Spring Training Baseball Explodes in Popularity

Jul 20, 2015

Baseball is a national pasttime that Americans have enjoyed for generations. But in Phoenix, it's more than just a cherished sport - it's big business. That's because Phoenix is the home of the Cactus League, one of two off-season leagues for major league teams.

The mild winters temperatures and lack of snow made Phoenix an ideal location for spring training teams, particularly from colder Midwestern cities like Chicago and Milwaukee.

The first team to ever conduct spring training in Phoenix was the Detroit Tigers in 1929. The Chicago Cubs trained in Mesa from 1979 to 1996, and the Seattle Mariners trained in Tempe from 1977 through 1993. For a long time, Spring Training was a cottage industry that only attracted the most die-hard baseball fans.

I'm not sure exactly when it happened or why it happened, but sometime in the last 20 years, the Spring Training industry exploded into a massive multi-million dollar industrial complex.

LEGO Discovery Center to Open at Arizona Mills in 2016

Jul 6, 2015

LEGO Store at Chandler Mall
For decades, Lego bricks have endured as one of the world's most-loved toys. The brightly-colored interconnecting blocks do not require batteries and do much to foster the creativity of children and adults alike.

As a huge fan of LEGO, I was very excited when the company opened their first retail store at Chandler Fashion Center Mall in 2008, and again when they opened a second location at Arrowhead Mall in Glendale in 2010. Now, the company has announced plans to open a massive 60,000 square foot LEGO Discovery Center at Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe.

Tempe Approves Hayden Flour Mill Redevelopment

Jun 24, 2015

One of the oldest and most iconic buildings in Tempe is the Hayden Flour Mill. Located within walking distance of the Tempe Town Lake and adjacent to the ASU campus, the old flour mill is a highly visible monument of the city's history.

First opened by Charles Trumbull Hayden in the late 1800s, the mill produced flour until 1998. Since closing down, the large white silos have attracted vandals, scrappers, graffiti artists, urban explorers, and the homeless. The city has been searching for to do something with the historic structure.

Former Honeywell Plant to Become Microsoft Data Center

Jun 10, 2015

One of the largest private employers in Arizona is Honeywell, who has employed thousands of people throughout the Valley since the mid 1950s. Honeywell's Phoenix operations are a major center for aircraft and avionics manufacturing.

In 2008, the company underwent a major re-structuring which left one of their large facilities in North Phoenix completely vacant.

A recent article in the Phoenix Business Journal states that the old Honeywell plant at 25th Avenue and Union Hills will be getting a new tenant soon! The 575,000 square-foot building is likely to become a new data center for Microsoft!

The Gold Spot: Phoenix's Underground Bowling Alley

May 25, 2015

Urban historians may be disappointed to find out that many of Phoenix's mid-century restaurants, banks, and coffee shops have long ago been razed in the name of progress. However, there are a number of Phoenix bowling alleys which still stand today that serve as reminders of the past.

The most famous of these is the AMC Bethany Lanes at 19th Ave and Bethany Home Road. Opened in the 1960s as 300 Bowl, this building is still open and retains its signature Googie-style upswept-triangle roof.

In North Phoenix, the Northgate Bowl (now Let It Roll Bowl) at 12th St. and Dunlap Ave. has interesting brickwork and angled columns that are pure 1960s delight.

Today, I want to write about a bowling alley that wasn't so lucky. It was called The Gold Spot and it was located in downtown Phoenix. The interesting thing about the Gold Spot Bowling Alley is that it was completely underground!

I first read about the Gold Spot in the Phoenix New Times, and I was interested to find out more. With my camera in hand, I headed downtown to do some exploring.


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