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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Happy Birthday, America

The July 1976 issue of Arizona Highways featured this story on U.S. and Arizona flags woven by Navajos at Hubbell Trading Post.

Forty years ago this month, in conjunction with the U.S. bicentennial, the following story (also pictured above) appeared in Arizona Highways.

The traditions of America are many and deeply rooted. Americans are compassionate, understanding, eager to help, and often generous to a fault. They respect the hard work of their forefathers, pray for the future of their children and grandchildren, and generally ask only a little recognition for their own efforts. It is the nature of the American people to seek that which is "worthy and worthwhile" and commit themselves to it with abandon.

It is part of "the American way."

Nearly a year ago Arizona Highways planted the seed of an idea with the Navajo Tribal Council, exploring the possibility of having a flag-rug woven in recognition of the American Bicentennial — the creation of a Navajo weaver, to be sold by public bid, with all the proceeds going to a scholarship fund for the Navajo Community College at Tsaile.

Mrs. Sadie Curtis, a noted weaver at the Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, accepted the task of weaving the finest fifty-star flag-rug. Mrs. Mary Lee Begay, also a weaver at Hubbell's, set up a giant loom in her home and wove another flag-rug, this one an Arizona state flag, to be auctioned along with the American flag.

CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt heard about the project, brought his crew to Ganado, and the work — still unfinished on the loom — appeared in the "On the Road to '76" segment of the CBS Evening News (CBS network, March 18).

Through special arrangements made by U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater, the 4 foot by 6 foot American flag-rug was raised over our nation's Capitol on Flag Day, June 14. And on July 1 Arizona Governor Raul Castro will fly both flags over the Arizona Capitol.

So it is, that the seed of such an idea has blossomed into that which is shown on these pages and on the cover of this issue. But the fruits of these labors rests in the hands of those who bid on these works of love — and ultimately with the youth of tomorrow who will attend Navajo Community College because of their generosity.

— Arizona Highways, July 1976

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Introducing the George Avey Collection by Arizona Highways

These three diner mugs are the first entries in Arizona Highways' George Avey Collection.

We've created three new coffee mugs that celebrate Arizona Highways' history — and (we think) look good on their own, too.

When Arizona Highways premiered in April 1925, it was essentially a trade journal aimed at road engineers and intrepid travelers trying to get from Point A to Point B. Frankly, it wasn’t very interesting. Then, in 1938, Raymond Carlson took over as editor and brought in George Avey as art director.

Early in their alliance, they closed the book on bridge-construction reports and set out to make the magazine a consumer publication, as well as a user’s guide to the state. It was Mr. Avey’s job to make the magazine more visual. To do so, he began working with artists and illustrators such as Maynard Dixon, Bill Maudlin, Ross Santee and Ted DeGrazia. In addition to the fine artists of the West, Mr. Avey reached out to photographers such as Ansel Adams, Esther Henderson, Wayne Davis and Ray Manley. Because there weren’t a lot of professional photographers in the Southwest at the time, stories without photos were illustrated with Mr. Avey’s artwork — vivid watercolors, line drawings and playful “cartoon” maps.

His first map was published in December 1939. About a year later, in our August 1940 issue, we featured Mr. Avey’s now-famous four-panel fold-out map (18 by 24 inches) of the state. “Modern explorers in our land could have no better map than our new Pleasure Map to guide them on their way,” Mr. Carlson wrote. “George Avey, our artist, has piled on a lot of color, listed many points of scenic interest, to get the desired effect.”

That map is now a collector’s item, and it serves as the basis for our George Avey Collection. Our new diner mugs feature Mr. Avey's whimsical illustrations, pulled from the map, of Monument Valley, Tombstone and the Kaibab National Forest. We hope to add more designs to this collection, along with other products based on Mr. Avey's artwork.

You can buy these mugs for $9.99 apiece (or $23.97 for the set) in our online store or at the Arizona Highways Gift Shop (2039 W. Lewis Avenue, Phoenix). Supplies are limited, so get yours while you can!

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Memorial Day

The headstone of Staff Sergeant Thaddeus Montgomery, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. Montgomery was raised in Alabama, but before he died, he corresponded with Arizona Highways, which sent copies of the magazine and care packages to Montgomery's platoon. | Arizona Highways Archives

In June 1942, just after the United States entered World War II, the following passage appeared in Arizona Highways.

We would like sometime to tell the story of Arizona in this war and the part that Arizonans are playing in it, but alas! that may not ever be. Arizona boys are scattered to the four winds today, following Old Glory and the proud banners of the Army, Navy and the Marines Corps.

Arizonans have fought and died at Corregidor, Bataan, and in Java. They've sailed the Coral Sea and today you'll find them all the way from Alaska to Australia, from Ireland to Shangrila, from Panama to Pago Pago.

They'll give a good account of themselves, we promise you. They have in other wars and they'll do it in this. Two Arizonans, Lt. Frank Luke, Jr. and Captain Bucky O'Neill, of whom more is said within these pages, were among the great heroes of World War I and the Spanish-American War. So gallantry and distinguished service is not unusual among the boys and men from Arizona.

We may never be able to tell the story of these Arizonans — from Phoenix, Tucson, Miami, Kingman, Bisbee, Douglas, Flagstaff, Winslow and all the places big and little in our state — but if these pages should fall in any of their hands, wherever they be, we'd like for them to know they've been remembered and that we'd like to say "Howdy, pardner!"

— Raymond Carlson, Editor, Arizona Highways

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We Regret the Error: Planes, but Not Jets, in 1956 Canyon Collision

The Grand Canyon is at the center of a story in our June issue. | Steve Pauken

One of the great things about working at Arizona Highways is our engaged readership. As soon as each issue hits newsstands and mailboxes, our readers are letting us know what they like and don't like about it.

Last week, we learned they really don't like when we call a propeller plane a jet.

Our June issue, which is on newsstands now, features June 30, 1956, Annette McGivney's story on the collision, 60 years ago, of two passenger planes over the Grand Canyon. The story itself contains no mention of how the two planes, a Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation and a Douglas DC-7, were propelled. But the story's subhead — written by the Arizona Highways staff — refers to them as "passenger jets."

As many readers noted in phone calls, emails and submissions on our website, that's incorrect. Both planes were propeller planes; passenger jets didn't become the standard until some years later. While "passenger jet" is sometimes colloquially used to refer to passenger planes of any type, it doesn't apply in this instance.

While this mistake has no real bearing on the story itself, or on Mark Smith's stunning illustrations, it's still a mistake, something we do our best to avoid. We regret the error — and while we'll certainly make other errors in the future, this one won't be among them.

— Noah Austin, Associate Editor

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A Little Warmth for Our Friends in Vermont

Doug Westin enjoys his February issue in Island Pond, Vermont. | Courtesy of Doug Westin

You might have heard Arizona Highways has subscribers in all 50 states. We recently heard from one of them.

Doug Westin of Island Pond, Vermont, writes: "A new issue of Highways with my Tucson AZ cap makes for a perfect noontime vacation during a Vermont mid-winter day."

Thanks for sharing the photo, Doug. Obviously, since you're still a subscriber, you weren't too upset about that little controversy a few years back, when we said autumn in Arizona is better than autumn in Vermont. (We'll still defend that claim, by the way.)

Also, did you know we have a whole section of our website dedicated to photos of people enjoying Arizona Highways in interesting places? Visit our Global Snapshots page to see submissions from Greece, Israel and other far-flung locales. You can also add your own photo.

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