Arizona Highways Gift Shop Welcomes Eirini Pajak

Arizona's native plants are a favorite subject of photographer Eirini Pajak. | Keith Whitney

Featured this month in the Arizona Highways gift shop is a nature photographer who should be familiar to recent readers of the magazine.

Eirini Pajak began contributing to Highways a few years ago — you might remember her from It's in the Details, her portfolio in our January 2015 issue. But at least one of her photos has been in seemingly every issue since then.

Many of Pajak's images feature a photographic technique known as focus-stacking. She shoots with the lens almost wide open, then manually focuses through the plane of the flower, one millimeter at a time. She then "stacks" the images using a computer program. Doing so allows her to control the depth of field in the background and get focus through the subject.

Pajak studied photography in college but didn't keep up with it after she graduated. A decade later, a monk at St. Anthony's Monastery in Florence, where Pajak often attends services, suggested she start photographing wildflowers. "He added, specifically, not to overlook even the tiniest flowers," she says. That suggestion has shaped her photographic style.

"I've seen so many amazing images of poppies and lupines, but there is a whole world of neglected — and often quite tiny — flowers that are no less beautiful," she says.

To get a look at Pajak's work or purchase a print, stop by the gift shop, located at 2039 W. Lewis Avenue in Phoenix. It's open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. A portion of the purchase price benefits Arizona Highways' mission of promoting travel to and through Arizona.

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The Stravenue: Part Street, Part Avenue, All Tucson

The lovely Pueblo Gardens Park is located on Forgeus Stravenue in Tucson. | Google Maps

Arizona Highways got its start as a magazine about, well, Arizona highways. And while we've since expanded our mission to include Arizona travel and tourism in general, we still have a soft spot for unique roads — highways and otherwise. And Tucson has a set of roads you won't find anywhere else.

The Old Pueblo, like Phoenix, is mostly laid out in a grid, with the vast majority of streets running either north-south or east-west. But in both cities, there are outliers. In Phoenix, Grand Avenue, a stretch of U.S. Route 60, is the most well-known diagonal street.

But Tucson gave birth to a whole new type of road. As Atlas Obscura noted recently, it started in the 1940s, with Cherrybell Stravenue — a portmanteau of "street" and "avenue." Cherrybell is only a half-mile long, but it runs diagonally, whereas most of Tucson's north-south roads are avenues and most of its east-west roads are streets.

The local Uniform Naming and Numbering Committee agreed that "Stravenue" was the best halfway point between the two designations. Soon, there were about 30 stravenues in Tucson.

But this phenomenon hasn't spread to Phoenix, or any other city, for that matter. Stravenues are a uniquely Tucsonan designation. So, has anyone out there ever lived or commuted on a stravenue? And are there any other street designations you think should be combined?

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The Brave Shall Live Forever

Lindsay Klettenberg | Lake Havasu City

During World War II, the following letter, and response from Editor Raymond Carlson, appeared in the April 1943 issue of Arizona Highways. On this Memorial Day, we're honored to share it with you again.

In 1941 a party of airmen of the Royal Air Force, from this country, were located at Thunderbird Airfield, for training; moving later to a new Airfield.

Amongst the many aspects of hospitality shown to them by the citizens of Phoenix and its neighborhood, you very kindly gave to each of them a year's subscription of Arizona Highways, the splendid publication of your Highway Department.

My younger son, Gilbert Tannahill Dawson, was one of the party, and he arranged that your magazine should be sent to my wife and myself. I have often desired to thank you for your gift and the kindness shown to my son and his companions, but pressure of work, accentuated by the war, has led me to postpone doing so until now. I should like you to know that we have greatly enjoyed your magazine; it is a beautiful publication, and makes us wish that it were possible for us to visit your great State and see something of its beauty and its wonders. I have been in the U.S.A. myself several times but never managed to get as far west as Arizona.

My son continued his training in England until June of last year, as a bomber pilot, and was sent to the Middle East, to join the Air Force in North Africa. I am sorry to say that just before Christmas we received the sad news that he had died from injuries received on November 22nd, at Bone, Algeria. It was a great blow to us as somehow we had always expected him to come home again, despite the danger of his calling. Our loving Heavenly Father has seen fit to take him Home instead. He would have been twenty-one in a few weeks, had he lived. His older brother, a lieutenant in the army, is at present engaged in the fighting in Tripolitania.

You can understand that, as the memories of the past come before us, we have a warm feeling towards all the friends who, in so many ways, showed kindness to his son and his companions while they were in your great country, and we should like to thank you with all our hearts.

— Gilbert Dawson, 20 Church Road, Hertford, Herts, England.

To Mr. and Mrs. Dawson Arizona Highways expresses, in behalf of the people of Arizona, deepest sympathy for the loss of their son. These English boys who have been with us have not only won the esteem of our people but they have done so much to earn the greatest admiration for their country. Many English boys and many American boys will give their lives for their countries before this war ends. We will remember, though, through our fears and our losses, that the brave shall live forever, and these are the brave, the gallant brave, who will fight to the end with a smile on their lips.

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Then and Now: Arizona Highways World Headquarters

The Arizona Highways offices in 1962. | Arizona Highways Archives

Today (Sunday, March 26) marks a special anniversary at Arizona Highways: 55 years in our current building, at 2039 W. Lewis Avenue in Phoenix.

That's according to this postcard, anyway, which we found recently among news clippings and other memorabilia from the magazine's early years. Whether or not the exact date of the move was March 26 has been lost to history, but it probably happened sometime in 1962.

After we found the postcard, we set out to re-create this scene in the present day. So, how close did we get? See for yourself (click image for larger version):

Well, we might not have gotten the angle exactly right, but you get the idea. Not much has changed in 55 years, but we've added a palm tree and a few windows to the front of the building. The panels that once flanked the front door have been replaced by windows as well, but the door is the original from 1962.

Stop by and pay us a visit sometime. At our gift shop, you'll find magazines, books, calendars and other Arizona Highways items. The hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, excluding major holidays.

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Here in Phoenix, We Like to Spread Out

Andrei Stoica | Phoenix

If you live in Phoenix or have spent much time here, you know it's a big place. But how does it compare with some of the world's other major cities when it comes to density?

A graphic produced recently by SpareFoot, a company that helps people find storage space, provides an answer. As it turns out, even though Phoenix is among the largest cities in the U.S. in terms of land area, it's a lot less dense than many cities in the U.S. and around the world.

The graphic shows how big Phoenix would be if its 1.6 million people were packed as densely as, for example, New York City's residents. If that were the case, Phoenix would be only 55 square miles — about a tenth of its current size.

The difference is even more dramatic when comparing with international cities like Manila — a city so dense that if Phoenix had the same density, it'd be only 14.5 square miles. That's not even as big as Phoenix's South Mountain Park, which is about 25 square miles.

You can see the whole graphic below.

Phoenix Storage Units on SpareFoot

Via SpareFoot Phoenix


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A Puzzling New Offering From Arizona Highways

It's the week of January 29, which means it's also the week of National Puzzle Day. And we've got just the thing for lovers of puzzles and Arizona history.

A map created by legendary Arizona Highways Art Director George Avey is now available as a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle, priced at $19.99. It joins our George Avey Collection alongside our popular diner mugs.

The map, which appeared in the magazine in 1940, features whimsical illustrations of Arizona's unique people and places. You'll notice that there aren't any interstates on this map — only U.S. and state routes. The Interstate Highway System didn't come along until the 1950s, and Arizona's interstates are even younger than that. The map also predates many of Arizona's national parks and monuments.

At least two Arizona Highways staffers have completed the puzzle, and we can report that it's challenging without being overly frustrating. Which is what you want in a jigsaw puzzle, we think.

To pick up your own George Avey map puzzle, visit our online store or stop by our gift shop, located at 2039 W. Lewis Avenue in Phoenix.

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You Tell Us: What Should People Know About Arizona?

"Everything melts" in Arizona, a Redditor claims. That is not true. Lizards don't melt. | Jeannette Seitz

Any state has a different reputation for those outside it than it does for those who live there. Arizona is no exception.

A recent discussion on /r/arizona, the Grand Canyon State-centered section of the website Reddit, began with the following question: "What are 3 important things to know about Arizona?" What follow are some of the popular responses, along with our takes on them.

  • Only about 15 percent of the state is privately owned; the rest is public lands of some sort. (This is mostly true — it's actually 18 percent of the state that is privately owned. The rest is national forests, parks, monuments, recreation areas, wildlife refuges and conservation areas; trust land, owned by the state and leased or sold to help fund public education; military installations; and land owned by Arizona's Indian tribes.)
  • It gets pretty hot during the day. It gets even hotter during the summer. Everything melts. (True, though a bit of an exaggeration. Saguaros don't melt. Neither do Gila monsters. There probably are some other things that don't melt, also.)
  • Harming a cactus = murdering a man. (Many native plants, including saguaros and other cactuses, are protected by state law, but the penalty for harming them isn't as severe as some people think. That still doesn't mean you should do it, though.)
  • Hydrate; park in the shade; wear sunblock. (All good advice, particularly if you're going on a hike in the summer.)

So, that's what Redditors think about Arizona. What about you? What should people know before they visit or move to our state? Let us know in the comments.

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Merry Christmas From Arizona Highways

Bob Larson | Prescott

The following appeared in the December 1954 issue of Arizona Highways. All the best to you and yours this holiday season.

The Nicest Thing About Christmas

There are many nice things about Christmas. It is the gayest day of the gay Season, a period of good cheer when greetings take on extra warmth making strangers less distant, forging stronger bonds of friendship between friends, strengthening the ties of love and comradeship between dear ones. It is a day of merriment and happiness when voices around the family hearth sing out the old but ageless carols of Yule which acquire added meaning in the singer's heart each and every time they are sung. It is a day of giving and receiving when even the most modest gift can become a prized treasure. More than monetary value measures the sentiment concealed beneath bright wrappers and ribbons at this time of year.

It is nice this day to remember with gladness the Nativity, to reaffirm our faith in the Saviour's teachings, to be grateful and humble that in a dark and fearsome world a light was lit that has given mankind warmth and courage along the shaded corridors of time.

One of the nicest things about Christmas is to be able to extend again to you and yours best wishes for the Holy Season, and may all the blessings of Providence enrich your life.

— Raymond Carlson, Editor

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Happy Thanksgiving

Maria Richey | Chiricahua Mountains

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is excerpted from the November 1952 issue of Arizona Highways. We wish you and yours a lovely holiday.

November is one of the most pleasant months of the year. The warmish days of Indian summer have passed, leaving a delightful interim between fall and winter. In the higher altitudes the good, rich soil has produced good, rich crops; so the soil is allowed to rest until warming days of spring. The days grow shorter and shorter, welcoming the longer evenings of hearth and home. There is a chill in the morning and evening air, reminder of colder days to come.

This is the month of Thanksgiving, one of the happier holidays. All the roads lead to home, when family and friends gather to renew the ties of love and devotion. Thanksgiving is traditionally an American holiday, observed since the very founding of our Nation. The Pilgrim Fathers were humble and thankful before God, who smiled on their efforts to wrest a living from the harsh New England hills. Today, we are thankful, too, for the favors of Divine Providence, who continues to smile on our efforts to build a happy and prosperous America, and we are no less humble before the largess of the land and the gifts bestowed upon us.

Thanksgiving is essentially a family holiday, when we glory in that institution that is the structure upon which our American Democracy is built. In a world full of discordance, of dissonant political philosophies, the American home is a citadel of serenity, a fortress and a haven for the dignity of the human being.

Millions of Americans will gather in millions of homes to observe the Thanksgiving holiday this month of November. The happiness to be found in those homes, the sense of comfort and well-being and reverence and affection that warms those homes and the people in them, best portray the greatness of America, for which we should all be thankful.

— Raymond Carlson, Editor

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Springing Forward, Falling Back? Not in Arizona

A clock on the Arizona side of the Hoover Dam displays the current Arizona time. During daylight saving time, it matches the clock on the Nevada side. | Alex Proimos (via Wikipedia)

This week, most of America is adjusting to the end of daylight saving time. In most of Arizona, though, the clocks stay right where they are.

In fact, Arizona is one of just two states (Hawaii being the other) that don't observe daylight saving time. The reason, as local TV station 12 News reported last week, is simple: We've got plenty of daylight here as it is.

OK, maybe it's a little more complicated than that: By extending daylight hours in the summer, we would end up running our air conditioners longer, driving up energy costs in a season when most Arizonans already have the A/C cranked.

After daylight saving time became permanent in the U.S. in 1966, Arizona participated for one summer, then nearly unanimously opted out. And today, "spring forward, fall back" is an unfamiliar saying for most Arizonans.

But not all Arizonans: The Navajo Nation, in the northeast corner of Arizona, observes daylight saving time because it extends into the DST-observing states of Utah and New Mexico. The Hopi Tribe, whose land is entirely surrounded by the Navajo Nation, does not observe DST, which can lead to confusion for travelers in that part of the state — particularly in the sister cities of Tuba City, on Navajo land, and Moenkopi, on Hopi land, as an Arizona Highways reader called us to point out last week.

And it's not as if the rest of Arizona isn't affected by DST, either. For us, football now starts at 11 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. on Sundays. When we call friends and family in the Midwest, we have to consider whether the time difference is one or two hours, depending on the time of year. And traveling to neighboring Utah, California, Nevada or New Mexico can get complicated, too.

Someday, maybe, the rest of the country will follow Arizona's lead and drop daylight saving time. It's worked well for us so far.

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