One thing you can always say about Phoenix is that it constantly changes. If you go away for a few years and come back, there are always new buildings in the place of old buildings.

Of course, if you look very carefully, you can still see familiar buildings here and there. Let’s visit downtown Phoenix in 1933.

Central between Adams and Monroe in 1933
Central between Adams and Monroe in 1933

We’re on Central between Adams and Monroe, looking southwest.

The first thing to notice is the Heard Building to the left side, where Dwight Heard publishes two newspapers: the Arizona Republic and the Phoenix Gazette. Built in 1920, the Heard Building lost its title as the tallest building in town once the Luhrs Building, at Central and Jefferson, went up in 1925.

However, the buildings north of the Heard Building are new. In the place of the old Occidental Boarding House you see a modern-looking building with the Great Western Business College (possibly Lamson Business College), and on the ground floor you find McDougall and Cassou, Lucille’s (a dress shop?) and a florist. Hey, according to the sign, the Donofrio family owns the flower shop – they make the best ice cream!

This beautiful Art Deco building sure out-classes the old Occidental, which was built back when Arizona was still a territory. Progress marches on. Hopefully this beautiful building will never be “modernized” in the future.

The brick building to the right is new, too. The old Central Methodist Church moved up Central to a bigger place. In its place you can see Honan’s, which looks like a clothing store and hat shop. Strange how they just jammed that building right up against the building next to it. Phoenix does that kind of stuff. Hopefully the nice brick exterior will last the decades!

As of this writing, all the buildings in the photo are still there. The Heard Building remains the most recognizable, although it underwent some minor face-lifts.

Central between Adams and Monroe 1933 vs. 2016
Central between Adams and Monroe 1933 vs. 2016

The rest of the buildings were “modernized” beginning not long after the 1933 photo was taken. The building at far left, the Gooding Building (right behind the sign that says “Indian Store”), was modernized when it became Raskin’s Jeweler’s in the 1950s, and still keeps a very plain facade. The facades of the other buildings, which now house State Farm and Valley Bar, among other things, were also “smoothed out.”

– Brad Hall, History Adventuring / Edited for Phoenix.org