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August 02, 2021


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And then there is the Westward Ho. I don't know how to put a picture here, but this link will take you to my book "Stories About the Hotel Westward Ho" which is full of pictures, old and new. History, Mystery and Love is the theme. I lived there for twelve years and the Westward Ho Historic Group roamed it from basement to forgotten attic rooms. I even gave Jon a tour when we gave both individual and group tours. And a lot of Jon's history helped to show those early beginning 1928 years.

Mariam Cheshire Or just go to Amazaon/Kindle and put in my name and all of my books will show up.


Went to Fox to see “Sound of Music” in the late 60’s.we didn’t realize they were going to demolish it. Should have been a Historical building designation.

A delightful post, Jon! Your roundup includes some of my favorite buildings, not only in Phoenix but anywhere. The Luhrs Tower in particular is a real dazzler. One tiny quibble, however....

Zig Zag Moderne is most precisely a subset of — and least precisely a synonym for — Art Deco. What is ZZM is by definition also Art Deco, although the reverse isn't true. ZZM is what one called that typically sharp-edged, often colorful, highly geometrical style, often including such motifs as octagons, zigzags, styled floral forms, and chevrons, before the term Art Deco was coined (in 1968!) to cover not only that but also the later Streamline Moderne style, which, inspired by the aerodynamic curves of airplanes, automobiles, etc., smoothed out those sharp edges. To my eye, all the buildings you list qualify as essentially ZZM, although a few — the Luhrs Tower, the County-City Building, the Orpheum — could also be described by Carla Breeze's useful term Pueblo Deco; check out her wonderful 1990 book of that title.

As for the distinction between ZZM and Streamline Moderne, consider a few NYC buildings all designed by Raymond Hood: the former RCA (30 Rockefeller Plaza) & McGraw-Hill Buildings as examples of Art Moderne, and the Daily News & American Radiator Buildings as ZZM. Of course there can be hybrids, too: the fluted columns flanking the main entrance to the Phoenix Title and Trust Building almost suggest Art Moderne, though the rest of it is ZZM.

All hail Lescher & Mahoney! They had the magic touch.


Mariam: true, there is the Westward Ho ... but I spot nothing on it I'd call Art Deco. Spanish Colonial Revival, maybe? Granted, the form of the building exhibits what one might call "Art Deco massing", but that's a whole different beast and a topic in its own right.

Please post to ART DECO..they would LOVE it..this is so tiny on my phone, can't see if there's a SHARE button

Oh, this is a lovely article!

I was born in the old St. Joseph Hospital on Christmas Eve, 1949, and lived in Phoenix until my marriage in 1971. All your stories and photos bring back so many great memories. I’ve been inside most of these buildings. My older brother met John F. Kennedy at the Westward Ho during his presidential campaign. My dad loved to tell the story that the Westward Ho guaranteed sunny days, and if the sun didn’t show, your room for that day was free. I don’t know if that’s true, but I loved hearing him tell it.

I went to Phoenix Union HS for just over a year, until East High opened. My older siblings all graduated from PUHS.

I like Harpos hat.

Cal: you're right, that is a most impressive hat. Somehow I had hardly noticed.

It's a pity there weren't a lot more Art Deco beauties built in Phoenix in the 1920s/30s. Still, racking my brain to think of any others, I managed to come up with a few that probably belong on the list: the J.J. Newberry, S.H. Kress, and F.W. Woolworth stores on Washington. Indeed, the first two have come up here before. As for the Woolworth, I refer to its original form, before it was messed with. (If they were aiming for Streamline Moderne, I'd say they missed and hit dreary.) Of course they're all gone now, but then so is the Fox.

Thanks for the reminder, jms.

JMS, the Hat?
You have to look past the legs.
There is a vacant Sprouse Reitz store in Superior Arizona. And the old MAGA hotel has been refurbished.The old Dairy Queen is now an Italian eatery with a James Dean, Marylin Monroe and Humphrey Bogart without a Hat in a wall picture.

Regarding the Luhrs, my CPA's uncle, also a CPA went off the 11th floor. That was back when some of Phoenix's questionables occupied some space. I had an office in the Luhrs as a result of a business i bought. I never used it due to the obvious mold issues.
JMS, thanks for all that explanation. But it was beyond my comprehension.
Today was a good day as when i turned on the faucet, water came forth and it was only 114.

O.K., I give up. Please explain to a dumb blonde. Harpo's Hat -- I'm lost. And I looked at Harpo's hat in reality and I can't find anything that compares to art deco.
Tomorrow will be better - only 112 out your way. It's worse in downtown Phoenix.

Mariam: First of all, it's quite impossible that Fred's mom could be any sort of “dumb blonde” — 100% out of the question. Case closed, okay? It's just a cool hat. Not an Art Deco hat, mind you, simply a cool hat. And it appears not to be Harpo's standard top hat but rather his suave hat, the sort one would want to wear around the Biltmore. Beyond that ... I'll let Jon explain it. ;)

Jon: Thanks, glad to have been of service. But surely there must be ... nah, I can't think of any others. Folks, if you love Art Deco, Phoenix is not the ideal place to look.

But for fans of the Luhrs Tower (and who isn't?), one other building deserves mention, even though it's not in Phoenix: the O. T. Bassett Tower in El Paso, a cousin by the same architects, Trost & Trost. It's another gem.

(Speaking of doubling, two of my very favorite Manhattan skyscrapers are “cousin buildings” by the team of Cross & Cross: the City Bank–Farmers Trust Building and the RCA Victor Building. Same general massing, same year of construction (1931), similar height, and although their styles differ, both come under Art Deco's broad umbrella. The glorious RCA Victor is about as zigzaggy as it gets.)

Don't puddle, people!

The Historic Saint James Hotel to be a parking lot for the Phoenix Suns????

jms - How do you know Fred? Back in the days when Fred was taking me to lunch, no matter where, downtown, Encanto, Peoria, Tempe and anyplace around, someone would come up and say, "Dr. Cheshire, I was in your class, or you taught me Archery or we went to church/school together. I used to get exasperated that someone else would take my time with him. But I never expected to see my son on the Rogue. And it was so like old times, I wanted to cry. Email is [email protected]

Mariam: the name-check is in the mail!

The St. James may not have been a Paradise, but still ... sorry to see it go. Pretty much the same inglorious fate befell one of my favorite Phoenix buildings, the unique Blue Cross–Blue Shield HQ.

But of course Phoenix has a history — much of it now in landfill.

Was there a tunnel from the
Saint James to the Singh High?

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