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Tovrea Castle

Alessio Carraro was an Italian immigrant who settled in San Francisco in 1906. He became a successful businessman, land developer and investor, and according to his son, Leo, was always adventurous. That may be why in 1928 he sold his San Francisco sheet metal business and moved to Phoenix. He bought 277 acres of desert between Van Buren and the Salt River, east of 40th Street, and planned to construct a luxurious resort hotel. At the time, 16th Street was the eastern boundary of Phoenix, and Van Buren was the only road to Tempe. Alessio believed that the hotel would attract the development of homes and businesses, allowing the city’s boundaries to expand.

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Tombstone’s deadliest gunfighter

John Peters Ringo — famously known as Johnny Ringo and dubbed Tombstone’s deadliest gunfighter — first turned up in Arizona at a bar in Safford in 1878, where he offered a whiskey to a man seated next to him. The unarmed man declined and said he preferred beer. Ringo then drew his pistol and fired, nicking the man’s ear. When the case came before a grand jury, Ringo did not appear.

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Central Avenue grows up

Pioneer developer William J. Murphy planted the ash trees that originally lined Central Avenue As he developed subdivisions across the Valley, he also built his own home for north of the Phoenix city limits on Central Avenue in the Orangewood subdivision.

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Tucson Mayor William Armine Julian

William Armine (W. A.) Julian arrived in Tucson in 1899 at age 34 from San Diego with his wife Margaret. He promptly opened the W. A. Julian Company in a two-story building featuring a handsome facade of granite and pressed brick and several large show windows at 122 E. Congress. The business would eventually control 85 percent of Tucson’s plumbing, heating and roofing business. He also sold Charter Oak stoves, crockery, glassware and solar water heaters.

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Hoover Dam

Construction of the Hoover Dam took five years — from 1931 to 1936 — to build what was then the largest concrete dam in the world. It was built in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, in northwestern Arizona on the border with Nevada.

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Times Past: Bob Burgunder, student murderer (access required)

As former Arizona State Teachers College student Bob Burgunder, Jr., sat on death row in Florence, he commented, “There’s too much free speech in this country. I think there’s too much education, too. I think we should stop educating the masses and educate only a few intelligent people.”

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Marvel Crosson and the Powder Puff Derby (access required)

Women had been flying airplanes since the early days of aviation, and by 1928, they had also piloted balloons, parachuted out of disabled planes, served as their own mechanics, set altitude and speed records, wing-walked and barnstormed. But they hadn't yet raced airplanes.

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Al Sieber (access required)

When the great scout, Al Sieber, was killed in a construction accident near Roosevelt Dam, a headline read: "Famous scout who escaped a thousand deliberately aimed shafts of death, a victim of a mere accident." The irony of Al Sieber escaping decades of hard Arizona living was evident.

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The Southwestern Society of Spizzifiers (access required)

According to a writer for the Great Depression's Arizona Federal Writers Project, Arizona's prospectors and miners have been famous for stretching the truth for many years. These raconteurs have spun marvelous stories about their diggings and exaggerated the value of their strikes, often for the sole purpose of entertaining friends.

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A legendary Tombstone cowboy (access required)

On the silver screen and the wide-open southern Arizona ranges, Sid Wilson was one of the last authentic 19th century cowboys. His genuine, hard-working, real cowboy lifestyle provided authenticity to the characters he played in Hollywood movies and Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show.

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