We offer a wide range of stories on Arizona Oddities catering to an eclectic group of fans from around the state. From history and recreation to artistic endeavors and those weird things you see along the highway, we’ve got it covered.
Here, we’re showcasing our favorite 12 posts from 2012 (in no particular order). We also want to hear what you found most memorable. Please leave us a comment with your favorites.
- Walter Swan Created One Unique Way to Sell Books – Long after his death, the folks in Bisbee still talk about Walter Swan and his One Book Bookstore. Swan became sort of a folk hero in the mid-1970s when he wrote a book entitled “Me ‘n’ Henry,” a compilation of stories about growing up in Arizona when much of it was still relatively uncivilized.
- Longhorn Grill, an Epic Curiosity in Southern Arizona, Shuts Down – One of Arizona’s all-time best oddities faces an uncertain future due to the economy. The Longhorn Grill, a landmark restaurant just off Interstate 19 south of Tucson, has closed due to slow sales that forced a bank foreclosure.
- Casa Grande Domes Are Nobody’s Homes – Oddity seekers will find a bonanza when they come across a set of round relics squatting in the desert south of Casa Grande. At first glance, they look like abandoned UFOs. Closer inspection reveals they’re manmade, and they’re sort of spooky. They’re a series of domes.
- Bell Tower Still Stands at Old Mission on Gila River Indian Reservation – Back in the 1950s, St. Michael’s Mission served members of the Gila River Indian Reservation as a place of worship and a gathering site. But the roof leaked during the infrequent rains, and because the building was made of adobe, it began deteriorating so badly that those in charge decided to knock it down. And so they did.
- “Naturalist” Greets Book Lovers in Quartzsite – It doesn’t take Paul Winer long to get dressed for work. When he gets up in the morning, he puts on his cowboy hat, sunglasses, sandals and a necklace. That’s all. Except for a tiny thong that covers a small area located at the confluence of his left thigh and right thigh.
- Montezuma’s Well Boasts Unique Eco-System, Ancient Indian Ruins – Montezuma’s Well is a lesser known part of the Montezuma Castle National Monument, 11 miles north of the uber-popular Montezuma’s Castle. Upon arrival, it’s easy to see why the natural limestone sinkhole is sacred to Native American cultures. It seemingly appears out of nowhere – a massive well in the middle of the Upper Sonoran Desert.
- Move Over Chicago, Best Franks Found at Jimmy’s Hot Dog Company in Bisbee – The iconic Chicago hot dog: an all-beef frank topped with tomato, pickles, relish, onions, sport peppers, mustard and celery salt, all encased in a poppy seed bun. Seems simple enough, but any Chicagoan will tell you that us Arizonans just can’t master this highly acclaimed recipe.
- Rest Stop Marks Border of Gadsden Purchase – Next time you drive between Phoenix and Tucson, you may want to stop by the Sacaton Rest Area for more than a good stretch or a little relief. Located on the Gila River Indian Reservation off 1-10 on Exit 181 (eastbound), this seemingly low-key rest stop holds some special historical significance.
- Endicott Peabody: Religion Arrives in Helldorado – Ominous clouds hovered over Tombstone that January morning in 1882, as the Sandy Bob Stage rambled into town in a cloud of dust. The grey sky gave forewarning of a fast-approaching snowstorm. The passengers arriving that morning were, with one exception, typical— a military officer on his way to Fort Huachuca, an elderly Jewish peddler who told funny stories, a self-styled “millionaire” out to make another fortune.
- Those Bombastic Frontier Gazettes and Their Irrepressible Fighting Editors! – Following that magnetic trail west and hot on the harbingering heels of fur trappers, prospectors, cowboys, merchants, politicians and preachers, were frontier fourth estaters armed with crude little hand presses and big-time dreams.
- Mysterious Arrow Tree Sticks out on Coronado Scenic Byway Trail – The Coronado Scenic Byway Trail – Highway 191 – is among Arizona’s great scenic drives, snaking through the dense wilderness of the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest in the eastern part of the state. Also called the Devil’s Highway and once referred to as Highway 666.
- What is Orange Stringy Substance Covering Desert Plants? – What you saw is a slimy, creepy parasitic plant commonly called dodder. It once was thought to be related to morning glories, but now it is classified in the genus Cuscuta, which is certainly more than I wanted to know about it, but there you have it.