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August 10, 2021


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NOAA has over 30,000 historical charts and maps in their historical charts section, online, free no charge, some going back centuries, some also of the interior, not just the coast


nicely done and thanks for making the maps 'clickable' to embiggen.

it's been a busy 100 years...

I love how there was a toll road in 1867 (but none today). Also, there is a lot of truth in that last, funny map!

The 2017 map, "Dominant Race or Ethnicity" is misleading in that it shows the population of the large Gila River Indian Reservation south of Phoenix to be Hispanic rather than American Indian.

This error is due to the fact that the ancestors of many members of the Akimel O'odham (Pima), Tohono O'Odham (Papago), Ak Chin, and Yaqui Tribes acquired Spanish surnames during the period of Spanish colonization and later when Arizona was part of Mexico.

Among these Native Americans, common Spanish surnames include Garcia, Lopez, Miguel, Manuel, Espinosa, Largo, Villareal, Baptisto, Antone, and Joaquin. This sample, in fact, is drawn from the names of current and past tribal council representatives elected by the above tribes.

Yet another epochal post, Jon, and not merely because it covers various epochs.

Speaking of maps and what one finds on them ... I'm hoping someone here, maybe someone who's “been around the block” more than a few times, can help me identify a particular Phoenix intersection. I've been trying for way too long to pin down a memory of mine from the 1960s/70s of a very scenic route I used to enjoy as a young(er) person. The first thing to note about my mystery intersection is that it wasn't the usual affair but more like : the east–west street came to an end, and so did the north–south street — mostly. In fact it continued north, but as a chained-off dirt road, marked by an R.F.D. mailbox. (This was my first exposure to the term R.F.D. — yes, even before Mayberry.) So technically the intersection was a , although the upper portion wasn't publicly accessible. The E–W street was somewhere east of N. 7th Street and, as best as I can figure, between E. Orangewood Ave. and Bethany Home Rd., inclusive; I believe it was a major (e.g., Glendale) or semi-major (Maryland) E–W street. As for the N–S street, I'd guess it was between N. 16th and 24th Streets, inclusive.

More fun facts: just past where the E–W street ended were tall bushes (oleanders?) and trees; turning right (south) there, one quickly passed some house-sized boulders to the left and was afforded a great vista of the Valley, all the way to Downtown and beyond, as the elevation dropped off. The road descended not quite smoothly but rather in a series of gradual steps, so that if one drove fast enough, an occasional bargain-basement zero-G effect was possible and the car's suspension would get a workout. Either there weren't many stoplights along the way or they were well-timed, or at least my memory is that of a largely uninterrupted drive. About midway along this route, as one approached a major E–W street with a lot of traffic and long waits, off in the distance to the right (west) was some architectural and/or historical curiosity.

Again, 1960s/70s; today these roads might no longer even exist — I wouldn't know, not having been in the neighborhood for several decades. Ring any bells, venerable ones?

Kevin in Preskitt: I also noticed that, yes. “Quirky people and harmless sociopaths” ... “People with an architecture fetish” ... hmm.

Prior to freeway 51, Maryland east from 16th street dead ended at a fence that i recall was city property and became a water reservoir for the city. The elevation increased as you drove up the incline from 16th street and it seems one could drive north into the desert towards what would now be Glendale Avenue. Getting in a position to see south across the tops of many fruit trees. Thats my best guess.

Thanks, Cal. Interesting! I'd been eyeing 16th as a top candidate for the N–S street. So you're saying it became desert as one headed north along it from Maryland toward Glendale? Did that include its becoming unpaved? That's what I vaguely recall seeing beyond the metal gate with the R.F.D. box to one side — unpaved and mostly undeveloped. I remember the dead end of the E–W street as more of a natural barrier (bushes, etc.), but I suppose there could also have been a fence involved.

But now I'm thinking I might have set the northern boundary of my target area a little too low; maybe it should have been not Orangewood but Belmont Ave. Could the mystery spot have been Belmont & 16th? For one thing, it looks as if there's some rough terrain just east of there even today, perhaps including those colossal boulders I mentioned. (If it had been Maryland & 16th as you suggest, the city must have done a very thorough job of blasting them to smithereens, no doubt also shattering the neighbors' nerves.) And for another, 16th Street swerves a little just south of there before straightening out, a detail of my recollections I hadn't mentioned. Whaddaya think?

I can envision a scenario in which, after loading up on comics in the Thrifty Drug at the Royal Palo Verde shopping center (Northern & 12th), the next destination might have been to the southeast — the International Food Bazaar, for example. If 16th St. were effectively cut off south of Northern, it would have made sense to head down 12th, then left onto Belmont, to reach 16th. Plausible?

All that's possible.
I recall 16th street paved in the early 60's. But ending at Northern. And Northern ended at about 18th street.
I can't can't recall Glendale existing beyond about 1800 east. Dreamy Draw was all dirt with a few houses and a horse stable. An Arizona Republic newspaper reporter named Winter and a lawyer named Henry Florence lived in that area North of Glendale and east of 16th Street. Arizona Republic Columnist Don Dedera lived on the west side of the mountain east of 16th street and North of Orangewood. It was a steep rocky dirt road up to his house frim 16th street.
He recently died in Payson.
I'll give it more more thought.

We need Roger Ramjet to comment. He has been here longer than god.

A 1965 map I found seems to show Glendale running all the way until it turns into Lincoln Drive. Given how rapidly the city was changing even back then, I suppose I should refine my date range of interest to be 1965–75. Sounds as if Dedera might have lived more or less in the vicinity of my mystery intersection.

On further consideration, I think the spot might instead be one block north of Belmont, where this street — unnamed on my map but perhaps Hayward — hits 16th St. In favor of that theory, heading south from there one would promptly pass a sizeable hill (did my memory turn it into a bounder ... or were there perhaps also boulders present?) and experience more swerving of 16th St. Also, that same 1965 map shows Hayward(?) extending through to 14th St., something it doesn't still do, and there's a hint what might be a short dirt road splitting off from the intersection heading north-northeast, possibly what I saw beyond the gate with the R.F.D. box.

A detailed, accurate street map from c. 1970 might prove very helpful! And yes, so might any heroes of our nation (or of the blog) who care to chime in.

Heroes? Audie Murphy!
20 years of war in Afghanistan had its share of Heroes. But many interviews of those on the ground warriors, revealed they never thought "WE" were winning.
And today's heroes get locked up.
"WE" call them Whistleblowers.

I'm sure you will solve your map mystery.

Cal: Yes — of our nation.

I meant Roger S that posts here occasionally. His been here for more than 80 years.

Hey you guy/gals - What fantastic memories! I've been busy celebrating 94th birthday so just caught up with conversation. I'm sure you thought of this and just haven't mentioned. When writing for a web site around 2000 which would become "Stories About the Hotel Westward Ho," I went to the library and made copy of years of City Directory. It gave me who lived where and when, showing streets and I could compare year to year.
I haven't checked if those are available online. I'm just throwing this in here to show you I'm trying to keep up. Mariam

Cal and others
I can't be any help with this one. I was only allowed east of Central Avenue with special permission and a passport. I do vaguely remember having a funny kind of jog in that area but that is the best I can do.

Cal: I knew whom you meant. I just didn't know you knew I knew whom you meant. Or something like that.

Thanks, Ramjet; and once again, happy birthday, Mariam!

I'd have thought the periodic semi-weightlessness of speeding down my mystery street a rather popular cheap thrill among a certain set in a certain period. Maybe not. Maybe that was just me.

So as the solution to my first mystery of bygone Phoenix incubates in your subconscious, here's another puzzler, this one a bit less cartographic. Same period, 1965–75. I'm trying to identify a fairly large general merchandise store, which may or may not still be around today in original or modified form. It was just to the east of some N–S street. I have a notion that it was south of Gompers, which would make the road in question 7th Street ... but it's only a notion. The building was two floors tall, boxy, windowless, white-painted brick, stretching east the length of the parking lot to its south. And at the south end of the parking lot was an area devoted annually to Christmas trees. The south-facing entrance was toward the middle of the building. I seem to recall the second floor of the store as being partially cut away inside, just a wide balcony that wrapped around the perimeter. On the lower level, a little left of the main entrance as one entered, was a small food area with some vending machines for the kids. (That's where I first discovered Cracker Jack, back when the Toy Surprises were quite substantial.) Up an escalator on the east end was the furniture/lumber/hardware department. (And that's where I first discovered teak wood, back when it was exotic and faddish.)

Does this sound at all familiar?


 Good news, everyone!  No need to continue racking your brains over the identity of my Mystery Store: my friend, who was there, has somehow figured it out.  The place was ... Milt's! I would never have remembered that name, and I was also confused about what side of Central it was on.  Milt's had two Phoenix branches, and the one in question was the 2nd, at 5555 N. 7th Avenue; it opened October 18, 1962 and apparently closed in 1971.  Then in 1973 E. L. Rice & Co. (a name I recall somewhat better) moved into that location and remained in business there only until 1976.  I very likely visited it during that period, although my primary memories surely date to the Milt's days.  Around 1998, so I hear, the building, probably then greatly altered, became home to KTVK, and later something called AzFamily.com.  I saw how it looks nowadays and found it unrecognizable.

 Milt's was a big advertiser in the Arizona Republic over the years they were around, and in fact the paper covered the grand opening of their 2nd branch.  The article notes, "Store occupies 30,000 square feet with 500-car parking." I wish I had a larger version of the image of that page; it's the only view of the store in its original state that I've found.  I wonder whether they removed the huge MILT'S letters at some point, not only because I'd hate to think I forgot a detail like that but also because I recall a long expanse of plain white walls in front.

Glad you found it -- quite a bit of sleuthing. I vaguely remember Milt's. If you were still in Phoenix, you would probably be watching channel three KTVK and Arizona Family is big on both channel three and channel five KPHO-TV

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