Author Archives: Gary Weiand

Monroe St., Downtown Phoenix

South side of Monroe Street, between Third and Fourth streets, in the early 1950s.

To many newcomers, it must seem as though the Phoenix Convention Center has been on Monroe Street forever, when actually it is an artifact of recent times, a modern monument to downtown Phoenix renewal.

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The McClarty House

The McClarty home on Central Avenue.

This Queen Anne-style home, large, but not a mansion, was typical of the residential housing that once lined downtown Phoenix, but was razed in the 1960s and 1970s, when the central city seemed to be suited for nothing better than parking.

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A 1940s Nogales Shopping Trip

The Barrios family and friends visiting Nogales in 1948.

Nogales, Sonora, a traditional tourist attraction that draws streams of visitors from Arizona, is a city of some half a million, but was only about one sixth that size when these Phoenicians posed in front of one of its shops in 1948.

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Phoenix Pioneers: The McClartys

The McClarty family is pictured in 1917.

Ida McClarty sits behind the wheel of a right-hand steering Buick with her dog and her father, George William McClarty, in this 1917 photograph, taken about the time of her graduation from Phoenix Union High School.

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The Shrine at the Casa

Owen da Silva and Fr. Luigi Sciocchetti at the dedication of Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Phoenix.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico, of the Americas and of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. The mosaic building being dedicated in the photo was erected by the Franciscan Renewal Center (Casa de Paz y Bien) in 1954 on the center property at Lincoln Drive between Mummy and Camelback mountains.

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Thriving St. Mary’s

Third graders in Sister Vivenne’s class at St. Mary’s pose for a picture at the start of the 1950s.

Several generations of Phoenix’s Catholics attended St. Mary’s Elementary School, which closed in 1992 and was eventually demolished to make way for new Diocesan offices.

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The Class of 1920

The first graduating class of St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix is pictured on a graduation announcement.

These students are the first graduating class of St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix. Founded in 1917, the school first held classes in the tiny second floor of St. Anthony’s grammar school (since razed) next to St. Mary’s Church.

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Switzer’s Stores

Walter Switzer Jr. and Grace Switzer with Eva Mae and Walter Switzer Sr. at the opening of the Park Central Switzer’s store in 1954.

This 1954 photo of the opening of Switzer’s Department Store in Park Central Mall (on Phoenix’s Central Avenue near Thomas Road) captures the moment when the small town that Phoenix had been in the first half of the 20th century began its transformation into today’s decentralized urban megalopolis.

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Wikle’s Stationers

John and Margy Wikle in Los Angeles, 1929.

The happy pair cuddling under the neckers nook sign are John Marion Wikle (sounds like cycle) and his wife Margy, born Margy Lee Standage. Though this late ‘20s photo was taken in Los Angeles, John and Marion were Phoenicians who from the late 1930s to the 1970s owned and operated Wikle’s stationery store, a fixture in downtown Phoenix for 60 years.

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The Priests of St. Mary’s

A 1958 photo celebrating the 25th anniversary of Father Gilbert Zlater at St. Mary’s Church. The priests from left to right are: Father Victor Bucher, Father Lucius Grosso, Father Regis Rhoder, Father Gilbert Zlater, Father Evan Howard and Father Blaise Cronin.

This photo, taken in 1958, shows a number of prominent priests standing in the doorway of St. Mary’s Church rectory at Monroe and Third Streets. The occasion was the 25th anniversary of the ordination of Father Gilbert Zlater, the first St. Mary’s “boy” to become a priest and the first Franciscan from Arizona.

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