Touring the Mid-Century in Scottsdale

During the 1950s, the resurgent national economy enabled more Americans to travel in search of recreation and leisure. The Salt River Valley's inviting weather, unique landscapes, and rapidly expanding variety of cultural commodities made it a popular choice for enthusiastic tourists. Their enthusiasm came along with a purchasing power that resulted in a steady stream of income for the area.

Desert Gold

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 incorporated only 5 years earlier. Here was a place where…

Hotel Valley Ho

Built in 1956, the Hotel Valley Ho never had time for its original grand opening. The rooms filled up far too quickly to bother. The hotel thrived as tourists were drawn to Scottsdale's burgeoning arts and culture district; the industrial giant,…

Celebrity at the Valley Ho

When the Hotel Valley Ho opened in 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…

Old Town Scottsdale

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 set Scottsdale apart from other westward destinations. This foundation…

Craftsman Court and Fifth Avenue

During the 1950s Craftsman Court and Fifth Avenue were the heart of Scottsdale’s robust and vibrant arts scene. This vibrancy was both cause and symptom of Scottsdale’s newly inaugurated status as a glamorous, tourist destination. National…