Located a little north of the downtown area is the Heard Museum which focuses on Native Cultures and Art. Dwight & Maie Heard built up a personal collection of art and artifacts and they founded the museum in 1929 to house the collection. Their collection included artefacts from the La Ciudad Indian ruin in Phoenix which the Heards purchased in 1926. Today the museum displays over 30,000 artefacts, focusing on both historical and contemporary cultural objects, art, jewellery and fashion.
Arizona State Capitol
Since Arizona only became a US state in 1912, it seems a little strange that construction of the State Capitol began back in 1898 and the building opened in 1900. It was built to convince the US government that Arizona was ready for statehood, but clearly it did not immediately have the desired effect. Due to a funding shortfall the building had to be scaled back from the original design, so maybe this was the reason for the 12 year wait. Even with new wings added by 1960 it was too small so new House of Representatives and Senate buildings were opened adjacent to it. The Governor’s Office moved to a new building in 1974 and although the Capitol remains at the centre of the Capitol Complex the building is now a museum.
Korean Memorial, Wesley Bolin Memorial Park
In front of the State Capitol is a public park filled with memorials. Wesley Bolin was Arizona Secretary of State from 1949 right through to October 1977 when he became State Governor. He died in office on March 4, 1978 and the park was named after him only 5 days after his death to honour his long service to the State. The many memorials in the park include World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Desert Storm and 9/11. This picture shows the Korean War Memorial, in the form of a pagoda with a ceremonial temple bell weighing around 1.8 tonnes (2 tons).
The area where Phoenix stands was established as a farming centre by Hohokam Indians around 300 AD. It flourished for at least 1,000 years but despite an extensive irrigation system it is thought that the Hohokam were eventually overcome by drought. In 1867 Civil War Veteran Jack Swilling arrived in the valley and saw the abandoned farming land and Hohokam ruins. He concluded that given suitable irrigation, the valley would be ideal for farming. He had canals built, largely following the old Hohokam irrigation system and the name Phoenix was chosen to represent the rebirth of farming in the area. From a farming community Phoenix grew to become the largest city in Arizona and capital of the state. Today it has a population in excess of 4 million.
Rosson House, Heritage Square
Rapid growth means that most of downtown Phoenix is modern. However at 115 North Sixth Street a little bit of Victorian Phoenix has been preserved. Apart from a number of Victorian buildings Heritage Square is home to the Arizona Science Center and Phoenix Museum of History. This picture shows Rosson House, built in 1895 for Dr. and Mrs. Roland Lee Rosson. They lived in the house until 1914. It has been restored to the way it would have looked when the Rossons lived there and is open as a museum.
Chase Field Baseball Stadium
We understand football (the game known as soccer in the USA), rugby and even have a vague understanding of cricket. But, like many people from outside the USA, American sports such as Baseball and American Football are a bit of a mystery to us. As a result, 50 plus DC has been a little light on the sporting aspects of the USA. So, here is a small attempt to make amends. Chase Field in downtown Phoenix was built for a new baseball team called the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 49,033 seater stadium was opened in 1998 and has a retractable roof. The Diamondbacks play in the West Division of Major League Baseball's National League.
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Phoenix from Hyatt Regency
We firmly believe that the best way to get to know a city is by walking around it. We didn’t do that when we visited Phoenix in May 1995 because the heat was absolutely unbearable. Hence our picture of the capital of Arizona was taken from the air conditioned comfort of our hotel. The picture shows St Mary’s Basilica which was founded in 1881. The church was completed in 1914 and was elevated to the status of minor basilica by Pope John Paul II ahead of his 1987 visit to Phoenix.
The Arizona Biltmore opened on February 23, 1929. It’s distinctive buildings were designed by Albert Chase McArthur, a Harvard graduate, who had studied under Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago between 1907 and 1909. So, although the architecture is often attributed to Wright, in reality he only influenced the design through his training of McArthur and via a small amount of consultancy work. The luxury resort was known as the ‘Jewel of the Desert’ and it soon became popular with the rich and famous. Phoenix has now expanded around it, so the resort is no longer in the desert, but it is still surrounded by extensive grounds.
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