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

Visiting an ostrich farm in old-time Phoenix


I recently stumbled across a postcard showing an ostrich farm in Phoenix, Arizona. Based on the date of the postmark, it looks like it was about 1914. Of course it could have printed earlier than that, and the photo may be earlier, but I'm gonna say 1914. There had been ostrich farms around Phoenix since the turn of the century, and it was big business. The reason for the value of ostriches was that the feathers were used in ladies hats, and back then, just as today, there was a lot of money to be made in women's fashions!

1902 ostrich farm and feather salesroom ad, Phoenix, Arizona.

Of course, when women decided one day that ostrich plumes were no longer fashionable, the bottom dropped out of the ostrich farming industry. I have no idea if they could be eaten, like chickens, or what their eggs tastes like, but I do know that they couldn't replace horses, and there's nothing more ridiculous than a cowboy riding an ostrich.

1913 map from Phoenix to an ostrich farm. North points to the left, by the way.

But, I found the photo, and I even found a map from about that time showing the route from Phoenix to an ostrich farm near the Agua Fria River, so I thought it would be fun today if we would take a nice little time-traveling trip in our imagination, and go there. Come on! Uh, you'd better drive!

The route west out of Phoenix is the Yuma Road, just like Van Buren is the Tempe Road going east once you get out of town. The roads aren't paved out of town, but our little Ford is tough, and besides, it beats walking!

There it is, just this side of the Agua Fria River. And it's a good thing that we don't need to cross, there's no bridge!

Thank you for visiting the ostriches with me in old-time Phoenix!

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