Before the rise of the motor court and luxury resort, Phoenix tourism was defined by a different sort of refuge. Out in desert, the enterprising tourist could find himself staying at the guest ranch, a resort that catered to would-be adventures…

In 1937, the piece of land that would one day house Taliesin West was classified by the Arizona government as a wasteland, not fit for any kind of public development. However, where others saw only devastation, legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright…

Just nine years after the 1904 establishment of the town of Chandler, the mighty San Marcos hotel was constructed. This luxury hotel was an instant success, attracting a flock of wealthy guests every winter. Just across the street from the San…

In 1893, city planning took on a whole new dimension. At the World Columbian Exposition, architect Daniel Burnham advocated for extensive planning out of the new cities being built throughout the United States. In what he called the “City…

It all started when a couple was looking for something to drink. When he and his wife Alice established what is now known today as the Buckhorn Baths Motel in 1936, Ted Sliger was planning on using the building as a store, a gas station, and a home…

The origin of the city of Mesa relates directly to the expansion of Mormon settlement out of Utah and into the surrounding territories. In 1887, the first group of Mormon settlers arrived in the Salt River Valley, dispatched by Brigham Young. Over…

In 1887, Mormon leader Brigham Young sent out the Lehi Company to settle the Salt River Valley. A year later, another group of Mormon settlers arrived under the banner of the Mesa Company and camped approximately five miles away from the Lehi…

As the automobile solidified itself as a definitive part of the American tourist lifestyle, the Phoenix area stood out to tourists as an ideal winter destination. The era of auto tourism and strip commercialism that took hold by the early 1920's and…

One of the most legendary hotels in Phoenix, the Westward Ho Hotel has been one of the city’s defining landmarks for nearly a century. As with many other hotels in the Phoenix area, the Westward Ho was constructed in response to the tourism boom of…

It was the 1930’s and times were changing. Though African Americans were no longer suffering under slavery, they were by no means on equal ground with their fellow Americans. Was there any hope of escape? As writer George Schuyler said in 1930,…