Thursday, October 23, 2014

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Spirit House

Of all the historic buildings at Heritage Square, the Silva House – with its decidedly free-spirited atmosphere – would probably most please its original owners. Built in 1900 by Phoenix liquor dealer A.F.C. Kirchoff, the neoclassical bungalow currently houses the Rose and Crown, a nightspot featuring traditional pub grub, libations, and, allegedly, spirits of a different type. “It’s a pretty unique place,” pub employee Chris Ceimo says. “People have even reported seeing apparitions and stuff moving around.”

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Spoils of War

Every Halloween season, thousands of faux flesh-eating ghouls overrun Heritage Square in Downtown Phoenix for the Zombie Walk. But most Phoenicians know there’s better eating beyond “braaains” here, including the Japanese delicacies at Nobuo at Teeter House and the wood-roasted charms of Pizzeria Bianco. What many Phoenicians may not know is how one Phoenix mayor’s support for President Nixon’s exit strategy from Vietnam helped fund this vibrant city square.

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Mission Impossible

A new PBS documentary shines divine light on the Spanish priests and colonists who first settled the American Southwest.

The first explorers to put down roots in what would become Arizona didn’t arrive on wagon trains yelling, “Westward Ho!” Long before the earliest English-speaking, fur-trapping mountain men entered the future state in 1825, Bible-toting Spanish pioneers had migrated for centuries from another compass point.

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Unfiltered Camels

For a brief spell in the 1800s, the drought-resistant beasts took their lumps in the Arizona heat.It’s not surprising that the big reddish-brown mountain looming over East Phoenix was given the name Camelback. To be sure, Arizona can put one in a camel-like state of mind: obstinate, old-fashioned, comfortable in the heat, transplants from somewhere else. Where stereotype is concerned, camels seem like natural Zonies.

It’s not surprising that the big reddish-brown mountain looming over East Phoenix was given the name Camelback. To be sure, Arizona can put one in a camel-like state of mind: obstinate, old-fashioned, comfortable in the heat, transplants from somewhere else. Where stereotype is concerned, camels seem like natural Zonies.

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Dromedary on Aisle 12

In early 2007, Brad Archer, then curator of ASU’s R.S. Dietz Museum, got a call from a friend at the construction site of a new Walmart store in Mesa. Archer’s friend, a nursery owner who dabbled in paleontology, was excavating a hole for a tree when he turned up bones.

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Gutter Ball

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.’” 

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Diagnosis: Bananas

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.

Read more: Diagnosis: Bananas

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