Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's Madison Time, or not?

Met a guy standing on the street who said you look like you're in the arts. "Yes" I replied, "What kind?" I was asked "I tell stories about forgotten Arizona." He launched into a story about the Madison Hotel re-purposed as the Madison Bar. He remembered having to come down here and pull his old man home drunk his Mom would say "It's paycheck Friday, where is your Father?" He already knew he would come have to come down and get him. Though this individual and his story are not about a big fish who wielded power. It is an important story in the landscape of Arizona history, a story about the folks that without them Phoenix would not be what it is. Working class people who are the backbone and made the city and state, what it is.

A group of us had formed to morn the loss of the Madison, a pre-statehood hotel, built in 1909. That's four years before Arizona became a state. This hotel was a couple block north of the railroad track, back when that's how people come to the valley. Whether it was Jackie Gleason coming to via private train to relax and stay at the Westward Ho or a salesman hopping off the rail and hoping to make a some sales and pay bills. Both stories are important to the fabric of Arizona and this building deserved better than being a paring lot. Lack of imagination and lack of community stewardship score one, Phoenix zip.

This picture take from the roof of the new Palomar Hotel at Cityscape, a funky/ cool vibe  place that attracts clients from across the globe that are not looking for a bland, beige, sterile experience. Could have enjoyed a hip bar serving up the the latest libations. But, desire for additional parking outweighed the the creativity to see what it could have been. No one driving by stopped to ask about where to park in the sea of parking lots, but then none of them were VIPs. Farewell Madison Hotel/ Bar. Hope the St. James, next door, has a better outcome. 

It's Madison Time

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Phoenix Alert: Hotels in Danger

Phoenix is under a global microscope, as the David Wright House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, for his son. Is under fear of destruction and the New York Times, BBC and local news sources have taken notice. While the world is watching this Arcadia home; Downtown Phoenix is on alert. A permit to demolish two historic buildings has been issued. I am writing about the Madison and St James Hotels located near Central and Madison, two block north of the train line. These two hotels considered SRO’s, single room occupancy, or considered to flop houses. Though they were built to accommodate the travelers and weary business men coming to Phoenix on the, now passenger less rail. Located in the warehouse district they share a unique history of Phoenix that no other buildings can. The Madison hotel was built before Arizona was a state, in 1909 and the St James was open in 1929. There has been some press garnered to inform the public of the intent to create another parking lot, Vanishing Phoenix, the Arizona Republic, and Phoenix Business Journal. Via Facebook a few people like Chris Petroff and Michael Levine have set up pages to raise awareness of peril of these historic hotels or offer alternatives.  Even, My Plan Phoenix has an idea under Save our Historic Buildings, "Please tell the Phoenix Suns NOT to demolish the Madison and St. James hotels! Let's not destroy what little history we have!!!!!" How can you help? Contact your elected officials! Let them know that our history is important to our community!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Arizona's Most Infamous Murderess and Haunted Phoenix

Arizona is dotted with ghost towns, so it should come as no surprise that Phoenix, with it's layers of history, has a fair share of hauntings and nefarious deeds. 

Sunday Oct 28th, the Winnie Ruth Judd and Haunted Phoenix tours both begin at The Clarendon Hotel. The Clarendon holds a unique place in Arizona history as the place where an Arizona Republic journalist (Don Bolles) car blew up.

The Winnie Ruth Judd Bus Tour Follows the Footsteps of Infamous Winnie Ruth Judd
and the Phoenix Trunk Murders

The Haunted Phoenix tour will take you around to many haunted sites such as the Hotel San Carlos, said to the most haunted hotel in Arizona. Catch rare glimpse inside of the First Baptists Church that lost it’s roof to a fire and has been sitting dormant for more than 2 decades. These and other historic sites that are said to be inhabited by ghost will be included on the tour.

Did you know that several popular eateries are supposed to haunted?
and relax at Gallo Blanco Cafe get ready for some hair raising history by Marshall Shore.

Winnie Ruth Judd Tour -
Haunted Phoenix Tour -