The “Midcentury Marvels: Commercial Architecture of Phoenix, 1945-1975” coffee book is the most comprehensive ever published on the history of midcentury commercial architecture in Phoenix and is available via the City of Phoenix website.
Released in January 2011, the 264-page book features a review of high-style Modern and roadside “Googie” architecture across the nation and at the home; a visual tour of some of the most significant commercial structures built in Phoenix during the post World War II era; and a look at the architects who shaped modern Phoenix, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Ralph Haver, Al Beadle, Bennie Gonzales, Royal Lescher, Leslie Mahoney, Edward Varney and more.
Builders and developers such as Del Webb Corp., Mardian Construction, Chanen Construction and Kitchell-Phillips Contractors Inc. are also represented, and many of the photographs and drawings depict buildings that have either been renovated in large part or entirely demolished — for example, Legend City, an amusement park that operated for two decades on the border of Tempe and Phoenix until it was completely destroyed in 1983.
Additional styles featured throughout “Midcentury Marvels” include Tiki or Polynesian-style buildings (such as the original Trader Vic’s in Scottsdale) and Googie-style buildings (such as the 300 Bowl) that once dotted the Phoenix landscape. Also keep a sharp eye out for images of the IBEW Union Hall, the Phoenix Financial Center and the Hanny’s department store building (now Hanny’s restaurant) in downtown.
The book is $20 and can be ordered here.