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February 04, 2020


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Worked on the fourteenth floor of the First Federal Savings building. (Mayer corp center) used to have paper airplane contests. Winner landed on Park Central roof !

Lunched at Ivanhoe, sadly with lowlifes who killed Boles.

Lunched at Big Boys. Boss left nickel tips. We left more once he was out of building ahead of us. They don't grow big tippers in eastern New Mexico.

Lots of lunches at Miracle Mile deli now make me a regular at my cardiologist.

"Lunched at Ivanhoe..."

Could I bother you (or anyone else) for a physical description of this place, I've never seen street level pictures of that area.

I believe it was ground level of the building with the Playboy club. Kind of towards the side and back near the parking garage. It was a place where if you took a photo, you and the camera wouldn't fare well.

I can't keep silent any longer with all this nostalgia.
I was born in Phoenix in August of 1937. try to find many "true natives" of my age. I remember all the photos from the last two posts.
My father and his parents, brother, sisters and the family came to Phoenix in 1920 so my Grandfather would be able to survive his "consumption", he promptly died six months later.
I would walk form 7th St. and Portland to 10thst in the late forties, catch the streetcar to Washington and go to the Strand or Rialto for 2 Movies, three serial and the Movietown News. Imagine a nine or ten year old doing that today.

I guess I was too "windy" to post the whole thing.
I cruised Central before Bob's Big Boy was there. we had a regular circuit that began at the Three Palms {our office} and included the Polar Bar and Northtown. Our motto was Slopers beware.

Bolles. My apology. He deserves proper spelling.

Great stuff, Jon. As a History major I really enjoy the photos and your commentary.

AzRebel, yes the address is the same but I never made to connection, thank you.

Great stuff. Thanks. Any chance of a higher resolution photo of Uptown Plaza back in the day? I do remember the Gautier bookstore right across the street to the west.

I wonder if the old Maryvale Community Hospital building is still around? I don't recognize it.

My youngest brother was born in the larger Maryvale Hospital that was built later, and my mom worked as a nurse there for a few years. The County now owns it, and has turned it into a behavioral health hospital.

Maybe, like a lot of hospitals, the original building is still there, but is unrecognizable due to remodeling and facility expansion?

Roger you are one old timer. I rolled in here in 1950 and frequented many of the places in downtown Phoenix shown here. In 56 Jon Sellers (Bolles Homicide detective) wrote me my first ticket at Bob’s Big Boy for pipes after I down shifted the 59 Chevy 348 making the windows shake. I did Three Palms, the Polar bar and Jerry’s drive in. And along with my Mexican Amigos y Amiga’s we did Riverside Ball room on Chicano night. I seldom went to Sarge’s Cowtown primarily because it was filled with plastic gringos.
In 59 I had my last fight in the vacant lot behind McDonald's at Central and Indian School. Jimmy P better known as the King of Buckeye and I wailed on three North High supposed bad asses until they broke and ran but not before hitting Jim in the head with a 2 by 4. And then of course there was Ciot’s ballroom where you could watch the boys from North High try and intimidate everyone. A bad rumor had it that Jack Elam lost his eye in a fight at Ciot’s. Jack was born in Globe and died in Oregon. After Jack and Richard Boone passed I became America’s ugliest dude. In between McDonalds and Ciot’s was an outdoor type restaurant. Maybe a German beer garden. I can’t recall if it had a skating rink or a dance floor. And I ate at the original Woody’s El Nido and I think somewhere there is a photo of my 59 Chevy parked out front. I never got to go to Bert Easley’s Fun Shop and the law did him wrong but the store survived until 2018 after 72 years.
As Ruben posted on the previous blog, I have a preference for ladies. (Y tambien Moreno.) That’s why last time Ruben and I had coffee in Payson I was accompanied by my lady of 12 years. I have yet to meet Ruben’s lady. That said, Ed Abbey and I both favored his book, Black Sun.
Mi Amiga tan linda was born in Miami, Arizona in 36 and grew up at 13 street and Pierce. She attended Phoenix Union. She recalls most of the places listed here and previous blogs. Her sister has never left the area of downtown Phoenix and currently lives in Willow. Both have read Jon’s Brief History of Phoenix.
If someone would give Jon $ 50 grand I think we could get him to write a Huge History of “The Valley of the Sun.” Leaving out the development of championship golf courses of course.
Thanks for the history Jon, Keep Scribbling. Hopefully a new Mystery, soon?

Please note my above writing "my lady" is only as to the love of my life.

True confession: when I was a child, I was Phoenix's biggest booster. I delighted in seeing orchards and farmland plowed under for new housing tracts and strip malls. When a priceless old mansion was torn down (often by my salvage-happy father), it signaled something new and exciting, maybe even lit with neon. The arc of progress eventually stalled, but in the mid-60s I thought I lived in the best place anywhere.

You can see in the pictures how raw Phoenix really was at the time. Major arterials like north 7th Avenue or west Camelback didn't even have sidewalks in the '50s. A derelict night club, Rosenzweig Ballroom looked like a nightmare surrounded by tamarisk trees. Prior to Park Central, a dairy and drive-in were, at best, placeholders for something better. Then the Big Bright Tomorrow exploded with dazzling effect. Skyscrapers rose where just a few years earlier cows had grazed. My juvenile mind boggled. Central Avenue was even decked out with landscaped medians. Time Magazine and Newsweek both had big stories about the "miracle in the desert", which I read and reread to savor every detail of our phoenix-like transformation.

That metamorphosis took away some stunning jewels but replaced them with tall buildings, cars, and "sophistication". Instead of making excuses for a few lingering eyesores and musty antiques, we showed visiting relatives the Guaranty Bank Building, the tallest high-rise in Phoenix and just barely inside the city limits of the time. True, you couldn't really walk anywhere, but that's what made it so good. Soon, Phoenix would look like midtown Manhattan once all the vacant lots were filled in.

That never quite happened, sorry to say. Still, I remember pleasures like Coffee Dan's at Park Central, ice cream at the Carnation Dairy, jazz at the Amsterdam House, movies at the Palms Theater, and one of the most spectacular vistas in all of Phoenix at the SEC of Central & Bethany Home where an old hacienda surrounded by an orchard was backdropped by the glorious if politically incorrect Squaw Peak. You had to be there to know just how wonderful it all was.

You guys are simply amazing. The next time the coffee clutch meets i need to get off my golf car and drive to wherever you gather and worship at your knee. Seriously good stuff.

This summer i wrote a 19 piece Reader's Digest type history for the Webb Museum. It covered Del Webb's life and the development of Sun City. As i look at these old photo's, i recognize several of them from my research.

I suspect he was the most active builder in Phoenix and the state of AZ. We have a listing at the museum of all his projects by state and i will pop down and take a look at his local buildings to see which ones he did.

I did find this cut by Bradford Luckingham in his book Phoenix: The History of a Southwestern Metropolis . It was quoted in Del Webb, The Man, The Company: "There was more construction in Phoenix in 1959 than in all the years from 1914 to 1946 combined. In that year a total of 5,060 dwellings, mostly single-family residences were constructed, along with 429 swimming pools, 115 office buildings, 94 stores, 115 office buildings, and 15 educational facilities. Each year, records were broke in practically every category as the city experienced phenomenal growth."

Staggering numbers by anyone's measure.

What year was that map published? People look at me funny when I tell them that the towns (now cities) were separated and there was a lot of dirt roads where there are now large communities.

Like Soleri, I must confess, too. When I left Phoenix in 1978, I thought it was the best city.

But then I lived in San Diego, Dayton, Cincinnati, and Denver. I had visited Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and NYC. Real cities.

When I returned to Phoenix in 2000, I was horrified at the destruction of my "American Eden" — the loss of shade trees, citrus groves, grass, replaced by gravel and skeleton trees. The destruction of the urban fabric in the central core and movement out to the supersize suburbs.

The scales fell from my eyes.

Migration is a natural occurring PHENOMENON.
Man just thinks he is smarter.

The Desert
In Memory of Frank Herbert

Regarding that city map, it shows the Black Canyon Freeway complete to just south of Olive, and according to the Arizona DOT, completion to that spot occurred in November 1960. The 1952 Sky Harbor Terminal (later known as Terminal 1) is there, but the 1962 Terminal 2 is not. So I think 1961 is a reasonable date for the map.

On Tuesday, February 4, the last flights operated out of Terminal 2, and that evening there was a closing ceremony. I attended, since I had also attended the opening festivities in 1962. When Terminal 2 opened, airport officials stated that it would suffice for our air travel needs until 2000. That proved wildly inaccurate, as the city felt compelled to add Terminal 3 in 1979 and Terminal 4 in 1990.

If you haven't already, be sure to visit the collection of historic Terminal 2 photos at the AZ Central site:


Holy cow. There was a time when one dressed up to fly!

Note Olive Road became Dunlap in Phoenix in the 60's. Until you get to Glendale.
Named after Judge Dunlap.

In that cow pasture/dairy acreage that became Park Central, a temple shall be built that epitomizes the never-ending glory of what we most deeply value:



Building the largest parking garage in AZ , RIGHT NEXT TO THE LIGHT RAIL, is the final nail in the citie's coffin.

The folks in charge are showing that they will ride their cars on the streets and highways to hell before they ever change their ways.

You all have a choice, go along with them or vote with your feet and leave.

Ruben, (AZrebel) why are you still Joe Smith country?

That was Show Low.

Payson is free of the cult.

You might want to Google some of your government folks

My inlaws started a restaurant called the Blue Grotto in 1947 at Roosevelt and 7th Avenue in a house they lived in. Survived as a fairly well known Italian restaurant until the 70's. Would like to find pictures of it.

These photos bring back a lot memories i went to West Phoenix one year 1952-53 then Phoenix technical High School & Street and Van Buran well there worked at Korricks Dept store.
Took care Ed Korricks yard where my mother worked taking care daughter Windy and cleaning house.

Does anyone remember the name of the night club on 24th st and Camelback Rd. Jerry Lewis was a part owner and it burned down in the early 50's. I think it was named Coco's.
I'm also trying to remember the name of the downtown restaurant that had a backbar with a live monkey behind a glassed in jungle like area.

Jon, your talent and skill in touching our fondest memories of what used to be our fabulous, and largely unknown oasis in the desert is extraordinary. I and my family ate at Bob’s Big Boy on Central and Thomas Road as our first meal in Arizona, as we arrived in Phoenix in 1961. Coming from New York, my father was shocked when the young waitress offered him coffee before we ate.Villa Nova on Camelback and 7th Ave. became our favorite place to hang out as teenagers, The Islands restaurant on 7th Street was our place to impress a date while in High School at West High (19th Ave.). We miss ya, Jon, and so appreciate your photos and narrative bringing smiles to so many of us. Thank you, greatly...

You are a treasure, Jon!
Thank you for (properly) tagging the annual Phoenix-Jaycee-produced March event as Rodeo of Rodeos. As publicity advisor at that time, I named it thus in order to (deservedly) signify that it was the biggest and best show in its field.Through The Phoenix Community Welfare Foundation it supported many good causes in The Valley. . . . and, alas, the name "stuck" until its eventual surrender to the "gods" of Big-city culture.

I was 9 years old when my family moved to Phoenix from a very small town in Indiana.We lived in a house at a 2034 E .Roosevelt st.The first Christmas we shoped on the Miracle Mile.We bought our groceries at Paul West's Market.I'm not sure where that was.Maybe around Van Burden and 20 th st?.This was in 1957.I never have been able to find it.Any ideas?I went to William Machan grade school.I think that's still on Virginia.I haven't been back in that area in many years.Is Perry Pool still around?

There was a guy in the 60s who would post signs all over town telling you how far that particular location was from the center of town, They were hand painted on lids from tar cans. For example, 5N, 6W would mean you were 5 miles north and 6 miles west of the center of Phoenix. His name was on the bottom of each sign, German as I recall. They were wired to fences, posts, etc. Anybody remember his name?

The guy who made the paint lid signs was Denny Gleeson (SP). They were titled "Why Get Lost".

Worked at the McDonalds on Central Avenue when I was 16...that was 1972. My dad and the owner were members of the Phoenix JC's, so that's how I got the job. $1.30 an hour!

I was born in Phoenix in 1935. Lived at 16 th St. and Earll Drive. Went to Creighton and Machan grade schools, and North Phoenix High School and Phoenix College. Then went to work for the PUHS School District. Married and raised my kid here and am enjoying my “golden years” in retirement.

My great grandfather, John Hall, owned all the land from Turney to Indian School and from Central to 7th ave. I believe he made the purchase sometime in the late 20s to early 30s. He was able to buy the land for $25 an acre and an old milk cow. He sold some of the land to the government after world war II so they could build houses for returning soldiers so they could buy them for a dollar down. He then sold some of the land on Central avenue to Carnation dairy and restaurant. He also sold the land for the beakins moving company and storage. The original Livia's Italian restaurant also purchased their land from my grandfather as well and was right next door to the house that my great-grandfather built with 18-in thick Adobe walls. Makes me wish the family had held on to the remaining property, then our family would have some definite generational wealth.

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