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January 10, 2022


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I have some slugs from many years ago that still work in the pinball machine at the Sugarbowl.
Recently my soulmate and i put on our masks and snuck in for some ice cream after our 3rd plague shot.
I recall a Scottsdale road not paved?
Thanks Jon. Good photos.

Here’s to Mayor Herb Drinkwater. Back when Arizona politicians had backbones.

Coronado High School will be familiar to fans of "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure." It stood in for San Dimas High School in Southern California. Most of the film was shot in the Phoenix area.

It’s absolutely hysterical to think what you see and posted was when Scottsdale was real. Scottsdale was real like Roy Rogers or Gene Autry was “ real”. The most successful places were dude ranches and resorts that catered to the myth. Scottsdale was built for tourism and expanding the white-owned myths.

I loved it but realize it was built for fun, the whole Old Town Basket House Porter’s Western Wear Curiosity Shoppe thing. Meanwhile no one talked about the tribal lands ignored to the East.

I think it's safe to say the Tribe got the last laugh...$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Ah, missed the picture of the famous "Refuse Wranglers" picking up the garbage. Did that in summer of 1967 while home from college. $2/hour and all you could eat. Despite constant hydration, my weight would fluctuate 8-10 pounds every day and I was in the best physical shape of my life.
Many of the "Wranglers" were Golden Gloves boxers who did it for the training benefit; running from can to can in the alleys, lifting, twisting. repeat .....ugh!

Gotcha covered on the Wranglers.

@buckobear: Ah, missed the picture of the famous "Refuse Wranglers" picking up the garbage. Did that in summer of 1967 while home from college. $2/hour and all you could eat.

I'm scared to ask, but "all you could eat" what?

As Bob Boze Bell called it, "Scottsdale - The West's Most Midwestern Town."

Handlebar J, still standing, still iconic, same owners for almost 50 years, and only the second of Handlebar J.
George and Joannie Luatz managed the Lulu Belle (shown in the picture and long gone).
A bit of history….
So, when Wild Bill Byrd (Handlebar J was first called Wild Bill’s, where Waylon Jennings performed regularly before becoming the country music icon he became), got into tax trouble and had to sell…. Dick Campana and the late Scottsdale Herb Drinkwater (who at the time owned Drinkwater’s liquor store next door to Handlebar J), were going to purchase the property and business. Drinkwater backed out, and Campana then asked George and Joannie who at the time had been managing the Lulu Belle, if they wanted their own place. The Lautzes agreed and started Handlebar J in 1967(ish).
George was an accomplished jazz guitarist and realised he needed music in Handlebar J. So he reached out to my Dad, Brick Herndon who put together a band called The Country Score. My Mom Gwen, who had worked as a waitress and Manuel himself of Manuel’s Mexican food on 32ndst and Indian school for many years, left Manuel to wait tables at Handlebar J.
Mom and Dad (Gwen and Brick) both worked for the Lautzes for about 9 years. George Lautz liked liquor a bit too much so they decided to take the bar out of Handlebar J in about 1974, without a bar Cowboys find another watering hole. Back then Handlebar J was only surrounded by tumble weeds, and only a few other buildings, a Tastee Freeze, a Shop n Go and a gas station. The rest was desert for miles in every direction.
The original Handlebar J “Bar” was sold to the Gosnell’s and is still the current bar at The Hole in the wall at the Pointe 16th street.
The Herndons with help from Gwen’s brother John W Lattimore, (successful valley cement contractor), purchased and re-opened Handlebar J with a newly built bar and operations by Gwen and Brick Herndon.
The Country Score played on. Ray and Ron Herndon became more and more a part of the music.
Brick Herndon passed away from lung cancer in 1981 after realizing his dream of owning a place like Handlebar J.

As time progressed and the older style music was going out, Ray and Ron started the Herndon Brothers band in 1986. Playing nightly at Handlebar J the crowds were bigger than ever. The Herndons did some expanding of the bar as much as they could, and the crowds kept coming.
Gwen Herndon successfully owned and operated Handlebar J for 40 years, and had worked there 9 years prior, so of course everyone knew Gwen. An amazing woman!
Gwen passed from dementia in 2017. Ray Herndon shortly after bought out his brothers and Handlebar J continues its legacy.

Scottsdale history.

Based on the Budweiser’s I drank at lunch and then the Buds I drank at happy hour , several days a week for weeks stretching into years, I would estimate that I have about a 10% silent owner stake in the place.

Herb Drinkwater worked on behalf of the city about 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, none stop for years. He would vacation in upper New York for a few weeks in the summer.

His pay was around $25,000 a year. He would regularly go to the city council and ask for a raise, which they would regularly turn down. He would grumble about the decision then it was back to work.

My grandpa Nugget was the projectionist at the Kachina for many years, so I appreciate the Kachina photo. I loved being able to go into the projection booth as a kid. Strangely enough, the Kachina ran 'The Sound of Music' for seven years. I suspect my grandpa has seen that movie more than anyone else on the planet.

Two non sequiturs that make me laugh every time are "the West's Most Western Town" and "Old Town Scottsdale." Poserville...

Go Dons! All your missing is a picture of my beloved Smittys on Mcdowell and your golden.

There’s a great new comment in the I-11 column.

I-11 and dirt roads
I recall throwing up a lot of dust in my rearview mirror as I left the Scottsdale area for the 1957 Pinnacle Peak restaurant and bait shop.
But since then the black hat destructive grubby developers have tossed sand in our eyes. So now its all asphalt and concrete. The American lung association says the "valley of the Sun" is a dangerous place to take a breath.
Posted for Ruben over on I-11 column.
The industrial revolution doomed humans.
in case you havent noticed, human moles are trying to slow down UK forest destruction by that idiot Boris Johnson and his tribe.

Not sure why at 82
I keep beating this Bush?
Kolbert got it right, the
Sixth Extinction
For our beginning toward the end I suggest the first Homicide scene in the first few minutes of the film 2001 by Kubrick.
Here's to the great Sonoran Desert,
whats left of it.
May Jack Burnes and Nevada Smith
ride forever.

These photos bring back good memories from the mid-to-late 1980s, when I was a college student at ASU. Scottsdale seemed to be a haven, even then, from the urban bustle of Phoenix.

I do miss Dick Cavett

This is way off the mark. Sorry, Rogue. "Old Town" Scottsdale in the 50s and 60s was kitschy as hell. Nothing there any more real than the plasticine matrons of present-day SCD. Look at the third photo, "Main Street in the 1950s" -- Shadeless palm trees. Acres of blacktop. An abundance of gas guzzlers. It's desolate. A nightmare.

@S.K. Farleystein -- "As Bob Boze Bell called it, 'Scottsdale - The West's Most Midwestern Town.' "

Love it.

@Joe Schallan: I'll take that Scottsdale any day compared with the giant vampire squid it's become. Nor am I alone: This post received thousands of page views more than the normal RC post and hundreds of "likes" and "hearts" on Facebook.

The reason? Scottsdale was a real town. It wasn't "exclusive." People who remembered that loved it. Sure, Scottsdale is rich now. It's not beloved.

Sure, tourism was part of that town. But so were Lute's Drugs and Earl's Market downtown, leafy Scottsdale High and Loloma Elementary School, and the mostly middle-class neighborhoods. It was Yellow Front and the bowling alley at Thomas and Scottsdale Road. Papago Plaza, which predated Los Arcos. And empty land along Scottsdale Road behind our house on 72nd Place so we had a clear view of sunset over the Papago Buttes.

BBB's quip is cute, but the monicker applies more to today's Peoria, Sun City, Su-prise, Goodyear, Gilbert demographically. Otherwise, I've lived in Midwestern towns and Scottsdale from the 1950s through the 1970s was nothing like them.

My date took me to Trader Vic’s on prom night in 1966. East High School had our prom at Mountain Shadows. There was a little shop in Old Town Scottsdale that had all kinds of things that a teenager aspiring to be a hippie wanted, like flower decals for your car. Not long after applying mine, I was pulled over by a Phoenix cop for seemingly no reason except to sneer at my “flower child” rear window stickers. I have only fond memories of Scottsdale in the 60s.

Thanks, Rogue. But the "West's Most Western Town" was synthetic. My Iowa grandma would have loved the kitsch.

Fake . . . well yeah. But as an adjunct to long-ago tourism, when we (Arizonans) were exotic and charming, sure.

That Scottsdale has become a "vampire squid" -- well, yup.

Even kitsch, in the rearview mirror, can be charming.

I think that Mr. Boze Bell's description applied more to the cultural and geographical provenance of new arrivals to Scottsdale than to the physical resemblance of Scottsdale to Midwestern towns.

It is interesting why so many Midwesterners found themselves dispatched to Arizona in the 1950s. For my parents, the reason was lung health, as it was for so many others.

But for others it was the prospect of jobs in an emerging high-tech industry -- GE computers on north Black Canyon Highway, Sperry Rand, AirResearch, Motorola Defense Systems, etc.

Trader Vic's was the hangout for the art crowd in the 80's and 90's. They didn't know squat about art, but they had money to burn. Thus, it was not uncommon to see a purchase for a $20,000 painting measuring 12 inches by 12 inches for a nook in their hallway bathroom. The painting was of no importance. What was important was to be seen by other patrons in the gallery spending that money. Then off to Trader Vic's to drink until closing time.

I hung out for a short time with a gentleman who arrived in Paradise Valley with $50 million from the sale of his parent's cement company in Illinois.

He had about a dozen hanger's on. One day he pulled me aside and thanked me. I asked what for? He said I was the only one who would pay for my own beer and buy him a beer every other round. He said the rest of the group would never do that. They expected him to pay for everything. I told him he was more than welcome.

I only trailed him in net worth by about $49,999,500.

Ruben, i checked with your old bosses at Lloyds. They said they paid you a fortune.
Thats a lotta beer!

Wrong company cal. I worked for Floyd's of London. Operated out of a back room at a pub two blocks east of Hyde Park. We wrote our policies on paper with disappearing ink. Never paid a claim in thirty years.


I love this kind of stuff. How weird to have personal experience of a place that's changed so dramatically in such a short time. And I suspect that your experience as a pooper-scooper prepared you for a life in the media.

What a huge rush of memories and stories these photos have brought back to me. I was "packin' em' om" at Portofino's Coffee House on Main Street, back in those days. (Right across the street from the Rusty Spur bar.) Thank you, Scottsdale, for giving me my start in a long and very exciting career making music. I have now been "Arizona's Official State Balladeer" for 56 years. At nearly 88 years of age, I now live in Tubac, Arizona and I still write my Arizona ballads and sing and play my guitar every day of my of my life. ...and the beat goes on.

Today in Scottsdale you're more likely to see a Rolls Royce than a horse.

Glad you reposted this Jon. It's a heartbreaker for me. I grew up in the old Scottsdale and am constantly reminded of what's missing what has changed.
As a kid, the Little Red School House was my Public Library and I walked there on Saturdays on my way to the little shops and galleries in town. No banned books for this kiddo...and I haunted the bookstores spending my allowance on pocket books as well.
Before the Green Belt-I walked home across the wash from Coronado High. Glad they salvaged Joe Gatti's mosaic.
China Lil's was exotic and delightful. Lute's was where I would grab a lunch on my way to my way to work at the Valley Ho...or Hobo Joe's.
Later I worked the galleries on Main and then Marshal Way. I watched the creative community flee with the rising costs in the old town. Then they made the huge mistake of spinning off the arts programming to a private corp. The original Center for the Arts was an open and an Arizona based encouragement to regional artists...now we have SMOCA if you can afford to go.
And now they have destroyed the park like atmosphere for the center's grounds...I get the maintenance issues but really...The arts corp owns and moves original art around and a lot of it ends up north. ~sighs~
Anyway, Thanks for reposting this one...I miss my old home town.

I remember all of the old times in Scottsdale. Went to school with Herb. Remember the first grocery store which meant we didn’t have to drive to Bayless on Central Ave in Phoenix. Lived there in 1953 to 1973.

Blast from my past. Grew up? In old town Scottsdale!
Man 👨 worked at 3 of them!
My very first was a Houseman at Valley Ho.
2nd Pantry at Lulu Bells
Later in 70’s did a short stint at Safari Coffee Shop
Many times at Kachina & Roundup
Went to Paiute and Scottsdale High
Still in Az

In the 60s my Camelback High friends called Scottsdale "Stopsdale" because of the many 4-way stops along Scottsdale Road, which made it a slow cruise. Also does anyone remember Enrico's Pizza? Their servers wore Chicago Cubs uniforms. Correct me if my details are off!

Back in 1970, the year SCC opened, I had a U.S. history teacher who called Scottsdale "The west's most western, and white, town."

That seemed pretty accurate. In my four years at Coronado High (starting in 1966), and two years at SCC (ending in 1972), I could count non-white students or faculty on one hand.

Nevertheless, Scottsdale in those days was a great place to spend my teenage years.

Thanks for that bit of nostalgia.

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