El Mirage was first founded 20 miles west of Phoenix near Grand Avenue. It began as a community of farm workers who were struggling to build homes for themselves. Not long after the early settlers setup homes and farms in the area, the the Army Air…

The Vance Auditorium was built in 1904 by John Thomas Vance. People all around Mesa came to the dances. At the time of its construction, it was the biggest auditorium in the southwest. In 1919, Vance sold the building to the Maricopa Stake of The…

Monti’s La Casa Vieja has been there since the beginning of Tempe. This building was first built by Charles Hayden. After seeing the river and the surrounding land he decided it would be a good place to build and settle. He built a general store, a…

An iconic blonde in blue swimsuit stands at the heart of Mesa's identity. The 78 foot tall neon light lady lit up the Starlite Motel. Owners Elmo and Richard Kaesler added the sign--now a classic piece of roadside American architecture from the…

During the twentieth century, jobs, mild winters, sunshine, and outdoor recreation attracted millions of people from all over the United States to Arizona. Boating and sport fishing on Arizona's many reservoirs lured newcomers from states like…

Hitching posts, knotty pine and board-and-batten bedecked storefronts, Western names and stylized architecture are Old Town’s lasting memorials to early Scottsdale’s efforts to craft a unique identity for the town—one that would bring tourists in and…

Across 19 major-league baseball stadiums in 19 states, are scattered the ashes of former Pink Pony owner, Charlie Briley. Perhaps one of the most well-known fans in the history of American baseball, Briley is largely responsible for bringing the…

PARDON OUR DUST: WE'RE RECONSTRUCTING THE STORYIn the 1950s Craftsman Court and Fifth Avenue became the heart of Scottsdale’s burgeoning arts district. The district began as artists and entrepreneurs invested in the development of the arts. Artists…

Lloyd Kiva New was a leading artist and designer in Scottsdale's burgeoning arts and crafts community following World War II before emerging as a national leader in arts education. Born in Oklahoma in 1916 to Cherokee and Scot-Irish parents,…

When the Hotel Valley Ho opened it 1956, it quickly became a playground for Hollywood refugees. James Cagney, Rudy Vallee, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Marilyn Monroe all relaxed under its roof. Like many local resorts, the…

If, as poet Wallace Stevens suggested, “The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream,” then Sugar Bowl founder Jack Huntress was a very important man. Huntress opened the Sugar Bowl on Christmas Eve 1958, a date that seems especially appropriate…

On March 12, 1956, America met Scottsdale on the pages of LIFE Magazine. Nina Leen’s photographic essay, “Sands of the Desert Turn Gold” introduced the burgeoning Western town, which had been incorporate only 5 years earlier. Here was a place where…