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What Do You Know About the History of Phoenix?

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Today I have John Jaquemart with me to discuss the growth of Phoenix in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. John was born in Tucson and came to Phoenix in 1956 for the opening of Park Central which was the first mall in Phoenix. John went on to get a degree in history from Arizona State University, and he loves exploring old buildings and old neighborhoods.

It may not seem surprising, but a lot of the growth in Phoenix occurred with the advent of air conditioning. After this, a lot of the growth occurred because of the military. In the 1940’s Phoenix was a very small town. The depression had marred growth up until then, but WWII spurred a lot of growth with military training bases.

In the 1950’s there was more development within the city following the war. Some historical homes disappeared and were replaced by the Central Towers. This was also when the sprawling ranch home became very popular in the city. This followed the bungalow style home and the prairie style. Ranches also became popular because lot sizes changed from long and narrow to lots that were a bit more shallow but more wide.

Much of Phoenix used to be agricultural land where alfalfa was grown, but then John F. Long came in and built lots of affordable housing. Many other people in the area built expensive homes, but Long was known for his focus on what people could afford and his assembly-line style.

Ralph Haver is another name to know for Phoenix architecture. He was a Seabee in WWII, and what he did was build portable housing structures for the navy. He built in east Phoenix, on 12th street north of Glendale, on 10th to 14th street, and a few other places. This was all in the 1940’s, and he built one of the first subdivisions with cul de sacs.

There is much more history to Phoenix than this, so if you have any questions or if you’d like to see some of these homes we’re talking about, just give me a call.

I look forward to hearing from you!