I stumbled across the Arizona Good Roads Association Illustrated Road Maps and Tour Book at the Tempe Public Library. It’s a reprint of a 1913 book full of hand drawn maps and photos of Arizona towns as they were back then. (Yay libraries! And yay maps!)
Phoenix was sparsely populated when there wasn’t air conditioning blasting away the desert heat. All the recent development makes the city feel so new that it’s easy to forget that people have lived here for centuries. I love the window back in time this book provides.
I brought the book along when we went to my uncle’s house in Globe over Fourth of July weekend. Globe is an old mining town about an hour and a half east of Phoenix with lots of quirky antique and thrift stores. In 1913, it already had 5 hotels (!)
As we drove, I looked for surviving landmarks and tried to picture the route we would have taken in an early Ford or horse-drawn wagon. The map from Phoenix to Globe passes through Tempe, over railroad tracks no longer in use (but still there), right by the old creamery that now houses a handful of businesses – including the ever-popular Four Peaks Brewery. It continues down Apache Boulevard, which I believe was part of US 60 before the freeway was built, and winds through the Superstition Mountains over Apache Trail, and past the Roosevelt Dam.
It would have been a much slower route. Instead, we made it to Globe early enough to grab a coffee before heading out to the cookout at noon. We had a great time catching up with cousins I hadn’t seen in forever, picking cherry tomatoes from the garden, sitting in the shade and chatting.
On the way home, Phillip and I stopped in the historic downtown and tried to spot a few of the buildings in the book.
We found the 1st National Bank (now an antique store with a new facade), the courthouse, and Gila River Bank Building (currently empty and for lease).
I thought the school looked like what’s now The Noftsger Hill Inn, but, once we were in front of it, the details weren’t quite right. Turns out it was built in 1917. We’ll have to find the school in the picture another day. I think I’ll just have to get my own copy of the book.Read More