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. 

1 comment:

  1. On NPR this morning they said that that PHX Suns and the Mayor's office had reached an agreement to save a piece of the St. James for historical purposes... that's not an exact quote.