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.




The History of Metrocenter Mall

Mar 5, 2015

Phoenix has long been on the cutting edge of retail, especially when it comes to shopping malls.

The first mall in Phoenix was Park Central Mall, which opened at the corner of Central and Osborn Road in 1957. It wasn't long before the Christown Mall followed in 1961, which was notable for being the first indoor, air-conditioned mall in the state.

Soon, other malls began sprouting up all over the valley:


Maryvale Mall - opened 1960

Tri City Mall, Mesa - opened 1968
Los Arcos Mall - opened 1969


But the grandest of all was Metrocenter Mall, which opened in Phoenix in 1973. The mall was located in the northern part of town, just west of Interstate 17 between Peoria Ave and Dunlap Ave. It's worth noting that in the early '70s, I-17 only went up to about Camp Verde. It didn't connect to Flagstaff until 1976, and even then it was just a two-lane highway between Camp Verde and Flagstaff.


Metrocenter Mall under construction in 1972.
Image Credit: city-data.com

The Early Days
Metrocenter was a record-breaker in many ways. With over 1.4 million square feet of space, it was both the largest mall in Arizona and the first two-story mall in Arizona. A $21 million dollar loan was granted to build the mall - the largest commercial loan in the state's history (up until that time).


Metrocenter Mall in Phoenix, AZ.
Image Credit: barbarastew-art.com

Vintage Signs of Phoenix

Dec 28, 2014

In our high-tech modern world of apps, connected devices, same-day delivery and always-on broadband, it might seem like we are living in the future. However, there are still signs of the past all around us.

Take Phoenix for example. While it is a very modern city with urban lofts and the Metro Light Rail, there are also signs of the past everywhere! Many of these signs are hand-painted unique creations that look out of place in the mass-produced, corporate style guide world of today.


Each of these signs uses shape as well as color to draw the eye and to illustrate movement. I am interested in preserving this part of Phoenix's history through photography, and today I want to share with you some of my favorite vintage signs in Phoenix.
Cheese 'N Stuff Delicatessen

Wal-Mart, Light Rail to Revitalize Metrocenter Mall

Dec 21, 2014

What was once the largest mall in Arizona is now facing increased competition from retail "power centers," online shopping, and reduced consumer spending due to the economy.

Now, a plan is underway to revitalize Metrocenter Mall and the surrounding area.

Tesla Motors Adds Supercharger Locations in Arizona

Dec 13, 2014

It wasn't very long ago that the idea of owning a pure electric car was a crazy dream. There were no mass-market manufacturers of electric vehicles and no infrastructure in place to support them. In just 11 years, Tesla Motors has changed all that.

The upstart company from California has become one of the biggest success stories not only in the automotive world, but in the business world. Backed by PayPal co-founder and billionaire Elon Musk, Tesla Motors has overcome many hurdles previously thought to be impossible.

 

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