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Showing posts from April, 2010

Historic Sahuaro Ranch Park

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In the historic area of Glendale lies a gem hidden away amongst the tall trees surrounding it. Just north of Glendale Community College on 17 acres is one of the city’s oldest and greatest exceptional ranches known as Sahuaro Ranch Park. The 1885 homestead consists of 13 original buildings, a beautiful rose garden, and barnyard and historic orchards sitting on this well-preserved land is the mists of Glendale. This place is listed on the National Register of Historical Places and referred to as the “Showplace of the Valley”.

The history of Sahuaro Ranch begins in the year 1885 when the Arizona Canal was finished and opened up 44 miles of canals, and about 100,000 acres of desert land for farming and homesteading. In 1886, 36 year old William Henry Bartlett and his brother Samuel became interested in investing in a fruit ranch. They saw the huge market for ranching and started their homestead just north of where Glendale would eventually exist. By 1918, Bartlett had the most prevalent…

The Haunted Strip Mall

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This unassuming strip mall, on 19th Avenue & Northern in Phoenix, has an Albertsons, Starbucks, Einstein’s Bagels and other shops or offices, and would never thought to be haunted, but it is. Many years before the strip mall existed on this site, there used to be several eroded buildings standing there. These structures were murky and eerie and abandoned for many years. There was much speculation that the buildings were haunted and ghosts have been reported wandering around the grounds. Between the deteriorating walls of these dark dwellings, apparitions and other strange occurrences had been seen and heard by eyewitnesses. Young kids and teens would dare each other to investigate the buildings at night using only a flashlight for protection. They would find an open hole in the fence to gain access and slowly, as a group, would enter a building. They never lasted the night claiming to hear crying, and whimpering sounds coming from the long dark passage. Only a few brave souls wou…

Adamsville: Wiped Out by a Flood

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Arizona is known for its vast deserts, mountains, great sunsets, snakes and hot climate just to name a few. Arizona is also known for the many ghost towns scattered around the state. One such town is Adamsville, which is about 2 miles from Florence.

Adamsville was founded by Charles Adams in the 1870’s. He removed the shrubbery so he could plant grain and make this a flourishing farming town. He dug ditches to irrigate the land and soon saw his crops prosper. Soon after, the first store was erected followed by the post office with William Dumont appointed as the first post master. By 1871 the overland mail stage stopped in Adamsville where by this time stores, homes, a post office, a flour mill and water tanks, now existed. In 1872, at the town’s climax was at 400 residences calling the place home.

This once thriving town sat on the flood plains of Arizona. In 1900, the horror of its location was sadly revealed when the nearby Gila River rose over its banks and completely rubbed ou…

Mohave County Downwinders

I saw this on the news last night.  The Downwinders are people living in or near Kingman, AZ, and were there at the time when nuclear testing was done in the Nevada desert.  Their homes are downwind from all the radiation that scattered and blew their way.  Since then many have suffered from horrible diseases and cancer.  This story was reported by 3TV's awarding winning investigative reporter, Mike Watkiss.  He definately knows how to get to the heart of the story. 

Legend City

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Being a Zonie, an Arizonan born and raised, I have seen many changes around the city, and many other localities around the state. I have witnessed many old places being torn down and replaced by newer and sometimes better places. One such place that holds a big part in my memories is Legend City. This place was billed as an Old West theme park, inspired by the layout of Disneyland. It was located on the border of Phoenix and Tempe and lasted only 20 years.

On June 29, 1963, Legend City opened to much excitement by the local residences. They had high hopes of this being our version of Disneyland with a western feel to it. It featured several different attractions that were popular and always stick in the memories of those of us habitual visitors to the park. There was the Lost Dutchman Mine ride, Cochise’s Stronghold river ride, Sky Ride, a Penny Arcade, Gay 90’s Miniature Golf, Log Jammer, Iron Horse train ride, and many more fun and fast rides. A local kid’s TV show, “Wallace and Lad…

UFO Sightings at Estrella Mountains

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Arizona may have Bigfoot’s prints imbedded in the soil around the state, but UFO sightings have been just as prevalent. I have blogged about the Phoenix Lights and the abduction of Travis Walton in the White Mountains. Another place that seems to get its fair share of sightings is over the Estrella Mountains. These sightings are not as famous as the Phoenix Lights, but have been seen by many over a course of several years.

During one sighting, the lights were reported as three distinctive twinkling lights and appeared to be hovering over the Estrella Mountains. They were amber in color and very bright. They seemed to be too enormous to be an airplane and did not seem likely to be balloons, which are frequently spotted in the skies of Arizona. The lights also looked to be close to each other, but not touching. Some witnesses said that the lights were moving back and forth simultaneously.

Other witnesses have their stories of what they saw when the mysterious lights appeared in the sky…

Cowboy Mummy Found in Desert

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There are many strange stories in the Arizona files. One that is told is about the mummy found in the desert near Gila Bend nicknamed “Sylvester”. Many believe that he once was a 19th century cowboy, a con that loved to play cards. Stories are told that he finally got caught cheating and was shot in the stomach. He made a hasty exit while bleeding profusely from his wound. He got as far as Arizona’s Gila Bend desert when he fell off his horse and died face down in the sweltering heat. Shortly afterwards, he was covered by the blowing sands, which appeared to have dried his body overnight. This apparently preserved his body resulting in the mummified form he was found in.

The more believable story was that he was found shortly after death and preserved in a high level of arsenic. Arsenic was used to stop the physical occurrences of a corpse rotting by killing bacteria and insects that invaded it. This custom of using arsenic was found to be poisonous by the 1900’s and never used again…

Mr. Lucky's

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Phoenix has always been a fairly easy place to get around. The streets are mapped out running north and south, east and west. There is one street that runs at an angle, Grand Avenue, which follows the railroad for several miles. While driving along this stretch of road, you will drive by a very unusual sign with a jester on top, and with the name “Mr. Lucky’s” just below it. This sign sits near Grand Avenue in a large asphalt parking lot. The building sitting on the lot has very plain wood walls, no windows, and white barn doors marking the entrance. This once booming nightclub now sits abandoned, with a security fence around it and a couple of snarling dogs inside. Mr. Lucky’s holds many memories for me and many others, so to see it as a shell of what was, is very heartbreaking.

On October 3, 1966, Mr. Lucky’s opened its doors and provided a combination of rock’n roll and country music. There were many famous singers such as Willie Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Clark, just to nam…