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May 09, 2011


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Good piece Jon. I got to do some followup on this to be more accurate.

Also retired PPD officer Gordon Hunsaker has written extensively on the Frenchy Navarro shootings. I ll get back to U all.

Thank you for this bit of history. I see the same question of what to do playing out now along the old South Central Avenue corridor, relatively rich with its old storefronts, but largely underutilized by the rest of the city's residents who don't live within a mile or so.

When I first met a couple of young men advocating for economic sustainability in the area, our discussion became an almost laughable miscommunication about what constitutes a sustainable economy. However, we were not far off from each other in understanding the potential for the area. We both recognized that it is worth saving and that there is likely some opportunity amidst all the surrounding gentrification.

As we watch what happens along South Central, whether it be a light rail-focused revitalization plan (or similar transportation emphasis), or something entirely different, the region will see drastic changes ahead. I just hope that this time, we can ensure that the old charm is sustained and restored, rather than focusing on a slash-and-burn strategy to erase whatever memory we have of tougher times.

I just found Sing High Chop Suey House yesterday riding around on my bike. It was packed and on an hour wait! Downtown is full of so many hidden gems that just need to be connected with density and smarter planning.

Phxdowntowner, Did you ask the folks at Sing High to show you the tunnel?

hot damn! there's a secret tunnel?

So, you just missed out on the Bolles call and were off-duty for the Miranda call? These slights, plus the fact that you have an old soul, lead me to believe that you suffer from a serious case of bad timing.

Please forgive the jump-shift, but thinking about The Deuce sets me to hoping that maybe Jon will consider writing about various Phoenix retail developments that have come and gone. Visited Biltmore Fashion Park (circa 1964?) which appears to have consistently reinvented itself . . in contrast to the virtual demise of Park Central, Chris Town and Thomas Mall. Wish I were wise enough to understand why. Even after having spent almost 50 years as a retailer, some of the causal factors (other than tectonic demographic shifts) elude me.

@Jacob Hughes:

That's hilarious. That crossed my mind too, as I was reading.

Morecleanair, I've wondered the same thing about central Phoenix retail. Probably you got the tectonic demographic shift idea about right. It wasn't that central Phoenix shrank in population so much as that long-time residents aged and that newcomers tended to have fewer children. Still, I think there's also something about people and their competing needs. One might be to have a middle-class experience while shopping. The other might be to have a middle-class ability of acquisition. Increasingly, the latter came to matter more, and with it, the advent of big-box shopping. Costco, Target, Wal-mart took over where The Broadway, I Magnin's and Bullock's once dominated. It's not an accident that major department stores have disappeared in the last 20 years. Retailers have followed rooftops to the far exurban fringe in the furious pursuit of middle-income shoppers. When that expansion finally stops, the anchors of these malls (Macy's, Dillard's, Sear's) may seize up and die.

Still, Phoenix missed an opportunity to make Park Central a linchpin of stability for the old city. There were grand plans to remake the first shopping mall into a residential cum shopping mecca in the '80s but the real-estate bubble popped before anything could happen. After that, major retailers abandoned Park Central and the die was cast. During this same time, Denver reinvented Cherry Creek Mall (about the same distance from its downtown as Park Central is from ours). Their's was a smashing success. Denver's density helped along with its sense of sophistication and old money. By contrast, central Phoenix had a few historic neighborhoods and not much else going on. The old money went to the Biltmore Fashion Park, and the new money went to Scottsdale.

A word about La Amapola. When the basketball arena was built, one of the casualties was Beatrice Moore's studio called La Amapola. She was not happy about her eviction and made a lot of noise. I didn't know if her studio had indeed been the infamous bar or if it was her homage to it. At any rate, I do recall it, and it was somewhere smack in the middle of it all (vaguely, on 3rd Street between Jefferson and Madison). She decamped to Jackson Street afterwards and for a brief time Phoenix had an arts district with a distinct urban edge (Roosevelt Row's edge is more conceptual than real). When civic leaders shooed the artists out of downtown, it was the death knell for any organic gentrification of the area. What we have now - chain retail in sterile plazas - is poison to any real urban renaissance.

Over and over again we see how the creative readaptation of old buildings have revived cities. What Phoenix has done, by contrast, is go for the quick score, and failing at that, go for another quick score. Now that downtown is mostly empty of old buildings there's not much left we can do. But imagine if we still had the Luhrs Hotel. It was a time-encrusted gem. And in combination with the glorious Fox Theater, downtown might actually have had an urban beat. The Luhrs Hotel, by the way, survived the Fox Theater by five years. In contrast, more creative cities at that time had been doing everything they could to preserve historic buildings. Phoenix, by contrast, was competing with Fresno.

Jon, did u ride that ambulance with Bob Sparks? And I bet you missed the night Texas Motorcycle Club, Banditos President Johnny Gamble all of 5 foot carved his right hand man, Peter Henry Smith, 6 foot 5 and 235 a new stomach at the bar at 11 ave and Hatcher. I watched a senior cop lick his finger and tuck Peters guts back in while we waited for the ambulance. Peter died of peritonitis a few months later.

The Fox was cool. Had a balcony for you and your date and the screen was as big as the drive in with moving curtains. And then of course there was the Paramount, The Strand and the Rialto.
And questions I know Jon can answer, The name of the movie house at the NW corner of Central and Virgina.
The name of the Drive in South on Central of Bobs Big Boy at Central and Thomas and the name of the drive in on Seventh street at Highland(where Americas Taco is now)

Russ Lyon Sr. was a fine gent and had a great dance band in the midwest. The other Lyons (Westcor) may have suffered from generational degradation in their shaky stewardship of some of these iconic shopping centers. That may be one factor that contributed to the lack of strategic thought and reinvention. But it pains me to see the faux crap we've thrown up in what passes for shopping meccas. That's what's interesting about Biltmore. It endures. Sure, there's lots of hoity-toity but that's what draws the plastic people with their credit cards. Then there's the Apple store where my eyes glaze over and my nostrils dilate as I hallucinate about stock at $1,000 a share!

Cal, I do remember that call. (But I didn't work with Sparks). My partners were over the years were John Jordan, Clayton Card, Russ Covert, the commenter "Buford" and Sharon Anderson. The biker's colors "disappeared" from the scene, and for weeks we got threats, as if we had stolen them.

The theater on Central and Virginia was the Palms. I don't remember the names of the drive-ins. The Palms would have made a wonderful art house, had it survived. Great art moderne architecture.

Morecleanair: If I don't answer you in a post, I'll do it as a Phoenix 101.

Cal, was that bar the Tumbleweed Inn? The horror, the horror.

I'm already failing dementia tests so I won't hazard a guess about that drive-in south of Bob's. I remember the Golden Drumstick at about Windsor & Central. The neon sign suggested extra crispy.

I took a long bike ride today to Tempe. A few things I didn't know: there's a hydroelectric plant at the end of the Crosscut Canal (apparently there's a substantial drop of 120 ft), which allows for six generators. Also, the legendary Ingleside Inn became, after it closed around 1940, a school for girls, The Brownmoor, and lasted until 1957! No personal recollection, unfortunately. Today, the site is occupied by a midcentury modern office building and a bunch of condos: http://www.tomjonas.com/ingleside/where.htm

Bicycling is the best way to see a city, and on a day like today, simply sublime.

Soleri, welcome to this old mans replacement for running, the recumbent.
I have made that ride you mention.
The drive on on Central was the "Polar Bar" the drive on on 7th avenue was Three Palms and for the East siders on East Mcdowell it was Jerrys drive in.
The Tumbleweed I thought was on Cavecreek but I just dont recall.
Jon maybe at the next unofficial meeting we can pull Buford in as it sounds like he has been around a while.
I have never been very social but in my old age I now belong to two clubs, "The unmentionable Fan Club and the Last man Standing Club of Washington High School and Sunny Slope grade school attendees.

The picture Jon posted looks to be from about 1955. The JC Penney's building had opened in 1953. The store on the other side of it was Diamond's, which had been Boston's until its name change in 1947. Diamond's moved to Park Central in 1957, and the space was taken over by Skagg's Drugs, which lasted until 1980, if I recall correctly. And it was in this building on 3rd St where you could find the Nogales Cafe and The Matador side by side. The site now hosts the Bank of American building.

Cal, it was the Tumbleweeds Tavern at 13th Avenue and Hatcher, a notorious hangout for bikers, knaves, blackguards, and the various dregs of Sunnyslope.

Do you remember the semi-circular drive-in on Central where Park Central now stands? I believe its name was the Central Drive-In. My father tore it down and salvaged some huge photographic murals. Also, there was a drive-in close to where Hula's now stands. I believe its name was Bo's Uptown.

Do you remember the semi-circular drive-in on Central where Park Central now stands? I believe its name was the Central Drive-In. My father tore it down and salvaged some huge photographic murals. Also, there was a drive-in close to where Hula's now stands. I believe its name was Bo's Uptown.
Somewhere in the clouded hemispheres of my mental semi alertness these both seem familiar. While we are at it how about Riverside, Sarges Cowtown and Tom Mix's house.

Cal, I know Los Dos Molinos fairly well. BTW, there's one now at the Azteca Wedding Plaza? When I take light rail, I see the signage and wonder why I never here talk about it. At any rate, Tom Mix is probably rockin' in the ethers knowing his home survives. And as far as the Riverside, yes, that lasted sometime into the 80s as I recall. A childhood friend with a fixation for Mexican girls would go there until he got beaten up by some cholos for not respecting their turf. Before the 60s, it had been primarily Anglo.

Sarge's Cowtown? Never heard of it!

One more: Rosenzweig Ballroom. I looked like a dump from Central and I remember how happy I was when Del Webb built his high-rises on its acreage. Still, it must have felt like a classic roadhouse in its day, way out in the boonies surrounded by tamarisk trees.

Pinocchio (1940) is on the playbill at the Fox. Theatrical re-release for Pinocchio was 1954. The shadow cast by the '53 or '54 Chevy in the intersection is almost directly under the car. That makes it midday near early summer. Everyone in the picture is wearing short sleeves and there are a couple kids in the crosswalk who would be in school if it weren't summer. I'd put the photo in June or July of 1954.

Now the quiz question: What was the first "skyscraper" built in Phoenix? Where is it? When was it built? What was next door at the major intersection? And, what was across the street from both? Phoenix was so excited!! We were going to have a skyscraper, just like a real city. Maybe the TV networks would even realize that someone actually lived in the Mountain zone.

DoYourMath, I'm going to assume you mean the Guaranty Bank building on Central just north of Osborn. David Murdock was the developer and he went bankrupt before retiring to Santa Barbara as a billionaire. The year was 1958 and it was the tallest building in Phoenix, three miles north of downtown. It's still there, 20 stories of boxiness with a post-modern hat added 25 years ago. An old mansion was torn down for the site. It had a classical pediment and looked something you might see on a Southern main street.

The first high-rise outside of downtown was Phoenix Towers, the co-op apartment house built by Del Webb on the site of the old Heard mansion, Casablanca (another one of my father's salvage-rights tear-downs). It was 13 stories. That year was 1957.

I'm not sure what "skyscraper" means here. The old Professional Building, and the Luhrs Tower were certainly skyscrapers with their art-deco styling. But between their construction in the late 20s and early 30s, there wasn't another high-rise built until 1956 with The First National Bank Building (now ASU) on Taylor & Central. It was longer than it was tall and didn't really look that impressive.

The first real post-war skyscraper built downtown was the Arizona Title & Trust Building at Monroe & 1st Avenue. 19 stories. 1964. Will Bruder rehabbed the exterior five years ago.

My question is: what was soleri doing wandering around the Duece as a four year old? Did CPS exist back then?

Azrebel, even then I was looking for something to complain about. "Why don't you gentrify this flop house? It's got great bones and could make a killer loft for the right suspect".

Very good Soleri! Thank you. That is the building I was thinking of. And, thank you for the added bit of history. Next to it was a Helsings restaurant on the northwest corner of Osborn and Central. Across the street (Central) was the old Osborn school which was replaced by the "punch card" building.

Yep. That punch-card building (Financial Center) was built in two phases (1964 and 1969) and, alas, the third one - a companion tower to the north - was never built. It was home to Western Savings when new. The architect was from St Louis, a W.A. Sarmiento. If you want to see more of his work, check out the Sooper Salad outside Metro Center.

David Murdock was also the developer on this project, and it precipitated his bankruptcy due to a souring economy. The original tenant was going to be Univac, a subsidiary of Sperry Rand. When they pulled out, Western Savings picked up the pieces.

Of all the buildings on north Central, this one is far and away the most loved. You can maybe catch a bit of that Brasilia vibe. It's baffling that it was never built out but development is not a game for aesthetes. It can break your heart.

BTW, did you know that both Helsings were designed by Arizona's first Chinese-American architct, John Sing Tang? The one on Osborn was wildly exuberant, a stunning example of the Googie's style. It (or its bowdlerized iteration) was torn down about 20 years ago and Central Avenue lost one of its great icons. Now it's a utterly boring Walgreen's. The one at Uptown Plaza was torn down for -shudder- an Applebee's.

I thought Tumbleweeds was on Cave Creek just a bit north of Dunlap (maybe it moved by the time I was trolling). One visit was enough... I was probably lucky to get out of there without a fight over, or with, the drunk (ex?)junkie that left with me.

The old Diamond's store on 2nd street flourished when transplanted to Park Central, then Thomas Mall. Whereupon the Roberts Bros. sold the 2 store package in 1968 to a delighted Dayton/Hudson, who sold it in the 80's to an apparently delighted Dillard's who did a creditable job of developing and maintaining the enterprise. All things considered, it could have been worse!

Completely unrecognizable now! Would have been amazing if the Fox Theater was left standing, as well as the Adams Hotel and some of the other tall structures mentioned. I'm not so sore over the loss of many of those one story structures although if they remained on 2nd Street in Evans-Churchill development, artists' colonies, etc would probably be far more interesting and intense compared to today.

I know CityScape is a little sterile but it is growing on me; I guess as the flora and fauna take hold of the plazas the place feels much better and more organic. In all honesty, I think CityScape is a great addition downtown and as I said before it isn't too big and other cities have their sterile, modern shopping centers that have attracted crowds: Seattle's Westlake Center and Pacific Place, and Denver's Cherry Creek for instance.

From what you all have described, the bar where Miranda was killed is now either the third base in Chase Field, or somewhere under the court in U.S. Airways Center. Either way, fascinating history for sure. Thanks for sharing this stuff, Jon, and now that I know the history of the Duce and the Deuce I won't confuse them again.

Now this brings me to ask; wasn't one of Phoenix' oldest Black neighborhoods just south of the Deuce? George Washington Carver High School, now George Washington Carver Museum, is just south of the ballpark. This area is where warehouses still exist in great numbers and now that the wrecking balls have ceased, are prime for redevelopment and interesting/eclectic tenants.

Interesting note, Arizona ended segregation in schools a year before the nation (Brown vs The Board of Education). Makes you yearn for that kind of social progressiveness in Arizona once again; the Black and Hispanic populations have really become complacent in recent decades.

One of Arizona's legendary attorneys, Herb Finn, was a key player in desegregating Phoenix schools. He was my father's attorney in the 1950s so I knew him and his family very well. This article, written by his daughter Ellie, tells the story:

Hey, pSf, just had a thought.

If you are to be progressive or in other words, make progress, you have to maintain some kind of focus. What if you're distracted? I think distraction is a bigger threat than complacency. What if you've been brainwashed into having your whole world revolve around the latest iPhone, tennis shoe, video game. As long as those Pavlovian urges are fulfilled, what else matters in your little world. That other stuff, (the real world), takes too much energy and is TOOOOO HARD. Texting only takes two thumbs and knowing how to spell LOL.

The above scenario applies to ages 5-21.

FaceBook takes over for ages 22-50.

Thus, two generations asleep at the wheel.

You are the exception, but we need many, many more.


PSF, I'm not going to argue that CityScape is worthless but I would say it barely scratches the surface of real-world retail. The more apt comparison in Denver would be the downtown Pavilions that contains a similar mix of restaurants, and so-so boutiques. Cherry Creek, by contrast, is the Scottsdale Fashion Square of metro Denver and it's only three miles from downtown. Obviously, I'm not a big fan of shopping malls, but if you're going to have one, it's great if the best one is in the center of the city instead of 20 miles away in an affluent suburb. Similarly, Pacific Place and Westlake give downtown a big retail presence with major department stores. There are also high-end retailers like Tiffany's in downtown. In this regard, Seattle is clearly superior to Denver while both are vastly better than Phoenix. Even if CityScape succeeds on its own terms, it will never be much more a minor retail island in under-served downtown Phoenix.

I'm not much for indoor malls either Soleri; I prefer the Biltmore if I'm going to a department store. But isn't Scottsdale Fashion Square and the retail core of Old Town only 9 to 11 miles from downtown Phoenix? It is still not as close as Cherry Creek to downtown Denver, but not 20 miles away.

CityScape is only a piece, a small one at that, for downtown development. It is the first real retail development for downtown post light rail...therefore, when more retail moves in there will be no other choice but to put up shop in existing storefronts or create more buildings with street level retail avoiding the shopping mall in downtown duplicity.

Just dreaming here, but if an investor had the fortitude and a development group like Pine Street (???) in Seattle had the foresight, they would make a destination "intersection" in Phoenix and invite Bloomingdale's from CityNorth (they are no longer anchoring that development) to get a unique tenant to anchor downtown. This not only would draw a crowd from as far away as North Scottsdale, Arrowhead Ranch, and Ahwatukee/Chandler but even get the "chi chi" neighbors from Willo, Encanto, F.Q. Story, Alvarado, etc etc to stay near Central Ave.

Guys I got a lot on my plate until end of May, but if and when I get back from Marfa I will hone in on some history.
There were two bars on Hatcher one at about 1100 West on the south side of the street and one on the north side at about 100 west.
I poured the rubberized roof on the back portion of the Diamonds store at Park Central in 59 and Shorty the hod carrier who was used to pumping plaster mud not vulcanized rubber clogged up 200 feet of hose. Also my buddy's mother sold shirts for Diamonds until the day she died (at Park Central) of alcoholism as did her husband previously who was a famous character at the Buggy INN at Grand and 24th avenue. And then a few years ago my buddy (their son) died of alcoholism when his stomach split open in a Las Vegas hotel room as his hooker looked on, He was a retired cop.
I Got go, got go.
"They threw me off the truck about noon. I had swung on the night before, down at the border,"

I might not be dreaming too big if you've seen the plans for "Luhrs Citycenter." There is plenty of room for a department store next to the Barrister Building or on the block just east of CityScape...


I would have liked to see Park Central in its heyday. It looks rather pathetic and the setback is awful. I hate the parking between Central and the building.

The Bar on the north side was at1300 west

Quick question: Why does the 'news' use the terms such as 'economy' and 'bread and butter' in association with the term 'casino'?

Freeing floods.

PSF, Park Central was a functional mall for 35 years. The parking lots were brutally devoid of shade and landscaping, which was standard for the day (see also: Chris-Town). There isn't much that's magical about shopping malls but Park Central had a good mix of stores up until 1990. There's little reason to be nostalgic about it but it was very important to central Phoenix. Its loss still wounds the center city in a fundamental way. Of course, it wounded downtown just as grievously. At the time of its crash, city leaders were focusing on getting something going downtown, first the still-born Square One, and then Arizona Center. The formula never seems to change - some Rouse Company kind of development, crossed fingers, and dashed hopes.

Once again, CityScape is unlikely to change the game even on its own terms. Chasing sports' fans dollars with chain restaurants and a few stores is not a recipe for fundamentally rewriting downtown's history. For that you would need a time machine.

I write a lot about the ragamuffin artists who colonized downtown in the '80s because they offered something other than a top-down approach to revitalizing the devastated core. They saw the magic in the broken bones and seedy storefronts of downtown. They understood the real problem in a way planners never do: it's not the lack of stuff to do and buy downtown so much as the lack of love. You can't fake love with a Charming Charlies or Gold's Gym. You can't fill the void where a heart should go with yet another store catering to stranded tourists.

We are not going to transform downtown Phoenix with optimism. We've had optimism for over 30 years now and by this point it ought to be clear that simply imagining great things downtown is easy but making its artificial heart beat on its own is significantly more difficult. Pessimism has this advantage: you eventually stop pinning your hopes on false idols like condo towers, sports arenas, and chain restaurants. You can have all that at Westgate with much easier parking. Downtown needed (and still needs) its organic rationale. But every freeway we build, every exurban planned community we plot is yet one more stake through the heart of Phoenix. A real city has a real core. Phoenix hasn't been a real city for over 40 years. It's less real today than it was in 1970 when it was one third its current size. If there's one thing to be optimistic about, it's the real-estate crash. It may finally allow something real to happen although I suspect city government and the Downtown Phoenix Partnership will do everything possible to kill it.

Before we get out of here one for the rebel, you ever drink at the Library?

I did ride with Jon, or he with me since I was the "driver". We worked the East Valley together and called ourselves the Junction Medics. All of those memories I posted on another thread last week were calls that Jon and I worked together.

He may not have been on the Miranda or Bolles call, but he did transport Dick van Dyke and, if memory serves, Bob Crane. (I was not involved in either). He probably has many other 'famous' people to his credit, while I can only claim to have transported one of singer's from Kenny Roger's First Edition when she had hysterical blindness- with another partner.

I was in Arizona for ten years 1975-1985 and worked with Jon in 1976-1977. I'm a Seattle native and came back in 1985, so I was delighted to see that Jon moved here and we have gotten together a few times.

My only claims to Arizona fame consist of a front-page picture in the Republic when I was standing in front of Greyhound during a bus strike and later, when I was working as EMT for a construction company, an accident during the construction of the final segment of I-10 to connect to I-17, we had a couple of deaths in a sewer line that made the papers and the national news. My picture was on page 2 or 3, but it was a front page story.

I prefer to work behind the scenes and Jon likes to be in front. That made our partnership work very well. We used to speak of things that required the 'subversive' squad (my style) or the 'belligerent' squad (his style).

Among other things, we wrote new lyrics to old songs a la Wierd Al Yankovich (though long before him) and we adopted the stage names of Buford Gilbert and Arlo Southern performing as "Gilbert and Southern" - a joke which was funny to our comrades due to the standard radio response for an ambulance being your unit number and the nearest major intersection. None of them made the connection to Gilbert and Sullivan as far as I know.

Medics, like cops, have ways of blowing off steam that would seem cruel to civilians. Thus, Buford and I replaced the lyrics to "Sixteen Tons" with "You load sixteen down, what do you get..." a reference to telling the dispatcher how many patients you were transporting (e.g., "one down to Desert Sam").

Among Buford's inspirations was the lyric: "If you see me comin' better pull aside/ a lot of men didn't, a lot of men died / one light is red, the other is blue / I want a com-plete stop 'cause this ain't code two..."

We would also begin "shows" by announcing that we were performing "live from the glamorous cold room, high atop the PML (Post-Mortem Lab, or morgue) in downtown Phoenix.

Among my other celebrity patents: Earl Scruggs (removed a splinter from his eye before a show), and getting a jump start at the Scottsdale Memorial ER from a limo driven by disaster movie producer/director Irwin Allen.

One of my appearances in the Republic was tending to a patient from a rollover 962 (auto accident with injuries). The photo editor didn't notice the leg of a dead person pinned under the nearby vehicle. Made me look as if I hadn't even seen it. Another day on the unit...

But, you had seen the leg, right? Tell us you had seen the leg, right? I'm sure you did. Didn't you? Please, for God's sake, let us know you saw the leg!!!!

Speaking of legs. Today I had lunch at the Clarendon Hotel with a old buddy that was at the Bolles bombing scene. He pointed out a few things to me. One was that Adamson had found a car similar to the one Bolles was driving. Adamson sat in it to figure out where to put the bomb. But Adamson didnt take into account that Bolles was about 6 inches taller than Adamson. Hence the bomb blew off Bolles legs and left him alive for a few days.

Azrebel, I just saw your "distracted" comment and agree. But I also think it has some complacency laced in the whole joint especially for Hispanics that are "Americanized" and a few generations removed from their immigrant relatives.

Yes, Reb, I saw the leg. (I always was a leg man). It's called triage, where you leave the obviously dead so you can treat the most seriously injured patients next.

Even though we would park the ambulance as close as possible to the people we would be transporting, there was usually a few steps to take and we would observe the entire scene in the time we had. Often we would notice things that no one else had, such as victims on the other side of the road.

Jon would get out first, with the jump kit, and I would turn the ambulance around and get the gurney (don't ever tell us to do that- them's fighting words)

Together, we developed a reputation: I would be watching what Jon was doing as I walked up and sometimes I would reach into the jump kit, pull out something he obviously would need soon. He, in turn, would extend his hand to me without looking, trusting that I would know what he wanted. All without a word. Folks who saw it were amazed, but this happens every day in surgical teams that are as used to working together. We were good together but not psychic.

There are a number of skills that good emergency personnel can develop. I was on a motorcycle crash in Kingman with the third member of the Junction Medics. As we walked toward the man I noticed something odd about his posture and pointed it out. His upper arm was broken and it allowed his lower arm to be in a position that was not otherwise possible. Subtle, but something I noticed.

All of this happens in seconds as you approach the patient, if you spend that time doing your job instead of looking for cameras to smile at. At other times one of us would just point to something and the other would know what was meant- that leg under the car for instance.

There was one night we got called to an old motel / cabin complex in central Mesa. It seemed the whole Mesa PD was there. There had a series of events in the last couple of days that included a motorcycle cop being run off the road, so the cops were jumpy. They thought they had they guy in one of these cabins and they were considering going in with guns blazing and asking questions later. Jon and I spent our time trying to keep it from being a bloodbath for the wrong guy. They didn't cover that in EMT class.

Some interesting news from the area formerly known as the Deuce; a hint at maybe some more high-rise development downtown:

“Within the next 30 days I expect we won’t have any AAA office space left,” he said."


I'm sure the mayor meant, class A office space and not "AAA."

I went to Judson School in Scottsdale from 1943 to 1951. I remember the best hot dogs in the world came from the Coney Island a small store on the west side of Central Ave. south of Monroe St. But I can not find it in any photos on the internet. Does anyone remember the restaurant? They just had a long counter with stood to sit at.
Jack Chance

Jack, best info I can find on the Coney Island Joint is a classified ad from 19 Oct. 1951 that said the owner had to sell because of illness - that's probably around the time they closed. It was located at 40 S. Central according to another AZR classified, and seated 39 according to another ad.

Great story, great blog. I have some new reading now! Thanks..Back in the early 70's to mid 70's I got to ride with a friend any time I wished, Sgt Leo Hynes as he patrolled the Deuce. Very interesting indeed. Leo was a great guy, he is gone now but very well remembered.

Is there a book with photos that tells about the Deuce and stories of the people who lived thee? I was homeless there in the 190's and the Deuce was "home"

Correction on the date.. It was the 1980's.

I'm not aware of anything like that, Perry. Maybe some ASU student did it.

My mother was abandoned with 4 kids I am the youngest. After grade school I went to work at Central Citrus in the Duece as you call it.

We packed and bagged oranges " pure gold " and shipped them on the rail cars. The sheds has coolers, no heating in the winter. Tracks on each side. I had only been there a couple days and we went to lunch at a small Mexican place that served food and also made tortilla's. I have never had better Mexican food.

Walking back to the sheds there was a wino beaten, bleeding and laying along the tracks. It scared me to death I had never seen anything like that before. The other women that worked there were all 20 years older then me and very use to seeing that sort of thing.

I was taught that day what he was, why he was there and to always stay away from them. I loved that job. The trains would come by and you saw all sorts of things a 13 year old probably shouldn't . The best thing I saw was the passenger train. It would stop alongside the track for a few minutes as it went through. I could see people at the dining cars and made a pledge to myself that one day come hell or high water I would be a passenger on that train, sit in the dining room and have dinner.

I learned quickly that most the women I worked with on that train made more money then most men working else where.

I was 13 years old in 1963 and made 250.00 a week. It brought my mom and I our of poverty and every time I hear about all this men get paid more then women it cracks me up. I loved working there. I rode that train many times with my family.

Wonderful post and photos. Thank you.

I used to shine shoes in the Segunda neighborhood when I was a kid growing up and picked cotton in the fields of Phoenix back in the 50s. My Mother used to go dancing in the bars there also.

Phoenix in the '50s was still in many ways a frontier town, a far cry from the Polyethylene-wrapped place it is now. One of my earliest memories is of shopping with my mom at Woolworths. I wandered out the front door and headed east along Washington. I ended up in a convenience store where some guys gave me some bottle caps to play with until a cop came to pick me up. He bought me an ice cream cone and delivered me back to my mom.

There were great Mexican restaurants like The Matador and Nogales, and Chinese restaurants like Sing High and the Mandarin Inn. "Respectable" folks mingled with the down-and-outers. Once my mom parked on Madison St. while we did some shopping. Came back and some winos were sitting on our car enjoying themselves. They politely got up and we drove off. For some reason this stuck in my head: I saw a poster advertising an appearance by Elijah Muhammed, or maybe Malcolm X (Muhammed had his winter home in Phoenix).

I enjoyed many a Saturday afternoon in the beautiful Fox Theater, which in the early '70s was torn down in an act of civic vandalism (with a little refurbishing it would have made a wonderful Symphony Hall). Farther east along Washington was the Azteca, which showed Spanish-language films, and the Continental and the Paris porn theaters.

I love all of your AZ and PHX info. My dad’s family moved to PHX in 1926-27. My grandfather was the Prohibition director for the state of AZ. FYI- Frenchy Navarre was one of his agents.
My dad grew up along the 7th street corridor and attended Phx Union and Monroe schools. I have no doubt he was very familiar with the streets of the Deuce/Duce.
The LDS church Phx 1st ward was located on 7th St and Van Buren where the Heritage Square is now located. I recently found a picture of that building in my father’s keepsakes.

I would love to learn more about Frenchy Navarre and Prohabition in Az. I Can send the picture too if you would like.
PS My husband’s great grandfather, Monte Vance, built the Vance Brothers Bakery in the 1930s. It is still in use by Bimbo on Van Buren near Grand.

I wrote about Frenchy in these columns, Mary Ann:



He also makes an appearance in my novel, "City of Dark Corners" and the upcoming "Nurse Murders," due in December.

The tumbleweed bar was on Hatcher and 10th or 11th avenue. It was a dive but generally safe for people without attitude. I frequented it and briefly tended bar. Had a hitch post and water trough under cottonwoods out back for the occasional horseman. More motorcycles than horses in the 1960s of course..

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