Spanish Trails was to be Dr. Kenneth Hall’s pièce de résistance, the first in a nationwide chain of massive bowling alleys featuring a French restaurant and multiple nightclubs. Set in a Moorish/Disney-esque fortress built from recycled materials without any bank financing, the project fell shy of its lofty goal. “It was our family’s Vietnam,” his son Walter Hall says. “Its craziness only seemed to alchemize more craziness. He took umbrage when my brother told him, ‘Dad, bowlers aren’t really into French food.’”
Dr. Kenneth Hall operated a Sunnyslope hospital with a primate zoo until unauthorized medical surgeries used to illegally finance a nearby bowling alley led to his downfall
Mixing apes and appendectomies seems like an ill-advised business practice, but not to Dr. Kenneth Hall. In 1955, the maverick physician opened Sunnyslope’s North Mountain Hospital, a resort-like medical facility with stunning views of Phoenix. Even more sensational was the bizarre attraction located on the hospital grounds: a monkey zoo.
When Papago Golf Course opened in the fall of 1963, Arnold Palmer was the toast of the Valley golf community, having won three consecutive Phoenix Open championships. Although Arnie’s legendary “army” of fans would continue to cheer for their hero every year, Palmer would never again claim victory at the tournament. But that didn’t mean Palmer didn’t keep trying, looking for every possible edge. In the early 1970s, John Pickrell owned Scotty’s Blacksmith and Machine Shop, located on the corner of Brown Avenue and Second Street in Scottsdale. A few days before the start of the Phoenix Open, Pickrell was shocked to see Palmer walk into his grimy industrial space looking to have a little weight taken off his sand wedge. Pickrell confessed that he had never worked on a golf club. The famous golfer told him not to worry, that he wanted to use the grinder himself. After donning goggles and gloves, Palmer ran the clubhead along the grinding wheel a few times, hefted the club for weight, and repeated the process. Finally satisfied with the feel, he thanked Pickrell and handed him a five-dollar bill. Asked where he had learned his machine skills, Palmer responded, “I grew up on a golf course where my father was the greenskeeper. I’ve always fixed my own clubs.”
After a few rounds in the rough, Papago Municipal Golf Course returns to splendor on its 50th birthday.
The night air is lush with the aroma of blooming citrus as a snaking line of parked cars lies in wait for the approaching dawn. The men inside try to nap, but most are simply too jazzed – soon, the gate will fly open and these links-loving fools will rush in.
Father Emmett McLoughlin – dubbed “America’s most famous ex-priest” – was chased out of the clergy after founding the Valley’s first unsegregated hospital.
Phoenix was becoming a major winter tourist playground in the mid-1920s, fueled by robust hotel and resort construction. However, the burgeoning city had a dirty little secret: It harbored one of the nation’s worst slums. The crime-ridden neighborhood, nicknamed “the Bucket of Blood,” was located on the city’s southwest side between the warehouse district and the city dump, a miserable colony of shacks built from cast-off materials. Water and power were practically non-existent, and due to substandard sanitation practices like open backyard toilets, disease was endemic. Access to healthcare was minimal.
“It wasn’t a hard decision to hang up the hard-ball for vintage stuff,” says Lance Busch, commissioner of the Arizona Territories Vintage Base Ball League and captain of its Glendale Gophers. The former youth coach was simply acknowledging the march of time. “I would speculate that the average player age is 45,” Busch notes.