Monday, April 27, 2015

historyBlog

Steak through the Heart

PHM0115LL01After nearly 60 years of slinging steaks, the oldest restaurant in the Valley, Monti’s La Casa Vieja, closed on November 17. The historical building on the corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe will stay put, though the two men whose names are most associated with the property are long gone.

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Enter Stage Wright

PHM0115PF15The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Gammage Auditorium has changed a lot in 50 years, but quality performing arts programs are a mainstay.

It’s been called the “wedding cake” – the imposing, eight-stories-high circular structure that dominates the west end of Arizona State University’s Tempe campus. Driving past, one is struck by the grandness of the 50 concrete columns supporting the perfectly round roof, and the uniqueness of two pedestrian ramps extending for 200 feet on either side. Inside, the long arcs of seats, two balconies, and a cathedral-high ceiling produce a sense of comfortable expectation.

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Roast Hunters

PHM 500x500 FPOBack in 1979, Ric and Judy Brecheisen traveled to Europe and drove around in a Volkswagen bus with their children, stopping at coffeehouses across the continent to try new brews. That flavorful family vacation led to a family-run business when the joe-inspired Brecheisens returned to the Valley and founded Passport Coffee & Tea in Scottsdale in 1983.

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Carl Hayden and the Beardless Boy Bandits

PHM 500x500 FPOBefore he became Arizona’s first congressman, Carl Hayden was a fierce and understated lawman.

On February 14, 1912 – the day President William Howard Taft signed the bill making Arizona the nation’s 48th state – Maricopa County Sheriff Carl Hayden handed over his jail keys to Deputy Jeff Adams. It would prove Hayden’s last official act as the Valley’s top lawman.

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Mystery Ranch

PHMEB25If PHOENIX magazine had been around in the late 1950s to do a statewide Best New Restaurants issue, would Flagstaff’s bygone Ranch House have been a candidate? Let’s peruse the menu (pictured above) to find out.

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Lost Horizons

PHM1114Flash-5-HopkinsAs Tempe celebrates its musical legacy, friends remember the troubled life of late Gin Blossoms guitarist Doug Hopkins.

Local musician Lawrence Zubia tells a story about Doug Hopkins, in which Hopkins hops a slow-moving freight train at Mill Avenue, intending to jump off when it neared his Tempe apartment. But the train picked up speed and Hopkins ended up in Tucson, where he spent the night drinking at a bar in Hotel Congress before taking a bus back to Phoenix.

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Saguaro Show

PHM1014LL01“A saguaro boards a train bound for Chicago...”

It sounds like the opening line of a joke, but it really happened in 1893, when some of Arizona’s native desert plants were shipped to the Windy City. Why? Landscaping for a building touting the territorial bounties of Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

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