In the early 1900s, ranch schools became popular in the Western United States. This was largely due to the example of President Theodore Roosevelt, whose success was attributed to his rough experiences in the West. Arizona led the nation in the…

This large, imposing school was built in 1914 on east Main Street. This school held the 4th-8th grade students until 1952 when Mesa Junior High was built. It then became an elementary school until 1973. At that time the Benjamin Franklin Elementary…

The 1898 Queen Anne-style theater, located at 300 West Washington Street in Downtown Phoenix, was originally constructed by architect S. E. Patton for nearly $35,000 (nearly $1 million today) and boasted conical towers, 20 bay windows, accommodations…

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which gave permission for the War Department to relocate Japanese and Japanese-Americans living in the western United States to concentration camps. In March 1942, with…

The Great Depression had a profound impact on the United States as well as greater Phoenix. In an effort to confront the economic and social costs of the Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt argued for a New Deal in which the federal…

In the 19th century, women migrating to the west had opportunities not available to those in the East. These include the right to vote, equal pay for teachers, and more liberal divorce laws. Women confronted and supported the creation of the…

Although the first school in Mesa started in 1879, few children went to school past the age of 12 or 13. Mesa didn’t start a high school class until 1899. They held the class in the upstairs of the Old North School. Mesa Union High School District…

The year 1910 marked the beginning of racial segregation in the elementary schools in Mesa. During Mesa’s territorial years (1878-1910), all children were allowed to attend any school. In 1910 the Webster School was built for the Mexican American…

The Irving School stands in the Town Center area of Mesa at 155 North Center Street. It was built in the same location that the old North School stood for 37 years. It was named after the American writer Washington Irving. Designed by architect…

Women played an active role in the cultural development of Arizona communities including Mesa. The General Federation of Woman’s Clubs of Arizona was established in 1901. On March 9, 1917, 53 women signed a charter to organize the Women’s Club of…

The Dunes hotel was built in the mid-century along Van Buren Avenue in Phoenix, which straddled Federal Highways 60, 70, 80, & 89, which were among the central arteries of the American Southwest.

In 2004, a defining piece of the Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1957 state capitol design rose in the Promenade shopping center in Scottsdale, Arizona. The shopping center desperately needed a focal piece, and Frank Lloyd Wright protégé Arnold Roy was happy to…

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright saw great potential within the vast Sonoran Desert. The designer had just finished the designs of his renowned Usonian homes when he found himself deep within the McDowell Mountains of Arizona. In 1937, after ten years…

The pyramid-shaped tomb of Arizona Governor George Wiley Paul Hunt stands at the peak of a great butte in the Salt River Valley. On a site selected by the Governor, the monument offers a grand view of the once empty valley. The National Register of…

Philanthropist and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie funded the building of almost half of the public libraries in the United States between 1883 and 1929. Included among the 1795 libraries by the"the patron saint of libraries" is the Phoenix Carnegie…

Chinese immigrants and their children played an important role in Phoenix's early growth, as suggested by the now-vacant grocery at the corner of Tonto Street and 4th Avenue. The proprietor of that store for more than 41 years, Ah Gim Yaun…

The rise of Arizona and 59th Ave historic district run within the same train station but on different tracks. The rise and stumbles of both state and street can be better looked at through a timeline rather than a picture. The homes built within the…

Before the rise of the motor court and luxury resort, Phoenix tourism was defined by a different sort of refuge. Out in desert, the enterprising tourist could find himself staying at the guest ranch, a resort that catered to would-be adventures…

In 1937, the piece of land that would one day house Taliesin West was classified by the Arizona government as a wasteland, not fit for any kind of public development. However, where others saw only devastation, legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright…

Just nine years after the 1904 establishment of the town of Chandler, the mighty San Marcos hotel was constructed. This luxury hotel was an instant success, attracting a flock of wealthy guests every winter. Just across the street from the San…

In 1893, city planning took on a whole new dimension. At the World Columbian Exposition, architect Daniel Burnham advocated for extensive planning out of the new cities being built throughout the United States. In what he called the “City Beautiful”…

It all started when a couple was looking for something to drink. When he and his wife Alice established what is now known today as the Buckhorn Baths Motel in 1936, Ted Sliger was planning on using the building as a store, a gas station, and a home…

The origin of the city of Mesa relates directly to the expansion of Mormon settlement out of Utah and into the surrounding territories. In 1887, the first group of Mormon settlers arrived in the Salt River Valley, dispatched by Brigham Young. Over…

In 1887, Mormon leader Brigham Young sent out the Lehi Company to settle the Salt River Valley. A year later, another group of Mormon settlers arrived under the banner of the Mesa Company and camped approximately five miles away from the Lehi…

As the automobile solidified itself as a definitive part of the American tourist lifestyle, the Phoenix area stood out to tourists as an ideal winter destination. The era of auto tourism and strip commercialism that took hold by the early 1920's and…

One of the most legendary hotels in Phoenix, the Westward Ho Hotel has been one of the city’s defining landmarks for nearly a century. As with many other hotels in the Phoenix area, the Westward Ho was constructed in response to the tourism boom of…

It was the 1930’s and times were changing. Though African Americans were no longer suffering under slavery, they were by no means on equal ground with their fellow Americans. Was there any hope of escape? As writer George Schuyler said in 1930, “all…

The development of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve tapped drew from many currents within the region's history and American culture more broadly. Among these was a connection to the broader emergence of the environmental movement in the United States. …

In the late 1940s and early 50s, Tempe stood on the precipice of rapid expansion. A small farming community prior to the war, Tempe grew rapidly as GIs who had trained in Arizona returned to the Southwest to live. Developers seized on the influx of…

Plummeting property prices beginning in the early 1970s enabled developers to purchase numerous lots along Apache Boulevard and build low priced apartment complexes. This initial wave of apartment construction largely catered to local residents.…