GLENDALE “The town of Dreams”

This page was originally developed as an opportunity for Ron Brewster ('58) to provide stories about Glendale and people and events that he knew well. Ron had recently begun to share his Glendale memories with visitors weekly with tours of historic downtown and Catlin Court operating as "Arizona Ron"

Sadly Ron passed away on July 12, 2016. His obituary follows.

Born on August 14, 1940. He leaves behind two daughters, Melissa and Nancy and one son Aaron. Additionally, he has four grandchildren that will mourn his loss. Ron loved his extended family and was proud of his heritage. Born the third son to Harold and Mae Brewster, he cherished his hometown of Glendale and his state of Arizona. He was active in the community during his lifetime as a member of the Glendale Elementary school board, Rotary, Glendale Historical Society, a founder of the Boys Club and a member of Glendale's First United Methodist Church. He recently was working on projects to beautify downtown Glendale with the city administrators. Ron lived in Flagstaff for seventeen years where he was active in the Coconino County Democratic Party and other civic groups. He was a devoted fan to most athletics but was especially passionate about his Arizona State Sun Devils and held football season tickets for almost his entire life.

This monthly “post” will now be a place where any of GUHS/GHS Alumni can provide their "Recollections"  of "old Glendale".

At class reunions you are always surprised with how much you have in common with some classmates and others not so much. Some have taken different paths and journeys in their life that you would never have expected. Glendale has changed as well and if you haven’t had the opportunity to visit recently, take time to check out the transformed downtown and eat at one of the new international restaurants and visit the shops in the Historic Catlin Court District. Please remember our sponsors and support them when you can.


Did you know?
  • The Santa Fe Prescot to Phoenix Railroad, passing thru what was to become Glendale, was completed in 1895
  • ​That Glendale was called "Sugar City" between 1906 and 1926? Why, because of the excitement about the new suger beet factory.  Still there by the way.
  • The first 28 students at GHS met in a store room in 1911 before old main was built in 1912 for $20,000.00?
  • The old Glendale Crystal Ice Plant could made 28 tons of ice a day which was used for packing around locally grown vegetables in rail cars for shipping back East.
  • Don Heatwole was Glendale's longest serving Fire Chief and had two son's, Bruce and David.
  • In 1920, the Glendale Town council decided to change the name of Glendale's Main Street from Washington Street to Glendale Avenue.  Lateral 18 (now 59th Ave.) became Central Avenue.
  • In 1912 the Glendale Elementary School had 260 students.  In 1913 school officials asked voters to support a $25,000 Bond Issue to buy 20 acres and b uild a new school.  The citizens approved the bond and Glendale Elementary School was built.  Glendale's unique unit system elementary school, with each classroom in a separate building made education news across America in the 20's and 30's and was overseen by Dr. Harold Smith.  The first five buildings were contructed in 1913 and by 1937 the grammar school consisted of 36 buildings on a 23 acre campus. Glendalians accepted the unusual plan as a student health measure, hoping its separate spaces and excellendt ventilation would prevent the spread of tuberculosis.  Each building had more windows, better lighting and ventilation. It was a classroom model that Glendale could be proud of.
  • In the early 1900's a substantial immigration of Japanese farmers came to the Glendale Area. Farmers Katsuichi Fuyii, Kensaku, Normua Hitoshi, Yamamoto and Tadashi Tadano. These farmers grew lettuce, carrots, celery, tomatoes, melons and strawberries.  Many of the Japanese men served  in the U.S. Military during World War II, Asians have been an integral part of Glendale's heritage.
  • Websters Creamery was originally call the Pacific Creamery.  In 1933 it became the first in the United States to package milk and cream in paper cartons.
  • In 1950 the population of Glendale was 8,179. In 1975 the population of Glendale was 67,000. In 2010 the population was 226,721.

Now for some of Ron's “special” Glendale Stories:

W.J. Murphy

W.J. Murphy, early founder of Glendale  also gave "Glendale" its name.  Murphy helped settle Glendale by bringing people from the Midwest and the Eastern part  of the country and sold land to them in the southwest part of the valley.  The people needed water for the land so Murphy started building the Arizona Canal from the Salt River to the West Valley in 1883. The canal was between 42-44 miles long and was buildt with lots of men with picks and shovels and some 200 mule teams to remove rocks, trees etc.  The mule teams consumed 4.500 pounds of barley and 5 tones of hay every day which was a challenge in itself.  The canal was completed in May 1885 and it brought enough water to irigate 100,000 acres in Glendale and the West Valley.  Murphy also built Grand Avenue in 1888. Murphy Park in downtown Glendale was named in his honor.
The 1923 Baseball teams creative driving strategy
The 1923 GHS Baseball Team won the state championship led by “Elton Cyclone” Yancy and the father of “knuckle baller” Dick Yancy.  The big play was before the game. Players had to drive themselves to the game and Merele “Peewee” Heatwole and another player had to figure out how they were going to get to the game given a couple of handicaps.  Peewee was too short to drive so he would work the gas and brake petals and the other player who could see would do the driving. They made it to the game and won the best in state baseball game.  Peewee was an uncle of Bruce and David Heatwole.

Racism in Glendale
 My first and lasting experience with racism was after a Boy Scout (Troop 62) meeting.  My friends John Resch and Eddie Lowe (African American) went to the Ever Ready drug store for a 10 cent cherry coke.  The waitress brought 2 glasses of water to John and I and when we asked where Eddie’s water was the said we don’t serve…….    John and I poured our water glasses upside down on the counter and ran out.  Eddie was never the same.  I told my mother and she said some people don’t like colored people.

“Chicken Stealing Sands”
The Brewster’s lived south of Northern on lateral 18 across from a field owned by the Sands. The Brewster chickens (free range) would cross the road to the sand’s field to graze.  Louie Sands senior would drive by in his limo and see the chicken’s and order his boys John and Louie II to go and get the chickens and put them in his car.  When Grandpa Archie Brewster heard about it he said he’d had about enough of the stealing, he took his double barreled shotgun down to the Sands Trading Co.

Grandpa Archie told Louie if he caught him stealing the Brewster chickens again he would use the shotgun on him.  We love the Sands family and all they have done for Glendale and more recently what Buzz Sands has done for GHS Sports.

Ron Brewster

Go Sun Devils, Go Wild Cats, Go Jacks, Go GHS Cardinals, Go Arizona Cardinals!
Congratulations to ASU for bringing the Territorial Cup back to ASU. Thanks Uof A!