This artist’s quilted portraits celebrate Black life. Be sure to click on the link at the end of the article to see more. (Actually, you have to click on the little box that appears when you click the link.)
A lot has changed since we moved to Tempe, Arizona thirty-three years ago. Back in the day, there was only one Mill Avenue bridge (if you don’t count the railroad bridge just a little further to the west). It was built in 1931 to cross the Salt River. Now, when we came to Tempe, the Salt River had no water in it, because in the early 1900s it was diverted by dams into reservoirs, providing water for the greater Phoenix metropolitan area through canals built along irrigation ditches first engineered by the native Hohokam people almost two thousand years ago. But occasionally, the reservoirs rose too high, and water was released into the river bed.
As the Phoenix area developed and became more populated, the Mill Avenue bridge, only one lane in each direction, was no longer adequate for the flow of traffic. It was decided to to use the existing bridge for southbound traffic, and build a second bridge to the east for northbound travel. Construction started in 1990.
But in 1993, the city experienced a “hundred year flood,” and the Salt River raged. The force of the water tore down scaffolding and concrete forms on the not-yet-completed bridge. Nevertheless, the new bridge was repaired and ready for service in 1994.
The new bridge is decorated with a symbol also found on the Arizona state flag:
In 1999, an area of the riverbed was dammed to create Tempe Town Lake. The artificial lake is the centerpiece of a development project that includes corporate offices and high-rise apartment buildings. Residents and visitors can use the lake for paddle boarding, rowing, kayaking, and urban fishing.
I wish I’d had the foresight to come out here twenty years ago and photograph what the skyline of Tempe looked like with all the quaint old historic buildings that used to be visible from the shore. Now the modern high-rises dominate the landscape.
But I captured a picture of the old Hayden Flour Mill and silos, built in 1911. It’s the tall white building below:
In the picture below, four bridges are visible–the underside of the new bridge, the old bridge, and beyond it, the Phoenix Light Rail bridge, and a railroad bridge:
The Light Rail bridge opened in 2008:
A better view of the railroad bridge, built in 1915 and damaged in 2020 when a train derailed and burned:
Exposed wooden ties on the underside of the railroad bridge:
A little further west, a pedestrian bridge by the Tempe Center for the Arts (below, left):
Swallows built nests on the underside of the old Mill Avenue Bridge. I didn’t see any swallows.
There are reasons why you shouldn’t drive drunk, and there are reasons why you shouldn’t sing drunk. But they’re not the same reasons. Apparently, singing drunk is great fun, and nobody dies. Read about the Australian Pub Choir.
If you’re as old as me, perhaps you’re discouraged that the ideal of the American dream that we grew up with has degenerated into nightmare capitalism, where the rich grow richer and everyone else grows poorer. It’s time for a reset. I am so looking forward to reading this new book and hopeful for a new direction for our country and the world.
Monoprinting tutorial. I’ve never done this. I would have to buy supplies. Maybe I will someday. Or I could request this stuff from Santa. . .