Monday, May 25, 2015


Los Dos Molinos

PHM 500x500 FPOLos Dos Molinos is a Valley dynasty – a colorful, kitschy, spicy dynasty. After starting their restaurant business in the far eastern Arizona town of Springerville in the mid-1970s, Victoria and Eddie Chavez set up shop in Mesa on Alma School Road. It was during the long daily commute from the Chavez’s home in Laveen to the Alma School restaurant that Victoria and Eddie first spotted an old, white ranch house just north of South Mountain (pictured above) that had been badly damaged in a fire. The city was planning to destroy the home, but the Chavez family offered to purchase the property and repair it. They placed a bid, cleaned out the interior of the building, replaced the floors, and renovated the space to include a kitchen and bathrooms. In 1989, the third location of Los Dos Molinos  opened there.

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Over the Hump

PHM 500x500 FPOFifty years ago this month, conservationists including Barry Goldwater came together to save Camelback Mountain from development.

The tram would rise from the base of Camelback Mountain to an “oasis” at the summit, the black-and-white sketch shows.

With a mountaintop swimming pool and restaurant, the “See Phoenix from the Camel’s Back” project “will be a feature every winter visitor will want to see,” reads the accompanying caption in a 1950 edition of the Scottsdale Gazette. The project never materialized, but an illustration published in the Arizona Republic 13 years later imagined another scenario: five roads slicing across the mountain, a grand hotel perched on top. Pocked with houses from base to summit, Camelback would resemble an Appaloosa, the paper quipped.

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Pilot Program

PHM0415 FlashPilotOf the many medical ripple effects of the Vietnam War, one of the most important was the advent of helicopter evacuations in medical emergencies.

And though the low deserts of Arizona couldn’t be  further from the bug-filled jungles of ‘Nam, the Grand Canyon State was the launch pad for the first medical helicopters in the U.S.

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Unborn Yesterday

PHM0415PF31BFifty-two years ago, Valley TV personality Sherri Finkbine terminated a tragic pregnancy – and unwittingly gave birth to a controversial legacy that lives on today.

It was the biggest medical story in Arizona history. And more than a half century later, it might still be – a watershed case replete with every imaginable intrigue: “An evil drug company, court battles, mercy killing, crime and religion,” in the words of a character in A Private Matter, a 1992 HBO docudrama based on the case and starring Sissy Spacek.

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Breaking Dawn

PHM0315LL01“Surprise me,” a man says to the bartender, before leaving to lounge poolside at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. It’s the early 1940s and the hotel register is composed solely of celebrities and the social elite who stay weeks at a time by invitation only. The bartender, Gene Sulit, takes a moment to think in the round, gold-leaf-ceilinged bar known as the Aztec Room.

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Sermon on the Track

PHM0315Flash-SermonA Phoenix church has conducted Easter sunrise services at Turf Paradise horse racetrack for the past 53 years.

On Easter morning in Phoenix, Jesus is off to the races, where his biblical resurrection is celebrated every year at a sunrise service at the Turf Paradise horse racetrack.

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Fantasy Football

PHM 500x500 FPOPhoenix barely missed landing an NFL expansion team in 1974, but the Valley’s pro pigskin aspirations later captured the Arizona Cardinals and the Super Bowl.

Clashes between the Arizona Cardinals and their division rival and defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks were hard-hitting, brutal affairs this season. But win or lose, each team had the comfort of knowing they’d be playing the next Sunday – or, at least, the next season.

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