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

When 7th Avenue was the Black Canyon Road, Phoenix, Arizona


If you live in Phoenix, you know where the Black Canyon Road is. It's the I-17 freeway, which replaced the Black Canyon Highway, which is at about 27th Avenue. But not in old-time Phoenix!

In the map above, you're looking at what would be 7th Avenue on the left and 7th Street on the right nowadays. And north of the city limits, which in 1897, was at Van Buren, 7th Avenue was the Black Canyon Road and 7th Street was the Cave Creek Road. Yeah, that one has moved too, about the same distance, to about 28th Street.

Of course Phoenix has grown since then. And after many years it gets kind of confusing. Many of the street names in Phoenix have changed as the city grew. And if you think about it, it makes sense. Once you're out of town, the logical thing to name a road is for its destination. And that's how 7th Avenue became the Black Canyon Road, because it was the road to Black Canyon, as 7th Street was the road to Cave Creek.

If you look more carefully at the map at the top of this post, and if you're familiar with Phoenix Streets, you'll see Orangewood, which is the half-mile street between Glendale and Northern. Back in 1897, when the Orangewood Addition (we call them subdivisions nowadays) was platted, it was waaaay out in the country!

So if you're doing some Phoenix History Detective work, look out, the names have changed!

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