Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Thomas Edwin Farish's 8-volume History of Arizona was published between 1915 and 1918. Volume 6 describes the early days of the Salt River Valley and the formation and development of the Phoenix townsite. "When the commissioners appointed by the Salt River Valley Association received their instructions, they employed in the month of November, Captain Wm. A. Hancock to survey and plan the townsite upon the half section selected for that purpose, and by the 23rd of December, 1870, a sufficient number of lots had been surveyed to enable the Town Commissioners to hold a sale and so procure funds enough to prosecute the work of surveying. This work was necessarily slow, and frequently lagged for the want of funds, as money was very scarce, but by Autumn of 1871, the last lot had been surveyed and the Hancock map furnished, showing a town site one mile in length by half a mile in width, divided into ninety-eight blocks. These city founders laid out the original townsite of Phoenix so as to provide for a large and populous city in the future. Washington, the main street running east and west, was one hundred feet wide, as was also Jefferson, the first parallel street to the south, and Center, the principal cross street, while all other streets were made with a width of 80 feet. With few exceptions blocks were laid out three hundred feet long, 12 lots, 50x137½ feet each, to the block, with a 25 foot alley running through most of the squares. The first lot sold was that on the southwest corner of Washington and Montezuma (now First) streets. It was bought by Judge William J. Berry of Prescott, for $104, while the adjoining lot to the south brought $40. The opposite corner, where Berryhill's store is now located, was sold to Captain Hancock for $70. It was resold to Ellis & Company a few years later for $8,000. The two lots first mentioned, Nos. 1 and 2 in Block 22, which at one time also belonged to George D. Kendall, an early contractor and carpenter, are to-day covered by a portion of what is called the Irvine Block, built in 1879, by Edward Irvine, an early resident of this city, but lately deceased, while upon the Hancock lot, No. 2 in Block 21, on the opposite side of Washington street, was erected in 1889 the Anderson Building, which is now occupied by the Berryhill Stationery Store and the Baswitz Cigar Company." Thanks to Brad Hall for posting a copy of the Phoenix Townsite map. I posted the location and description of some of the first buildings constructed in Phoenix. According to Farish, "At this time [1870's] all the buildings were of adobe. Lumber was exceedingly scarce and expensive, the little reaching the valley coming from Prescott."