Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Spending the winter in old-time Phoenix


The winter in Phoenix is absolutely glorious, I know. When I'm out and about, I smile at my neighbors and they smile back, and I know what we're both thinking: "This is what we've been waiting for!" Because let's face it, as much as I love living here in the winter, summers are awful. So it's all about looking forward to the winters, which are beyond amazing - Phoenix is the best place to be in the winter, the sky is so blue, and... oops, now I sound like the Chamber of Commerce! Of course there are drawbacks, and it's always been true, even in old-time Phoenix. Because people followed the summer there, from places where the winters aren't so nice.

Let's time-travel back to Phoenix in the winter in the 1930s. To our 21st-Century eyes, it would look absolutely wonderful, wide-open spaces, uncrowded. But not to the people who lived there at the time! Because then, as now, there were winter visitors. And back then it absolutely overwhelmed Phoenix every winter.

I don't know if they called them "snowbirds" in old-time Phoenix, but I'm pretty sure that they had names for them, and not nice names. These people from out of town would jam up the roads, make the businesses crowded, and just generally get in the way of the locals.

Of course if you had a business in Phoenix these people were, and still are, the best possible things to happen to you. The winter visitors bring in a lot of money, and have been doing that for a long time!

But contrary to nostalgic belief, parking in downtown Phoenix was awful in the 1930s, even for just the locals. When it included a huge amount of cars that would suddenly jam the streets in the winter, it was beyond awful. Like I say, good for the businesses, but not so good for people who lived there who were just trying to go to the store, or to work.

Of course things got better as the valley grew and shopping centers were built that included huge parking lots, like Park Central (I always thought that the word "park" was clever in that name!). But in old-time Phoenix there really wasn't anything the locals could do but wait until April, when the winters visitors would fly back home to where their summers would soon be beginning, and be pleasant. And when the Phoenix summer returns, the locals get their city back, and for many people, it's a small price to pay!

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