First - remember when the city limit was 35th Avenue? (Hancock Avenue)
27th was called Adrienne, Mission, or Alhambra depending on where you were.
Let's take a look around the neighborhood
Remember that Larry Yee's ('66) parents had a little grocery store where the Taco Bell now sits at 35th and Van Buren? Larry and I were allowed to Trick or Treat a little further one year - above Roosevelt. My parents were waiting for us at the house they had just bought on Moreland. Big move North from Polk - both houses are still there last I checked. Barbara Tadano and Dayna Faye Taylor lived next door to one another, nearer 35th than I did.
Moreland was the next-to-last street then. Judy Trevillion ('66') lived right behind me on Belleview. Then there was a dairy farm - then it was gone. Homes galore. Then they were gone too - eight years they stood. Then about 20 years of vacant land while they 'planned' a freeway. The wall is close behind my old kitchen window now.
Remember the field from 39th Avenue West to 43d? (39th stopped at Roosevelt - another canal was there to the North) Glen Bean and Linda & Sharon Hooper lived in the last houses before the canal on Portland and Latham. Played there a lot, especially in the stand of trees about where 41st would be.
Roosevelt was still dirt when we became the first class to attend the new Butler school. (Mrs Alta E Butler, was still alive then too.) There was still a planted field just East of the school then. We'd crawl around in the Barley and make paths. And the first part of first grade, being taken by bus every day to Isaac Elementary for lunch because our lunchroom wasn't finished yet.
Of course there was the Budget Foods store (where Phoenix firefighter Brett Tarver was lost some years ago when it burned), K&H Variety / Hardware, and the barber shop right at the South end of the center.
Bob and Sally Rada and the first version of Radas restaurant. Five stools and three tables. And the 'Crazy Burro' enchilada style, with rice & beans for $1.05. They did well for many years serving the regulars good food at a fair price. Their kids ran the restaurant afterwards too. Bob and Sally finally moved up around Payson. The restaurant now occupies the space where the laundry and the television repair shop - were - with new ownership. Just isn't the same as when I first pedaled my bike up there for the first time soon after they opened.
How many remember the original name of Bonjos' Drive In? Com'on think. Bob's Drive In. Remember how you would walk in the center doors and there was a V-shaped area - to both sides of the order window - with a pinball machine at the end of each side. The place is now called Rita's Mexican Food - looks much different.
And what about the Pink'n'Green? Bill's Ranch House Burgers and the first drive-thru, the Milk Depot was on the side. Building is still there - as a car lot last time around there.
State Auto Wrecking was on the NW corner of 35th and Roosevelt - long gone now - Circle K now.
Remember the first Jack-in-the-Box? On McDowell at 33d. And when Burger Chef opened on the site of the (very) old house at 35th and Roosevelt? Burgers ten for a dollar!
Pete's Fish n Chips - is still! in the same place on Van Buren just East of 27th Avenue. And it is still run by the family. Their 50th Anniversary was a few years ago now.
The first U-Tote-M Market at 37th and McDowell? How about grand openings of Blakely's Gas Stations, the frosted glasses they used to give away with gasoline ( now fetching high dollars online as collectibles ) - and the little loaves of Holsum bread? Monroe Blakely's first station was located in Gilbert, and had franchised 88 stations before selling 'Blakely Oil' in 1963.
Anyone remember Charlie's House of Fun? Began at about Portland and 35th, next to the tiny grocery store, then moved up to just South of McDowell on the East side of the street where the produce market was before.
How about the candy store (name someone?), Coker's Trophy shop, and across 35th, Tamuty's Fruit Market. On the West side, right at or just above the intersection of I-10 and 35th now. And the dairy farm was behind them to the West along Belleview for a short time before they levelled all that to make way for the I-10 (some twenty years later).
There also was the Tastee Freeze on 35th just South of Van Buren.
My favorite was the t i n y place in the little parking area on the SW corner of Fillmore? - for it's greasy french fries. 10 cents for a huge paper plate. Joe Friday's Fish n Chips. Collect pop bottles and buy fries! Ah, the easy life.
There was the Alzona Christian Center - we'd go there after school for many years - and terrorize Mr. Yates. Without a worry about being abused either.
Remember split sessions? When both Alhambra and Maryvale students were on campus while they finished building their schools.
Before high school I delivered the Phoenix Gazette for awhile. In six months I made my bill three times - nobody paid! The daily station was in front of Bobby and John Corella's house on the NE corner of 37th and Belleview (right down the street from Larry Reynolds house). The Sunday station was at Dickie Bremer's ( 66 ) house on Moreland, right across the street from Thomas Woolridge's ('66 - KIA VN '68).
How many remember Alzona Park? Government housing I lived in when I moved here - at 35th & Van Buren, where the shopping center is now. Maybe just a bit too long ago for most. Still see some of the homes in the neighborhood. They were slate-sided row houses on pier blocks. They were 'broken up', sold, and moved when the area was rebuilt.
Then there was University Park and the swimming pool. All the way down at 13th Avenue and Van Buren. In the SE corner was the little military museum. All gone now. We'd ride there on our bikes - and to Encanto Park too (Saturday mornings at the Archery range).
The Westdale Shopping Center was the home of El Rancho Market, TG&Y Variety store, Totem department store, Cox's Bakery, Daniel's Jewelers, WT Grant department store, Thrifty Drug, and several more small stores. Thrifty Drug's Vanilla Ice Cream won the best ice crean award for many many years - and cheap too! My favorite was the Cherry Vanilla with Chocolate Chips. I met my future ( all too temporary ) wife at a store there later on.
The whole area was alive with activity in a thriving blue-collar world, Shopping Kart and Russ Keeton grocery stores, Rock Bottom, Yellow Front surplus store, many many little shops along Van Buren and McDowell, up 35th, and even some on Roosevelt too.
Karen Hawkins ('66) parents started their little Attorney Services business right at the house there at 27th and Fillmore too. The first in Arizona - sold into new ownership after nearly 50 years, merged into a large corporation.