The city of Phoenix, Arizona, is always re-inventing itself. It's a young city, as American cities go, but not as young as some people might think.

I was a graphic designer at Valley National Bank (which became Bank One, and is now Chase Bank) from 1989 to 1996. Working downtown (in Bank One Center, which is now Chase Tower), it amazed me to think of a time when downtown was about all that the city of Phoenix was. I used to walk around during my lunch hour and look at the buildings. When Valley National Bank became Bank One in 1992, a lot of history went into the dumpster. I saved as much as I could, especially old photos and maps of Phoenix.

I created and uploaded this page in the fall of 2001 as a demonstration piece of HTML when I first started teaching web design at Glendale Community College. Since then I have updated it in Adobe Dreamweaver. I will continue to add more to this page as time allows. Most of these are scans from the original glossy publicity stills from Valley Bank.

Brad HallNo copyrights reserved! Feel free to use, copy, and share all of this information. For corrections and comments please contact Brad. Thank you to everyone who is helping me with this site! Most of the photos and collateral on this page were originally from the Valley National Bank Collection.

This page was updated on October 10, 2014


This page is done just for fun.

Presidents of Valley National Bank

D.W. Wickersham
D.W. Wickersham
1899 to 1908

Charles E. Mills
Charles E. Mills
1908 to 1929

Walter Bimson
Walter Reed Bimson
1933 to 1953
(b. 1892 - d. 1980).

Carl Bimson, president of Valley National Bank in the 1950's and 60's
Carl A. Bimson 1953 to 1962
(b. 1900). He was the brother of Walter Bimson.

James Patrick
James E. Patrick 1962 to 1967

Earl Bimson
Earl L. Bimson 1967 to 1972
He was the son of Walter Bimson.

Gilbert F. Bradley, president of Valley National Bank in 1973
Gilbert F. Bradley 1973
(b. 5/17/1920 d. 4/11/2011). Known as both "Gil" and "Brad," he worked for Valley National Bank for more than 45 years, retiring as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board in October, 1982, and serving as a board member for another three years. Born on May 17, 1920, in Miami, Arizona, he started work for the Valley Bank in 1937 as a bookkeeper in the Miami Branch. On June 21, 1941, he married Marion Zelda Bebb at St. John's Episcopal Church in Globe, Arizona. During World War II, he served in the Army Air Corps and became a pilot. On February 25, 1944, Brad and his crew flying a mission in the Sophisticated Lady were shot down over Yugoslavia, in the territory of Marshall Tito's Partisans. The Partisans guided them to a rescue air strip, traveling over mountain tops, through dense forests and around German camps. On April 3rd, they were evacuated. Brad and his crew were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for this mission. Their story appeared as a comic strip in The American Air Forces magazine, misidentifying their plane as the Pistol Packin' Mama, the plane they had regularly flown until it was shot down manned by another crew. Years later, Brad and Marion wrote up the story for The Journal of Arizona History, Winter, 1995. On leaving the service in 1945, Brad returned to the Valley Bank in Globe as Assistant Bank Manager. From there he, in his own words, worked "through all phases of banking." He was based in Tucson for sixteen years, first as the manager of the downtown branch and then executive vice-president of the Southern Region. Tucson honored him as Man of the Year in 1963. He left Tucson for Phoenix in 1973 to become President of the Valley National Bank. In 1978 he was appointed to the Federal Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve System, and in 1979 he was named one of the top three chief executive officers in American banking by Financial World magazine. He retired fully in 1985. From his obituary.

Roger A. Lyon 1979 to 1982

Len Huck
Len Huck
1982 to 1988 (1st quarter)

Howard McCrady 1987 to 1988

Richard J. Lehmann 1988 to 1989
(b. 1943) Rich Lehmann is the founding principal of the Biltmore Bank of Arizona. After 25 years of international banking experience with Citicorp, he came to Arizona in 1988 to run Valley National Bank before it was sold to Bank One. He stayed with Bank One until 1999 when he retired as Vice Chairman of the fifth largest bank in the United States. In his 20 years living in Arizona, Rich has been very active in the community. He was formerly on the board of trustees for the Phoenix Art Museum, head of the United Way of Phoenix, and a member of The Greater Phoenix Economic Council. He currently serves on the TGen Foundation Board, Board of Trustees of Thunderbird, The Garvin School of International Management, the Arizona Board of Nature Conservancy, Knight Transportation, and participates in additional civic activities. From The Biltmore Bank of Arizona

Robert Logan
Robert Logan
- 1989 to 1992

Valley National Bank became Bank One in 1992, which is now Chase Bank.

Jamie Dimon
As of this writing, Jamie Dimon is the current chairman, president and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co.


Other notable Valley Bankers

James B. Mayer
In 1971, James B. Mayer accepted a position as Chairman of the Board of Valley National Bank of Arizona in Phoenix, where he had been a Board Director since the mid 1950s as representative of Arizona’s agricultural industry.  In 1973 he created and occupied the new position of Chief Executive Officer, realigning executive duties, and guided the senior officers in the new style of executive managment. In 1975 he continued as Board Chairman and Chairman of the Executive Committee, before retiring from full-time executive administration in 1976.  During his tenure with Valley National Bank, he accomplished a major executive management restructure, implemented several banking innovations, and oversaw completion of the new Valley Center, the tallest building in Arizona. He was appointed to the 12 member Federal Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve System representing 9 western states. Valley National Bank at the time was the largest bank in the Rocky Mountain States and 26th largest in the nation. In 1975, while CEO at VNB, he was a founding member, steering committee chairman, and spokesman of a new group of business and civic leaders, The Phoenix Forty, called together to address major problems facing the community including the economy, transportation, land use, and organized crime, heading the list of 24 areas of concern.  Today, thirty years later, the Phoenix Forty (renamed the Greater Phoenix Leadership) is represented by CEOs from over 100 companies and 250,000 employees.


Valley Bank ad from 1892 Phoenix directory

Ad for The Valley Bank in the 1892 Phoenix Directory. Note that they had $100,000 in paid-up capital. Of the men listed, only William Christy was living in Phoenix at the time. I wonder where the other guys lived? It also looks like you could get horseshoeing right at Center (Central now) and Adams from W. H. Smith, but if you wanted H. Bueham to take a photograph for you, you had to go to Tucson. He did have seed plates, Eikonogen, and Steamer Brand Albumen paper, so it looks like it might have been worth the trip! I wonder whatever happened to the Gilmour Brothers, who had the old stand?


Brad Hall, Bank One Arizona

Here is Brad in 1992, if you don't recognize him from his current picture. Hey, it wasn't really that long ago! Was it? This is on the 31st floor of Valley Center, which was soon to be the Bank One Tower. Yes, that is an early Macintosh computer behind him. Valley National Bank was always progressive. A great place to work!


Go to > The history of the street names in Phoenix, Arizona

Go to> Sunnyslope and Cactus Business Directory from the 1950s

Timeline for pioneer cemeteries in the Phoenix area

Go to> Phoenix Historic Preservation List

Go to>Transcriptions of historic Phoenix newspapers

Go to>Phoenix, Arizona Quarter Section map

Go to> The history of street names in Los Angeles, California

Go to> Transcriptions of historic Phoenix newspapers


Go to > Santa Barbara photos from old postcards

Go to> Ford Mustang 5.0

Go to> Saab Sonett III

Go to > Brad Hall's professional blog

Contact Brad directly


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Pioneer's Cemetery Association
Pioneers' Cemetery Association Dedicated to Preserving Historic Cemeteries in Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona - rising out of the ashes

Historical images of Phoenix, Arizona


More historic Phoenix images being posted daily here


Downtown Phoenix looking south 1939Downtown Phoenix looking south 1939. From The Westward Ho Hotel at Central Avenue and Fillmore Street. At the far left is the original Valley National Bank Building (called The Professional Building) on Monroe Street. The building just behind it is The Adams Hotel, which must have had a nice view of the valley until all of the other buildings grew around it! The handsome building in the center of the photo is The Security Building, which was used in the 1970s and 80s for Valley Bank's Trust Department Operations and Credit Card Processing Operations Department. In front of it the sign says "Walsh Brothers Office Equipment". The Luhrs Tower is to the right of the Security Building. Directly in the center: Goodyear tires. At Central and Polk Street is a Texaco, the sign below it says "Michener's Storage". The Building across the street says "Fisk Tires" on the vertical sign and "Motor Company" across the front. The billboard says, "Automobile Financing". The elegant three-story building on the far right of the photo, at First Avenue and Van Buren, is the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association building. Across from that is the Western Auto Supply Company, and just to the south of that is The American Red Cross. And just to the north of that is Valley Paint. And in the far lower left the sign says "Mac's Liquors".

Downtown Phoenix looking north 1939Downtown Phoenix looking north 1939. This is Central Avenue looking north from Jefferson Street. The building in the center was the Valley Bank Building. The sign saying "Valley National Bank" wasn't up yet, apparently. The sign on the criss-cross scaffolding on the top of the building just to the right says Hotel Adams. This was the second Adams Hotel, which replaced the original, which burned down in 1910. This building was torn down in 1973. The current "Adams Hotel" is now called the Marriott Renaissance. The banners down on the street say "Phoenix Shines in '39, Arizona Welcomes You". The American Bus Depot is just to the right of that banner, on the east side of Central. On the northwest corner of Washington and Central is Walgreens. The sign that is backwards says, "Tovrea's Tender US Graded Meats". On the northeast corner is "Lerner Shops", the the building on the southeast corner of Adams and Central is The First National Bank, one of the competition! The banner flying over Central at about Monroe says, "Football". Off to the left, at Van Buren and First Avenue is a sign that says "Montgomery Ward". The sign in the lower left says "Famous ABC" - which is for The Arizona Brewing Company. In the lower right is the Hotel Luhrs. Further north up Central is the Apache Hotel, and another sign that says, "Iris" - does anyone know anything about this? The building at the far right has a sign that says, "X-Ray Gas" and "Morrison the Dentist". The building directly across from it says, "Portraits, Kodak Finishing, Lower Prices". The billboard just to the right of the Adams Hotel, and slightly north, says "America's Finest, Seagrams". Behind that is a building that says, "Texaco". Way over on the left, slightly below the center, you can see the words "Kress", for the Kress Department Store.

Downtown Phoenix looking southwest, circa 1940Downtown Phoenix looking southwest, circa 1940. The building just to the left of the middle is the one that Janet Leigh and John Gavin were in at the beginning of Alfred Hitchcock's movie "Psycho". Well, the window at least. The Jefferson Hotel building, built in 1914, is still there as of this writing, it looks much, much smaller now. The Alfred Hitchcock movie "Psycho" has some great shots of 1960 Phoenix at the beginning of the movie, by the way. To the right, the tall building is the Luhrs Tower. Walking along the Central Avenue, going north, starting at the lower right corner of the photo, you go past a building that says "Hollywood Fur Studios" along the top front, "Furs" and "Repairing" across the front, and there is a sign sticking out that says "Furs". There is also a Florist in that building. After you cross the alley - look out for the truck! - you are at Western Union. On the second floor above them is Winship Loan Plan. JC Penney Company's storefront doesn't look very big, a little wider than the car parked in front. Then you come to Walgreen Drugs, which wraps around Washington Street. The banner across the Central says "Dons' Trek, Superstition Mountains, Sunday Mar 17, In Search of Lost Dutchman ... Mine". On the southwest corner of Central and Washington the sign says "Tovrea's Tender US Graded Meats". On the northeast corner is Lerner Shops, and just east of that is Bakers. At the left, just below center, is Greyhound. The sign off in the distance to the right says, "Crystal Ice". The building on the right, that seems to glow so brightly, is the Kress Department Store.

Professional BuildingThe Valley National Bank/Professional Building, Central Avenue and Monroe, circa pre-1935. This building was originally built in 1929 as a medical office, and was the headquarters for Valley National Bank before Valley Center, which is now Chase Tower, was built just across the street from it. Shown here, the building is Valley Bank and Trust, as this is prior to the November 1934 purchase of Consolidated National Bank. The car is a 1931 LaSalle which may have belonged to Valley National Bank president Walter Bimson. The back of the photo says "Merge Studios, 2115 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles 6, Calif. Phone 389-2458. Photo © Merge Studios."

The Professional Building, Phoenix, ArizonaThe Valley National Bank/Professional Building, circa early 1950s. This is what the Valley National Bank building looked like before the eagle/stopsign logo was installed on top of it, with just the words "Valley National Bank" in plain block letters on the top and in the beautiful art deco letters on the sides. The "new" Valley National Bank "stopsign" logo is on each side of the Central Avenue entrance. Note that they didn't rub out "The Valley Bank and Trust Co.". There is a barber pole in the left window. That's a 1950 Studebaker "Bullet Nose" parked right in front. On the Monroe Street side of the building, you can still see "Professional Building" under the flagpole. And below that, at street level, you can read "Wayland's Prescriptions" over the door and the Valley National Bank slogan "State-Wide Service". The building just across the alley, to the south says, "Gifts, Indian Jewelry, Western Souvenirs". The photo is stamped "Bob Markow Photography, 1832 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, Arizona, ALpine 2-3327, when ordering please refer to Neg. No. VV07-1" and "Press Relations Department, Valley National Bank". The words "Prof. Bldg." is hand-written in pencil. The copyrights for Bob Markow's photographs now belong to his son, Paul Markow, who continues to do photography here in Phoenix. These photos are used here with permission from him.

The Professional Building, 1970The Valley National Bank/Professional Building, 1970. The Valley Bank sign, which was the largest rotating neon sign in the world, was created by Glen Guyett. Also, you can see the penthouse office area that was built along the top of the building and angled into the tower, which is where the presidents of Valley Bank, Walter Bimson, and then his brother Earl, had their office, which overlooked the valley, most of which Valley Bank had financed. A pretty insensitive addition architecturally, but that's how they did it back then. Behind The Valley Bank Building you can see a little of the old Adams Hotel, before the renovation in the 1970s. This photo is stamped "Tom Mitten Photography 533 W. Encanto Blvd., Phoenix, Arizona 85003. Ph. Al 3-9328. 1970. Photo © Mitten Photography.

1957 Valley National Bank Annual Report Cover1957 Valley National Bank Annual Report Cover. Painting of the Valley National Bank sign on top of The Professional Building. Artist unknown. I am fortunate enough to own this 1957 annual report, which had been untouched since its printing and has been in a fire safe since I received it in 1993. It even has the original map. In those days, banks gave out free maps. The reason that a sketch was used was that the actual sign wasn't installed until 1958. The dimensions of the sign were: 35 feet high by 49 feet wide, allowing for the extra width for the "wings."

Valley National Bank logoValley National Bank eagle/stopsign logo. This is a glossy that was used for advertising. When I started working for Valley Bank in 1989, this logo had already been replaced with a more modern one. But some departments still wanted to use the old one, and the art department had to say "no". But, can you blame them for asking? It's a beautiful logo.

Valley Bank sign removalRemoval of the Valley National Bank sign from the Professional Building, early 1970s. When the new building (Valley Center) went up in 1973, the old building was abandoned and the largest rotating neon sign in the world (as seen in this photo) was dismantled and junked. On the other hand, when Bank One bought out Valley Bank in 1992, the VNB signs from all of the buildings were carefully removed and given to stockholders, customers, employees and museums. I even got one (a little one - about 10" wide) - that's it below. This photo was taken by Dick Holland, who was a Vice President working for Bill MacAllan - first at the original Operation Center on Black Canyon and then later exclusively on the Valley Bank Center in the late 1960s.

Valley Bank signValley National Bank sign. An early version of the "eagle/stop sign" logo. When Valley National Bank president Walter Bimson asked the Advertising Manager, Mert Reade, to develop a logo that would be used on signs, letterheads, etc., Merte Reade presented the "eagle" logo, he was so pleased that he gave Reade a $2,000 bonus! The original design included a saguaro cactus on the left and pine trees on the right to represent Arizona. The octagonal shape was to remind you to stop at a Valley Bank. When Bank One bought Valley National Bank in '92, all of the VNB signs were carefully removed, inventoried and then distributed to stockholders, employees and even some museums. I remember the day I went to pick it up. Now it hangs on my wall in my home office. See Merte Reade's original building in 1951 here. Photo of Mert Reade Advertising is courtesy of his daughter, Susan Reade Smith.

Professional Building signThe original sign from the Professional Building. This is one of the signs that was originally on the Professional Building in the twenties and thirties. Valley National Bank took them down when they took over the building and it became known as the Valley Bank Building. I've owned this sign since the early nineties. It was given to me by a printing sales rep named Jim from Modern Color printing. If you're part of the team restoring the Professional Building, please let me know. I will donate it as long as it stays on public display.

Professional Building paintingProfessional Building/Valley National Bank Building painting from the cover of the 1964 Phoenix road map, which was specially printed for Valley National Bank. In those days the branches gave them out for free. At first I had thought that this depicted the construction of the tower, but it's about ten years too early for that. It is actually showing the construction of the entire city of Phoenix! It's not too much of an exaggeration, either, Valley National Bank financed a whole lot of what we see around here in Phoenix. At that time, the huge neon sign could have been seen from anywhere in the city. Painted in gouache and charcoal, copyright 1964 Rand McNally and Company and Valley National Bank, printed in CMYK offset litho, 133-line screen.

CamelbackValley National Bank Branch, Camelback and 44th Street. The photo is marked "4-4-74, FLT 13-23". Don't you wish you had bought all of that empty land back in 1974 when it was cheap? This building looks pretty much the same today (except for the Valley Bank signs). It is a Chase Bank Branch. Note the old Circle K sign in the lower left. That's where the Circle K Corporate Headquarters is now.

How Arizonans Live 1957How Arizonans Live, a page from the 1957 Valley National Bank Annual Report. It looks like life was pretty good in Arizona in the 1950s. It still is! The boy on the couch has been tentatively identified as Robert M. Reade, the son of Mert Reade. The girl sitting on the floor has been identified as Joan ______? If you recognize anybody in this picture, please contact Brad.

Downtown Phoenix looking southeast on Central, 1967Downtown Phoenix looking southeast on Central, 1967. This is the site of Valley Center (now Chase Tower). In addition to the coffee shop on the corner, I can see a photo shop, a stamp and coin place and the Vista Theater. The Vista Theater, owned by Fox Theater Co., was built in a former automotive repair garage in the Summer of 1944. It was demolished when construction began on the 40 story Valley National Bank Building in 1972. Kenneth Kirkman was the first manager of the Vista Theater. The billboard advertises news anchorman Bill Close of KOOL TV. This photo is stamped "Tom Mitten Photography 533 W. Encanto Blvd., Phoenix, Arizona 85003. Ph. Al 3-9328. Handwritten it says "Expansion Block Nov - 1967" . Mitten Photography.

Willetta officeWilletta and First Street Office, Valley National Bank, downtown Phoenix. 1400 N. 1st Street, which would be just across the street from where the Phoenix main library is now. Close-up detail of the “Drive-In Teller” window. This photo is marked on the back with the stamp of Markow Photography, 741 E. McDowell Phoenix, Arizona 85006 ALoine 8-5191. Copy Neg. No. 25840-3. Photo © Markow Photography. Bob Markow did a lot of photography for Valley Bank through the years. Read about Bob and Bea Markow here.

Mobile branch, Valley National Bank, circa 1960sMobile branch, Valley National Bank, circa 1960s. I think they were trying to be funny with this photo. That's an early 1960s Triumph TR3 and it probably didn't tow that trailer. Also Markow Photography, Neg. #10087-9. Markow Photography.

Valley Center (as of 2010, Chase Center)Valley Center (Later Bank One Center, now Chase Tower) was built in 1973 at Van Buren and Central, just across the street from the old building. This photo is a good contrast of the old and the new (well, if you consider 1973 new!) Note the San Carlos Hotel in the lower left. The building to the right is, of course, the original Valley National Bank building, which was used by Valley Bank for many years. By the time I started there, in 1992, the old-timers referred to it as "the annex" - and no one really knew what the building originally was and, of course, the sign was long gone by then. I worked on the 31st floor in the tower that you see here, looking out at the southwest valley, down on The Professional Building, The Hotel San Carlos, and The Security Building. The Tower is still a beautiful building. To me it will always be Valley Center, even though now it's Chase Tower. If you get a chance, go visit it. There is a Chase branch on the Monroe side of the building, and you can go look around on the concourse level, even go to the cafeteria, which is open to the public. Much of the flavor of the 1970s remains in this building, which has always been well-maintained.

Prime Interest restaurant, Phoenix, ArizonaCover of the menu for the Prime Interest Restaurant, which was located on the concourse level of Valley Center in the 1970s. This is the lunch menu for Prime Interest, which included, among other things, beer, wine and cocktails. The menu says "Limit 3 per day" for the martinis. I sometimes wondered how people got any work done back in the 1970s! Pretty psychedelic art on the cover in a kind of Peter Max style. I wonder who the artist was? The back is completely blank and the inside is just text. Looks like this restaurant didn't last very long. All I remember from the '90s was the Coin Room Cafeteria, which is still there as of this writing.

Valley CenterPromoting Valley Center, circa 1970. This is before the tower was built. It's important to note that the new building was called "Valley Center", not "Valley Bank Center". Valley National Bank was always interested in promoting Phoenix, not just itself. These "Valley-ettes" are in Christown Mall, which is now called Spectrum Mall and is at Bethany Home Road between 19th Avenue and 15th Avenue. Directly behind the "Valley-ettes" is a store that says, "Bakers Qualicraft Shoes". That's a "Laura's Drapery and Fabric" store behind them on the right. This photo has a stamp on the back that says "Camera Arts Studio, 4525 N. 24th Street 266-3976, Phoenix, Arizona. Negative No. 2475-B-6. Camera Arts Studio.

Valley CenterPromoting Valley Center, circa 1970. The name tag for the woman standing says "Chris". The other woman is Tricia (Vlamis) McNair. This photo has the same stamp on the back and is Negative No. 2475-A7. Camera Arts Studio.

Valley National Bank pinsValley National Bank pins. Lapel pins depicting the mascot of Valley National Bank, "Mr. Valley Banker". The one on the right is from the ground-breaking ceremony for Valley Center in 1972. They were given to me by Len Huck, who knew that I was interested in the history of Valley Bank.

Brick from the orginial Valley BankGilbert F. Bradley, president of Valley National Bank (left) and James B. Mayer, chairman of the board of directors, examine one the most unusual door-stops to be found in the Valley. The weathered brick, borrowed from the den of board member J. Charles Wetzler of Phoenix, was formerly part of a wall at the VNB's original office, located in Solomonville. The bank was founded by I.E. Solomon, Mr. Wetzler's grandfather, as the Gila Valley Bank in 1899, in a corner of his general store. The old brick has particular historical significance during 1974, the bank's 75th anniversary year. This photo has a stamp on the back that says, Camera Arts Studio, 1809 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, Arizona 85015. Negative No. 4325-5.

Valley National Bank executives in 1965. Top row, left to right: Andy Guthrie, Vic Swanson, R.L. Hailey, Jimmy Vance, Gus Johannes, R. G. Zepeda, Duane Hammon, Don Hammon, Harold Hansen, Gil Bradley. Second row, left to right: Norm Crockett, Ken Berry, Bernie Henderson, Ozzie Burton, Bill Ganz, Dean Pattillo, Art Wahl, Jo Abbott, Wayne Curtis, Jack Pond. Bottom row, seated, left to right: Jim David, Frank Guthman, Gibb Newton, Jim Patrick, Walter Bimson, J.R. Henderson, Bill Wilcox, Don Welker.
Valley National Bank executives in 1965

Valley National Bank executives pondering the model of the new building, circa 1970Valley National Bank executives pondering the model of the new Valley Center buildingin the late 1960s. I remember seeing this model in the mid-nineties, it was stored in the basement of Bank One Center. Pictured left to right: Jim Patrick, Wilson Barrett, Chip Uren, Les Goldberg, Earl Bimson, Earl Brunken, Len Huck. This photo is marked on the back with the stamp of Markow Photography, 741 E. McDowell Phoenix, Arizona 85006 258-6191. Neg. No. 29848-13. Markow Photography.

Valley National Bank executives
Valley National Bank executives, circa 1970. Pictured left to right: Chip Uren (standing), Dow Ostland (seated in front of him), Wilson Barrett (standing), Earl Brunken (seated), Len Huck (seated on chair back, fingers folded together), Les Goldberg (seated on chair back, leaning), Jim Patrick (seated), Earl Bimson (standing). The painting behind them is a Frederic Remington (although I haven't yet identified which one). Valley National Bank had an outstanding collection of original western art. The artwork was displayed in branches throughout Arizona and on every floor of the Valley Center tower. The very best and most valuable works of art were on the top floors, where the executive offices were. I had the opportunity to visit this area a few times in the nineties and the original paintings and sculptures were astonishing. This photograph was probably taken in the Professional Building, as it was taken before Valley Center was built. Photo stamped Camera Arts Studio, 4525 N. 24th St., 266-3976, Phoenix, Arizona 85016. Negative No. 1950, 1950-A.

The Phoenix Open in 1975The Phoenix Open in 1975. Fivesome - from the left: Bob Goldwater, Johnny Miller, Bob Hope, Jim Mayer, Jack Lousma. In 1939 Robert Goldwater, Sr. enlisted the prominent civic organization Thunderbirds to help run the tournament.  He wound up doing most of the work himself and so is considered the “father of the Phoenix Open”.  Johnny Miller in 1975, was at the peak of his game.  He won the US Open in 1973, and shot 260 to win this 1975 tournament by 14 strokes, an amazing 24 under par. It was a record for the tournament which lasted until 1997. Bob Hope was a Pro-Am regular, always the center of attention. (Proceeds from the Pro-Am go to charity.)  James B. Mayer was the Valley National Bank Board Chairman.  He and Bob Hope shared a golf cart, with Bob’s stipulation that he would do all the driving.  Jack R. Lousma (Colonel, USMC, Ret.), NASA astronaut, was the pilot for Skylab-3, a 59 ½ day flight in 1973, and was spacecraft commander on STS-3, the third flight of the space shuttle Columbia in 1982. Jack was the CapCom, as part of the Apollo 13 support crew on April 14, 1970, at the time of the oxygen tank explosion.

A new Phoenix neighborhood in the 1950sA new Phoenix neighborhood in the 1950s. From the 1957 Valley National Bank Annual Report. Camelback Mountain is in the distance. Detail of the street sign. It says E. Elm Street and N. 27th Place. This is a beautiful older neighborhood in Phoenix, called the "Biltmore District" because of its proximity to the beautiful Biltmore Hotel, which opened in 1929.

Downtown Sunnyslope, looking east along Dunlap Downtown Sunnyslope, 1950s, looking east along Dunlap from about 2nd Street. From the cover of the Sunnyslope & Cactus Business Directory, mid-1950s. The mountains are still in the same place now, but that's about it. Very few places in the valley have changed as dramatically as Sunnyslope. This picture is from the cover of the Sunnyslope & Cactus Business Directory. On the north side of Dunlap is Sunny Furniture and Appliances. Further east the sign says "Golf". I wonder what that was? On the south side of Dunlap is AJ Bayless Markets, "Your Home Town Grocer". It looks like there is another furniture store there, too. There's Maxine's Beauty Room, which, according to their ad in the directory offered Hair Cutting and Styling, Tinting - Manicures and Permament Waves. They were at 337 E. Dunlap and the number listed is WI 3-5442. Next door, at 339 E. Dunlap, is Ace Sport Shop, which sold Live Bait and Fishing Tackle. Their ad also says, "Archery and Tennis, Spaulding and Wilson Athletic Goods, New and Used Guns". The telephone number was WI 3-9114. If you stand right there today, the only thing that is the same is the mountain, I know, I've tried it. And there is more traffic! If you want to see all the pages from the Sunnyslope and Cactus Business Directory from the 1950's, go here.

Sunnyslope, Arizona map 1950sSunnyslope area map, 1950s. From the back cover of the Sunnyslope & Cactus Business Directory. "North Phoenix Airport" is at the northwest corner of Cactus and Cave Creek Road. "Paradise Airport" is just south of Peoria at 19th Avenue. Note how Shea Boulevard went through to Northern. The community of Cactus was at Cave Creek and Cactus Roads and Paradise was way up north on Bell Road and Cave Creek. I didn't add anything to this map. The hand-written stuff is from the original printing. I guess they had to do it that way if they were in a hurry - no computer graphics in the 1950s!

Phoenix original townsitePhoenix original townsite map, 1885. This is from a Phoenix City Planning Commission map. It's divided into areas showing the date of annexation of that area to the City of Phoenix. The latest annexation on this map, which is quite large, is in 1953. This area (pictured) is the original townsite from 1885. Personally, I find it amusing that it is written in such a matter-of-fact way as 3-11-85. As you can see, in the original townsite for Phoenix, Van Buren is the northernmost street and the railroad tracks are at the southern edge of town. The only other streets marked on this map are 6th Avenue, Washington and Jackson. You can see The Union, Depot, The US Court House, St. Mary's School, City of Phoenix, and to the right, just outside of the original townsite, is Monroe School. Keep in mind that these landmarks are showing what was there in the 1950s, for reference. None of these buildings were there, of course, in 1885.

Phoenix map from 1939Phoenix map from 1939. On the outskirts of Phoenix; North Phoenix High School on Thomas Road, The State Fairgrounds, Encanto Park and golf course. To the east of the city, The Arizona Hospital for the Insane, Phoenix Sky Harbor airport. The way to get to Los Angeles in those days was to take the road out of town, Grand Avenue (Route 60), north by northwest up through Wickenburg. The original town site of Phoenix, Arizona Territory, was seven blocks wide by seven blocks deep. The "road out of town" was at Van Buren and 7th Avenue. That's why it's at a 45-degree angle. The very old churches along Van Buren Street face south, because that's where most of the town was when they were built.

Phoenix, Arizona 1950Phoenix, Arizona 1950. Nowadays the city limits of Phoenix extend north beyond the boundaries of this map. Phoenix population in the Federal census for 1950 was 106,818.

 

Surprise, Arizona, 1964Surprise, Arizona, 1964. This is from one of the many maps that I have from Valley National Bank. Also a very young Sun City and Youngtown.

downtown Phoenix, Arizona in 1957Downtown Phoenix, 1957. If you are familiar with the Alfred Hitchock movie, "Psycho", that's the road that Janet Leigh's character drove on when she left Phoenix. In those days, that was how you began your journey from Phoenix to California, going north by northwest.

Maryvale, Phoenix, ArizonaMaryvale, Arizona, 47th Avenue and Indian School Road, Phoenix, in 1955. This community was built by John F. Long, and named after his wife, Mary. Notice the people standing in line at what was the first home show in the valley. It must have been just amazing. You could buy one of these new homes for about $15,000. This photo is from "Phoenix, the First Century", a magazine that was published in 1970 to commemorate the first 100 years of Phoenix.

Papago Park, Phoenix, ArizonaTwin Peaks, near Papago Park, April 1, 1934, Easter sunrise service. McDowell Road now runs right through here, and goes to Scottsdale. The Papago mountains are red sandstone that the wind has blown them into unusual and beautiful shapes. This photo is from "Phoenix, the First Century".

Glendale, Arizona 1957Glendale, Arizona map, 1957. This is from a Bekins map of the greater Phoenix area. Note that the names of the streets in Glendale were different back then. 59th is Central Avenue, at least through the middle of town. The avenues north of Glendale Avenue are A, B, C, etc., up through K. South of Glendale Ave, they are streets A-H. There are Avenues 1-15th east of Central Avenue (15 is 51st), and Streets West of Central Avenue 1-4th.

paintingModern art painting by Robert S. Oliver, from the Professional Building, circa 1950s, Valley National Bank collection. Special thank you to the current owner of this painting, Larry Cylinder of Los Angeles, California. Indian Maid at Stockade by Charles RussellThe first president of Valley Bank, Walter Bimson, was an avid collector of paintings and sculpture and started the collection that grew over the years. When I worked in the tower downtown every single floor was filled with original artwork (35 floors!), plus all of the branches had original paintings and sculptures - plus there were even more in storage! The more valuable paintings have been retained in the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection, including Charles Russell's Indian Maid at Stockade shown at right. Thank you to Donna Ambrose, former assistant to Valley National Bank Curator Judy (Brown) Hudson.

Downtown Phoenix, Arizona, 2011

Downtown Phoenix, Arizona, June, 2011. At left is Chase Field, originally Bank One Ballpark, where The Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team plays, and in front of that is part of The Phoenix Convention Center, which actually wraps all the way around this photo on the right. The tall building off in the distance, at 3rd Street and Jackson, is The Summit at Copper Square, which is new. The Building at the center of the photo is the new Bank of America Tower. Just west on Washington from it is Cityscape and the Alliance Bank Building, which are also brand new. Directly across Washington, at 1st Street, is the Comerica Bank Building, of which you can only see the very top. And next to that is The Renaissance Building, which I remember being built back in the 90's. The sign that says MLB All-Star Game Fox is on the back of The Phoenix Symphony Hall building. If you remember the Clint Eastwood movie, "The Gauntlet" from the 70's, that was the building that was supposed to be the Main Phoenix Police Station. The tall, skinny, white building behind it is the US Bank at 1st Avenue and Washington, and just below that you can see a little bit of The Wyndam Hotel, originally The Adams on Central and Adams Street. The Hyatt Hotel has a restaurant that revolves slowly, allowing for some spectacular views, well worth visiting. You can see a tiny bit of Phoenix City Hall behind the Hyatt. Directly behind The Hyatt, and towering above it, is Chase Tower, originally Valley Center. Next to that is the Westin Hotel, which is at Van Buren and Central, another brand new building in Phoenix designed by SmithGroup. The beige building at the far right is the Sheraton Hotel, another one of the spectacular new buildings in downtown Phoenix. Photo © Mick Welsh, used with permission.

 

Downtown Phoenix looking north

Downtown Phoenix, Arizona, June, 2011, looking north. The building at the far left is Chase Tower, which was originally Valley Center. Next to it is the new Westin Hotel and in front of that is the Herberger Theater. The building just below Chase Tower is the parking lot for that building, by the way. The tall beige building is the new Sheraton Hotel and in front of it is The Arizona Republic, the local newspaper. The part of the building that you see in front of The Arizona Republic is more of the Sheraton. The beautiful old building in the foreground is St. Mary's Basilica, a Catholic Church that has been in downtown Phoenix for over 100 years. The tall building behind it is One Arizona Center, and behind that is The APS (Arizona Public Service) Building. Behind that is the T-Gen Building. The mountain off in the distance is Camelback Mountain, and the low building with the dome is The Diocesan Pastoral Center. Beyond that is The Mercado, which was originally a shopping center and is now used by ASU. The building in the background under construction is the new Bio-Tech Complex (ASU-U of A). The street in the foreground is Monroe. Photo © Mick Welsh, used with permission.