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

Visiting a trailer park resort in 1950s Phoenix, Arizona

One of the things that I really enjoy is to find an old photo of Phoenix and then with the help of my friends match it up to exactly where the photo was taken. It's not easy in Phoenix, as the buildings tend to be replaced every few decades. But sometimes there's something there that goes waaay back, like to the 1950s. I found one yesterday, and it's a trailer park over by the freeway.

The Sun N Sand Trailer Resort, Colter and the Black Canyon Freeway. The sign goes back to 1959, and at some point they took the word "trailer" off.

As long as I can remember, the words "trailer park" had meant a place where I'd rather not be. I saw my first one in 1977, across from the apartment complex where I lived in Phoenix when I was 19, and it still makes me a little bit ill to think of it today. Sometimes I would cut through there, and what I saw is exactly what springs to mind when you hear the words "trailer park". I won't go into details, but the trailers were filthy, and I wondered how human beings could live like that. 'Nuff said about that.

When my parents moved into a double-wide in their Mobile Home Community (I was carefully taught to never say "Trailer Park"), my distaste lingered. Their 55+ community was very nice, there was a wonderful pool there, a rec center, that sort of thing, but the place still gave me the creeps. I don't know if it was the deathly silence, or what I considered the glare of old people, but it just seemed a terrible place to be. My parents loved it, by the way.

Anyway, enough about modern stuff. Let's time-travel back to the 1950s, and visit a trailer park resort in Phoenix. From what I'm learning, it would have been a wonderful place, and I'm anxious to go there. We're going to the Shangra La Trailer Haven, which is on 7th Street just north of Camelback Road, in the 1950s. No, it's not there anymore, it's long-gone. But in our imagination we can go there, and relax under the palms.

Since it's the 1950s, the economy is booming. People are not only buying new cars, which they couldn't do during the war, but they're traveling around, and the latest thing is to pull a trailer behind you. Those powerful V-8 '50s cars had no problem pulling a trailer, and when you got to a nice sunny place, like Phoenix, all you had to do was park, hook up the trailer, and relax in the sunshine. Nice!

In this imaginary story, I don't have a car, so we're going to hitchhike to the Shangra La. Relax, it's the 1950s! Stick out your thumb. Yeah, you could show a bit of leg, but that's not necessary, someone is stopping already. Let's jump into the back of the truck!

Thanks for the ride, amigo! We're there. Let's see, I have some friends from back east who are staying here for the winter, won't they be glad to see us! There they are, waving!

Ah, this is the life. Why yes, I'll have an A-1. Trailer living is wonderful!

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