Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September 21, The Alston House and Election Posters

A few months back I saw an article in the Arizona Republic about The Alston House. Dr. Lucius Alston was the first black doctor to practice medicine in what was then the very segregated town of Mesa. We're talking the 1920's through, oh let's say maybe sometime in the 1960's. The segregation practiced in Mesa was of the gentlemens' agreement sort, nothing overt, just keeping Them over there and Us over here by way of real estate practices. Check out this article called "The Struggle for Civil Rights in Arizona" by The Honorable Elizabeth Finn. Anyway, Dr. Alston and his wife Velma, a nurse, treated black, Hispanic and Indian patients. It is right and fitting that the home they made in what is now central Mesa should be preserved and their legacy remembered.

There is a barbed wire topped chain link fence surrounding the property. I do not know when it is scheduled to be open to the public.

Pima Street has small, mostly quite modest homes. Some very well kept, some not so much and then there is this one, directly across the street from the Alston House. 

Brazos Abiertos church is just across the corner. If my Spanish is correct, the name translates to "Open Arms". That's reinforced by "Todos Bienvenidos"

Here's a home on Lewis Street, just a short block east of Pima.

And here's another.

Just north and across the street from The Alston House is Washington Park. I believe it is named after Booker T. Washington.

You know I can't resist a door and a bike.

And now for the next round of Election Posters

My actual chore today before work was to go to Home Depot and get a bunch of paint swatches. But right on the corner of Broadway and Val Vista where HD sits was a nice collection of election signage. I had to grab a few shots.

Oh, wait a sec. As I was driving to Home Depot I happened to see a familiar sight along South Gilbert Road.
You may have heard of Russell Pearce, even if you've never been in Arizona. He was the chief sponsor of Senate Bill 1070, which has gotten us so much press lately. The first link there takes you to the actual bill. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it. And no, I did not embellish Mr. Pearce's upper lip. That was already there.

The Democratic candidate for governor is Terry Goddard, current Attorney General and long time presence on the Arizona political scene. His campaign is emphasizing bringing jobs to Arizona, which has, I if I recall, the second worst unemployment in the nation along with one of the highest rates of home foreclosure. He is given very little chance against the incumbent Jan Brewer, who gained fame for signing SB1070 into law. She has also become well known for a prolonged "senior moment" during the one and only debate she agreed to participate in and for making up scary stories about decapitations along our border with Mexico. Her official image is one appropriated from another Great American Icon, Rosy the Riveter.

She doesn't need to put up posters in Mesa. My guess is she will take the city by a very wide margin.
My other political prognostication this morning is that Kit Filbey's day job need have no fear of being pushed to the background any time soon. If I'm wrong you'll hear about it here.

Now this is important. The Chicago Cubs have held their spring training in Mesa for decades. Sooner or later you knew they would make some sort of "request" of the already cash strapped city in order to keep bringing their players and fans to Mesa. The Cubs themselves are the big boosters of this campaign; check out their Keep the Cubs website. A local blogger (gee, another one about Mesa?) has devoted a fair amount of space to this issue at Mesa Spring Training Stadium.

As always, thanks for visiting Mesa 2010. Remember, this is really just a very thinly disguised way to get more people to check out my novel, Boomerang. But since much of the action in the book takes place right here in my little corner of the world (along with plenty of fun in Australia, San Francisco, Washington DC and even Martha's Vineyard) it all ties in quite nicely! Please check out the link to Boomerang's Home on the Web.

Thanks and so long from Mesa!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sept 9 Falcon Field

Falcon Field opened in 1941 as a training base for RAF pilots. I'll bet they hated to leave the sunshine and orange groves, but we know why the chaps were training in the first place, so I imagine their stays were all too short before gruesome festivities of WWII called them away..

When we moved here in 1960, Falcon Field had become a municipal airport of modest ambitions and was also home to a nice park that was dominated by the Falcon Field swimming pool, which I believe was first built during the war to serve the recreation needs of the cadet pilots. As I recall, it was a nice pool and our family used it frequently. It is not there anymore. Shame.

On the opposite corner of Falcon Dr. and McKellips Rd. is an establishment called The Monastery. I do believe drinking goes on there.

In the park today you can see the fireplace that had been a part of the cadet rooms building. Just standing out there with a few plaques on it.

Mostly the park consists of palm tree clusters like this one, some ramadas for picnicking, a children's playground and public restrooms.

There are quite a few businesses lining Falcon Dr, including a Cessna dealer and Hertz. I have rented a few times from Hertz, but the last time I did they did not have the type of vehicle I had reserved and so they "upgraded" us to a Grand Marquis. I will never forgive them for that.
Helicopter and what I assume is a WWII aircraft of British ancestry.
Falcon Field is also home to the Commemorative Air Force Museum. I did not have the time to take a tour, so we'll schedule that for another installment. But I did get a few shots around the exterior. This is a close-up of a huge propeller that stands guard near the entrance. It is from a B-29 bomber affectionately christened "Fifi".

 A view from back aways.

Aircraft on a stick and, curiously enough, one of those bits of artillery designed to shoot aircraft out of the sky. What a clever species we are!
From Mesa, AZ. So long and see you later!

Friday, August 27, 2010

McKellips West of Lindsay

And east of Almond Grove. Which, by the way, is not a through street.

I'm thinking this must have at one time been home to a fruit stand. Lots of tree stumps and the building looks like it would have been the place of commerce once upon a time. Now it's just kind of, well, sitting and waiting for really good wind to knock it over.

Art of Tuscany sells all manner of stone stuff with which to do stone stuff things. But just in case anyone should see the name and think they are anything but All-American, the feather flag should convince them otherwise!

Art of Tuscany shares this sign space with ATF Transmission Shop, Martin's Auto Repair, Joe's Auto AC and Herlehy's Auto Repair. Another sign for Herlehy's just to the left of this collection assures one that the place is under new ownership and lower prices are in effect.

This is a sidewalk view into the Conquistador Mobile Home Park. Nicely landscaped.

Across the street is the somewhat more modestly attired Sunset Mobile Park.

And then there is the Rio del Oro park. Are you getting the idea that this stretch of McKellips has a lot of mobile homes? True enough.

But it also has apartments.

And over at Almond Grove, you have some larger abodes.

Although the primary election has passed, you can't go very far without seeing a whole bunch of campaign signs. Some just get the candidates' names out there, maybe give a qualification or two.

Some think it important to include innocent women and children in their advertisements. One AZ candidate in another congressional district tried this sort of thing posing with his nieces. Or perhaps they were professional models. Or local children promised a pass on the AIMS test if they cooperated. In any case, they weren't his daughters. The candidate's name? It escapes me at the moment but I remember it had both a bird and a spelling challenged vice-president association.

These two gentlemen desperately wish to lead the crime fighting struggle in our great state. I trust they have a good grasp of what is legal. Ethical, I'm not so sure.

Moon Valley Nurseries has a nice big presence on the south side of McKellips.

East Valley Mustang

And this part of Mesa also has a prominent water feature.....

No, wait a sec, that's Oceanside, CA.

There we go.

There aren't too many places you can go in Mesa without seeing an LDS spire.

One more mobile home park shot. Trust me, you're getting off easy.

So long from Mesa!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

August 26, Dana Park

Traveling south on Val Vista Rd. between Southern and Baseline, just past the entrance to the freeway, you can't miss this tower at the northeast corner of Dana Park. Shops and restaurants dominate this commercial property, although I did see a few other businesses such as a chiropractor, an orthodontist and a couple of offices I wasn't sure what sort of business was being transacted there.

When the weather is reasonable, which is most of the year around here, there is a whole lot more foot traffic at Dana Park than, say, downtown Mesa. Folks going to restaurants, window shopping the stores, sitting out in front of A.J.'s Fine Foods and dining al fresco at any of the wide variety of restaurants. There are quite a few empty store fronts here, but the overall impression is upbeat and more than a little upscale.

The nice, big Barnes and Noble store is one of our favorite places at Dana Park.

Most of the empty storefronts have posters reminding you of what can be found in either direction.

Lots of fountains and potted plants. I like the patterned drive.

Shakespeare's Pub and Restaurant is the second British Isles tenant for this location. For the life of me I can't remember the name of the original place, but it was of the UK variety also. Believe I had a shepherd's pie there once. I hope Shakespeare's fare is tastier.

I didn't find much in the way of hometown Mesa shops. I guess that should be no surprise. Here is Anthropologie. Never been inside one myself and they weren't open yet when I took these photos (gotta get out before it gets too toasty!). Place looked pretty interesting from the outside. I expect it's a bit beyond my budget, though.
I can't resist shots with parked bikes, so there was no way I was passing this one by. Sweet Age is the shop. I'm not sure if they are local or not.

The European Wax Center is offering a special for first time guests, but from what I understand of the Brazilian procedure they are advertising, you'd think they would pay a person more than $19.50 to subject themselves to it. Of course I could be misunderstanding the sign. They could mean that the special price applies to Brazilian customers only. I'm thinking that might be a limited clientele base here in Mesa.

Pei Wei is one of our go-to restaurants. Good food, usually quite quick, and non-scary prices.

Girly Girlz has a sign in one of the unoccupied windows at the other end of the center indicating they are "around the corner". It was actually quite a hike.

Dana Park has these public service Anti-Drug signs distributed liberally around the property, although I thought the slogan was "Speed Kills". In any case, Sauce is another restaurant we have tried. I like their prosciutto and melon pizza.
Storables came and went in pretty short order. The place was a knock-off of my beneficent day (and sometimes night) job employer.

As is the case with most of these centers, the perimeter has a fair sprinkling of eating establishments. We tried Five Guys once a while ago. It was good. Not what you'd call health food, but good.

We'll end this tour with a shot of AJ's Purveyors of Fine Foods. This is the quite definitely upscale part of the Bashas' grocery store empire. Bashas' has been having a tough time lately, going into Chapter 11 and subsequently trimming its workforce substantially and still having its struggles with certain creditors. We'll see how it all shakes out. In the meantime, if you want a decadent pastry to take home, I like their bakery.

So long from Mesa.