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

The wonder of an ordinary day in old-time Phoenix


My fascination with Phoenix history puzzles a lot of people, and I understand why. They're the reasonable people who expect to only hear about bad, or spectacular things. And it is reasonable! I remember hearing the answer as to why newspapers don't report good news: because there's just way too much of it.

I mean, what kind of headline would scream: "Man Goes to the Grocery Store and Buys Eggs!"? And the story might point out that all twelve eggs made it safely home without being cracked. There was an excellent shady parking spot at the store, eyewitnesses said. And so on. Just ridiculous, right?

And that's why so much of what we read in old newspapers gives us a distorted view. There's only so many pages, only so much ink, and besides which no one really wants to hear boring stuff like someone went to work and came home safely, possibly greeted by happy dogs. Well, almost no one. I do.

So when I look at old-time Phoenix I'm not interested in headlines, I'm interested in ordinary life. I want to know what people did on a day-to-day basis, especially during the summer. I don't dismiss celebrities, and politicians, but I'm mostly interested in what they had for lunch, the cars they drove, if they had dogs.

The information that I'm looking for isn't easy to find, but I find it a satisfying labor of love. And there's a connection there that means a lot to me, the ordinary people doing ordinary stuff.

Image at the top of this post: Sitting on the steps of 606 N. 4th Avenue in 1914, Phoenix, Arizona. I would like to think that it was just an ordinary day.

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