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About Vanishing Phoenix

Founded in 2010 by Phoenix preservationists and planners Yuri Artibise and Taz Loomans, Vanishing Phoenix sought to document the successes and failures in preservation in the Valley of the Sun. Inspired by Hotel San Carlos owner Robert A. Melikian’s book of the same name, Vanishing Phoenix aimed to be the voice of this city’s oft-forgotten history. Over several dozen posts, and aided by the addition of fellow Phoenix preservationists and historians Jim McPherson and Marshall Shore, the site became the go-to source for news on this relatively young city’s history. Both that which remained and that which was no longer in Phoenix became instant conversation starters for the bloggers and hundreds of readers which frequented the site. All involved believed that only upon an historic foundation can a truly great city be built. And between the four bloggers, they aimed to help establish that historic base.

Also in 2010, Downtown Devil reporter (and now Managing Editor) Jack Fitzpatrick embarked on a similar mission with his PHX History blog. Through the lens of an ASU student, Fitzpatrick looked along the light rail to document the numerous Phoenix landmarks which remained decades after their construction. Following a bit of research, posts were written and slideshows were created to provide readers with real documentation of the history that surrounded each building, even in a city with supposedly no history. As a non-Arizona native, Fitzpatrick gave succinct histories of historic buildings, aiming to entice students and Downtown community members to explore the city in which the dwelled.

Now, in 2012, Connor Descheemaker has combined these two forces to create the new Vanishing Phoenix. As a lifelong Arizonan, Descheemaker offers a unique perspective on the city’s evolution, and the role of native residents in its development. At age 13, he first ventured Downtown to explore the burgeoning arts scene, which largely takes place in myriad converted historic commercial, residential and industrial spaces. From that point on, he knew he wanted to be a part of the city’s growth and evolution. Now a freshman at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix Campus majoring in Urban and Metropolitan Studies and minoring in Urban Planning, Descheemaker can play a more direct role in creating the city’s future, while preserving its past. Descheemaker currently serves as the Director of Community Initiatives and a Contributing Reporter for the Downtown Devil, and the Director of Social Media & Photography at the IceHouse art space in a converted 1920 icehouse along the railroad tracks in the Downtown Warehouse District. First a reader and now the featured writer, Descheemaker is eager to take Vanishing Phoenix and PHX History’s twin legacies and bring them to the next level with thoughtful, informative posts each week on the news, events and ephemera celebrating Phoenix’s vibrant, unheralded history.


  1. Anna Olson says:

    I recently purchased an elevator light that is supposed to be from the First Nat’l Bank of Phoenix, Circa pre 1940 – salvaged at the time of renovation. I am trying to find any interior pics of the building without much luck. I would love to hear from anyone who might be able to help me identify this light as authentic.

  2. Jim Stripe says:

    Do you have any information/history on the 1905 house that is now for sale on 1902 E Missouri? It must be one of the oldest homes in this part of Phoenix. Here is the sale info:
    • Beautiful Biltmore location!! Property has obtained initial approval for a 3 lot split from the city. The house was built in 1905 and would be torn down with the new site map. A highly desirable location, with very limited lots to be developed. No historic preservation society to deal with or rezoning needed. Perfect for investors to get out of the rat race of fix and flips, and place in a high yield position. Seller will entertain a joint venture partner to co-develop the lots!Additional Remarks: SPDS and CLUE Reports Will Not Be Provided

    • Connor Descheemaker says:

      Could you send me a link to this? I haven’t heard anything about this property.

      Thank you for passing this along!

      -Connor Descheemaker
      Vanishing Phoenix

  3. Julia Baldizan says:

    How very unfortunate for us. I was born and raised here and although I don’t remember the hotel in its prime I’m sure it could have been restored and utilized as a more functioning structure than a parking garage.
    Vanishing Phoenix, what a haunting and honest title.
    When I was a child my grandmother use to tell me a stories. She shared with me that when the Central under pass (between Grant and Madison) opened for the first time there was a huge dance. She was a child and remembered telling her mom that she was going to the out house cause she didn’t feel well and ran from her home on 1st Ave & Mohave all the way to the underpass. She said there were so many beautiful people there with their gowns and tuxedos dancing and enjoy themselves. What a wonderful time it must have been.
    I am a sixth generation Latina on my grandfather’s side and third generation on my grandmother’s side. I love history of any kind: pictures, building and especially stories. Thank you.

  4. Jerilyn Jerpbak says:

    How can we get involved? I just found this site after seeing what was left of the St. James. So very sad.

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