and the PhD tier, which includes "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos, is five dollars a month, and is discounted for seniors, veterans, and students.

Making history adventuring my life's work


After my accident fifteen years ago which left me disabled, I floundered on what I should do. I made attempts to go back to work, which were disastrous, and while they weren't fatal to me, looking back now I'm wondering why they weren't? And since I've been a graphic design teacher, I turned to my computer and tried a lot of things, mostly as a way to try to keep my mind sharp while my body healed, as best it could. And that's when I discovered history adventuring, about seven years ago.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that there are a lot of posts, over 900 at last count. And that's because while I enjoy collecting old photos of Phoenix, I wanted to do more than just that - I wanted to step into them. Some of my earliest posts were simply walking around old-time Phoenix, which at the time I was often unable to do physically, which was frustrating to say the least. And it was a wonderful fantasy, just walking and looking at stuff, diving into the old photos. I still enjoy it a lot, and I continue to write in the blog, and have been history adventuring IRL (In Real Life) with friends who drive, and are willing to accommodate me. I can walk, but not well enough to hike, and it's looking as if I will never be able to that again in this life. In my imagination I can, and I can do it anywhere, and everywhere, I like. And to my delight I found that there were people who wanted to walk along with me.

Anyway, while I'm old enough now for a "senior discount", I'm not ready to sit around waiting for the end, which looks like is very far in my future. So I've decided that history adventuring will be my life's work. I set up a Patreon account, which allows people to subscribe, at a basic level for a dollar a month, and at what I call the PhD (Phoenix History Detective) level for five dollars a month, with a discount for seniors, veterans, and students. And my goal is to just keep doing what I'm doing. I have no interest in becoming rich and famous, but I do want to continue history adventuring. I really like the idea of Patreon, which I began thinking of as a donation site, but I'm now thinking of as a subscription - a really inexpensive subscription! And since it's my life's work now, I'm working hard on it, making sure that there's something every day, either a history adventuring blog post, or a cool photo, some of which I call "super high definition", which I create a link to, and are so huge that you really do feel as if you were walking down the street in old Phoenix.

So I will make history adventuring my life's work. And with a long life, and your help, it'll be wonderful. Thank you for walking with me.

If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider subscribing to history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a subscriber, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily. The basic tier is a dollar a month, and the PhD tier, which includes "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos, is five dollars a month, and is discounted for seniors, veterans, and students.

Living with trees in old-time Phoenix


The more I learn about old-time Phoenix, the more I realize that the trees have been gone much longer than I had thought. Originally I kinda thought the 1980s, or the 1970s, but it looks like the end of Phoenix as a city of trees started much longer ago than that.

Even the "old-timers" (wise and venerable ones if you prefer) that I know don't remember the way Phoenix once had trees. The best that they can do is remember the trees along the canals, and along the roads, and the orange groves. And some of them lived with trees, and have fond memories of climbing on them, going back to the 1950s, and even a few decades before that. But none of them are old enough to remember Phoenix before air conditioning, or swamp cooling. And that was the time that Phoenix was a forest of trees, not just here and there, but everywhere.

In my imagination I try to picture what Phoenix was like when every house had several trees. Yeah, I like air conditioning, but before that the shade of trees is what people had, from the 1870s on. The trees weren't just along canals, roads, and farms, people lived with them. They were everywhere.

Time-travel with me. Right after the Civil War ended, the Swilling Company dug a small canal and established a settlement, sometimes called Pumpkinville, but most often the Phoenix Settlement. It was along a canal that started on the north bank of the Salt River, across from where Tempe is now, and flowed northwest towards where Van Buren and 32nd Street is now. And they knew that all the land needed was water, that it was very fertile from thousands of years of flooding, and receding, water, just like the Fertile Crescent of the Nile. So they planted things, including trees. Well, can you blame them? It was hot, and they liked the shade as much as we do now!

As the city grew, and new canals were created, water flowed freely all over the valley. And trees were a cheap way to cool down the places where people, and animals, lived. They were simply planted small, and grew big with water. It must have been amazing to see the sun-scorched land became an oasis of trees in just a few years. You could walk in neighborhoods and never be away from shade. All of the houses had trees (well, they didn't have air conditioning!). It just made sense.

But with the invention of air cooling, in the 1920s, and the improvements of air conditioning, after the 1940s, the trees really went away. It took a while, and the old timers (wise and venerable ones) saw the end of them. By the time I got to Phoenix, in 1977, they were mostly gone, and nowadays many people wonder if you can actually grow trees in the Phoenix area.

I like trees, and I'd love to see them return to the city I love. And not just in public places, just planted by the government, but everywhere, cared for by the people who live with them.

Image at the top of this post: The Gardiner's Hotel in 1872, northwest corner of Washington and 3rd Street, Phoenix, Arizona. Behind the trees.

If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider subscribing to history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a subscriber, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.

Living in a small town in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area


I've never really lived in a small town, but I like the idea. So when I lived in Los Angeles, in my twenties, I made it into a small town for me. Whenever possible I did the kind of things that people would do in a small town, like buying a lemonade from some kids who were selling it in front of their house. I also went to garage sales, not because I really needed anything, but because it was a way to make the kind of personal contact with people that's normal in small towns, and unusual in a big city. When I moved back to Phoenix I continued to do that.

Yesterday I stopped at a garage sale and spent a dollar. And this is the important part - you gotta spend some money. It doesn't have to be a lot, but if you just walk up and talk to people who are at garage sales they're gonna consider you a total waste of time if you walk away empty-handed. So I spend a dollar. In the eighties I would spend a quarter, but inflation has changed that amount. I won't leave a garage sale without paying for the privilege. And that privilege is the wonderful feeling of seeing that even in big cities people are all the same. And I've gotten wonderful comfort from that, at a value well beyond the dollar I've spent.

The garage sale that I stopped at yesterday was "Grandpa's Mystery Treasures" - at least that was what was written on the trailer that always sat there in the driveway, which I've gone past many times. I do have items in mind that I tell people that I'm looking for, and might actually buy for more than a dollar, which includes: weight training equipment (like dumbbells), and interesting stuff for the garden. But I don't really need those, I need to continue to live in a small town.

Of course people think I need stuff, so I'm encouraged to look around. I was pointed towards shot glasses, which were interesting to look at, and other things, but I really didn't see anything that caught my eye. "Grandpa" was disabled, and he got up to show me stuff (I was the only person there) and it was at that point that I knew I had to make up my mind pretty quickly and buy something. When he went and sat down again, I simply got a dollar out and gave it to him, saying that I wasn't going to leave until I'd spent it. At that point he steered me away from the more expensive stuff, and finally decided that I probably needed a Coca-Cola glass, which I asked him to pick out, and I took. Whether it's a valuable antique, or not even worth a dollar, I have no idea. I do like the glass, which is a bonus, but that was never the point.

I know that people are afraid, and feel vulnerable in big cities. Most of my neighbors here in this nice little suburban area never leave the house except inside of a vehicle with tinted windows and locked doors. The houses all have block walls and garages, and I understand that this comforting security makes people feel even more afraid of stranger danger, because everyone around them remains a stranger. And yes, there are a lot of bad people out there, but I'm not one of them. When I stop at garage sales, I introduce myself whenever possible, I tell them that I live a couple of blocks away. I keep my eyes on the stuff in the driveway, I don't look at the house, as it may seem as if I were "casing the joint" (which is what burgers do to figure out the layout of a house in order to break in).

The man that I wanted to grow up to be was not going to be an "old fool". I didn't want to peek through my curtains and become angry if the cars were parked the wrong way on the street, or if people hadn't put away their trash cans at the right time. I would become an adult that took care of my little part of the world, who understood the basics of civil law, who could talk to the District Attorney if necessary. I'm still working on becoming that man, and it will include spending a dollar at a garage sale.

I like living in a small town, and Phoenix is just fine for me.

If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider subscribing to history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a subscriber, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.

The trees of Phoenix, from 1870 to the future


I enjoy collecting old photos of Phoenix, and was very surprised to see how many trees it used to have. In some of the old photos, Phoenix is a veritable forest!

But my attitude isn't sadness, it's hopefulness. I don't wish that things could "just go back to the way they were" as that is too hopeless for someone like me. And I realize that my vision seems impossible, which is for Phoenix to be a city of trees again.

Looking north on Central Avenue at Monroe in 1919, at the forest of trees of Phoenix, Arizona.

I post photos of old-time Phoenix on the internet, and I notice that even the most, uh, mature people can't possibly be old enough to remember when Phoenix was a city of trees. The best I've seen is people who remember the big cottonwoods along the canals, or the rows of citrus trees. And I really can't blame them, they're just too young!

My vision isn't just a row of trees along a canal, or along a road. I'm seeing a whole city of trees. And since Phoenix is mostly homes, I see those trees planted in every plot of land possible, not just public places. I see a Phoenix the way it was in territorial times when every house had so many trees around it you could hardly see the house.

I've been asking people to plant a tree, and care for it. And somehow so many people miss the point, and just go write a letter to some government official. Or they get into an argument as to what tree should, or shouldn't be planted. I've even heard people scoff at "parking lot trees" like acacia, or palo verdes. And in the meantime I've seen the city I love sit under the burning sun with precious few trees.

So I'll try again: please consider planting a tree, and caring for it. This is the desert, just putting a tree in the ground and not caring for it won't work. And yes, any tree - big shade trees, small desert trees, palm trees, anything. If you don't know where to start, I'd suggest where I started, by learning about xeriscape at places like the Glendale Main Library. Or I suppose nowadays you could just Google "xeriscape".

Yes, I know that I'm being unreasonably optimistic, but that's what the people who founded Phoenix were. They imagined an oasis in the desert, a place that was inviting to people, and animals, and it included trees.

Image at the top of this post: The Evans House in 1904, 11th Avenue and Washington, Phoenix, Arizona, surrounded by trees.

If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider subscribing to history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a subscriber, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.

Crossing the Colorado River from California to Arizona in an automobile in 1918


It's 1918, and we have ourselves a wonderful automobile, or motorcar, as I prefer to call it. My pappy still insists on calling it a "horseless carriage", but he needs to get with the times!

We're driving east in the California desert with Phoenix, Arizona as our destination. We're moving right along, we must be averaging over twenty miles an hour! We'll be at the river soon. And yes, I know that the only bridges across the Colorado River are for trains, but I have a plan. We're going to cross at at the Parker Cut-Off.

All right, I see the river ahead of me. We're looking for something called "Bush's Ferry", but it shouldn't be too hard to find. And Parker is just across the river, in Arizona.

OK, we're across. No waiting! They take three cars across at a time! Now we're in Parker. Look! There's the Parker Cut-Off Hotel. I don't know about you, but I could use a cool room and a bath. And the Parker Cut-Off Garage is right nearby so we can get some fresh tires and whatever else old Isabelle needs.

Good morning! And it's a beautiful morning to be in Arizona, so let's get going. We're going to pass through Denny, Linskey, and Bouse. Wow, Bouse is really booming! Maybe I should suggest to my dad that he invest there. Almost to Utting, next stop Vicksburg, and then Salome. Yes, where she danced, like in the Bible!

I think you should drive for a while. There's Wenden, Cullens Well, and Aguila. We're almost to Wickenburg! We need to stop there and see if we can pick up some chunks of gold in the street, that's what I've heard. Although I've also heard that if you drink from the Hassaympa River you'll never tell the truth again. Doesn't worry me!

Some wide open spaces! We're going through Marinette, and I see a lot of cotton growing there, must be the Goodyear company. Peoria, Glendale, Alhambra, and we're almost to Phoenix, we'll be there in just a few minutes! I'm sure that we can buy new tires there.

Thank you for riding along with me!

Automobile route from the Colorado River to Phoenix, Arizona in 1916

If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider subscribing to history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a subscriber, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily. The basic tier is a dollar a month, and the PhD tier, which includes "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos, is five dollars a month, and is discounted for seniors, veterans, and students.

Going to the dentist in old-time Phoenix


Hand me that bottle, will ya? My tooth is aching something fierce this morning. I hardly slept a wink last night.

What? No thank you, I'd rather not have you pull the tooth, although I appreciate your offer. Yes, I know you're the village blacksmith, and it would be over in a minute, but thank you kindly all the same. I'm thinking about going to the dentist. Yes, the dentist. Dentist - that's a doctor who specializes in teeth. Phoenix is getting more and more civilized all of the time. This isn't the dark ages, you know, this is 1892, almost the twentieth century!

I never used to have problems with my teeth, I must be getting old. Yes, I'm already seventeen. I guess this kind of thing happens in your old age. Here's your empty whiskey bottle back. I believe that I'll just sit here for a spell. No, I don't mind the smell, I've been around horses all of my life! I'm just going to close my eyes for a while, will you see if you can find a city directory? I expect they have one at the hotel.

Thank you! Hand me that directory, will you? Yes, I can read, at least a little. I think this word is "dentist", and besides there's that picture of some teeth. Where is it? I'm pretty sure it's across from the Commercial Hotel, in the Young Building. I've walked past it several times and I've seen people holding their jaws and moaning. That must be the place!

Here we are, and here's Dr. Hardy. Hello, doc! Will you take a look at my choppers? They's a-hurting mighty bad. Now, I don't have a lot of money, do you charge a lot? Well, that sounds reasonable. What? Eastern prices, that's great. So you're from Baltimore! What? The Baltimore College of Dental Surgery? Sounds good, it sure beats having my friend pull my tooth with his blacksmith tools!

This is so civilized, Phoenix is getting better all of the time. My breath? Well of course I've been self-medicating! This is 1892!

The Commercial Hotel was located on the northeast corner of Central and Washington, and was in Phoenix, as the Luhrs Hotel, until the 1970s.

If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider subscribing to history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a subscriber, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily. The basic tier is a dollar a month, and the PhD tier, which includes "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos, is five dollars a month, and is discounted for seniors, veterans, and students.

What Phoenix, Arizona was like as a small town


I collect old photos of Phoenix, and share them on the internet, and quite often I see comments about how nice it would be if Phoenix were still a small town. And I will often see comments like "a simpler time". And I agree that small towns can be nice, but as I write this, there are still plenty of small towns that can provide that "simpler time".

When I can, I like exploring these small towns with some of my history adventuring friends IRL (In Real Life) and there are plenty of them. And, at the risk of sounding as if I'm poking fun at people who want to see Phoenix "in simpler times", there are plenty of places right nearby that didn't grow all that much in the last 100 years, and you can see them anytime you want. You can even live in them, some people do.

If you want to see what Phoenix looked like as a small town, I invite you to visit any small town. Here in Arizona, there are still a lot of places where the "sidewalks are rolled up at sunset", and where you can walk to the only grocery store in town. In my travels I've usually found that no matter how small the town, there are plenty of places to get a drink, as was very true in territorial times in Phoenix. No need to go thirsty!

I've never really lived in a small town, and the closest thing I know about life there is from where my grandma lived, in northern Minnesota, where the town was so small (and still is!) that you felt as if you had to change the number on the population sign when you left. It's a place that doesn't require a map to get around, and there's just one main street, which people just refer to as the main street, no matter what it's official name is. As a kid I spent a lot of time in that town, and since the population was about 500 (at the most!) you'd run into the same people over and over again. And as I study old-time Phoenix I see the same thing, families socializing, young people marrying into local families, and making the small town seem even smaller. Of course, if you have a falling out with someone, a small town can feel very small, and you really do have to "deal with it" if you're unhappy about the prices at the only grocery store in town.

Small towns, of course, are very gossipy, and it can be difficult to protect your privacy, as most people will recognize your car, and see if it's not parked, uh, where it should be. Presumably people in old-time Phoenix could recognize someone's horse the same way. Or they could see if you were walking over to Melinda's Alley, which was the "Red Light District" going back to the 1890s, and was just a half-block from "Millionaire's Row", where the mansions were, such as the Rosson House. Speaking for myself, I probably would have wandered down Melinda's Alley, and if people gossiped, I wouldn't give it much thought. I've walked down many alleys in my day, and it probably has puzzled people, if they were wondering why I was there, and where I was going.

The last time I visited my grandmother, in 1995, I went to church with her, and she introduced me to some people there. A couple of days later, as I was walking around the little town, I stopped in for a cold one at a local tavern, and someone shouted "Brad!", and of course it was someone from the church congregation who was happy to see me. I had been living in Phoenix at the time, and right before that in Los Angeles, and I gotta admit it seemed weird to walk into a place and hear my name. But that's a small town. And you really don't have to have a time-machine to understand how Phoenix was in territorial times, just visit any small town.

Image at the top of this post: Phoenix, Arizona in the 1890s. You're looking west on Washington towards 2nd Street. Looks like there was a bicycle race going on! Let's watch!

If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider subscribing to history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a subscriber, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.


What "but it's a dry heat!" of Phoenix, Arizona means


In a longish life, I've met a lot of people who are comfortable in wildly different temperature extremes. Speaking for myself, I like it hot. I keep the thermostat in my house fairly high, and I've happily played golf in the summer in Phoenix (the green fees are way cheap then!). I've also known people who preferred cold, who liked to sleep with the window open, even when it was snowing outside (I grew up in Minnesota). But one thing that I find everyone agrees on is that heat combined with high humidity is awful. No one likes that. If you've experienced it, you know.

I experienced 18 years of high-humidity summers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I really hated it. If you're not familiar with the four seasons of Minnesota, yes it gets terribly cold in the winter, and it can also get up into the eighties, or nineties in the summer. If you've never experienced those temperatures with high humidity, then it's probably impossible for me to explain how awful they are. Yes, I'm one of those people in Phoenix who say, "But it's a dry heat!" And believe me, I'd rather have 100 degrees with low humidity than 80 with high humidity.

Of course, 115 degrees is awful even with low humidity. But for people who haven't suffered through the awful swelter of high humidity and even moderately-high temperatures, talking about a "dry heat" just sounds ridiculous. So I can tell if someone has experienced it, or not, by how they react.

I have a good friend who spent his entire career out on the hot asphalt of Phoenix doing road work. He laughs off high temperatures that have me going into the shade, or seeking out air conditioning. And yet he even he shudders at the humidity that he felt in Vietnam, fifty years ago. He knows what a dry heat is.

Phoenix has two rainy seasons: one in the hottest days of the summer, and one in the winter. The summer season rains can be wonderful, as the sky opens and water falls from the sky. The drawback, of course is when it looks like it might rain, but it doesn't. And on those days the humidity can be high, even if the temperatures are a little lower, because of cloud cover.

I hope this helps. No, I won't scoff at you if you don't understand "but it's a dry heat!" In fact I'm jealous. I will never forget the days of my hair itching like crazy and the nights that I was unable to sleep because of the humidity when I was a kid.

I appreciate the dry heat of Phoenix.

If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider subscribing to history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a subscriber, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.

Old-timers sitting on a corner in Phoenix, Arizona in 1911


If I'm learning anything about Phoenix history, it's that it's best seen through the eyes of people who are watching it. I really don't care for history books, I like looking through magazines and newspapers of the era. And yet I know that those printed words can't possibly tell me what the average person on the street was thinking. And I would be especially interested in the words of people about the age I am now, which although I still consider myself "middle aged" (I plan on living to 120 at least), were the real voices of reason. So if you don't mind, I'd like to be a couple of Phoenix old-timers, sitting on a corner, just talking about things.

Well how-de-do! It's another beautiful day in Phoenix! Just breath that fresh air! Let's move away from those horses, and set a spell.

I just don't know what this town is coming to! Those horseless carriages are everywhere, kicking up dust, making a racket, scaring the horses. They ought to pass a law against them, they're going to ruin Phoenix! Say, there's a nice one going by, I wouldn't mind owning something like that. I believe that's a Pope-Toledo! I understand that they never backfire...

What are you laughing at? I always jump like that when I hear gunfire. I figured maybe it was Garfias, gunning for me. Who are you calling an old fool? Yeah, I guess he did die in '96. Well, could have been Noah Broadway, I can't keep all of them sheriffs straight. What? He's been gone since '86. No one tells me anything. I hear that Sheriff Carl Hayden is a pretty good shot, too. You'd better watch yourself.

What do I think of the Roosevelt Dam? A bunch of dern foolishness if you ask me. Bureau of Reclamation? You mean Bureau of Wreck-lamation! Those dams will break and we'll all be drowned, just like in Johnstown. You mark my word!

Hand me that bottle, I'm feeling mighty parched. I hear tell that they plan on paving the streets. What a mess that'll be! I suppose once they start tearing up the roads, there's be no end of it. And it'll just make it hotter here, like those darn fool brick buildings. Back when the buildings were adobe, it kept the whole town cooler. And that concrete Adams Hotel is even worse. Never should have built it, it'll probably burn down just like the old one did, mark my word!

What? Oh, all right, I guess so. We've been sitting here for a couple of hours, might as well go home and get some work done. I'll see you tomorrow, here's your empty bottle back.

If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider subscribing to history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a subscriber, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.

A balloon ride over Phoenix, Arizona in 1911


It's 1911, so let's take a balloon ride over Phoenix.

Wow, this is amazing, how much my town has grown in the last few years. I wonder if it will keep growing? I hope so.

We're looking northwest. Let's see, down to our left is the new Dorris-Heyman store, which is at Adams and 1st Street. I really don't have much use for furniture, but if you want to go there after we land, that sounds fine.

Dorris-Heyman, 1st Street and Adams
Hey! There's my church, Central Methodist, right across from the Central School. I didn't go to school here in Phoenix, did you go there?


Central Methodist Church (left) and Center School, Central and Monroe.

And there's the post office building, and Steinegger's Lodge, and the Coliseum there on the corner. Maybe we could go see a vaudeville show there? I understand that they also plan on showing some of those new "moving pictures"!

Left to right: the post office building, Steinegger's Lodge, and the Coliseum. Monroe between Central and 1st Street.

What? That long building there on Melinda's Alley? Well, that's, um, where the "Ladies of the Evening" are. At least that's what I've been told. Not far from Millionaire's Row.

Along Melinda's Alley east of 1st Street, between Adams and Monroe

I don't know anyone who lives in one of the mansions on Millionaire's Row, do you? I think we should just walk up to one of those places, knock on the door and run away. How about that? No, I'm not eight years old, why do you ask?

Mansions along Millionaire's Row, Monroe east of 1st Street

I'm enjoying this balloon ride, but I'm feeling a little seasick. Maybe we should land, go have something to eat at the Del Rey. It's on me! And thank you for inviting me along in your balloon!

The Del Rey Hotel, Central Avenue and Monroe

Image at the top of this post: Looking northeast over Phoenix from a balloon in 1911. By the way, Steinegger's Lodge as of this writing is all boarded up, but is still there, on Monroe just east of Central, next to the Hilton Garden Inn.

Photo from "Arizona the New State Magazine", March 1911.

If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider supporting history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a patron, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.

Exploring my Apache Junction, Arizona


I don't live in Apache Junction, but I've spent a lot of time there. But apparently it looks so different to me that many people really don't believe that I know anything about the area. I don't know the restaurants, the tourist places, I haven't done any hiking in the mountains, the list goes on an on of things that I know nothing about. So when most people want to talk to me about Apache Junction, there doesn't seem to be much we have in common.

Walk with me. Mine is the Apache Junction of a person on foot, with no particular place to go. I've walked around Apache Junction, usually alone, sometimes with dogs.

So that's where you start - on foot. And we're not walking across a parking lot into a building, or along a trail that's marked. There won't be anything that we can check off our list of having done, and it won't impress anyone on Facebook. Mine is the Apache Junction of Andrew Wyeth.

Well, not exactly, of course, he was in Chadds Ford. But everything I ever learned about seeing the world as he saw it came from the book that his wife Betsy wrote about him, called Wyeth at Kuerners. I got that book when I was 17, and have read it more times than I can count. It amazed me that he would sometimes just go out for a walk, look at things, maybe make a few sketches, and then come back later, maybe a year later. My desire to be connected with the world of aesthetics and beauty received a severe jolt when I read a quote from him which said something about someone who was admiring a beautiful sky while their big feet smashed down on some fragile flower. And there's no getting away from that.

I will choose my steps carefully, but I know just being there causes me to destroy things. Every step I take in the desert causes erosion, and probably kills something that has been struggling to grow. I'm so very sorry about that, but it can't be helped. I will walk as carefully as I can. If I see a cloud of dust rising from someone doing doughnuts out in the desert, I accept that we are both destroying the desert in our own way, just by being there.

So I won't criticize others, I will focus on what's around me. And the first thing I look for is creosote. That's the wonderful plant that makes the smell of the desert, especially after it rains. I find some and squeeze the berries between my fingers to release the smell. I may take a photo, or I may not. I don't mind photography, but I won't turn our walk into a photography session, that's too distracting for me.

Here, you take the leash, I'm getting tired. We must have walked at least a quarter of a mile. The shadows are getting long, and the Arizona sun is lighting up the Superstition Mountains. Every few seconds it changes, and it's worth a look. And no thank you, I don't want to look at the picture you just took on your phone, I have everything right here. I can see it, I can touch it, I can smell it. This is paradise, this is my Apache Junction.

Image at the top of this post: Postcard of the Superstition Mountains in the 1960s.

If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider supporting history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a patron, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.

Going to a Health Resort in Phoenix in 1898


Hello, my dear. What did the doctor say? I see. Well, doctors don't know everything. Yes, I understand. Well, this is 1898, and we're in one of the most modern cities in the world, and... I'm sorry, what were you saying? Well, I didn't become one of the richest men in Pittsburg just to... What? Yes. Yes. Oh, I see.

In this imaginary story I'm a wealthy man in a big city back east in 1898 with a very sick wife. She has been coughing, and the doctors really don't know what to do. And she has found a pamphlet called "Health Resorts in Salt River, Arizona".

Arizona? You mean where the cowboys and Indians are? Way out west? Ten gallon hats and six-shooters? Let me see that pamphlet! You know this is printed by the railroad company? They just want me to buy an expensive ticket... I'm sorry, don't cry, of course I'll read some more. Why, that Adams Hotel looks pretty nice, much bigger than anything I'd ever thought that Phoenix would have.

The Adams Hotel in 1898, northeast corner of Central Avenue and Adams, Phoenix, Arizona.

Yes, it looks like the Adams Hotel will be fine. I had no idea that Phoenix had anything like that! Let's see, according to the booklet, it's called the "climate cure". Sound pretty nice. That desert air will have you fixed up in no time.


OK, here we are at the station in Phoenix. We sure have a lot of luggage! Yes, of course we can stay as long as you want. I have plenty of good people looking after the business back home. Don't fret. Now just breathe in that clean desert air! You're going to be just fine, I know it. What, are you crying again? Oh, tears of joy, I see. Me? No, I think I just got some dust in my eye. Let's go to the hotel, I'll get you a sarsparilla.


If you liked this article, and would like to see more, please consider supporting history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a patron, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.

Why Phoenix just can't go back to "the way it was"


I like old photos, and as long as I can remember people have often said that they wished that Phoenix could just go back to "the way it was". And I understand, it's a nice thought. As a time-traveler I wonder where in the timeline would be the best "way it was"? Before Phoenix was built, when the area was all just beautiful Sonoran Desert? Or back when the railroad had just arrived, in 1887, and the old adobe buildings were being replaced by beautiful new brick buildings? Of course most people want Phoenix to go back to the way it was when they were kids or when their parents were kids, which could be the '90s, and way before that.

Speaking strictly for myself, I love thinking about this kind of stuff, but I never wish for it out loud. And that's because I don't want the story to end. I love watching it unfold. If the story never changed, it really wouldn't be all that interesting to me.

And unfortunately, there's a darker side to hearing people wish that Phoenix could just go back to the "way it was". And it has to do with just dismissing everything that can be done. There are so many things that can be done to preserve the history of Phoenix, and so many ways to make the future integrate the past, that I can't even begin to list them in this post. People are working on that kind of stuff right now. Some of them are doing big things, some are small. Some are just voices, like mine. But for the people who simply dismiss it, and walk away after saying "I just wish Phoenix could go back to the way it was", they don't do anything. They simply make a statement, shake their head, and see if something good is on TV, or something.

I wish this weren't true, but it is. And I guess people can feel small and helpless, as if "they" were doing stuff, changing the world around them. But I've never thought that way, and I know that it's not you. I know that miracles happen, and sometimes they start with tiny things. I've often despaired, and then I get myself up, dust myself off, and see if I can be more optimistic. I collect photos, and post them on the web, and I really do hope that the right people see them, and think "hey, that's pretty cool, let's integrate that historic building into the redevelopment". I know that those things are happening, and I'm optimistic that they will continue to happen.

I like to time-travel, and visit Phoenix in space and time, but I live in reality, and that includes the wonder of air conditioning, and the good people who are continuing to write the story of Phoenix.

Image at the top of this post: Looking east on Washington from Central in 1872, Phoenix, Arizona.

If you liked this article, please consider supporting history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a patron, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.

Riding a horse on Camelback Mountain in 1922


Come along with me, and let's ride a horse on Camelback Mountain in 1922. You can be the girl from Sunny Tennessee in the photo that I found in the "Arizona, the State Magazine".

It's about sunset, and we've been riding all afternoon. It's a nice winter's day, but in Phoenix it's always summertime, so it's not cold at all. Back east in Minnesota, where I'm from, there's snow on the ground. I don't know about Tennessee, but I'd expect that it's warmer here than there?

Wow, from here we can see all of the way to Phoenix, several miles away. The tallest building in town is Dwight Heard's building, on Central between Adams and Monroe, and I think I can see it. Can you? There seems to be a lot of dust in the air, I'm not sure.

It's so quiet and peaceful up here, so far away from everything. Hardly a sound at all here in the desert, just the rustling of the horses, and the sound of the wind in our ears. I wonder if Phoenix will ever grow all of the way out here? I don't suppose we'll live to see it, but maybe we will. Hopefully some of Camelback Mountain will be preserved in its natural state so people can enjoy it, and not have houses built all of the way to the top, like they're doing in Los Angeles, especially in Hollywoodland.

Artists' Point, Ingleside Trail, Camelback Mountain 1922

Oops, it looks like we're not alone after all. I see another group on horseback over there. See what I mean? It's already getting too crowded around here! What? No, I wasn't trying to hold your hand, I was just holding the reigns of your horse. OK, maybe I was trying to hold your hand. Look at that sunset! And tell me about Tennessee.

Image at the top of this post: "A Girl from Sunny Tennessee" on Camelback Mountain in 1922, north of Phoenix, Arizona. From "Arizona, the State" Magazine, 1922.

If you liked this article, please consider supporting history adventuring on Patreon. If you're already a patron, thank you! You make this happen!

Click here to become a Patron!
History adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.

The good and bad of moving from Los Angeles to Phoenix in 1989


Leaving Los Angeles, and coming back to Phoenix is one of the best decisions of my life. I grew up in Minneapolis, went to ASU, then moved to California, where I lived through most of the 1980s. I really hadn't planned to move back to Phoenix after my layoff in Los Angeles, I was just going to go see some old friends, good for the soul. So I visited Phoenix.

What I saw amazed me. The first thing that struck me was the lack of traffic, and the amount of easy parking. Even after all these years it still makes me happy. Yes, I know people in Phoenix who say that the traffic is awful, and parking is difficult, but all they're saying to me is that they've never seen how awful it can be. I used to always carry a book with me in my car when I got on the freeway in Los Angeles, and when traffic stopped, I would put the car in park and read for a while. Yes, in park. Not bumper-to-bumper inching along, but completely stopped, in park. You just waited for traffic to begin to move. I read a few books that way! So as you can imagine a big plus of moving back to Phoenix was to be able to not get constantly stuck in traffic jams, and know that I would always find a parking spot wherever I went. Yes, there were times in LA that I would go to the mall, drive around and around and around, and then simply go back home. No parking in the lots, on the street, at all.

The cost of living was so much lower than in California that it was as if they were giving stuff away. In an idle moment, I stopped at an apartment complex and inquired about the rent. My little California brain just about exploded! And then I heard the words "If you want to live on the golf course..." I could live on a golf course, in a beautiful apartment complex, for less than my horrible little hovel in California cost me! I signed a lease right then and there.

Of course, the thing that worried me in Phoenix is that there's not as much work there as in Los Angeles. I was looking for corporate work and I could just about count all of the tall buildings in Phoenix, whereas I could never count them in the greater Los Angeles area. Yeah, that worried me a lot, but I figured with the cost of living so low I could figure something out.

I did get a bit of culture shock moving to Phoenix. Now calm down here, I love Phoenix, but it felt, uh, kind of in the middle of nowhere. As if there should be tumbleweeds rolling down the street, and the sidewalks were rolled up at night. You gotta realize that LA was 24/7 commotion. I learned to slow down a bit myself and to this day I love the fact that in my neighborhood in Glendale the traffic lights on the half-mile streets switch over to blinking yellow in the wee hours. Not that I'm out much in the wee hours!

There were things that I took for granted in LA that most people in Phoenix hadn't even heard of in 1989, like being able to pay at the pump at a gas station. In LA, I was in and out like a pit stop. In Phoenix, someone had to walk out of the garage, take my credit card, talk about the weather, and so I learned to set aside a big chunk of time to buy gas, usually on the weekends. I'm a techno-nerd and I liked ATM machines, and stuff like that. I never went anywhere in Los Angeles where I had to stand in line if I didn't have to. Of course the lines were never all that long in Phoenix, but I had lost my taste for standing in line at all.

I was lucky, I did get a good job in Phoenix, at Valley Bank, right before they became Bank One. I worked in the tallest building in Phoenix, which was nice. And little by little the things that had made Los Angeles so attractive to me faded away. Of course I knew that there was no going back. A resume that says "Los Angeles" means a lot in Phoenix, but it doesn't work the other way around.

Like everything else, it's what you value. I valued someday being a homeowner (which I could never have done in California) and I really don't need to be close to the movie and TV studios. I could never get comfortable in Los Angeles, and Phoenix felt right to me, and it still does.

Image at the top of this post: At the Greens Apartments in 1990, right after I bought a nice new bicycle, for my commute to work. If you can stop looking at my short-shorts, you'll see the tee shirt said "California". I don't have that bike, those clothes, or that mustache anymore.

Become a PhD (Phoenix History Detective) with Brad today on Patreon!

Click here to become a Patron!
History Adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.

Going to a movie in Phoenix, Arizona in 1918


It's 1918, we're in Phoenix, Arizona, and I feel like going to a motion picture. Come along with me!

Actually, I like to call them "movies", because the pictures move, which is fun to see, although it makes me a little seasick watching them flicker. Yes, I know that calling them "movies" is kind of silly, like cookies, or doggies, but maybe in the future people won't think the name is so funny.

I have a newspaper here, and it looks like "Daughter of Destiny" is showing at the Hip, which is just west of Central on Washington. Yes, that Madame Petrova is amazing. Stop blushing, we're adults. Film rating? Censorship? What do you think this is? There's no censorship of movies.

Let's see, this guy Art Rick says that he went to Los Angeles to preview the picture, and he seemed to like it. Well, he owns the theater, what do you expect?

Well, that was a big waste of time. No, I didn't like it. I could hardly read the title cards, and the person playing the piano must have been missing several fingers. And not only am I nauseous after watching it, I have a headache. Let's go for a swim in the canal!

Note: Movies were uncensored until the Hays Office was created in 1922, which was created to avoid government censorship, and created a moral code. The Hip Theater was at 43 W. Washington, and later became the Lion.

Become a PhD (Phoenix History Detective) with Brad today on Patreon!

Click here to become a Patron!
History Adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.

Being a wiener dog in Phoenix in 1953


As someone who has lived with a dachshund (or wiener dog, which is the term that I prefer to use) in Glendale (a suburb of Phoenix) for over twelve years, I'm confident that she just loves it there. She's never seen snow, and never will, and I often see her out in the backyard, sunbathing when the temperatures are well over 100. So of course it's got me wondering what life would have been like being a wiener dog in old-time Phoenix. This is just a guess, but I like to consider it an educated guess!

It's 1953, I'm a wiener dog, and I'm helping my family with the slab for their shed next to their house. It's just a concrete slab, and I had to stay off of it when it was wet, but now I can stand on it. Just think how cute my little paw-prints would have been on it! Oh well.

It's a warm day, which I like, and my humans are inspecting the concrete slab. I, of course, am keeping an eye out, which I'm sure that my humans appreciate. Wait - I think I smell something!

Not that it really matters to me, but this neighborhood sure has been growing! There are houses everywhere. If I understood any of this I'd know that the housing boom started after World War II, and that there was a terrible shortage for a long time, but now that it's the fifties, houses are being built with amazing speed.

Seems to me I remember chasing after jackrabbits not too long ago. Or were they chasing me? I guess a little bit of both. You know, if Phoenix keeps growing like this... waitaminute, was that a lizard? Hang on - here I go!

Image at the top of this post: 1330 E. Sheridan in 1953, Phoenix, Arizona. And a wiener dog.

Become a PhD (Phoenix History Detective) with Brad today on Patreon!

Click here to become a Patron!
History Adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.

Getting a tow in 1950s Glendale, Arizona


Now this is embarrassing. Looks like the old jalopy broke down again, and here we are, miles from anywhere, somewhere near 1950s Glendale, Arizona. I don't see any signs, so we might be half-way to Peoria by now. I'll take a look under the hood.

Just what I suspected, it's broke. No, I'm not blaming you, but you worked on it the last time, right? And no, I don't want to leave it out here in the middle of nowhere, let's see if we can get a tow truck out here.

There's a farmhouse, let's go see if they have a telephone. Yikes! Those dogs look vicious - let's go to the next house, we can do with a nice walk. Hopefully the dogs there will be friendlier.

Well, here we are, but they don't have a telephone. I'm going to borrow a bicycle. No, you can't stay here, go back and sit with the car, I don't want anyone stealing my hubcaps! Very funny - I don't suppose jackrabbits steal hubcaps!

Sorry it took so long. I rode back into town and found the Gasoline Alley Service Station, but no one was there. I had to go look around, and found someone who knew how to drive the tow truck. Yeah, this gonna cost me some money - well, it'll cost my dad some money, I don't have any money. When it's running, it's my car, when it needs expensive repairs, it's my dad's car.

Here we are at the station, on D Street and 2nd. That's what I like about Glendale, everything is so easy to find there. I guess I'll leave the car here, they'll take care of it. Let's walk over to Main and 1st, see if we can find a place to buy a soda-pop!

1957 map of Glendale, Arizona.


Become a PhD (Phoenix History Detective) with Brad today on Patreon!

Click here to become a Patron!
History Adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.

Remembering the Mecham Pontiac Macho T/A


I try not to rely too much on my memory, which grows more treacherous every year, but I remember the Macho T/A from Mecham Pontiac in Glendale, Arizona. It's was a Trans Am, and more.

I'm not much into muscle cars, but the Trans Am went beyond just having a lot of horsepower. In the 1970s it was popularized by Bert Reynolds in "Smokey and the Bandit" and it just kinda represented everything about having a free spirit, and lots of horsepower to go with it. It was based on a Pontiac Firebird, but no one ever called them that, a Trans Am was a Trans Am. And they were ridiculously powerful, and flashy cars. And to take it a level higher, there was a local Phoenix area upgraded version which was called the Macho T/A. Even then I thought that the term "macho" was over the top, but it was really supposed to be, and it was.

Machos T/As in 1978 at Mecham Pontiac, Glendale, Arizona

I moved to California in 1982, and didn't return to Phoenix until 1989. Every once in a while in Los Angeles I'd see a Macho T/A, which you could recognize by the MP on the back, which stood for Mecham Pontiac, and of course the graphics on the side. I liked living in California just fine, but seeing the Macho T/As always made me a little homesick for Phoenix.

1979 article about the Macho T/A.

When I got back to Phoenix, and settled in, in the '90s, no one that I talked to had any idea of what I was talking about. Mecham had become a name that people knew as a Governor, who made a real mess of things. You can Google about that if you want to, it really doesn't interest me all that much. The Pontiac dealership, and the Macho T/A, had faded away, so I learned not to talk about it, or people would launch into a political rant, which just gives me a headache.

I like cars. I like looking at cars, and I like talking about cars. If you remember the Macho T/As I'll be happy to listen to you. If you start talking about politics, my eyes will glaze over and I'll probably just watch the cars going by, looking for a Macho T/A.

1979 Macho T/A, Mecham Pontiac, Glendale, Arizona.


Become a PhD (Phoenix History Detective) with Brad today on Patreon!

Click here to become a Patron!
History Adventuring posts are shared there daily including "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos of historic Phoenix, Arizona. Discounts for seniors, students, teachers, and veterans.