This photograph was likely taken looking south from Del Webb's Phoenix Towers in the early 1960s. In the immediate foreground is Central Methodist Church at Palm Lane and Central Avenue. The coral/pink complex at left is the Phoenix Civic Center, with the large windows looking into the main library.
Click on the photo for a larger view.
The brick building on the northwest corner of McDowell was AT&T/Mountain Bell. After it was torn down (in the 1980s?), the lot stood empty for decades as project after project fell through. Now it is apparently going to be Lennar apartments. To show you how banking and flipping of empty, blighted land in the central city works, Lennar bought the parcel from Africa Israel Investments Ltd., based in Tel Aviv.
Back to circa 1961.... The taller buildings on the east side of Central include a hotel (Ramada Inn?), the First National Bank building (now occupied by ASU), and the Valley Bank/Professional Building with the famous rotating sign. On the west side, the Westward Ho, Security Building, and the Luhrs Building.
The 'Ho had already lost its title as tallest building in the state to the Guaranty Bank tower, located farther north in Midtown. But at 16 stories, not counting the radio tower, it is the tallest building in this photo.
To the right of the hotel tower is the skeleton of what would become downtown's first international-style box. It has mostly housed law-firms since.
The photo also shows a pre-Papago Freeway view (note straight, wide First Street running to the front of the Civic Center. The city's 1960 population was 439,170.