Old Town Scottsdale, wasn’t Old Town at the time of this postcard. It was relatively new, although reminiscent of “old times”. At the time of this card, cowboys (and probably others) rode horses into downtown Scottsdale. Golf carts and uber have replaced those horses.
On the right is the sign for the Pink Pony, a long, long time Scottsdale and baseball icon. Sadly, the Pink Pony is closed. I hope that someone decides to resurrect this long lived and loved shrine to baseball. After all, this was one of the very early spring training destinations. In my mind, the Pink Pony and the Sugar Bowl were always tied together, mainly because of the pin theme. I do not totally understand how two pink buildings in the same blocks, in the west’s most western town came to be. Having said that, the Pink Pony was an ironic twist on ubiquitous cowboy culture. At that time, Scottsdale was geographically described as “east” of Phoenix. Ranchers, miners, cowboys, settlers and artists lived in the area. By 1937, a little more than a decade before this postcard, Frank Lloyd Wright had already purchased land and founded Taliesin West. Parts of the surrounding area were cattle ranches, with cattle drives still happening into the 1950’s. Perhaps my friends in Wisconsin were correct – it was all about cowboys and Indians.
In any case, I’ve always loved this part of Scottsdale. I attended Scottsdale High School, which means I am dating myself, but we will all pretend that I was a savant and graduated from high school when I was 8 years old.
Spring training, with baseball teams and the sports stars of that day spent meals, drinks and hours telling stories. Joe DiMaggio, Sandy Colfax, Dizzy Dean, all enjoyed the western meals here. Clark Gable makes another visit to my blog, having spent time at the Pink Pony.
Although this area has changed quite a bit, there are certain features that remain. Warm strolls through Old Town and the tourist shops with all kinds of western everything a person could ever want and many things a person would never consider, like stuffed jackalopes. Now, there is just more. More is more.
When I was in high school, I loved the fact that our school was across the street from a tourist destination. Because my parents owned a hotel, I knew the allure of shops, shopping and the value that commerce brought to the local economy. I was also from another world. The idea that I could go to all those little shops and see so many things that were still unfamiliar to me, was a revelation. (And, to continue my theme – part of it was the color – the endless, bright, enthralling color). I still remember the tiny shop, Mexican Imports that sells everything and anything Mexican– sombreros, dolls, maracas, colors, embroidered blouses and dresses. (And, PS – if you were female and attended Scottsdale High, it was a rule – you had to have one of those dresses.) That shop is there, in its original building, with its original bricks from the 1920’s.
I just returned from a visit to Phoenix and this very block in Scottsdale and yes, I did indulge, coming home with Indian pots from one of the shops that’s been there since I was a kid, wandering the streets of Old Town on my lunch hour.
In the lower left corner, you will see Saguaro Inn. After much searching the internet, including a couple of specialized databases, the only two things I’ve discovered about the Saguaro Inn is that a murder was committed there, and the Inn was looking for a maintenance man.
The postcard says:
“Scottsdale is the fast-growing business center of a prosperous ranch and resort area just east of Phoenix, Arizona. Indian silversmiths, Western artists, authentic fabric and ceramic designers and other craftsmen at work in their shops are of particular interest to out-of-the state visitors, who browse through Scottsdale’s fine gift, clothing and curio shops in increasing numbers each year.”
With a little modernizing of the syntax, this narrative could describe Scottsdale today. Add in spring training, subtract the horses on the main street and yesterday is today is tomorrow.
Thanks for reading from the West’s Most Western Town.