Mar/Apr 2020

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$5.99 Mar-Apr 2020 Serving Contracting Firms and the Arizona Community. . . Then & Now

A to Z Equipment Rentals & Sales Celebrates 60 Years The “Hare-y” Story of Greyhound Racing in Arizona Coolidge: A City That “Cottoned” to Twangy Music Men’s Construction Fashion Through the Years A-1 Beer: AZ’s “Hometown” Adult Beverage

Arizona’s Timeless Magazine

A look at pop culture and contracting in Arizona

Cruising Central: Park Central Mall’s Evolution

Wallace and Ladmo

Pat McMahon’s Take on the Iconic Phoenix TV Show

Pat McMahon Filming at Empire Machinery


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experience Contributors planner Alison Bailin Industrial Michael Bernstein archaeologist John Bueker Lost Dutchman Peter Corbett Mine ride attendant Theoretical Jay Mark at Legend City astrophysicist, which I achieved... Jason Morris theoretically Billie Snell International Luke Snell travel writer Doug Sydnor A track star breaking the Jim West mile record

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Advertising 602-931-0069 Subscriptions: Online at Serving Contracting Firms and the Arizona Community… Then & Now Arizona Contractor & Community (ACC) magazine is published bi-monthly (Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec). ACC is a professional publication designed for the contracting industry, engineers, architects, equipment rentals, suppliers, and others interested in Arizona and its history. Content including text, photographs or illustrations may not be reproduced without the written permission from the publisher. The publisher does not assume responsibility for unsolicited submissions. ACC reserves the right to reject any editorial and advertising material and reserves the right to edit all submitted content material. Arizona Contractor & Community Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved.


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From The Editor - Going to the Dogs Douglas Towne Construction Around Arizona: Projects • People • Practices Back When - The Theatre’s Name Isn’t Paramount Douglas Towne A to Z Equipment Rentals & Sales Celebrates 60 Years Wallace and Ladmo: Pat McMahon’s Take on the Iconic Phoenix TV Show - John Bueker Here Comes the Rabbit! The “Hare-y” Story of Greyhound Racing in Arizona - Jay Mark Coolidge: A City That “Cottoned” to Twangy Music Jim West Fedoras, Fobs, and Feathered Hair: Men’s Construction Fashion Through the Years William Horner A-1 Beer: Arizona’s Preferred Mid-Century Adult Beverage - Douglas Towne Building on the Past - 1963: Mesa House is a “Bonanza” Architect’s Perspective - Celebration of Life Facilities Doug Sydnor, FAIA Digging Through the Archives - Construction Memorabilia - William Horner Bid Results - Bidjudge Advertising Index

Front Cover - Wallace, Pat McMahon as “Gerald,” and Ladmo (l-r). Insets - Pat McMahon as “Captain Super” appearing in an Arizona Office of Tourism film shoot at the Empire Machinery equipment testing grounds, 1976.


Images courtesy of Ted Thompson, and Empire Machinery


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Jay Mark Article on page 68

Jim West Article on page 72



oming from a career in broadcasting, it didn’t seem like a giant leap to be a greyhound racing announcer. How hard could it be? Especially since the pay for a parttime job was particularly enticing. Having attended a few races with friends, I was often critical and dismissive of the announcer, believing I could do much better. Then the call came. How would I like to become the voice of Tucson Greyhound Park? So, there I was, finding myself climbing a steep flight of stairs, walking across a perilous catwalk to reach the official’s booth high above the track, and then squeezing into a tiny room fitted with a microphone and telephone. Suddenly, what seemed to be a snap job, turned into sheer panic. The first nights flew by. Drenched in sweat, I probably lost five pounds. I never seemed to get caught up – introducing the dogs for the upcoming race, announcing times until the contest began, calling the race itself, and the results. And making various announcements phoned up to me from the office. Eventually, I got the hang of it. After calling more than 15,000 races, panic had evolved into sheer boredom. Did I remember to call the last race? In the end, I learned that the only sure way to make money at the dog track was not by wagering, but by working there.

im West is a freelance writer who grew up in Tucson. He spent more than 40 years in radio and television broadcasting in Indianapolis, Baltimore, Albuquerque, Tucson, and Phoenix, including at the award-winning stations, KNIX and KMLE. A history enthusiast, Jim has authored many magazine articles on music in such magazines as Route 66, True West, and PHOENIX. In 2016, he wrote the book, The Phoenix Sound: A History of Twang and Rockabilly Music in Arizona. Jim has co-written a second book, Ray Odom: A Lifetime of Radio, Records & Racehorses, about the pioneer Arizona radio station owner, concert promoter, and championship thoroughbred racehorse owner. Jim was nominated twice for the Country Radio Hall of Fame in Nashville and was a finalist for the Country Music Association’s “Large Market Air Personality.” He served on the Board of the Academy of Country Music in Hollywood, where he helped plan the annual ACM awards broadcast on network TV. He is a recent inductee into the Greater Arizona Country Music Hall of Fame. One of Jim’s favorite industry memories involved Willie Nelson, who was in Phoenix for a concert on his 50th birthday. “We all sang “Happy Birthday” to him, and he chastised me for ‘singing off-key.’ I got a big kick out of that.” MAR-APR 2020

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hink of our March/April issue as a mid-morning break at the construction site. We’ve decided to emphasize the “community” part of our name, briefly idle the big yellow machines, and focus on how Arizonans entertained themselves during the post-World War II boom years. We’re calling it the “Pop-Culture” issue, and we lead off with The Wallace and Ladmo Show, which was TV made for kids that adults loved. Other topics include the “Phoenix Sound” created by pioneering musicians Lee Hazlewood, Duane Eddy, Jimmy Delbridge, and Waylon Jennings in Coolidge, a town known more for its nearby cotton fields. To liven up the party, we toss in greyhound racing and A-1 beer. It sounds like a good time to me! The magazine doesn’t get entirely away from its roots. But we cover construction with a twist through photo essays illustrating how workers dressed (I can’t quite get myself to label it “fashion”), and the mid-century memorabilia contractors produced. My favorite of all these fun topics was Top: Tucson Greyhound Park, 1953. Top inset: JR’s Ripper, 1985. Right: Paddock Bar, 1986. Right inset: Cross Roads Drive Inn, 1986.


going to the dog track at the Tucson Greyhound Park during the mid-1980s. I was a student at the University of Arizona, and a few times each semester, my friends and I ventured to South Fourth Avenue in the small municipal enclave of South Tucson. Word of the impending outing would spread throughout my dorm, Babcock Inn. By dusk, the gamblers and the curious, packed into vehicles: Lono’s red Volvo, Mary’s vintage 1964 Chevy, Cathy’s Mitsubishi Cordia, or my AMC Hornet. While the destination was only five miles away, it

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Douglas Towne

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From the editor: Going to the dogs

was a whole other side of the Old Pueblo. Our first stop was the appropriately-named Paddock Bar, a watering hole located a few blocks from the dog track. This dive bar was the evening’s appetizer: it featured cheap drinks, 25-cent pool, and sold greyhound racing programs. Although some considered South Tucson a bit rough, we never had any issues at the Paddock. Whether it was our good nature—or just good luck—is hard to say. The greyhound park was our next stop. A parking-lot fronted the Spanish-looking grandstand outlined in green neon that faced east towards the track. A few of us made sophisticated wagers, trying to reap big bucks by hitting the daily double or a

MAR-APR 2020

quinella. Most of our group, however, was content to limit bets to simple $2 tickets, especially on crowd-favorite JR’s Ripper, who won a world-record 143 starts at the track before retiring in 1985. I spent more time people watching than dog analyzing at the greyhound park. Men dramatically outnumbered the women, and some, it appeared, could ill-afford to wager money in such a manner. My favorite memory is chatting with a gal, who would have looked more at home at a Shakespeare lecture than at a dog track. The coed intently studied her greyhound program, examining the lineage and race histories of the dogs as if they were tea leaves that only she could decipher. When I asked who would win the next race, she responded, “I don’t know.” But her tone seemed to indicate that she had figured out which pooches would triumph in the subsequent races. I never caught up with her to test my hypothesis. After the races finished or when our funds had taken a big enough hit, we’d head to our favorite spot for a late-night snack at the Cross Roads Drive Inn, across Fourth Avenue. I vividly recall ordering a pitcher of beer, five frosted glasses, and our Mexican-food entrees. The waitress placed the cold adult beverages on a tray that hung from the driver’s window. I instinctively knew that this “convenience” was not going to last. These outings inspired some of us to joke about becoming greyhound owners or changing our college major to Race Track Industry, a program only the UofAZ offered. But these were just fanciful thoughts; we were just young adults having fun exploring the world—and we were blissfully ignorant of the racing industry’s dark side. Back then, there was no mention of mistreatment of greyhounds or sometimes unscrupulous track owners. Things have changed in South Tucson since those halcyon days. The Paddock closed in the 1990s and reopened as the Saint Charles Tavern in 2015. Artisanal cocktails are now on the menu, and forget about a game of billiards for a quarter. The Tucson Greyhound Park, which had operated since 1944, had its last live greyhound race in 2016, as Arizona outlawed the sport. The Cross Roads was converted from a drive-in to a restaurant, but at least its vintage neon sign remains. It seems a night on South Fourth Avenue just isn’t what it used to be. But few things stay the same. Hopefully, the magazine’s first pop-culture issue will bring back some fond memories for you too.




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when the first city planners designed the north/south access. They wanted both a grand promenade and a central business district. “In my opinion, Central Avenue historically has always been Phoenix’s main street,” Derek D. Horn, local historian, says. “It was considered the central spine of the city. Everything radiated off of Central. It

Cruising Central – Then & Now Jason Morris f you grew up in Phoenix, you’re likely familiar with the cultural activity of cruising Central Avenue. For decades before the advent of social media, teen entertainment in the Valley often turned to motoring along Central. It was a way to meet other teenagers and find out where the parties were. It was a place to see and be seen and show off your wheels, even if it required spending the night driving up and down the same road. The iconic Park Central Mall, Phoenix’s first shopping mall, was a focal point on the strip given its large parking lot, which offered ample opportunity for hanging out. Central Avenue’s significance goes back to how Phoenix was laid out initially, Top: Artist’s rendering of the redeveloped Park Central Mall. Right: Park Central Mall under construction, 1956.

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was where city growth started and originally, it was a location that attracted money and power in Phoenix for a long time.” One of the first transitions for Central was when the city council in the 1950s decided to allow skyscrapers outside the downtown core. This decision allowed for the slow, steady construction of high-rise

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buildings north on Central, stretching the business district for miles. Many thought this decision detracted from downtown’s ability to remain viable. It would take decades of stops and starts before the central business district realized the type of volume to create the downtown we see thriving today. For many years, the focus was on mid-town as the center of commerce. Now, it appears, we are finally seeing both downtown and midtown come in to their own with separate character, tenants, amenities, and attractions. Central Avenue’s Renaissance My firm, Withey Morris, has had more than 20 projects along Central over the last several years. Most recently, we have been fortunate to work on both the redevelopment of Park Central Mall as well as the creation of The Central Park adjacent to Steele Indian School Park. The Central Park is an iconic and massive $1 billion project comprised of a mixed-use development that pays homage to Steele Indian School Park’s history and

culture and, will ultimately be a prominent gateway to uptown Phoenix. The planned development will feature six high-rise towers that include apartments, condominiums, office space, a retirement community and retail space. Park Central Mall is transforming into a work/live/play and arts destination that includes Creighton University, a nine-story apartment project and a 10-story parking garage that will hold 2,001 vehicles. Even the recreated/updated iconic Park Central entry sign is installed and operating, serving as a beacon for the revitalization of the long-neglected site. With the advent of light rail, we’re seeing billions of dollars of redevelopment along Central, rising home prices and a much more pronounced developable area – from the warehouse district all the way to Camelback Road. Not only has a business address at Central Avenue become desirable, but it’s turning into a desirable residential address. It has all the components you need for prolonged success – great

educational institutions, healthcare, and transportation.

Balancing Old and New Redevelopment of Central is about balance between old and new. An equal amount of planning and effort goes into preserving older structures and points of pride, such as museums, as there is in creating new focal points. Instead of standalone uses such as retail, office or housing, we are now seeing the rise of “Mixed-Use” projects which allows the public to live, work, and play in the same well-designed block. Today, we are truly seeing the best of the old and new. If local residents of yesteryear cruised Central today, I think there would be general amazement about its progress, and at the same time, there’d likely be enough familiarity. Hopefully, they’d think it was done well and it was done right. It kept the best of what was there and continues to preserve some amazing structures while at the same time permitting a whole new transportation network and amazing redevelopment opportunities. Central Avenue really is a good example of how Phoenix develops best. Jason Morris is a founding partner of Withey Morris PLC. Experienced and effective, his dynamic presentations at public hearings on behalf of his clients prove that an attorney can be both personable and tenacious. Throughout his career, he’s practiced exclusively in land use, government relations, zoning, and administrative law.

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Top left: Rush-hour traffic facing south along Central Ave., late 1960s. Top right: Park Central Mall neon marquee along Central Ave., 1957. Left: Artist’s rendering of the redeveloped Park Central Mall.

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Willmeng Construction breaks ground on Landing 202


illmeng Construction Inc., a Phoenix-based commercial general contractor, recently broke ground on a multiphase project totaling 605,000 square-feet of Class-A industrial space on 45 acres. Landing 202 project, developed by Scottsdale-based Marwest Enterprises, is located in the heart of the Mesa Gateway area and opens up opportunities for the municipality and the airport region. The project is scheduled to be completed in June of 2020. Phase one of this project includes tilt-panel construction of two industrial warehouse buildings; building 1A will be 486,000 square-feet, while building 1B will be 119,000 square feet. These warehouses are positioned on a property that is highly visible from the Loop 202, with freeway access from the Power Road and Hawes Road exits. Parking for phase one will offer 565 spaces, exceeding the required amount of 550 per site plan. Designed by national architecture firm, Ware Malcomb, Landing 202 is expected to bring industry to an area that was once farmland. “This building elevates our market and creates something that hasn’t existed in this area of Mesa to-date, through its scope and types of users that can be accommodated here. Thank you to those who dream big and bring projects like this to our city,” said Mayor John Giles, City of Mesa. Speaking to a gathering at January’s groundbreaking ceremony, James Murphy,

President and CEO of Willmeng Construction, explained, “The momentum that greater Phoenix has in the industrial market is something to be excited about in 2020. We’ve worked with many development service departments, and the Mesa group is top-notch—we are honored to be part of a high-performing team.” The City of Mesa’s Planning and Zoning Board approved the request to rezone the property from agricultural to light

industrial in 2019. Bill Jabjiniak, Economic Development Director, City of Mesa, said, “Thank you for having the vision that provides a product that helps us grow as a city and community. It’s been obviously well worth it in phase one.” Willmeng Construction, established in 1977, is a Phoenix-based building contractor that specializes in ground-up and tenant improvement projects in Arizona.

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Top right: A concrete tilt panel installed during the vertical construction phase. Bottom left: Mesa’s economic development department, Willmeng Construction, Marwest Enterprises, and Ware Malcomb break ground on Landing 202. Bottom right: President and CEO of Willmeng Construction, James Murphy, shares construction details at the groundbreaking.

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Apartment Rentals Replace Retail at Scottsdale Airport Peter Corbett


cottsdale Airpark is getting 330 new luxury apartments in a redevelopment project to replace underperforming retail buildings. Wood Partners is developing a fourstory apartment building northwest of Raintree Drive and Loop 101. The 5.56acre site is in the middle of a shopping center parking lot adjacent to former Whole Foods and Sports Chalet stores. It’s just south of a Sam’s Club big-box store converted last year into an At Home furnishings superstore. The residential building will include two large courtyards with a pool and spa. Tenants will have access to a 9,000-squarefoot clubhouse with a fitness center, shared office space, and a cafe. The residential building will wrap around an above-ground parking garage with 512 spaces. “Adding apartments throughout the Airpark has been a good thing,” said Jim Keeley, founding partner of the Scottsdale office of Colliers International of Arizona. “It creates more of a 24-hour, live-work environment that a lot of millennials want.” Much of Airpark apartment

development has been on the west side at and near Scottsdale Quarter. Wood Partners’ Raintree project will balance that out with some apartments on the east side of the Airpark along the freeway, Keeley said. Atlanta-based Wood Partners, founded in 1998, has 19 offices nationwide, including Phoenix. It has a handful of other residential projects in Phoenix, including Alta North Central, a 229-unit apartment building that opened in December near Seventh Street and Maryland Avenue. Other partners on the Raintree project are A.R. Mays Construction of Scottsdale and Campbell Development of Phoenix. In business since 1986, A.R. Mays’ recent projects include a 112-room Residence Inn in Scottsdale, a Sprouts Farmers Market in Laveen and the Regal Irvine Spectrum movie theater in Irvine, Calif. A.R. Mays declined to comment on its involvement in the project. Campbell Development, founded in 1995, recently worked on a CubeSmart storage facility in Phoenix, a Safeway in Scottsdale, and US Storage in Tempe. The company is the general contractor to convert the former Sports Chalet building into a two-story, 8,964-square-foot storage facility. The renovation started in November and should be completed by August, said Jimmy Campbell, vice president of

Campbell Development. Whole Foods and an adjacent store will be razed to make way for the apartments. A building that houses Boot Barn, Ski Pro, and Enterprise Bank & Trust will remain in place northeast of the apartments. Online retailers and an economic downturn that started 13 years ago hampered some of the Scottsdale Airpark retail, which had seen a rapid expansion in the late 1990s and early 2000s. “The recession was hard on everybody,” Keeley said. “That was a rough 10-year slide.” The Airpark is seeing steady growth, and more apartments are likely south of the Raintree project, he said. In December, Trammel Crow started construction of Axis Raintree, a 175,000-square-foot office building southwest of Raintree and 87th Street. There is a nearby 2-to3- acre parcel that could be slated for apartments, according to Keeley, who has been tracking Airpark development for several decades. The Raintree apartments all have patios or balconies, and there will be a fourth-floor sky deck on the northeast corner of the building with views of the McDowell Mountains. The building will be 73 feet at its highest elevation. Image: Underground utility construction at the Raintree project. Arizona Contractor & Community

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of our project will provide convenient services to the surrounding office users, as well as the 240,000 cars who drive by this site each day.” Palmer Development is developing The Edge in conjunction with Dominion Management Company of Manhattan, NY. Butler Design Group serves as the architect for the project, and Haydon Construction as the general contractor. EPS provides civil engineering, and Foursite is handling construction management. Office leasing for The Edge is being handled by John Bonnell, Brett Abramson, Chris Latvaaho, and Chris Beall of JLL Phoenix. Brent Mallonee and Shane Carter at Cushman & Wakefield are handling retail leasing.

Palmer Development Breaks Ground on The Edge in Scottsdale


McCarthy Starts Construction on East Valley Elementary School


cCarthy Building Companies is building the Chandler Unified School District’s 32nd elementary school, Robert Rice Elementary School, in southwest Gilbert near the Chandler border. The $23 million K-6 school will have room for 800 students. The 93,000-squarefoot building will include a gym/multipurpose room, media center, classrooms, and administration space. The new elementary school is being built on an accelerated seven-month schedule on Ocotillo Road between Lindsay Road and Val Vista Drive.

Construction underway on Robert Rice Elementary School.

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almer Development Group of Scottsdale broke ground in January on its mixed-use project called The Edge, which is located on the northeast corner of 90th Street and Loop 101. The new development will feature office and retail space. “We view this landmark site as the crown jewel of the Talking Stick Entertainment and Business Corridor and the gateway to greater Scottsdale,” says Daniel Lupien, Palmer Development’s managing partner and founder. “The highly visible location will provide unmatched branding opportunities and access to one of the strongest demographics in the country.” The 15-acre parcel will include a fourstory, 212,000-square-foot Class A office building, which was designed to blend with the earthen reds, browns, gray, and tan color tones of the surrounding desert terrain. Butler Design Group has painstakingly worked to create unique blends of texture and colors, as well as pattern references that reflect the Pima and Maricopa Native American heritage. The office portion is slated for completion in March 2021. The Edge will also include 22,000 square feet of retail in-line shop space and two pad locations. Multiple retailers have committed to occupy space at The Edge, including Black Rock Coffee, Café Rio, and Beauty Bar. Palmer Development is actively engaged in negotiations for the balance of the project. The initial occupancy of retail space is planned for December 2020. “The Edge will fulfill a growing demand in the North Scottsdale submarket for more Class A office space and retail services,” says Lupien. “The ever-expanding population of the area offers approximately 2.5 million highly educated employees within a 30-minute drive of this location with executive housing opportunities in the surrounding neighborhoods. It’s extremely rare to find a Class A office development in Arizona with both qualities. The retail component

The school will contain energy-saving features including an air-cooled central plant; an Energy Management System that allows HVAC and lighting to be controlled remotely via the Internet; sky lighting in hallways to eliminate the use of lights; and ground and polished concrete floors in hallways and bathrooms, which are easier and less expensive to maintain. The school is being named after longtime CUSD governing board member Robert Rice. Rice began his career as an officer in the U.S. Air Force and spent more than two decades working for Intel in senior management roles. He is currently a member of the Arizona School Facilities Board. Students who currently attend Weinberg Elementary, which is being turned into a school for gifted students next year, will attend the new school. Like Weinberg, the school will offer both the Chandler Traditional Academies (CTA) education model as well as “classic” education; parents will have a choice on the type of instruction their child will receive. The school will also implement a sustainability program. “We are working hard to establish a neighborhood school that delivers strong instruction aligned to the Arizona standards and offers a wide variety of extra-curricular opportunities for our students,” said Camille Castille, superintendent of CUSD. “Rice Elementary will provide options for parents with respect to students’ instructional needs and foster parent and community involvement through partnerships with all school stakeholders.” The Chandler Unified School District is using school bond funds approved in the 2019 election by voters to build the school. The school will be completed in June 2020 in time for the new school year to start in July. HDA Architects Inc. is the architect on the project, and major subcontractors include Procon Concrete, R&N Electric, and Irontree .


Image courtesy of Palmer Development Group

Groundbreaking of The Edge in Scottsdale.

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“A to Z” Memories of Phoenix’s Wagon Wheel Neighborhood Douglas Towne


Many of the stores were prefaced with the “Wagon Wheel” name, including a barbershop, restaurant, fabrics, variety, appliance, gift & jewelry, liquor, hobby, and a Gulf service station. Other small businesses had homespun names, including the Klothes Kloset, Esquire Men’s Store, D & R Hardware, Brown’s Carpet, Magic Mirror Beauty Shop, Marcus Jewelry, The Shoe Box, Mac’s Fix-It Shop, Bill’s Shoe Repair, and Freeberg’s Swedish Bakery. Sanders has laser-sharp memories of both anchor stores. The El Rancho Pharmacy would mix up a prescription that was an old recipe for cracked and dry hands, which Sander’s Top: Wagon Wheel Shopping Center along Thomas Road west of 44th Street, 1963. Bottom: Thomas Road facing west from 44th Street, with A to Z Rents (left) and the Wagon Wheel Shopping Center (right), 1963.

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

ention the Wagon Wheel Shopping Center on Thomas Road west of 44th Street in Phoenix, and you’re likely to elicit blank stares these days. A few might wonder why you’re interested in what’s currently a nondescript strip of fast-food franchises and office buildings. But not Lois Sanders, who grew up in the neighborhood, and recalls when the commercial development had some intriguing businesses—and characters. “I used to ride my bike to the Wagon Wheel Barber Shop [at 4318 East Thomas Road] on Saturdays to visit Joe Ruffino, the owner, and my dad, Arthur “Lefty” Salazar,” Sanders says. “I would sweep the floors after a haircut for one penny. Once I made 10 cents, I’d leave to buy ten pieces of

Bazooka Bubble Gum, which was enough to last me two weeks.” In the 1960s, Sanders attended Kachina Grade School, located at 44th Street and East Campbell Avenue. The school has since been redeveloped into apartments and a park. Sanders fondly recalls another employee of the barbershop, Noah, a shoeshine porter. “He taught me so much about life, by sharing his stories about growing up, and his family,” she exclaims. “Noah even taught me how to shine a pair of shoes. I thought I was the smartest female on the earth at such a young age— he made me feel so proud!” The Wagon Wheel Shopping Center was anchored by Neb’s Market and El Rancho Pharmacy and contained 19 other “modern” stores when it opened in 1954. “Being out of the high-rent district makes the lowest prices in the Valley possible,” touted an ad in The Arizona Republic.

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not for bowling. “I felt so special when we ate there,” she recalls. “It was one of only three places where we ate out, the others being the Elks Lodge and Tee Pee Mexican Food, where my dad bartended after working all day in the barbershop in the 1960s.” There was another nearby business, which would figure prominently in her life. A to Z Rentals started across Thomas Road from the Wagon Wheel Lanes in 1960. Sanders later got a job with the company in 1997 and still works there in accounts payable at their Gilbert facility. There are some uncanny connections between Sanders and her future employer. “When my family moved to Arizona in 1960, I recall us renting a lawnmower from A to Z,” she says. “Even stranger is that my father often cut the hair of Fred Matricardi, the founder of A to Z, at the Wagon Wheel Barber Shop.” Others recall Wagon Wheel Lanes having old creaky wooden pinball machines, with a big poster nearby warning of the Phoenix city curfew for minors. There was also a miniature golf course nearby, which was open late enough to be a popular date

spot. “The landmark there was a big concrete, somewhat unrealistic Tyrannosaurus Rex,” writes Arizona Mike on a Phoenix history blog post. “His eyes were two red floodlight bulbs and he was painted various unflattering colors (purple, green, and pink) during his time on Earth.” T. Rex, the bowling alley, and the shopping center were gone by the late 1980s when the area was redeveloped. “As an independent, it’s awfully tough to fight the big chains,” Marty Kahan, the owner El Rancho Pharmacy told the Republic in 1984.

Images courtesy of Lois Sanders

Top: Nebs Market in the Wagon Wheel Shopping Center, 1957. Right: Lois Sanders at A to Z headquarters in Gilbert, 2020. Below: Joe Ruffino, owner of Wagon Wheel Barber Shop in near chair, with Arthur (Lefty) Salazar, 1970s. Below right: Arthur (Lefty) Salazar cutting the hair of M. DeMarse, owner of DeMarse Contracting, 1970s.

Image courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

father had first obtained in Globe, AZ. “I’ve looked for it and can’t locate the special concoction,” she says. “Boy, could I use it now!” Neb’s Market was also a favorite of Sanders. “Going there with my parents to shop was my first experience of actually learning how to plan meals,” she says. “We would have a weekly meal planner and made a list of what exactly was required.” Sanders says that the Keeton family, who owned the supermarket, was kind to her family. More than 40 years later, her children had friends over for a barbeque, and one of them turned out to be part of the Keeton family. “What a small world,” she says. Neb’s closed their store in the Wagon Wheel Shopping Center in 1984 and reopened at 40th Street and Indian School Road. Sander’s recalls her brother’s girlfriend going to the new location for a birthday cake. “I tagged along and didn’t tell her that the one on display she purchased was frosted cardboard,” Sanders admits. “I guess the bakery lady did not realize it either. What a laugh the whole family had when we attempted to cut the cake.” Wagon Wheel Lanes was next door to the shopping center, a place Sanders occasionally went with her parents, but

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twenty eight



MAR-APR 2020

Alison Bailin rizona native and construction professional Robert Dilzer loved construction from a young age. “Growing up with a hard-working single mother as the last of 10 children, I was drawn to father figure mentors in my life who worked in the construction industry. Their input shaped and inspired me to look into what they did as a career,” says Dilzer. After high school, Dilzer began taking construction-related courses through community college, where he realized he had an innate knack for the industry. He initially worked in the plumbing industry on massive projects ranging from casinos to highrise buildings. In 1995, Dilzer moved from the subcontractor side of construction to the general side, taking on a superintendent position in the Valley. “When I started, there was this intern where I worked named Barry Chasse. A good guy. Of course, I never could have imagined what we would do together all those years ago, but that is getting ahead of the story,” says Dilzer. Over the next decade-plus, Dilzer’s passion and drive for the industry, as well as his genuine relationships with everyone from project owners to subcontractors, helped him rise from superintendent to director of field operations of his firm, where he eventually oversaw $300 million in construction. Then Dilzer’s career took a turn in 2007. “That intern Barry from years back, who by then was a respected construction leader, decided to branch out on his own. Knowing the vision and culture he wanted to create, I immediately joined him in his start-up, which he named CHASSE Building

Image courtesy of Chasse


Team,” says Dilzer. There was just one problem. “CHASSE launched about six months before Arizona fell into its deepest recession in history, especially when it came to commercial real estate projects,” says Dilzer. “As a start-up, we initially worried, but it turned out that our lack of overhead and client-focused culture earned us enough business to stay afloat those first few years.” CHASSE earned a tenant improvement project for Vestar at Tempe Marketplace, and then a $4 million retail center project. Opportunities in the education realm soon followed. “School and community center projects became a niche for us, and remain a passion of mine,” says Dilzer, whose team is known for partnering with schools and organizations, teaching students about STEM and the construction industry as they work on related projects in the students’ community. CHASSE would go on to do hundreds of school and community projects, including the $76 million Canyon View High School as well as West Point High School, Dove Mountain K-8 CSTEM School, Frank


CHASSE’s Dilzer Advocates for Construction Industry

Elementary School Rebuild, Boy & Girls Club Compadre Branch, and the MANA House, among others. “My passion for helping youth – especially those without dads like I once was – is integrated inside and outside of work. From 2009-2014 I was a board member for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley. I’m still an active supporter,” says Dilzer, who annually invites local clubs to CHASSE to learn all about careers the construction industry has to offer. In addition to his community involvement, Dilzer is passionate about mentoring young construction professionals through CHASSE’s Internship Program. This past year alone, CHASSE Building Team taught 18 interns the foundations of both the office and field side of construction. “One of my greatest joys is teaching through our mentoring program. Times have changed, and I feel like I learn just as much from the up and coming workforce as they do from me,” says Dilzer. For more about Dilzer and CHASSE’s programs as well as their community outreach, visit

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MAR-APR 2020

Michael Bernstein


absent, dry cleaning solvent was detected. How did the soil outside the rear of that tenant space become contaminated? Maybe that’s where the proprietor hosed off the lint filters. Even worse, the property also had a septic system. If he poured the machine’s condensate into a floor drain, a toilet, or a sink, the contamination would be even more widespread. I explained my findings and suspicions to our client. He reiterated that the seller had owned the shopping center from day one and claimed that a dry cleaner had never been present. “Right,” I said. “So, what does that tell you?” After a long contemplative silence, the client said: “He lied . . .” A dark cloud was cast across the transaction. Personal integrity was called into question. From the perspective of human frailty, I suppose it was possible the seller honestly forgot about the dry cleaner. But from a real-world standpoint, with his longawaited payday finally, at hand, it was more likely that he lied and believed he wouldn’t be caught. Ironically, it was his honesty about the UST that exposed his dishonesty about the dry cleaner. If he had been truthful from the start, the dry cleaner would have been taken into consideration and managed. But now, more time and more money were required if the transaction was to proceed, and the lender and the buyer turned a wary eye to everything else the seller said and did. The sale didn’t go through. For the sake of everyone’s conscience and professional reputation, honesty is the best policy during a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, even if it’s painful.

Below: Drilling for soil samples.

Images courtesy of Author

ime, effort, and money are at stake when an industrial, commercial, or multi-family residential property is undergoing refinancing or a change of ownership. Because the parties involved are usually formal business entities, a foundation of accountability exists that expects a certain level of probity. Nonetheless, the lure of financial gain and the displeasure of having to do environmental work that could derail a transaction can still lead people astray – especially if they are willing. Dishonesty during a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment can be passive. Passive dishonesty is when someone silently omits a piece of unfavorable information. Calculated silence, they think, allows them a clear conscience because they can assert that everything they did say was true. But dishonesty by silent omission can backfire. For example, if the property owner doesn’t disclose a site plan that depicts suspected underground storage tanks, the result can be a more time-consuming and expensive geophysical survey to locate the tanks. Dishonesty during a Phase I can be active. Active deception is when somebody speaks or acts overtly in a deliberate effort to deceive, usually by verbal denial or physical concealment of a feature or condition of concern. And, in my experience, when an employee “drops a dime” on their employer, the employee is telling the truth. Allowance should also be made for the possibility that bad information was given to the environmental assessor in good faith. Perhaps the person relaying the information was innocently or deliberately misinformed. Or maybe they misunderstood

the information they received. If the issue pertains to something that pre-dates their association with the property, they might not know any better. The environmental consultant also has a standard of professional ethics that must be upheld, regardless of whether he or she is working for the buyer or the seller. Disingenuous conclusions and soft recommendations sought by the client to ease the transaction might be unethical. Will the consultant stand fast and true, or will he or she yield to get repeat business? The following story was one of chagrin on everybody’s part. We were performing a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment for a lender whose borrower wanted to purchase a small shopping center. The seller was a private individual. He said that he had owned the building since the time of its original construction during the 1970s. It was his single most significant asset, and he was finally ready to sell. Naturally, we asked him whether a dry cleaner had ever been present (see my article in the May-June 2018 issue). He said, “No.” We also asked whether an underground storage tank had ever been present. He replied that one of the eight suites had had a fuel oil UST, and that he would gladly provide a copy of a closure report that identified no fuel oil contamination in the soil samples that were collected at the time of the tank’s removal. Question: why did only one of the tenant spaces have a fuel oil tank? Answer: possibly because dry cleaner proprietors often prefer oil-fired boilers to generate steam for their garment presses. When we reviewed the UST closure report, we saw that the consultant ordered the soil samples to be analyzed for a wide range of potential contaminants, not just fuel oil. And while fuel oil was indeed


Honesty is the Best Environmental Policy

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MAR-APR 2020

Luke and Billie Snell


ew realize that concrete can be made into an artistic symbol of hope. At the 2008 American Concrete (ACI) convention in Phoenix, the authors worked with ASU students to develop pink concrete hearts as part of a cancer-awareness program. These symbols have since been used worldwide to help students realize the versatility of concrete and bring hope to people. Many have the impression that concrete is a grey material used to builds roads, bridges, and structures. An exciting new development in concrete technology is to use it for decorative purposes, including bringing attention to health issues. In the U.S., breast cancer is a prevalent health concern for women, and many organizations have adopted the color of pink to publicize the disease. This created an opportunity for students to use engineering and construction skills to make concrete pink heart necklaces to raise breast cancer awareness. Small, lightweight hearts are created by combining three parts perlite, a white, light aggregate available at most garden stores, with one part cement by volume. Water is added until the concrete has the consistency of a brownie mix, and the desired color is achieved by adding food color or fingernail polish. This aggregate is

poured into heart-shaped ice cube trays. After hardening, the concrete hearts are removed from the forms. A small eye screw is inserted into the concrete heart, and a ribbon or string is added to complete the necklace. Here are some of the venues where we’ve helped students create these concrete trinkets. Arizona State University Students at the Del E. Webb School of Construction made pink concrete hearts at an Engineering Open House. They wanted to show potential incoming high school students that the ASU curriculum included creative concrete projects. The students added pink to the concrete so they could be used as a symbol of hope for cancer survivors. The hearts were given out at the American Concrete Institute convention,


Reaching out to the Next Generation: Concrete Heart Necklaces

and any donations were gifted to local cancer-awareness associations. Elementary School in Arizona

An elementary school in Arizona requested our assistance in helping students create concrete hearts for Valentine’s Day. We worked with students in this craft activity and hope they also developed an appreciation for the versatility of concrete. Mongolian University of Science and Technology

We have been working with Mongolian universities for several years to help them improve their concrete technology. Concrete is widely used in Mongolia; however, it is considered only a functional material. Their laboratories are poorly equipped, so students rarely conduct experiments, or help with community service projects. More than 50 students participated in the concrete heart project. Pink has no particular meaning to cancer survivors in Mongolia, so we brought over several fingernail paints for the students to decorate as they chose. These paints dry quickly, and the bottle has a brush for easy application. The necklaces were subsequently donated by the engineering students to a cancer hospital for distribution to the patients. Orphanage in Haiti A church group that has been working with an orphanage in Haiti needed a fundraising project and decided to have the gradeschool children there make and sell concrete hearts. We conducted a training session for the teenagers and adults that were going to Haiti, who successfully launched the program at the orphanage.

Images courtesy of Author

For more information, contact: Luke at or Billie at Top and left: Kids in Haiti.

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Thirty four

MAR-APR 2020

Image courtesy of Author

Back When

Image courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

The Theatre’s Name Isn’t Paramount DOUGLAS TOWNE


alley residents flocked to watch The Bridge on the River Kwai at the Paramount Theatre in 1958. The epic World War II film depicts Allied POWs forced to build a railroad bridge for the Japanese in Burma. The movie won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and made famous “The River Kwai March,” which the POWs whistle during the film. The ornate Spanish Revival style theatre where the film was shown was designed by architects Lescher & Mahoney and opened as the Orpheum Theatre in 1929. The building was sold to Paramount Pictures later that year but was not renamed the Paramount Theatre until 1951. The theatre was renamed Palace West in 1968 and featured Broadway shows. By 1983, Palace West hosted Spanish-speaking movies along with rock concerts. In 1984, the city of Phoenix purchased the building and began a $14 million restoration. The theatre reopened bearing its original name on January 28, 1997, with a performance of Hello, Dolly! “Many refer to the theatre as the ‘Crown Jewel of Downtown Phoenix,’” Laura Lovato Stenzel, treasurer of the Friends of the Orpheum Theatre, says. “I appreciate the thoughtfulness in its design, the elegance of its interior, and how it serves as a reminder of the entrepreneurs who established Phoenix.”

Background: Crowds outside the Paramount Theatre in Downtown Phoenix for the movie premier of The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1958. Left: Movie poster, 1958. Arizona Contractor & Community



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A to Z Equipment Rentals & Sales:

60 Years of Making Life Easier


red Matricardi had no idea what reading a Reader’s Digest, while working in Spain as a mechanical engineer would lead to in the late 1950s. An article caught his attention about owning an equipment rental franchise. Matricardi began exploring the topic and talked with rental company owners. Although he decided against buying a franchise, he became intrigued by the idea of owning an equipment rental company. That dream became a reality when he opened a rental business operated out of his home in east Phoenix in 1960. “If I worked hard and did a good job, I knew I’d either be successful, or I’d be out of business,” Matricardi recalls. From this one-person shop, A to Z Equipment Rentals & Sales has grown into a one-stop-shop for equipment; including rentals, sales, parts, service, and party rentals with more than 160 well-trained employees. In the 60 years since he launched this homespun business, A to Z has developed into a multi-million-dollar firm with four large, full-service locations in the Valley. Matricardi has successfully passed the leadership of the family-owned company to his daughter, Vicki Dickerson. She serves as the General Manager and has worked in the company for more than 25 years. The transition was seamless, and the company has continued to

prosper and grow under Dickerson’s leadership. “I’ve had a broad range of experiences with the company, including working in the parts department, the rental department, the inventory department, and the business office. I also opened and managed three of our locations,” she says. “The new generation has taken the reins of the company,” Matricardi reflects. “Their goals will be bigger than mine were, and their challenges will also be bigger.” Vicki Dickerson looks for even brighter accomplishments with A to Z, as they look to expand their operations as they celebrate 60 years of being in the equipment rental business. Her husband, Doug Dickerson, the Director of Sales, concurs. “I see the business evolving, maintaining what A to Z is and what it does but developing more expertise and focus in the key segments we offer,” he says. “The challenge is to get the proper amount of focus on specific product groups, but still maintain the synergy of the whole A to Z offering. It’s the law of nature. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. We continually look for new products, new niches, and new ways to get more customers and better serve the ones we have.”

Fred with hoist and equipment, 1967.

Fred, George R., Marvin B., and Beryle M. (l-r), 1967.

Storefront on E. Thomas Rd., 1967.


1960 - 2020


Skid-steers on the ready line at the Gilbert location, 2020.


Shop operations, 2020.


P.R.I.C.E., an acronym that represents the minimum PRICE for admission to the A to A to Z Equipment Rentals & Sales is committed to providing quality equipment to Z team. our customers, whether through rentals or sales, while making the experience one Positive Attitude Our people generally look at the the customer finds both convenient and bright side of circumstances and see the enjoyable. The company continues to offer its good in people. They see “issues” as an “opportunity” to improve. They approach customers, from large general contractheir day in an upbeat manner, are tors to do-it-yourself homeowners, the characterized by a “can-do” attitude, and leading brands in the equipment industry. A to Z provides equipment options for all as being a team player. trades: whether you’re in the market to rent equipment, or to purchase new equip Relentless Dependability Our customers can count on us. ment or well-maintained equipment from We recommend the right tool for the job. the rental fleet, we’ve got it all. Many companies in the equipment We maintain the equipment properly, and customers can rely on the equipment industry offer both rentals and sales. Quite working as advertised to get the job often though, rental is emphasized, and done. We teach them how to operate the selling is a sideline -- or vice versa. At A to machine in a safe manner. We treat our Z, we rent and sell with equal enthusiasm internal customers and co-workers with because there isn’t a “one size that fits all” when it comes to your equipment needs. the same respect and dependability. We want to provide whatever solution is best for you. Integrity The company also has parts and ser Our people are honest and trustworthy. We treat each other and the vice to support the equipment we carry customers with the respect they deserve. and offers financing for larger purchases. We do the right thing, even when the right We carry a wide variety of equipment and, thing is hard, and no one else is looking. We most importantly, have the most competent and helpful staff in the industry. live by the Golden Rule. “Rental is the heart and soul of the company. The rental operations are what Customer Driven The customer, and a great makes everything else work and gives us customer experience, is our top priority. a competitive advantage,” says Doug DickEven “when it is not our job,” we jump erson. “Through our rentals, we’re able to in to help fellow teammates to help a see what equipment brands are the most customer. We know the customer “writes reliable and durable for us as an equipthe paycheck,” and we treat them with the ment consumer and for our customers. From a sales standpoint, by being a dealer, honor, respect, and priority they deserve. we can offer a broader selection of options within a particular brand to give our cus Expertise We are recognized as the experts tomers a maximum choice in features and in recommending the right tool for the job price should they decide to purchase a new and in instruction for proper use. Internally machine.” Making Life Easier for our customers is each person is an expert in their role. We pride ourselves on our knowledge, but also the core purpose of A to Z and the reason understand building expertise is a journey, we exist. We accomplish this in the follownot a destination. We are “life-long ing ways. • A One-Stop Shop for equipment and learners” in order to maintain our edge. supplies,






Parts room in Gilbert, 2020.

• We provide all the options – Rentals, Sales, Parts, and Service, • We have a large inventory, so we Have It When You Need It, • We Recommend the Right Tool for the job, • We offer delivery, • Multiple Options for Purchasing Equipment; new, used, try before you buy, Rental Purchase Option, and financing. A to Z has always responded to its customers’ needs, whether by expanding our product selection, adding new services, or opening new locations. When customers expressed a need for a location in the East Valley, the company opened a temporary store in Mesa in 1998, before constructing a permanent facility in Gilbert in 2000. Similarly, when customers in the West Valley wanted a more convenient location, the company opened its fourth store in Avondale in 2010. OUR ADVANTAGES: LOCALLY-OWNED AND DEPENDABLE A to Z Equipment Rental & Sales is big enough to serve your equipment needs yet remains a local, family-owned and operated company. Being locally owned allows A to Z to be more flexible than the big national companies, which leads to quick decisions for the customer. Our size allows us to make rapid inventory or stocking changes while maintaining our niche identity. Being a family-owned business, our employees tend to be more attached to the company. As a result, we have many longterm employees, including some that have already retired with 35-40 years of service. We like to think of ourselves as the A to Z family. In fact, we have instances of multiple generations within a family working for us, and we have seen two or three marriages formed over the years. That family mentality extends to our customers. Many of our people have strong relationships with our customers, and we treat them like family too. Some of our customers are also 2nd and 3rd generation relationships and tell us their memories of trips to our stores with their parents and grandparents. SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION


Current showroom in Gilbert, 2020.



hat can customers expect when visiting A to Z Equipment Rental and Sales? An essential feature of each of our four company locations is a beautiful, clean showroom containing equipment for both rental and sale. Customers may browse the showroom at their leisure, though associates are nearby to answer any questions that may arise. The rental, sales, parts, and service counters are conveniently located nearby for ease of transactions. A to Z’s friendly associates are available to help guide customers in selecting not only the proper tools and equipment for their current job but to offer experienced advice on the entire project. After the appropriate equipment has

been chosen, the customer proceeds to our "drive-through" area, where they are instructed in the proper and safe use of the equipment before loading it into their vehicle. When the equipment is returned, a rental technician washes it and then reviews a checklist to ensure that it receives proper service. After performing the service, the technician signs the checklist, called a customer satisfaction card, to certify the equipment is ready to be rented again. When customers purchase new equipment, we assemble it, add fuel and oil, and make sure the machine is running correctly. We also demonstrate how to safely operate the equipment before loading it into your vehicle. Our service and parts departments are there to back up our customers after the

Load of Yanmar tractors, 2020. EIGHT - A TO Z

sale to help keep their equipment up and running. As a dealer, many of our service technicians are factory trained and certified to complete repairs correctly. Our parts department strives to keep parts in stock like filters, belts, blades, hoses, etc., so that we have them when the customer needs them and to facilitate quicker repair turnaround times. OUR PRODUCT LINES A to Z's slogan is, “You name it. We rent it. We sell it.” And we live up to it. Equipment available to rent or purchase includes chainsaws, cutoff saws, trenchers, stump grinders, tractors, compressors, welders, pressure washers, scaffolding, aerial lifts, generators, light towers, brush chippers, concrete saws, jackhammers, trailers, cement mixers, concrete planers and grinders, ride-on floor scrapers, skid steer loaders, skip loaders, backhoes, excavators, trimmers, blowers, and mowers. But this is only a partial listing; we feature dozens of other types of equipment. One of Fred Matricardi’s rules is “you can’t do business from an empty wagon,” so we have always kept a sizeable surplus of equipment for our rental operation and sale inventory. The customer’s needs are our priority, and A to Z will go to great lengths to satisfy each one. One example is that if we don’t have a particular machine in the rental inventory, but we do have a new unit for sale, we’ll make that piece of equipment available to the customer for rent. A to Z represents the best lines in power equipment. Among the many brands we feature include Allmand, APT, Bandit, 1960 - 2020


Barreto, Bil-Jax, Bosch, Briggs & Stratton, Cushman, Dosko, Echo, Edco, Exmark, Felling, Genie, Honda, Husqvarna, John Deere, Kohler, Kawasaki, National Flooring, New Holland, Nifty Lift, Ryan, Skyjack, Stihl, Toro, Wacker Neuson, Wylie, and Yanmar. “We look at choosing our equipment lines just like our customers look at which equipment to purchase,” Doug Dickerson says. “We are also consumers of equipment in our rental operations, and we have the same equipment needs as any contractor. We look for the best equipment that will hold up to heavy use, backed up with a good warranty, serviceability, and parts availability.”

CUSTOMER SERVICE - IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE A to Z's numerous product lines and competitive prices are accompanied by an equally important factor: excellent customer service. Excellent customer service does not happen without the right people in place. The company hires employees with the right attitude and work ethic, who are honest and committed to our goals and our core values. Given the breadth of our product offerings, there is a lot to learn at A to Z, and training is a significant focus for us. The more our people know, the better they can serve the customer. We have several internal methods for training our people but also rely on



our vendor partners for their expertise and training programs. New hires start at entry-level positions in the rental equipment service area, called the wash rack. This area operates as a kind of an equipment “boot camp,” at which they also learn the A to Z way of doing things. It is here that our people learn what the equipment is, how to service it, how operate it and how to convey information to the customer. Taking care of employees by rewarding them for excellent performance and promoting from within has resulted in an experienced workforce at A to Z. Many are longtime veterans of the company, and some have worked there for close to 40 years. The company is considered a great place to work, which has resulted in multiple generations of the same family working there. There are several reasons why A to Z has been successful for 60 years, but Vicki



Dickerson believes the most crucial factor is its excellent team of employees. "We hire good people, and they are the ones who actually make the company succeed," Vicki Dickerson explains. "I am proud of what they have accomplished," she says. "I don't do the thousands of things that get done every day—they do. I depend on them to do a good job, and they do a VERY good job." THE STRENGTH OF DIVERSIFICATION A to Z has been successful, partially because of the wide variety of items that it offers, but more importantly, because of the broad and varied customer base we serve. These customer types include commercial contractors, landscape maintenance and construction, municipalities, schools, resorts, golf courses, hospitals, and average do-it-yourselfer homeowners. As a result of this broad customer base, A to Z can handle economic recessions better than they would if they catered to only one market segment. "During economically challenging times, sales might drop off, but rentals generally hold up, so they help keep the business going strong," Vicki Dickerson says. "The wide variety of items we offer also helps. If one line or product is not doing well, the chances are that another one is selling strong and can pick up the slack." “We’re not the largest rental equipment company in the Valley," Vicki Dickerson says. "But we have a niche as the only local rental equipment and sales company that carries more of the smaller and medium-sized equipment. By offering a full line of equipment and not focusing only on large equipment, we offer our customers more choices and more flexibility.” "We have a lot of synergy in our company because of our offerings. The customer that comes in to rent a skid steer may also need to a drop off a cutoff saw for

Party rental in Gilbert, 2020.

repair, purchase a new diamond blade and get parts for his plate compactor. He can do all that is one stop here at A to Z.," says Doug Dickerson. Offering used equipment for sale is beneficial for a couple of reasons. For the customer interested in an equipment purchase, we can usually offer them a variety of price points to match their budget based on hours and age of the equipment. Whatever they choose, they always get a well-maintained machine and a good value for their money. For A to Z, selling off rental machines allows us to rotate out older equipment and keep our rental fleet fresh and new. Other companies offer some of the same products that A to Z does, but none offer the company's wide assortment of equipment. A to Z is unique in providing all the equipment options its broad customer base requires. Some A to Z competitors even buy and rent from our company because they don't have the variety or depth of equipment that we feature.

WHERE IS THE PARTY? To top everything off, when the project is complete, and the work is over, it is time to recognize a job well done. It may come as no surprise that A to Z can help you throw a party to celebrate. A to Z Party and Event Rentals has everything you need for your next event; whether it is a wedding, graduation, company meeting, or birthday party, we have everything you need to make it a special occasion. We offer everything from tables, chairs, linens, and dishes to games like Giant Jenga, Giant Beer Pong, and dunk tanks! We even offer concession machines like sno-cones, cotton candy, hot dogs, nachos, and yes, margarita machines! So, when the work is done, and it is time to party, visit any of our A to Z locations and talk to our Event Coordinators. They will show you everything we have to offer and provide expert advice to help you make decisions. And, of course, we can also deliver and pick up items, so all you have to do is enjoy yourself!

Gilbert party showroom, 2020. TEN - A TO Z

1960 - 2020


As a long-term provider of grading and paving services, and a long-time customer,

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congratulates A to Z Equipment Rentals & Sales on

60 years in business




We look forward to continuing our successful business relationship 4131 E Winslow Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85040 (602) 437-3040 • Fax (602) 437-3041 ROC 184941-KA

GET A FREE FLEET COST ANALYSIS: HANNAH LAMARCA | 480) 783-8131 Enterprise and the ‘e’ logo are registered trademarks of Enterprise Fleet Management, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © 2020 Enterprise Fleet Management, Inc. K02940 3.625x4.875 Ad

We are proud of the company we keep. Felling Trailers, Inc. salutes

A to Z Equipment Rentals & Sales on 60 years of excellence in serving the rental industry. We thank you for your loyalty & continued business. | 1-800-245-2809 |


GENERATION Get ready for key changes to Skyjack’s industry-leading DC scissor lifts. Complete with a new SKYCODED™ control system, these updates are A92.20 compliant and aimed at reducing total cost of ownership and increasing rental companies’ ROI. We’re excited to celebrate A to Z Equipment’s 60th Anniversary and look forward to continuing to work with them for many more years to come.



A to Z EQUIPMENT RENTALS & SALES – 60 YEARS OF MAKING LIFE EASIER Original A to Z location at 4257 E. Thomas Rd.

Fred with store display,



Showing wares in front of the new Indian School location, 1971.

1960 - 2020

A to Z EQUIPMENT RENTALS & SALES – 60 YEARS OF MAKING LIFE EASIER Kessler’s Rollaway Beds advertisement on delivery truck, 1967.

Equipment showroom at Thomas Rd., 1967.

Party showroom, late 1960s.

Fred at his Indian School Rd. office, early 1970s.

Party rental display at Indian School Rd. location, 1976.

Equipment showroom at Indian School Rd. location, 1976.


Matricardi still lacked expertise in both running a business and equipment mainred Matricardi moved to the U.S. from tenance, which he made up for with hard Italy to pursue the American Dream. work and determination. But he loved the His pathway was clear: he graduated independence that came with running his from a college in New York with a degree in own business. “I was too dumb to know that the mechanical engineering. Matricardi landed a job and seemed set for life, but there was venture might not succeed,” he recalls. “I one hitch: he didn’t like working for other flew by the seat of my pants, making mistakes, and learning from them. Fortunately, people. In 1959, he and his wife set out from I had help from the other rental people in Davenport, Iowa, for California in their ’57 the Valley, who were also having the same Chevy looking to start a new life. When problems in this new business.” And what was Matricardi’s secret to they reached Arizona, however, they success? “I learned the value of ‘The Golden became enamored with the desert scenery Rule,’ and I embrace that and economic opportuas a standard to live by nities in the fast-growing I LEARNED THE VALUE and run my business,” city of Phoenix. OF ‘THE GOLDEN RULE,’ he says. Matricardi’s The couple rented goal was to make his AND I EMBRACE THAT AS a home in Phoenix near Thomas Road and A STANDARD TO LIVE BY customers’ jobs easier, 42nd Street, and Matri- AND RUN MY BUSINESS,” which he did. Matricardi’s rental cardi began examining - FRED MATRICARDI business expanded the rental equipment from a few floor sandbusiness. His research ers and vacuum cleaners to thousands of included unpaid stints at Sam’s Rents and pieces of equipment. His house, which he other similar companies. Finally, in 1960, Matricardi put up an A had expanded with a 1,200 square-foot to Z Rents sign in his front yard and opened addition explicitly built for the rental busifor business. “When we first started the ness, was no longer adequate. To make a company, we had floor polishing equip- living in the industry, Matricardi knew he ment stored in the living room,” he says. “In had to expand both his product selection, one bedroom, we had an office and more and find a location sufficient to house the storage, and in the backyard, we stored the equipment. He purchased a 1.5-acre parcel at rest of the equipment. There wasn’t even 15634 N. 32nd Street near Paradise Vala fence around the backyard in the beginley and planned to wait until the area ning.” Even with his study of the industry,







1313 E. Baseline Road Gilbert, AZ 85233 480-539-8700


4050 E. Indian School Road Phoenix, AZ 85018 602-955-5100


15634 N. 32nd Street Phoenix, AZ 85032 602-992-1150


803 E. Van Buren Street Avondale, AZ 85323 623-925-0200


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We don’t stop when we get your business. We keep earning it every day. FOURTEEN - A TO Z

1960 - 2020

A to Z EQUIPMENT RENTALS & SALES – 60 YEARS OF MAKING LIFE EASIER Original North Valley store, 1966.

developed before opening. The City of Phoenix, however, annexed the area and planned to change the zoning. Matricardi was forced to speed-up his plans, and build on his parcel or lose the zoning that allowed rental equipment to be displayed on the property. Matricardi had a small building constructed on the property, and A to Z’s second outlet, the North Valley store, opened for business in 1965. However, it took several years before the company made a profit. When the company did, Matricardi reinvested the money in the business. “Even after ten years, I didn’t have a penny to call my own; it was all in the business,” he discloses. North Valley store with riding trenchers, 1982.


That was an “aha” moment for Matricardi, as he realized that to succeed, he needed to bring home a paycheck, run the business differently, and keep growing. Deciding he had outgrown the house that had initially served as the rental store, Matricardi opened and moved to another nearby location at 4050 E. Indian School Road on a 2.5-acre parcel in 1971. He had a 12,000 square-foot building constructed that would hold his equipment and future purchases. The new A to Z store included the company’s first trademark drive-through service, which allowed customers to pull into the building to have equipment loaded and unloaded. Besides customer convenience, storing equipment

inside kept it out of the damaging Arizona sun, which evaporated gas, bleached paint, melted rubber, and dried out seals and tires. Bringing the rental business inside had other benefits, including additional security for the equipment. Having a controlled-environment made it easier for customers, rental technicians, and mechanics to work with the equipment. These benefits helped mitigate the high cost of the building. When the Paradise Valley location was renovated a few years later, a drive-through was incorporated into the building and has become a trademark of all buildings built by A to Z. Chain saw display, 1990s.



Central Phoenix Store



Matricardi began selling new and used equipment in response to customer requests in 1983. This decision was not made without consideration, as he had to be able to repair the machinery he sold, and have the parts to do it. To reflect the new mission, A to Z Rents became A to Z Equipment Rentals & Sales in 1988. The company started buying in volume and offered customers the option of renting—or purchasing—new or used products. The rental and new sales divisions complemented each other, as customers were provided the opportunity to rent equipment before deciding to purchase it, with the further option of obtaining either used or new equipment. Soon, A to Z utilized a catchy new slogan:

Gilbert Store

To further expand A to Z, Matricardi made a rare misstep: he hired some experienced sales agents, which didn’t turn out to be profitable. His employees thought they could take the place of sales professionals, and conduct the sales themselves. Matricardi listened to their suggestion, and soon the company was turning a profit. Impressed with his employee’s insight, he made it a policy to promote from within the company. As a result, all future employees were required to start at entry-level positions and work their way into areas of additional responsibility. In 2000, A to Z opened a third location on a 13-acre site that was formerly an alfalfa field at 1313 E. Baseline Road

Avondale Store

in Gilbert. Only three acres were initially utilized, until an expansion that tripled the facility’s size in 2010. A to Z has also expanded its initial Paradise Valley location and added a fourth location in Avondale in the West Valley in 2010.

New equipment for sale or rental backup, 2020.

L-R: Fred Matricardi, with Vicki and Doug Dickerson, 2020. SIXTEEN - A TO Z

Arrival of new Skyjack equipment, 2020. 1960 - 2020




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Congratulations on your 60th anniversary!



2206 S. Priest Dr, Tempe, AZ 85282 T: 480-967-8199 AZ ROC: B-01 071518, A-11071517 CA: B 737769 TX: 00110666 NV: 59640 SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION



“We hire good people, and they are the ones who actually make the company succeed.” - Vicki Dickerson Lyle Snedeker - 39 Years Customer Service and Inventory

games, watching TV and movies, anything and everything Star Wars, anything and everything San Diego Comic-Con. But most Q: What’s the most importantly, spending time with and spoiling challenging part of your my granddaughter. job? Joe Crossey - 24 Years A: Coordinating inter-store Phoenix Store Manager transfers to make sure we have Q: What’s the most the equipment and supplies in our store challenging part of your when the customer needs it. job? Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your A: Trying to know job? everything about all the items A: Helping the customer get the right equipment to get his job done and have them we offer. We are always adding equipment, always satisfied, ready to come back for more. and vendors update items regularly. It can be Amazingly, so many people are asking for me challenging to keep up. because I have helped them before. You can Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your learn so much by shutting your mouth and job? A: I enjoy helping people solve problems, opening your ears. Listen and learn. Q: What’s your most memorable day at your including both customers and employees. Q: What’s your most memorable day at your job? A: Watching Mike Fisher serve our one- job? millionth customer at the Paradise Valley A: There is no one day; every day is an store. I calculated that one with 100 percent adventure. accuracy and the expression on Mike’s face Q: What do you enjoy doing when not at work? was priceless. A: I like fixing and tinkering with whatever I Q: What do I enjoy when not at work? A: Hiking, biking, fishing, boating, stock car can get my hands on. I am also a big reader. races, and no emails or cell phones; just Karen Speros - 24 Years peace and quiet. Best of all, spending quality Accounting and Accounts time with my dogs. Receivable Mike Schreiner - 26 Years Company Dispatcher Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job? A: I coordinate, schedule, and route all daily deliveries, pickups, exchanges, service calls, vendor pickups, inter-store transfers, basically anything that moves from one place to another for our four stores. I also maintain our fleet, which currently has 34 vehicles. The daily workload continually changes as new deliveries are needed by customers or equipment is called off of rental. I treat each scheduled stop as an individual puzzle piece and figure out where it fits in the big picture. Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job? A: Knowing that at the end of each day, every customer was taken care of, and all scheduled stops were accomplished, whether they numbered 15 or 150. Q: What’s your most memorable day at your job? A: Although every day has been very different and very memorable in their own ways, I would have to say my very first day at A to Z Equipment going on 26 years ago! Q: What do you enjoy doing when not at work? A: I’m a car and truck enthusiast of all types, taking care of my yard, playing video EIGHTEEN - A TO Z

changes. Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job? A: When everyone works happily together, and all work is completed on time. Q: What’s your most memorable day at your job? A: The day I started on March 10, 1997. I recalled 37 years previous, after moving to Arizona in 1960, going to A to Z, and renting a lawnmower. I then found out that my father often cut the hair of Fred Matricardi, the company founder, at Wagon Wheel Barber Shop. I’m happy to have been working here for 20 plus years. Q: What do I enjoy when not at work? A: Family time, cooking, cleaning, and refurbishing and repurposing old furniture. Paul Burke - 22 Years Parts and Sales Department Supervisor Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job? A: Keeping current on all the new tools and equipment and how they can benefit our customers. Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job? A: Seeing that the customer leaves with the parts and equipment that they need to get their job done, passing my knowledge on to the new, younger employees so they can grow to be excellent customer-driven assets to the company. Q: What’s your most memorable day at your job? A: When Fred told me, I was the first employee to produce over one million dollars in revenue in a single calendar year. Q: What do you enjoy doing when not at work? A: Spending weekends taking my grandkids on adventures: local parks, boat rides, trampoline park, and playing in the snow at our cabin.

Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job? A: Dealing with non-payment and equipment theft issues. Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job? A: I truly admire and respect Fred, who built this company from the ground up! And management who really care about their employees and foster a family atmosphere. I have been with A to Z for more than 23 years, and I can’t think of anywhere else I would want to work. Q: What’s your most memorable day at your job? Roy Radeka - 21 years A: Moving from the Indian School store to Rental, Sales & Parts Gilbert! It was bittersweet after being there Counter Supervisor for more than 15 years, but the view is much better from where I sit today! Q: What’s the most Q: What do you enjoy doing when not at challenging part of your work? job? A: Watching a good movie and hanging out A: We do our best to try and with my family, friends, and my silly dog, be ahead of schedule with things, Biscuit! such as checking our rental availability a week in advance, so that we can be prepared. Lois Sanders - 23 Years However, occasionally unexpected things Accounts Payable occur, such as a piece of equipment failing, Q: What’s the most and we have to do what we can to hurry and challenging part of your fix the issue for the customer. Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job? A: Staying calm with job? deadlines and computer A: Knowing that we have been able to assist 1960 - 2020



Quality, and Dependability that lasts and lasts and lasts... PR

the customer. The external customer that comes in and has a project that we can help them with and give them the proper tool for their rental or sale and also the internal customer by sharing our knowledge with each other so that we can do our jobs effectively and give the best expertise to our customers. Q: What’s your most memorable day at your job? A: One that is a little more on the sad side, but the day we lost our fellow employee, Matt Pischke. He always had a positive attitude about everything and was a pleasure to work with. He was well known with customers. He knew people from before he started with A to Z and built new rapport with customers once on board with A to Z. Q: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work? A: Spending time with my family and children. Going on trips and playing games with them.








Steve Crane - 20 Years Online Sales Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job? A: Identifying older items found during inventory to make sure we post them correctly online so that customers can find them. Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job? A: Finding a home for obsolete inventory. It helps a customer fill a need and helps A to Z make money. Q: What’s your most memorable day at your job? A: That’s a tough one, quite a few, as I’ve been here for a long time. Q: What do you enjoy doing when not at work? A: Spending time with my children.


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Sam Gonzalez - 20 Years Rental Service Technician Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job? A: Keeping up with the new equipment we bring in and learning how to maintain it. Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job? A: The opportunity to continually learn and develop my skills to succeed in the future and better serve the customers Q: What’s your most memorable day at your job? A: Besides the day I got hired, the day we had an unexpected, very heavy rain, and we had to quickly rescue equipment stored in the retention basin using a telehandler. Q: What do you enjoy doing when not at work? A: Spending time with my grandchildren, going to the park, and cooking

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1960 - 2020


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West Valley 803 E. Van Buren St Avondale, AZ 85323


North Valley 15634 N. 32nd St Phoenix, AZ 85032

Central Phoenix 4050 E. Indian School Rd Phoenix, AZ 85018

East Valley 1313 E. Baseline Rd Gilbert, AZ 85233

1960 - 2020


Call A to Z for All of Your Ride-On Scraper Needs

Congratulations on 60 years! East Valley

(480) 539-8700


North Valley (602) 992-1150

Central Phoenix (602) 955-5100

West Valley

(623) 925-0200


YOU NAME IT...WE RENT IT...WE SELL IT A special thank you to our valued equipment partners

and our support partners

Four Valley Wide Locations East Valley

1313 E Baseline Rd Gilbert, AZ


Central Phoenix

North Phoenix



4050 E Indian School Rd Phoenix, AZ

15634 N 32nd St Phoenix, AZ

West Valley

803 E Van Buren St Avondale, AZ




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ZW80 ZW120 ZW150 ZW180 ZW220 ZW250 ZW310 ZW370 ZW55 0

1.2 2 Cu. Yds. 3.5 Cu. Yds. 4 Cu. Yds. 4.5 5 5.5 7.3 8.3

310 410 710


6,11 0 lbs 11, 725 lbs 18,800 lbs 30,700 lbs -56, 000 lbs 69, 000- 72,5 00 lbs

SK25 SK55 SK85 SK140 SK230 SK300



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hree decades ago, a long-running local TV program vanished from the Phoenix airwaves. For those who experienced some portion of that impressive run,


the Wallace and Ladmo Show endures as an incomparable and deeply beloved pinnacle of Arizona’s cultural history. For those who arrived here during the post-Wallace era, a brief introduction to this iconic program seems a solemn obligation. Yet the task of successfully explaining this TV show to people who never experienced it is a formidable one. Wallace and Ladmo was a television phenomenon utterly without precedent or parallel. Yes, it was a kid’s show, replete with cartoons, comedy bits, prizes, and funny characters. But Wallace and Ladmo effectively transcended all the recognizable archetypes of the traditional kid-show format.

The humor was intelligent, inventive, sophisticated, unpredictable, multi-dimensional, and at times, genuinely subversive. This show was children’s programming that was adept at attracting an adult audience. Wallace and Ladmo was also uniquely Arizonan, with local inside jokes, homegrown celebrities, and a marvelous musical dimension that somehow culminated in a nationwide rock ‘n roll sensation called Hubb Kapp and the Wheels. There’s more. Wallace and Ladmo Above: Wallace, Pat McMahon as “Gerald,” and Ladmo (l-r), 1970s. Left: Wallace & Ladmo Go to Mars promo, 1960s. MAR-APR 2020

Images courtesy of Ted Thompson

wasn’t just a daily, hour-long exercise of silliness on the tube. The cast members were frequently on the road, tirelessly making personal appearances and performing their stage shows across the state for decades. Their storied performances at the

Mann Chris-Town Theatre and the Legend City amusement park long ago ascended to the realm of local entertainment lore. In short, Wallace and Ladmo were indispensable to local childhoods and culture for 35 years. KPHO-TV set the fateful wheels in motion by giving a young upstart named Bill Thompson a cartoon show in 1954. Already familiar to locals as a character called Wallace on the Golddust Charlie kid’s show, Thompson soon inserted some rudimentary comedy bits to his new program. Then he added a winsomely goofy sidekick, cameraman Ladimir Kwiatkowski, who became known forever as Ladmo. It’s Wallace? carried on as a popular two-man show until 1960, when a new employee by the name of Pat McMahon appeared at KPHO. McMahon was a young man with seasoned entertainment skills who became fascinated with the zany goings-on each day on the Wallace and Ladmo set.

Top left: Sandy Gibbons announces “Aunt Maud” as Miss Sun City pageant winner, 1960s. Top right: McMahon as “The Wizard.” Above: McMahon as “Captain Super” displays his strength by ripping a piece of paper at the 35th Anniversary show, 1989. Left: McMahon as “Zoomar from the Planet Zork,” 1960. McMahon well remembers his first glimpse of the show: “It’s almost too good to be true, but I promise you it’s true. I turned on the TV, and I hear a song called ‘Oriental Blues.’ I didn’t know what it was then, but it was the first theme song for a show called It’s Wallace? It was the first thing I ever saw on Phoenix television.” It was only a matter of time before Wallace asked McMahon for help with a three-man bit on the show. He wound up assisting for the next three decades, as the show was renamed Wallace & Company in 1968, and The Wallace & Ladmo Show in 1970. The result was the longest-running Arizona Contractor & Community

Image courtesy


of wallacewatcher

Images courtesy of Ted Thompson

Images courtesy of Ted Thompson

daily kid’s show in history. McMahon introduced a steady stream of endearingly weird characters to the Wallace show. There was the insufferable spoiled rich kid Gerald, the feisty septuagenarian Aunt Maud, and the remarkably inept superhero Captain Super. These characters empowered Wallace and Ladmo to expand the parameters of their own performing skills, and the show steadily built momentum. Suddenly Wallace and Ladmo had opened to a seemingly limitless panorama of new ideas and amusing possibilities. There’s no telling how long it all would have lasted with Wallace and Ladmo hosting alone, but after McMahon showed up, it probably could have gone on forever. That McMahon was destined for a career in entertainment seems a brazen understatement. He grew up as a cast member in a nomadic theatre troupe as an only child born to a pair of traveling Top left: McMahon spinning records as a disc jockey at the KRIZ studio, early 1960s. Top right: McMahon as “Marshall Good.” Opposite: McMahon as rock star “Hub Kapp.” Bottom left: Hub Kapp and the Wheels, 1964. Bottom right: Hub Kapp and the Wheels Capitol Records 45 picture sleeve, 1964.

vaudevillian performers who billed them- as a disc jockey before moving on to talkselves as McMahon and Adelaide. “We show host, program director, and now lived a gypsy life, we were on the road con- Director of Public Affairs at KTAR. Among stantly,” McMahon recalls. This background countless other honors and accolades, he grounded him in the fundamentals of show is a holder of the Arizona Broadcasters Lifetime Achievement business that would serve him IN 1964 WE WROTE, RECORDED, AND RE- Award. McMacurrently well throughout LEASED AN ORIGINAL SONG CALLED “WORK hon appears on KTAR his career. After com- WORK.” IT BECAME THE NO. 1 SONG IN ARIZO- radio, delivering pleting courses in NA, BEATING THE BEATLES, THE FIRST TIME daily commentaries alongside the speech and drama ANYBODY HAD DONE THAT! ~ HUB KAPP weekly McMahon at St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa, McMahon worked Group and The God Show programs, in locally as a broadcaster. He then had a two- addition to his duties hosting the Arizona year stint in the U.S. Army in Special Ser- Daily Mix on KAZT-TV. However, McMahon’s entertainment vices, traveling and performing in hotels and theaters for soldiers, and occasionally legacy will primarily reside in those remarkcivilians. After his discharge, McMahon vis- able characters and performances he summoned forth for 30 years on Wallace and ited Phoenix on a whim-and never left. “In all my travels, I couldn’t remember Ladmo. The show provided an environever being in Phoenix. And so that’s how I ment of unfettered creative freedom in got on I-17,” McMahon remembers. “And which his entertainment instincts and prefI got through the suburban early northern erences thrived, and the results speak for parts of the Valley, and I said, ‘Gee, this is a themselves. While a product of the primitive early days of Phoenix television, Walpretty, pretty town.’” McMahon’s career in local media barely lace and Ladmo is quite timeless. There’s a long-forgotten McMahon skipped a beat after Wallace and Ladmo. He has maintained a perpetual presence on character from Wallace and Ladmo who local radio and TV. He worked at KTAR, KOY, only appeared for a few years in the midand KRIZ radio stations, initially working 1960s, but perfectly exemplified the spirit Arizona Contractor & Community

Image courtesy of Sue Bueker

Images courtesy of Ted Thompson

invention but astutely proposed a superior method for using it: just stand the thing up, walk up the steps, and grab the desired object with your own hands! On another occasion, Elmer showed off his “revolving hat rack,” which Wallace decided would work better as a swivel chair. The show probably thought the bit got a little old after a while and discontinued it. But the Elmer Blisco skit had everything going for it: imagination, wit, irony, pathos, visual sophistication, even an educational component. This combination was the very essence of what Wallace, Ladmo, and McMahon wanted to do with their lives. It effortlessly surpasses any other kid’s show you would care to name. In fact, it might surpass most TV shows of any kind.

Top left: Wallace pleads Gerald’s case to the audience, while Ladmo holds up a sign stating otherwise, mid 1970s. Above left: McMahon as “Elmer Blisco The Caveman Inventor,” with Wallace. Top right: Author interviewing McMahon, 2018. Right: McMahon as “Bobby Joe Trouble” who signaled commercial breaks on the show, 1974. Left: McMahon as “Boffo the Clown” with Ladmo. SIXTY SIX

Ted Thompson

ACC thanks Steve Hoza and Ted Thompson for the use of their images, which came from their respective Facebook pages, Wallace Watchers and The World of Wallace and Ladmo.

Images courtesy of

of the show: caveman inventor Elmer Blisco. The name alone was sheer genius. Elmer’s shtick was each week to debut a new invention, of which he was extremely enthusiastic and proud. He excitedly demonstrated the device for Wallace, who would mull it over for a few seconds before suggesting an entirely different and far more appropriate use. Amazed and crestfallen, Elmer would slink back to his cave to think up a new invention. The Elmer character was “wonderful, creative, out of the darkest depths of Wallace’s mind,” McMahon remembers. “And what I mean by dark, is that it was so off-the-wall. That this caveman…first of all, what the hell is this guy doing in Phoenix? On a kid’s show? A caveman with the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan outfit, right? The caveman inventor.” One memorable installment featured Elmer’s “reaching thing,” that resembled a ladder. Elmer proceeded to wield it from the bottom to clumsily snag an object off a top shelf. Wallace praised the new

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Arizona Contractor & Community

Here Comes the Rabbit!

The “Hare-y” Story of Greyhound Racing in Arizona


Jay Mark ere comes the rabbit, rabbit, rabbit!”

Seldom have six simple words so quickly got the heart-pounding and adrenaline pumping. Cheering and wagering on greyhounds bursting from the starting box on their chase of a mechanical lure, as it is officially called, was a significant industry in


Arizona for more than 70 years. In its heyday, in the era before lotteries and local Native American casinos, thousands regularly flocked to racetracks, hoping to beat the odds and make their fortune. After all, it was once the nation’s sixth most popular pastime and often regally dubbed the “Sport of Queens,” which referred to Elizabeth I’s 16th-century

passion for greyhound racing. The sport only took a back seat to horse racing, the “Sport of Kings.” Although greyhound racing is an ancient sport, it didn’t arrive in the U.S. until 1919, when Owen Patrick Smith opened the nation’s first track in Emeryville, California. The not-yet-legal operation debuted a mechanical lure, considered more humane MAR-APR 2020

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community


Top left: Playboy bunnies arrive for a promotion at Phoenix Greyhound Park, 1962. Top right: Phoenix Greyhound Park grandstand, 1960s. Above: Grand opening ad salutes contractors who built the Phoenix and Tucson greyhound parks, 1954.

Image courtesy of

Douglas Towne

na Image courtesy of The Arizo

In 1939, four years after the state adopted pari-mutuel wagering, Arizona followed Oregon and Massachusetts to became just the fourth state to officially sanction dog racing. The sport was an unexpected source of revenue during the cashstrapped Great Depression. Greyhounds began competing two years before legalization, than the pregiving “Salt River Valley residents… vious use of another sport to which to turn for live animals. amusement—and try their luck,” Within a decade, and not deterred by its illegality, more than 60 according to The Arizona Republic. Those tracks had opened across the country. Not races were conducted under the aegis of until 1931 when Florida legalized it, did the local Disabled American Veterans Post, on the refurbished site of a former midget greyhound racing reach legitimacy. Arizona Contractor & Community

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

“For the second straight night a mutual ‘handle’ record was set when the fans poured $31,503 through the betting windows,” reported the Republic in October 1943. “Not only was the sum a one-night record for the current meet, it also was an all-time high for greyhound racing in Phoenix.” Of the wagers, 4 percent went to the state, 9 percent to the track, and the remainder was split between the public and dog owners’ winnings. In 1947, a planned move by the Arizona Kennel Club to a new park on 20 acres at 34th Street and Washington was hindered by material restrictions left over from the war. This shortage caused only the Top: Park ‘n Swap at Phoenix Greyhound Park, 1965. Left: Arthur and David Funk (l-r), 1971. Below: Phoenix Greyhound Park’s giant neon sign with a flashing arrow, 2003.

Image courtesy of Jay Mark

of Ari Images courtesy

& Communit zona Contractor


auto-racing track at 16th Street and Cam- Avenue and Mohave Street. There, the club elback Road. Ironically, not wanting to lose constructed “one of the fastest and sportiout on this new tax, Arizona sanctioned est greyhound tracks in the country.” Not to be outpari-mutuel wagering under the super- Arizona Tracks opened by the Funk family done, the Western Greyhound Kenvision of the State Tax 1944-2016: Tucson Greyhound Park nel Club converted Commission. a midget automoDuring these early 1954-2009: Phoenix Greyhound Park bile-racing oval to a years of greyhound 1963-1982: Amado Greyhound Park 3/16-mile dog track races, many locations near 17th Avenue and were used. The 1939- 1965-2004: Apache Greyhound Park Roosevelt Street. 1940 seasons began 1965-1993: Yuma Greyhound Park The Western Kenwith runs, overseen 1967-1982: Black Canyon Greyhound Park nel Club began proby the Arizona Greyhound Racing Association, conducted moting races in 1943. Even amid World “on a special track installed at the State War II, the fledgling industry proved to be profitable. Despite significant problems Fairgrounds.” In 1941, the Arizona Kennel Club began including weather cancellations and failleasing the four-year-old Phoenix Munici- ures of the mechanical lures, racing in the pal Stadium south of downtown at Central Valley flourished at several locations.

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“racing plant” to be completed. Fans sat in steel bleachers while awaiting “a grandstand to seat 10,000 or more and costing from $50,000 to $75,000…just as soon as the government curb is lifted.” However, this was the first Valley track to employ the “Universal Magic Eye” timing device, which eliminated the need for officials to use stopwatches. The Arizona Kennel Club conducted races at the Washington location until 1955, as a new $750,000 track debuted the previous year just four blocks east at 40th and Washington. The new, bigger and better track, which was the first to include a glass-enclosed grandstand, was erected by David K. and Arthur L. Funk. The brothers had come with their parents and four other siblings to Arizona about 1911. Their German-born father, Benjamin Funk, emerged as a prominent businessman who owned Phoenix’s largest jewelry store. As a youngster, it looked like older brother David would find a career in Hollywood. At 14, and weighing 215 pounds, he earned a contract as a juvenile comedian but his film career was short-lived. After a brief stint as a citrus grower in Arizona, David found a new passion – greyhound racing. In 1943, just short of his 40th birthday, David, along with his five-year younger brother, Arthur, bought into the Western Greyhound Kennel Club track. By 1952, the Funk Brothers had assumed entire ownership of the Roosevelt track, and incorporated the firm, Greyhound Parks of Arizona. As the year closed, they announced plans to build a modern $0.75 million facility at the site and a $300,000 facility in Tucson. The Tucson park was completed but plans changed in Phoenix. The Funks declared their new, state-of-the-art park would be erected on 60 acres at 40th Street and Washington. In the two decades following the end of World War II, greyhound racing flourished. By the end of the 1960s, the Funk brothers expanded their empire to six tracks located in Phoenix, Apache Junction, Black Canyon, Tucson, Amado, and Yuma. David is credited with innovations that were ultimately used nationwide. These included electronically printed wagering tickets and introducing the “Big Q,” which referred to a daily double Quinella in the last two races, which kept bettors at the track for the entire program. But after decades of unbridled success, the end of greyhound racing emerged when a three-pronged attack in the 1990s besieged the industry. Questionable operational practices had plagued the parks

from the beginning. Over the years, a variety of lawsuits chipped away at dog racing. In 1992 Governor Fife Symington began signing into law a series of Tribal-State Gaming Compacts that permitted casino-style gambling on Native American lands. That action took a big chunk out of track profits. The final blow came from animal rights activists through complaints and accusations about the treatment of greyhounds. That led to louder cries to end what the activists argued was an inhumane sport. As dog racing became less profitable,

tracks began shutting down one-by-one, starting with the rural operations. Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation in 2016 banning live greyhound racing in Arizona. Some tracks temporarily staved off the inevitable by staying open for off-trackbetting on televised races from around the country. The end of an era came 77 years after Arizona became the fourth state to legalize greyhound racing. Now it was the 40th state to finally silence the haunting call of “Here comes the rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.”

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A City That “Cottoned” to Twangy Music

Images courtesy of Author

Jim West


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Image courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

isitors to Coolidge, Arizona typically pass through the city on their way to the Casa Grande National Monument, the nation’s first archeological preserve. These tourists, maybe focused on having breakfast at Tag’s Café or snagging a room at the Moonlight Motel, overlook one of the city’s most surprising facets: more than a half-century ago this place was a hotbed of musical talent. The city of around 11,000 residents in the midst of cotton and alfalfa fields seems an unlikely place for musical innovation. However, four talented musicians began their rise to nationwide fame in this sleepy farming community located southeast of the Valley: Lee Hazlewood, Duane Eddy, Jimmy Delbridge, and Waylon Jennings. Although Coolidge was their incubator, their music would come to be known as “The Phoenix Sound” for the location of the studio where it was recorded. Coolidge’s country twang story began in 1953 when Hazlewood was discharged from the U.S. Army and used the G.I. Bill to study radio broadcasting. His first gig Studio Theater. Audiences took an immewas at KCKY-AM, Coolidge’s only radio sta- diate liking to Hazelwood, with his cast of tion, located in a second-floor office in the radio characters and on-air charisma. Hazlewood soon met Eddy, who had Left: Lee Hazlewood. recently moved to town when his father Top right: Coolidge’s KSKY radio studio on became the manager at the Safeway grothe second floor of the Studio Theater. cery store. Eddy learned to play guitar at a Below: Mac the Singing Bartender at JD’s young age and was soon performing instruBar in Tempe with Waylon Jennings, 1965. mentals on Hazlewood’s radio show. This

pairing led to yet another guest on the show. Jimmy Delbridge, a talented piano and guitar player who was raised in a deeply religious family, attended Coolidge High School with Eddy. After hearing him on the radio, Delbridge invited Eddy to his house. There, the duo picked a few tunes which led to them playing and singing live on KCKY. A creative and driven soul, Hazlewood branched out from his radio duties. He wrote, recorded, and produced the first record by Eddy & Delbridge: “Soda Fountain Girl,” backed with “I Want Some Lovin’ Baby.” Hazlewood pressed 500 copies of the single for his label. The crudely recorded 45 only sold a few copies. “Most of them sat in Hazlewood’s garage because my friend Jimmy went and got saved— saved in church—and decided he could not play secular music anymore,” Eddy later said. The single is notable, however, because it’s the only time Eddy sang on a recording. Hazlewood wasn’t deterred by the few sales of the single, and wrote another tune, “The Fool,” in 1956. He asked a friend, guitarist Al Casey, if he knew of a tall, goodlookin’ kid that could sing. Casey suggested his friend, Sanford Clark, who had just been discharged from Luke Air Force Base. Casey, Clark, and Hazlewood cut the song, which featured Casey’s repetitive guitar licks, at Ramsey’s Recording Studio near Seventh Street and Indian School Road in Phoenix. Within a year, “The Fool” broke nationwide and sold nearly 800,000 copies, climbing to No.7 on the Billboard chart. Arizona Contractor & Community

Images courtesy of Author

Top left: Jimmy Dell, Duane Eddy, and E.B. Lightning performing in Coolidge, 1954. Above: An ad for Jimmy Dell in Cashbox magazine, 1958. Left: Al Casey. Bottom left: Duane Eddy and Lee Hazlewood at Audio Recorders Studio, 1958.


Casey and Clark went on the road, touring based on the single’s popularity. They were the first big musical success to come out of Arizona. The song was later recorded by Elvis Presley and Paul McCartney. Hazlewood returned to his original duo, Eddy & Delbridge, after the latter backslid from his religious fervor. He shuttled them to Ray Odom’s Saturday night country music stage shows at Madison Square Garden in Phoenix. The weekly gigs were great exposure for their careers. “I had girls following me around in high school, they thought I was a big star,” Delbridge says. The duo also started appearing on a Phoenix TV show called the Hillbilly Hit Parade. In 1958, Hazlewood finally struck gold. Eddy, along with session players Al Casey, his wife, Corky Casey, and engineer Jack Miller recorded “Rebel Rouser” at the same Phoenix studio that was now called Audio Recorders Studio. The song, credited to Eddy/Hazlewood, has been described as “The Twang Heard ‘Round the World.” “[The song] came from a mental picture I had of a street gang in an alleyway getting ready to rumble with switchblades and chains,” Eddy said. The single sold more than a million copies and was included in the Forrest Gump soundtrack in 1994. Over the years, Eddy and his twangy guitar would sell an estimated 100 million singles, EPs, albums, and CDs. He was MAR-APR 2020

inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. The night before his induction, Eddy performed “Rebel Rouser” on the Conan O’Brien Show. The host asked him what he thought was his biggest contribution to music. “My biggest contribution,” said the smiling guitarist, “is probably that I didn’t sing.” Eddy’s buddy, Delbridge, signed with RCA records and recorded several rockabilly singles such as “I’ve Got a Dollar” and “Teenie Weenie” under the stage name Jimmy Dell. He toured nationally with performers like Sam Cooke, The Everly Brothers, and Johnny Cash. Delbridge later became an evangelist with the Nazarene Church, saying, “God is my booking agent.” Meanwhile, Hazlewood moved to Los Angeles and produced Rat-Pack acts like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. Sinatra then pegged him to kick-start his daughter, Nancy Sinatra’s, music career. Hazlewood wrote and produced her signature song, “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” that became a No. 1 single in 1965. He went on to write and record other hits with Nancy Sinatra, including the duets, “Jackson,” “Summer Wine,” and “Some Velvet Morning.” He died in Las Vegas in 2007. Waylon Jennings is the fourth musician to have a Coolidge connection. Jennings grew up in Littlefield, Texas, northwest of Lubbock, and learned to play music as a kid to avoid having to pick cotton. Jennings got his break in the music business by landing a job playing bass in Buddy Holly’s band, The Crickets. He famously gave up his seat to the Big Bopper on the plane that crashed after leaving Clear Lake, Iowa during a winter storm in 1959. Holly and three others aboard died. Jennings re-grouped after the tragic accident by moving to Coolidge in 1961, where his wife’s sister lived. He would hang out playing the jukebox and singing George Jones’ songs at the Gallopin’ Goose Bar & Grill, a historic roadhouse that is still in business. Fellow musicians Claude Henry and Bill Stevens hired Jennings and the trio became known as the Ramblers. They played regularly at the Sage & Sand Bar, another Coolidge watering hole. Jennings, who had previous radio experience in Lubbock, also became a disc jockey on KCKY, using the name “Sky High” Waylon Jennings. After a successful performance at the Cross Keys Club in Phoenix, Jennings and

his backing group, the Waylors, became the house band at a new club, JD’s, near the Salt River in Tempe. In 1966, he signed with RCA records in Nashville. Jennings had a long, successful music career and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. He died in 2005 and is buried in the Mesa Cemetery. These four talented musicians emerged from humble beginnings and their time in Coolidge was an important step toward

Sinatra then pegged him to kick-start his daughter, Nancy Sinatra’s, music career

their successful careers. or restarted their careers in Coolidge. Hazlewood’s talent and ambition took them far. Little of their legacy remains in the city, however. KCKY survives but airs mostly Spanish-language Christian programming. A local effort to commemorate the foursome with a “Star Walk of Fame” has attracted negligible interest. Their presence seems to be as fleeting as the radio waves that once broadcast their music. It was called, “The Phoenix Sound,” but had its start in Coolidge, over six decades ago.

Arizona Contractor & Community

The Clash image courtesy of Internet

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

Fedoras, Fobs, and Feathered Hair: Men’s Construction Fashion Through the Years


modern-day heavy equipment operator dressed in a fedora and dress pants would certainly attract attention on a construction site. But that was my go-to style around 2003 when I ran a blade, one of several style phases during my career in the construction industry. My earliest fashion recollection was as a kid going out to jobs with my dad during the summer in the mid-1980s. The style was fitted 501’s, short shorts, striped socks, tank tops, concert shirts or no shirts, and puffy hair protruding from all sides of a tall, trucker-style cap. I fondly recall dad sporting flowing hair escaping a cap, coming home smelling of diesel fuel, smoking a Winston cigarette and holding a cold can of Coors in one hand and a blue 7-11 Icee for me in the other. I would take my blonde locks and push them up over my

William Horner

hat, mimicking him. Dressed in this manner, he once took me in his service truck to Phoenix Fuel. “It’s a Mistake,” by Men at Work played on the truck radio, which I’ve remembered to this day. I played in a punk band as a teenager, sporting leather jackets with artwork I painted, combat boots, studded belts and bracelets. This was the fashion phase my dad, and probably most in construction at that time, could have done without. My fedora phase was influenced by The Clash, which was technically a punk

band, but they dressed cooler than other groups. Their bass player, Paul Simonon, mixed tight clothes with a bit of pre-war influence, utilizing old timey hats and coats. That was how I came to wear a fedora while running machinery for JSA Company, a local contractor. On the job today, I have a more toneddown look, but I still fancy the attire of previous generations. Here’s how other working men in the construction industry have dressed over the years:

Top left: Billy Joe Horner, 1980. Top right: Billy Horner dons a fedora while grading the parking lot for the new Tolleson High School, 2004. Top right inset: Paul Simonon, bassist for The Clash, wearing a fedora, 1980s. Right: Shirtless pipe layer with striped socks, 1980s. Bottom right: RoBil stake chaser pausing for a cigarette break, in a tank top, trucker hat with feathered hair, 1982. SEVENTY SIX

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Image courtesy of Arizona Republic

azin Image courtesy of Life Mag


Pre-1930: At the turn of the century, construction consisted of men pulling together to complete a project. There were fewer rules and more back-breaking labor, as newcomers migrated to Arizona for their chance at success. Construction workers commonly wore a derby or top hat.

1930s-1940s: The Great Depression and World War II occurred during these decades. Construction workers—as well as statesmen and gangsters—sometimes opted for a felt fedora or trilby-style hat. Laborers commonly wore overalls and boots. While some were outfitted in striped denim train hats, paperboy caps were preferred since they were cheap and light. Former servicemen often wore their striped military caps.

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

1950s-1960s: Some construction companies began offering uniforms with name badges. As the 1960s came to a close, a cataclysmic fashion change occurred between generations. Older workers generally wore streamlined Western shirts, pocket watch fobs, cowboy boots, and hats, with either jeans or khaki pants. Younger workers tended to have long hair, beards, ripped jeans, and untucked shirts. About the only

Top left: The Greer-Stark Plumbing Co., located at 217 W. Washington St. in Phoenix, 1909. Top right: Vintage watch fob advertisement, 1906. Above: Royden Construction Co. employees with fedoras and paperboy hats during construction of Route 66 in Flagstaff, 1937. Insets: Stetson Playboy hat advertisement, 1940; a paperboy hat advertisement, 1930. Left: Construction crew wearing watch fobs, paperboy hat, fedora hat, conductor hat, and ball cap, 1956. Arizona Contractor & Community

item of dress common to both generations were hard hats, which had become standard practice at many companies. This generational split was highlighted in the National Safety Council’s Safety Newsletter, published in 1970. An article, “Long Hair Presents Hazard!” argued that the “mod” hair styles introduced by young men were a safety concern because they presented potential accidents. Beards, respiratory equipment, sparks from welders, and other scenarios were used as examples. 1970s-1980s: Long-feathered hair and beards had become more common in this decade. Hard hats were worn by many workers, but some got away with doing tall, trucker-style hats introduced in the 1970s. Knee-high striped socks with cut-off jeans and digital watches, worn without a shirt, were trendy. 1990s to present: Safety-oriented clothing has cramped individual fashion style on the job site. Beards and jeans are still popular, but many workers now sport body jewelry and tattoos. Bright-colored vests, shirts, safety glasses, hearing protection, respirators, and steel-toe boots have become requirements in the construction workplace. So, what ever happened to that old, beat-up fedora I purchased during high school? My wife finally convinced me to get rid of it, and she got me a paperboy cap instead.

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

Top right: A carpenter wears striped socks, cutoffs, and long hair during the construction of Leisure World, Mesa, 1975. Right: Henry C. Beck steel worker with lamb chop sideburns at the Valley Center building in Downtown Phoenix, 1972. Below: Worker wearing plaid pants and stripes at the new Olive Grove subdivision in Tucson, 1971.


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A-1 Beer: Arizona’s Preferred Mid-Century Adult Beverage Douglas Towne


hen Prohibition ended in 1933, thirsty Arizonans sorely needed a cold one. For liquid refreshment, many turned to the only in-state startup, the Arizona Brewing Company in Phoenix. The local brew house did not disappoint, as its flagship A-1 Pilsner eventually became Arizona’s favorite beer. The nation had been officially “dry” since 1920 and Arizona even longer, since 1915, when two brothers, Martin and Herman Fenster, hurriedly set up operations as the Arizona Brewing Company in 1933. Their headquarters were east of Downtown Phoenix at 12th and Madison streets. The Fensters, who had previously worked for other breweries, anointed their first batch Arizona Brew Beer. A contest for a


catchier name resulted in Sunbru Beer. The brewery subsequently changed its primary label to Apache Beer, “The Chief of Them All,” and produced an array of brands hoping one would go viral. These included Agila, Canyon Lake, Dutch Treat, English-Type Ale, Hopi, Sin Rival and Wunderland beers. The brewery produced what became its prize beer, A-1 in 1943. This became the largest selling brand in Arizona during the late 1940s and early 1950s. The beer was touted as “The Western Way to Say Welcome.” Despite the commercial success of A-1, the brewery’s more than 50 years of operation was a challenge, as it struggled through changes in ownership, recipes, brands, and even a plot to firebomb the facility.

“A ‘gang’ sent a letter to the brewery threatening the plant in 1934,” says Ed Sipos, author of the 2013 book, Brewing Arizona: A Century of Beer in the Grand Canyon State. “It read ‘We will bomb your plant sooner or later, cops or no cops, unless you have your foreman carry two grand in small bills in a package up the street each night beginning the first.’” Federal agents arrested Glen I. McCloud, also known as the Cactus Kid, for plotting the bomb threat. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In a branding gambit, the brewery commissioned Western artist Lon Megargee to produce four paintings to promote A-1 in the late 1940s. “Every bar and cowboy bunkhouse had “The Cowboy’s MAR-APR 2020

Image courtesy of Douglas Towne

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

Dream’ poster,” Flagstaff rancher Mary Lockett says. A-1 became especially beloved in a particular Route 66 town. “Back around 1950, when I was a kid in Ash Fork, an A-1 beer truck crashed nearby,” says Arizona state historian Marshall Trimble. “Beer was scattered all over the place, and the locals went down and helped themselves. The refrigerators in every house were full of A-1.” Besides happy hour refreshments, the accident provided home furnishings for many Ash Fork residents. “The truck was also carrying those Lon Megargee A-1 Beer renderings, and they littered the landscape,” Trimble adds. “They were supposed to hang in every saloon along Route 66 but

wound up on the walls in Ash Fork homes.” To connect with the community, Arizona Brewing Company became a supporter of Valley sports teams after World War II. These included the Phoenix Stars baseball team and the A-1 Queens women’s softball team. “Women’s softball drew standing room only crowds,” says Trimble. “The A-1 Queens were famous nationally and won several championships.” Later, A-1 also aligned with the Phoenix Roadrunners hockey team and the Phoenix Suns. “’Good -- like A-1 Beer,’ Al McCoy would always shout during his broadcasts when the Suns would hit an outside shot,” recalls Phoenix writer Tom Gibbons. After its peak in the mid-1950s with 150 employees and distribution

Top left: An A-1 advertisement at the Acapulco Buffet, located at 133 E. Jefferson, 1954. Above: Joe Fentress, an Arizona Brewery truck driver, 1953. Left: A-1 terrazo floor logo at the Phoenix Fire Department Administrative Offices, 2017. throughout the Southwest, the brewery began a long decline. “For a while, people supported A-1 because it was the local product,” says Jerry Lewkowitz, a former Phoenix city councilman. “But then it lost its glamour as the national beers like Budweiser and Coors began distributing in Arizona.” Anheuser-Busch even threatened the brewery with a lawsuit that made them drop the eagle symbol from their A-1 label in 1957. Competition from larger breweries that had recently acquired plants in Southern California impacted Arizona Brewing Company. The Phoenix brewery was sold in 1964 and operated in succession by Carling, National, Carling-National, and Heileman. According to Sipos, A-1 was given a Arizona Contractor & Community


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Image courtesy of Douglas Towne

The brewery was razed in 1992 and the bad rap by those who drank it after the big partiers.” Although it branched out with brands Phoenix Fire Department administration demise of the Arizona Brewing Company. “I’ve heard some refer to it as ‘Arizona ditch such as Carling Black Label, Tuborg, and building was constructed at the site. “To rip Colt 45 Malt Liquor, the it down and put up an old-looking building water,’ but have been told by those who drank “A ‘gang’ sent a letter to brewery closed in 1985, is kind of hokey,” Phoenix preservationist despite the best efforts Michael Levine told the Arizona Republic. it during the 1950s, that the brewery threatening of its staff. For many Long given up for dead, the A-1 label it truly was a good beer,” brewery employees, their has been revived several times. Whether says Sipos. “The changes the plant in 1934.” well-paid Union work or not A-1 successfully returns, its legacy that were made to A-1 following the brewery’s sale gave the beer was more than a job. “After its closing, for- is perhaps best summed up by Marshall mer workers held a yearly picnic to remi- Trimble. its bad name.” “It might not have been the best-tastBut there was one group of consumers nisce about their days at the brewery,” says who thought the brewery’s product was Sipos. “They called themselves the A-1 ing beer around, but it was our beer, made right here in Arizona.” always, well, A-1. The plant shipped spent Family.” grains to a feedlot near Southern and 32nd avenues in the 1970s. “The cattle would see the tanker coming down the hill on Southern, and they would all run to feeding troughs to eat,” says feedlot employee Celestino Rios. Some people loved the beer, others not so much. But there was no doubt the brewery was a laid-back place to work. Former employee Bill Grant fondly recalls his job interview at the plant in the early 1980s, during which they offered him a beer. “Suspicious, I asked if this was a test,” he says. “They said that drinking on the job was ok, we just couldn’t be stumbling-down drunk. I replied, ‘Oh my gosh, this is going to be fun!’” The brewery continued to struggle, especially with the end of the Vietnam War in 1973, for which it supplied beer for troops in the Far East. In a $600 cost-cutting measure, the plant eliminated its steam whistle in the early 1980s, which for decades Phoenicians had set their watches by four times daily. But the free beer on tap continued to flow even during working hours for employees in the breweries’ hospitality room. The workers were a tight-knit group, willing to sacrifice for the company. One night during production of Mickey’s “Big Mouth” Malt Liquor, employees noticed some slightly darker green bottles in the mix. Being quality minded they decided to cull these rejects, which numbered about SBE Certified City of Phx "Dump Trucking" 10 cases. “We drank them as we pulled them off the assembly line,” says Grant. Super 16s and Super 18s Demo and Material Beds “The eight or so guys on night shift were all Top left: Six-pack of A-1 Bock Beer, 1961, and Forster & Kleiser billboard for A-1 Beer, 1960s. Top right: Chemist at Arizona Brewery Co., 1964. Left: Arizona Sand & Rock Co. crane moving a new boiler tank off the H&R Transfer Co. truck, at Arizona Brewery Co. at 12th and Madison streets, 1953.

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Building on the Past


BC’s Bonanza series lived up to its name in numerous ways. The second-longest running Western behind CBS’s Gunsmoke, 431 episodes of the show were produced over 14 seasons from 19591973. The series also inspired a Bonanza theme park that operated near Lake Tahoe from 1967-2004, and Bonanza/Ponderosa steakhouses, which peaked at more than 600 restaurants in 1989. Bonanza also motivated its lead actor, Lorne Greene, aka Ben Cartwright, to have a custom-designed home built in Mesa in 1963. The home was a replica of the show’s ranch house, called “The Ponderosa.” “Ponderosa II” was a marketing promotion

PAGEof Arizona Contractor & Community Images courtesy

for the Apache Country Club Estates, now called the Arizona Golf Resort, of which Greene was an investor. The campaign worked, as a crowd of more than 20,000 toured 10 model homes at the grand opening of the development, which also featured a unique Arizona-shaped swimming pool. “See the custom homes that prompted the biggest housewarming in Arizona,” read 1963 advertisements in The Arizona Republic. Greene used the almost 4,000 squarefoot, faux log cabin as a retreat for a few years and sold it in 1967. Another owner lived there for 40 years until selling it to a couple who are Bonanza fans. They restored the home to appear as it did in the TV series and held several Bonanza-related events on the premises. Ponderosa II is located on a half-acre lot on the first fairway of the resort and was

Image courtesy of Internet

1963 - Mesa House is a “Bonanza”

granted landmark status by the city of Mesa in 2014. After being for sale for several years, new owners purchased the house in 2019. No word yet on whether any chuckwagon cookouts are in the works for fans.

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Top left: Bonanza TV series, 1960s. Above: Lorne Greene and his wife, Nancy Deale, arrive at Sky Harbor, 1962. Background: Lorne Greene leads a group through the Apache Country Club Estates, 1962. Top right: Lorne Greene’s home-site at Apache Country Club Estates, 1962. Right: Apache Country Club Estates entrance at Power Road north of Southern Ave., 1962.

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Architect’s Perspective: Celebration of Life Facilities Doug Sydnor, FAIA


canopy of steel tree-like columns and French glass inserts. The mortuary’s supportive functions, including the lobby, reception area, offices, viewing rooms, and wide corridors, have lower, flat-roofed structures. There is fullheight glazing at the entry, glazing at the chapel side walls that frame outdoor views, and lushly landscaped grounds. The chapel is a tall, linear space bathed in natural light from multiple sources to minimize glare. The walls are exposed concrete masonry to match the exterior, and complemented by natural wood and upholstered pews. The project utilized an exposed wood structure with its dropped beams and tongue and groove wood planking. The property retains some of its original pecan trees. Over time, there have been numerous additions, including administrative offices, viewing rooms, a community room, support spaces, and a parking garage. The original chapel addition was designed by architect Fred M. Guirey, FAIA, of Guirey and Associates, with assistant Murray Harris. This Phoenix-based architectural firm, founded in 1946, was active until acquired by DMJM of Los Angeles in 1982. Messinger Mortuary is still operated by the family and has expanded to facilities Messinger Indian School Mortuary in north Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, Payson, was built at 7601 East Indian School Road and Queen Creek. in Scottsdale in 1958. The project was a 6,700-sf addition to the original Messinger family dairy farm and adjacent to the 1943 adobe residence. The new structure featured exposed, split-face concrete masonry units, a pitched roof chapel with gable ends and wood shingles, and an entry shade

Below: Messinger Mortuary Chapel.

Images courtesy of Author

rchitects have worked with morticians to learn about their mission, their work with families, appropriate facilities, and a changing industry, including the increased demand for cremations. In our design of mortuaries, chapels, mausoleums, and community rooms, we’ve absorbed much about the philosophy of the events taking place in these facilities, which should reflect respect and dignity. Although these places are used during the last chapter of life, we strive to design them as “Celebrations of Life.” Morticians desire their sanctuary interiors not to be too “church-like.” A wide variety of services for different religions and beliefs take place there, and they want everyone to feel comfortable in the space. Morticians, after talking with countless families they have served, also provide one crucial bit of non-architectural advice to architects: “You can only take your memories with you.” So, make some while you still can. Many long-time Valley mortuaries have recently closed their doors. The following continue to innovate and best capture the quiet, reflective, and simple character required for the services that take place within their spaces.

Hansen Mortuary was built at 8314 North Seventh Street in Phoenix in 1961. The mortuary chapel is an A-frame and is fully expressed toward the street with a projecting bay. The projecting bay is articulated with a series of five rectangular roof openings running down each of the two steep slopes, and a recessed triangular wood-clad wall with seven diamond-shaped windows. The A-frame’s heavy timber beams visually anchor it to the site with a continuous horizontal shade canopy that leads to the main entry and a natural stone wall. A creative detail is taking the A-frame as it meets the ground and quickly flipping up an additional diagonal column to support the south side shade canopy. This overall zig-zag pattern with the structure on the front elevation gives it a dynamic quality. Supportive functions such as the lobby, administrative offices, restrooms, work areas, and receiving area have lower flat roofs to complement the taller chapel. In front of the lower structure are open-celled masonry screen walls placed in a saw-tooth pattern. Such walls provide privacy from the street while filtering the morning light. Landscaping includes a large Aleppo pine tree that partially shades the chapel and visually protects it. Chet Hansen, who founded Hansen Mortuary, was trained in the San Diegoarea. He had an affinity for a particular mortuary in that community, which served as a model for his facility. Local architect William A. Lockard, AIA, produced a full set of architectural drawings, and his floor plan matched the San Diego mortuary. The Hansen family continues to own and operate


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Hansen Mortuary. this business after 68 years and has added operated. The main chapel structure is a another facility in northeast Phoenix. tall, dramatic A-frame, not unlike the HanTempe Mortuary was built at 405 East sen Mortuary. The A-frame was clad initially Southern Avenue in Tempe in 1963. The in shingles but was recently reroofed using facility was constructed by Peter Rosen metal. This visually striking and extruded for Walter Bloom and Wayne Hammond triangular building profile continues to be and continues to be family owned and a landmark in Tempe.

Lower building forms with flat roofs are for the outreaching entry shade canopy, main entry, administrative offices, and supporting and receiving areas. The property has a pleasant landscaped setting with turf on the street frontage and vines framing the main signage. The chapel interior has an exposed structure above of glulam beams and tongue and groove planking. Exterior daylighting is primary from north exposure, which creates a soft diffused light. Patrons felt it was too dark, so suspended chandeliers were added. Left and below: Tempe Mortuary.

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Left and Above: Whitney & Murphy Mortuary. ground and the higher chapel structure behind it. The street frontage is a well-maintained landscape buffer of grass and flowers. The mortuary has undergone additions and remodels since 1969. Douglas B. Sydnor, FAIA, is Principal at Whitney & Murphy Mortuary was lowers the scale to make it appropriate for Douglas Sydnor Architect and Associates, built at 4800 East Indian School Road in pedestrians. Additionally, the colonnade Inc. and author of three architectural Phoenix in 1969. The Phoenix-based archi- serves as a transitional form between the books. tectural firm Schwenn and Associates designed the mortuary using a post-and- Additional Maricopa County Mortuaries and Chapels: beam approach, which differs from the earlier gable and A-frame structures discussed • 1927 - Meldrum Mortuary & Crematory, 52 N. MacDonald, Mesa. previously. • 1950 - Mercer Mortuary, 1541 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix; architect William F. The main chapel is flat roofed with canCody, FAIA. tilevered edges. The interior uses exposed glulam beams with exposed planks clear • 1956 - Gibbons Mortuary Chapel, 33 N. Centennial Way, Mesa; architect Horlbeck Hickman. spanning between them. Between the beam drops at the exterior walls are clere- • 1962 - Melcher Mortuary and Chapel (Dignity), 6625 E. Main Street, Mesa; architect Horlbeck Hickman. story windows to the west and east exposures, which provide substantial light. The • 1960s - Melcher Mortuary/Chapel, 43 S. Stapley Drive, Mesa; architect Horlbeck walls are of exposed slump-block masonry, Hickman. which was created to visually simulate the • 1960s - A.L. Moore Grimshaw Mortuaries (Dignity Memorial), 710 W. Bethany texture of the less- durable adobe block. Home Road, Phoenix. The covered entry walkway has a series of slump block masonry columns • 1955 - Paradise Chapel Funeral Home, 3934 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix supporting exposed wood beams, which (demolished). •

1962 - Green Acres Chapel, 401 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale; architect Jacob John Schotanus, Jr., AIA.

1973 - Valley of the Sun Mortuary and Cemetery, 10940 E. Chandler Heights Road, Chandler.

Images courtesy of Author

Left: Mercer Mortuary. Middle: Meldrum Mortuary & Crematory sign. Right: Meldrum Mortuary & Crematory.


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Digging Through the Archives:

Construction Memorabilia W

His family moved to Arizona in the early 1950s. In 1955, Favro was hired by Arizona Machinery Co., which later became Empire Machinery Co. He helped open offices for Empire in Kingman, Flagstaff, Morenci, and Show Low. Favro’s favorite color was “Cat yellow,” and he collected the pyramid of caps featured in the above image. The larger “tall” or “trucker” caps were the style from the 1970s to early 1990s. These caps featured a patch or silk screen logo with a foam inner cap liner. Several companies manufactured these caps. Included in the Favro collection: K-Brand by the K-Products Co., Orange City, IA; Custom Designed Headwear, Mequon, WI; Louisville Mfg. Co., Louis­ville, KY; and Tonkin Inc., Woodinville, WA. It was common for ven­dors to hand these,

Images courte

sy of Renee Fav


hen we launched Arizona Contractor & Community magazine almost a decade ago, I knew I eventually wanted to feature old mementos and collectibles that were distributed by construction-related companies over the years. A personal source of many Caterpillar-related mementos was Dave Favro, the father-in-law of Mike Wilson, who I worked with while at Ace Asphalt. Wilson has worked in the industry locally since he started with Pulice Construction in 1983. I had asked Wilson to send any interview leads my way. This led to a few phone conversations with Mr. Favro. Favro was born in 1936 in Cadyville, N.Y., and enjoyed playing the violin and ice skating.

William Horner


and other items out to customers while visiting the jobsites. In 1956, he married Arline, and they had two children, Curt and Renee. Favro played semi-pro baseball as a catcher for the Air Research team in his younger years. He retired as the parts and service manager in Show Low after 44 years with company in 2000. I recall Favro as outgoing and peppy when we chatted over the phone in 2012, and I told him of my interest in the swag that Caterpillar provided its employees and customers. “They would load us up with all the latest hats, buckles, and pins before we visited customers,” he said. “Over the years, you just hold on to a few leftovers and start a collection of your own.” Sensing my enthusiasm, Favro subsequently sent me a box of his collectibles. The package contained Caterpillar ephemera and a note indicating he was glad to pass the memorabilia on to someone who would appreciate it. I later learned from Wilson that Favro died at the age of 78 in Show Low in 2014. Bottom left: Dave Favro, 2000s. Left: Dave Favro (bottom row, second from left) with other Arizona reps, visiting Empire Machinery in Peoria, IL, late 1970s. Top left: A pyramid of caps from Favro’s col­lection. Top right: A Tonkin windbreaker. MAR-APR 2020


’ve also obtained construction ephemera from my dad, and during my years working in the industry. These include the 1970s/1980s foam inlay “trucker” hats along with the more modern “fitted” baseball caps, which became popular with construction workers in the 1990s. My dad would strip and save the CAT patches off his worn-out caps, and these are now in my collection. The Caterpillar Block-C or “Pacman” logo was used by Empire Machinery Co. from 19671990, and have become collector’s items. If you have construction memorabilia or interesting items discovered on a job site you would like featured in the magazine, please contact me at Left: The traditional “trucker” hats with a foam inlay and the Arizona Contractor & Community magazine logo can be ordered on our website at Right: I’m wearing a vintage Valley National Bank shirt in front of a bank sign that was saved during a branch demolition. Below: An assortment from my construction ephemera collection.

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Bid Results

Feb/Mar 1950 Bid Awards

1/7/2020 Intersection Imps Rural Rd Rio Salado AJP Electric $2,852,692

1/16/2020 Combs Rd Sewer Line Water Line Phase 3 Lincoln $1,469,487

Farmer & Godfrey, Phoenix $100,000 New Building Construction 1624 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix

1/7/2020 Pavement Preservation Cactus Asphalt $706,844

1/17/2020 Phx Cordes Central Ave Pulice $13,531,032

Vinnell Const. Co., Phoenix $238,869 3 Mi Road Construction Phoenix-Prescott HWY

1/8/2020 Annual Street Chip Seals VSS $637,000

1/17/2020 Saguaro Bloom 7A Garnet Range Loop Sunland $2,125,595 1/23/2020 Bus Pull Out Tempe Library DBA Construction $269,817

1/9/2020 Dome Rock Rd Cholla Rd Asphalt Overlay Paveco $434,470 1/10/2020 Pierce Ferry Rd Show Low $1,742,759

1/27/2020 (CMAR) Val Vista Drive Appleby Riggs Haydon $5,000,000

J.H. Welsh & Sons, Phoenix $117,927 Install New Water Lines Westland Homesites, Phoenix R.C. Tanner & Sons Const. $127,153 Grading & Paving Westland Homesites, Phoenix Banks Electric Co., Glendale $41,737 Elementary School Ground Lighting Various Schools in Phoenix

1/10/2020 Tucson Benson Ajo Way Vastco $5,662,167

1/30/2020 Verde Valley School Rd Overlay Asphalt Paving & Supply $554,424

Alton B. Carter, Yuma $44,313 Sewer Line Install Van Buren 20th-26th St.

1/10/2020 Kit Carson Kaibab Sewer Main Standard $2,931,970

1/31/2020 Carrizo Whiteriver Ind Pines FNF $3,772,172

King-Hoover Co., Phoenix $54,372 Sewer Line Extensions Town of Wickenburg

1/15/2020 Combs Rd Sewer Line Water Line Phase 4 Lincoln $1,006,159

1/31/2020 McAllister Pump House Pipeline Revolution Industrial $1,541,464

R.C. Tanner Const. Co. $77,170 Curbs, Grading, Paving Coolidge City Council






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Chandler Flagstaff Call 866-423-4514 or visit for more information. ARIZONA Phoenix Prescott Chandler Tucson Flagstaff Yuma Phoenix Prescott ARIZONA (1)Offer valid on qualifying purchases made December 2, 2019 to February 1, 2020. Offer includes new John Deere skid steers, compact track loaders, compact excavators, and compact wheel loaders. Subject to approved installment credit. Down payment may be required. Taxes, freight, setup and delivery charges could increase monthly payment. Some restrictions apply; other special rates and terms may be available, so see RDO Equipment Co. for details and other financing Tucson Chandler options. Available at participating U.S. dealers. Prices and models may vary by dealer. Offers available on new equipment and in the U.S. only. Prices and savings in U.S. dollars. (2)Offer ends February 1, 2020. Prices and model availability may vary by dealer. Some restrictions apply; other special rates and terms may be available, so see RDO Equipment Co. for details and other financing options. Available at participating dealers. Yuma Flagstaff Phoenix (1)Offer valid on qualifying purchases made December 2, 2019 to February 1, 2020. Offer includes new John Deere skid steers, compact track loaders, compact excavators, and compact wheel loaders. Subject to approved installment credit. Down payment may be required. Taxes, freight, setup and delivery charges could increase monthly payment. Some restrictions apply; other special rates and terms may be available, so see RDO Equipment Co. for details and other financing Prescott options. Available at participating U.S. dealers. Prices and models may vary by dealer. Offers available on new equipment and in the U.S. only. Prices and savings in U.S. dollars. (2)Offer ends February 1, 2020. Prices and model availability may vary by dealer. Some restrictions apply; other special rates and terms may be available, so see RDO Equipment Co. for details and other financing options. Available at participating dealers. Tucson Yuma (1)Offer valid on qualifying purchases made December 2, 2019 to February 1, 2020. Offer includes new John Deere skid steers, compact track loaders, compact excavators, and compact wheel loaders. Subject to approved installment credit.

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