Saturday, October 25, 2014

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Salome, Baby

Southern Californians flocked to a western Arizona town for quickie marriages and backroom gambling in the 1930s until a failed statewide gambling referendum gave the house edge to Las Vegas.


I f you’re not a snowbird searching for a bucolic trailer park to pass the winter, there’s little reason to linger in Salome. A funky, forgotten hamlet of 1,690, it sits about 60 miles off the California border like a serene retiree bundled up against the desert winds. There are no department stores or tourist haunts, and absolutely nothing to suggest that Salome once briefly challenged Las Vegas as the gambling capital of the West.

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Steak Out.

Five years after folding, Jay Newton’s Beef Eaters lives on in the memories of Phoenicians. But how long will the barren building survive?


The Beef Eaters restaurant sits frozen in time along the information superhighway. Closed for years, the CenPho eatery’s old listing at azeats.com remains active, complete with a virtual tour where visitors see the semblance of a British dining hall: sprawling banquet rooms filled with high-backed leather chairs and booths, mahogany oak-paneled walls adorned with paintings from England in gilded gold frames, and a “King’s Den” with shiny crystal chandeliers and stately white upholstered walls offset by burgundy floral carpet. Pitched wood beam ceilings lend an airy feel to the rooms.

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Scottsdale Memories

A former state legislator has written a book chronicling Scottsdale’s transformation from hick town to hip city.


Almost 70 years ago, a 12-year-old boy by the name of Paul R. Messinger moved to Scottsdale with his parents. He went to school and worked on a 20-acre family-owned dairy and poultry ranch on the corner of Indian School and Miller roads, dreaming of one day starting a business of his own.

“Back then, we grew up in an era when we felt that we could do anything,” Messinger says.

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Arizona Icons

From maverick men to ceiling-shattering women, Arizona has no shortage of colorful characters that helped shape our great state.

Charles Poston
Not your average temple-building Zoroastrian silver prospector, Charles Poston, a.k.a. the “Father of Arizona,” literally put Arizona on the map. The former California gold rusher relocated to the Southwest to explore the mineral potential of lands obtained from Mexico in 1853. Three years later, he secured funding to start the Sonora Mining and Exploration Company in the town of Tubac, located in what was then called the New Mexico Territory. Poston served as mayor, judge and treasurer of Tubac, which prospered as a silver mining outpost until Apache attacks forced its abandonment during the Civil War.

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Book Keeper

Boosters heralded the Carnegie Library as an “ornament to the city’’ when it opened in Downtown Phoenix in 1908, giving residents their first permanent public library. Today, the red brick building is one of the city’s historic jewels and will share the spotlight as adjacent Washington Street undergoes a pedestrian-friendly makeover to celebrate the state’s Centennial.

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Iron Maidens

Riding the rails to the country’s first chain restaurants, prim and intrepid Harvey Girls helped civilize the Southwest and bring 

tourism to Arizona.

In 1949, 18-year-old Joan Haydukovich had her eye on a $90 green coat – a coat her mother insisted she buy with her own money. In search of employment, she set off down the dusty roads of Winslow to La Posada Hotel, the gem of an otherwise lackluster town.

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George W.P. Hunt

Arizona’s First Governor

George W.P. Hunt (1859-1934) nicknamed himself the “Old Walrus” during his seven-term reign as Arizona’s first governor, but don’t be suckered by the self-deprecation – the one-time teen drifter was a skilled and nimble political operator. A colleague once described the bald, big-bellied populist as a “behind-the-scenes manipulator who presided in the manner of a stoic, benign Buddha, if one could picture Buddha with a splendid handlebar mustache.”

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