Wednesday, January 28, 2015

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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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Over the Counterculture

PHM1014Flash-4-OverCounterFor a brief blitz in the late ‘60s, Arizona produced a slew of influential underground publications.

The table of contents for the July 1968 issue of Phoenix-based bimonthly counterculture digest Orpheus teases such stories as: “Yiggers, Blonkies & Crackers,” “Confessions of a Pornographer,” “Declaration of Cultural Evolution” and “San Francisco’s Hipster Cinema.”

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A Grape Time

grapes, wineArizona has always had a footing in the fruit industry, at one point even having more grapes in the ground than California, according to Peggy Fiandaca, president of the Arizona Wine Growers Association.

The Valley had many farms in the 1950s and used the Grand Avenue railroad to transport fruit crates, such as those that held grapes, from Glendale to Phoenix and Los Angeles.

It was a simpler era, and grape crate labels reflected this with minimalist designs.

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Humble Pride

navajo code talkers, hopi code talkersMore than a decade after America honored its Navajo code talkers, Arizona’s Hopi code talkers are finally getting their due. But would they have wanted it?

Delores Yaiva never knew her father had been a code talker in World War II. Not until about six years ago, when she saw him featured in a documentary by an Arizona filmmaker that premiered at the Hopi Health Care Center in Polacca.

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Beyond the Map

PHM0814LASTL01It appears to be an entirely different place, a green countryside in the Midwest, perhaps. With open roads not crammed with cars, no chic coffee stop on every corner and not a single high-rise, the 1885 visage of farmland-Phoenix pictured on this map certainly looks nothing like Phoenix today.

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Whoa, Nellie!

From piloting to politics, the “Admiral of Arizona’s Navy” charted new waters in just about every state sector.

Even though she told the Arizona Republic in 1936 that roller skating “scares the life out of me,” Nellie T. Bush didn’t think twice when Arizona’s governor declared martial law and asked her to ferry armed National Guard troops across the Colorado River in 1934 to stop California workers from completing the controversial Parker Dam project. She probably didn’t even blink when her boat somehow got stuck in the water and her modest fleet had to be rescued by the Californians, in one of the more comical snapshots from Arizona’s long battle for Colorado River water. Despite the muddled mission being one of the most well-known aspects of her life, there’s way more to Bush’s story than that.

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