The first president of the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board, William Hartranft, modeled the city's Encanto Park after San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. In so doing, Hartranft channeled the vision of Frederick Law Olmsted, an American landscape…

The New Windsor Hotel is a survivor in downtown Phoenix. It was built in 1893 and had several remodels and name changes such as “The Windsor” and “The Sixth Avenue Hotel.” The hotel survived gentrification and was accepted in the National Register…

The Desert Botanical Garden emerged as an antidote to the agricultural and economic development of Phoenix. A dedicated group of Phoenix residents, concerned about the city’s sprawling expansion and the increasing destruction of the surrounding…

Founded in 1939, the Desert Botanical Garden has helped to change the way Phoenicians see the Sonoran Desert. As Phoenix began to grow in the 1920s, many residents saw the desert as a blighted landscape in need of improvement. Local politicians and…

Sun City revolutionized housing and retirement in the United States. It became the nation's largest and most successful retirement development and contributed to a new formulation in how Americans thought about life during retirement. It provided…

Built by an investement group that was led by prominent Phoenicians Marion Isbell and Del Webb, the Sahara Motor Inn opened in 1955. It became one of the signature hotels of the Ramada Inn motel chain during the 1960s and served a generation of…

In Arizona hotels and resorts emerged as a cornerstone for tourism early in the twentieth century; they became pivotal in “selling the desert”. Sprawling landscapes with luscious green golf courses, rows of palm and citrus trees, swimming pools,…

From the 1930s to the 1960s America had a rise in automobiles and a growing economy with travelers exploring out west. These travelers stopped in Phoenix for nights of rest, relaxation and entertainment on Van Buren Street. Van Buren Street starting…

During the week of December 4, 1905, heavy rainstorms forced state officials to reschedule Arizona’s first territorial fair. Weeks later, on Christmas Day, the fair opened its doors. Governor Joseph H. Kibbey made a few opening remarks to more than…

In the early morning hours of April 1, 1934, The Arizona Republic reported that 6,000 Arizonans gathered for a sunrise Eastertide service at the Papago Park Amphitheater. With seating for only about 5,000 people, an overflow crowd sat on the…

“The West’s Most Western Town” characterizes the city different than those around it. Embedded around this ideal, the Museum Western Spirit resides, selling the western ideal to visitors and residents. However, why was this name created? What…

Dia de las Muertos or Day of the Dead, celebrates life and death; revelers remember people-family, friends, inspirations or mentors-who have died yet whose impact on their lives remains eternal. Dia de las Muertos originated in the syncretism-the…

In 1978, almost forty years after the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG) opened to the public, the Garden introduced its first Las Noches de las Luminaria. The celebration has evolved beyond candlelit desert paths; the annual event now includes bell…

William Hartranft founded Encanto Park in 1934, seeking to create a park for Phoenix that was like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park or San Diego’s Balboa Park. Hartranft’s inspiration tells us how Americans living in the 1920s imagined what a park…

C.P. Stephens DeSoto Six Motor Building was one of the longest operating dealers on Phoenix’s automotive-row. Construction was finished on C.P. Stephens’ building in 1928, the same year that the DeSoto brand is created, and the same year Stephens…

The A.E. England Motorcar building, an automotive dealership constructed in 1926 along what will become to be known as auto-row which is along Central Avenue in downtown Phoenix. Ab England constructed the building to be his Phoenix dealership for…

In 1916, World War I and the boll weevil created a crisis for the international rubber industry. Lower demand coupled with insect infestation crippled the southern United States and Egyptian cotton industries. The diminished cotton supply hit tire…

The Mexican-American War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ceded much of what would become the American Southwest to the United States set in motion a long process of transformation. Many “aspiring landowners” knew of the fresh land and acts…

Until 2012, the Alpha Drive fraternity community occupied this district of campus, with thirteen houses (ten of which were occupied) providing a unique gathering place for men affiliated with the university’s fraternity community. For better or for…

The area in Tempe between College Avenue and Veterans Way, on the northside of University Drive, is currently home to several Arizona State University (ASU) buildings such as the Fulton Center, Mona Plummer Aquatic Center, as well as several popular…

Fraternities at Arizona State University are currently housed in the Greek Leadership Village with sororities, but they once lived along Alpha Drive near the stadium. In the early 1960s, when the homes on Alpha Drive were constructed, according to…

It all began with two men: a master architect and a university president leading a small school toward becoming a major university. Gammage Auditorium resulted from the collaboration--becoming a symbol for ASU and Tempe, and emerging as…

In the fall of 1966 Professor Bob McConnell at Arizona State University (ASU) taught an eight-week class that would alter the Salt River bed forever. Class AC 429 tasked its students with one monumental chore: turn the then dry and troublesome salt…

In 1958 Proposition 200 passed in a statewide election by a 2-1 vote and Arizona State College became Arizona State University. That same year Sun Devil Stadium opened, and the team moved from the smaller Goodwin Stadium. The new stadium, opened…

Searing heat scorches Tempe, Arizona and the Sonoran Desert from May through September and the only beacon of relief from the oppressive heat is air conditioning. With a tap of the thermostat…presto, the magic of chilled air wafts from our vents.…

The Victory Acres neighborhood of Tempe highlights the unique story of Mexican-American suburbanization. La Victoria, a tight-knit, predominantly Mexican American, community, emerged during the post-War growth of Tempe and the surrounding region. La…

The Rose Bowl Auto Court was the prototypical automobile court of the 1930s. Two wings of cottages, with adjacent carports, faced a long central courtyard with a lawn, palm trees, and a small swimming pool. It's buildings were both heated and…

The Kon Tiki Hotel was constructed in 1961 by the R.L Branaman Construction Company for a cost of $528,000. The hotel was designed by James Salter who worked at the influential mid-century architecture firm Haver & Associates. The development…

The Sandman Hotel was constructed in 1955 by H & J Construction Company. In a 1956 advertisement, the Sandman offered "Resort living at its finest." Owner/managers Clayton, Mary & Virginia Niven offered a variety of different…

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…