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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Debunking a Bisbee Urban Legend

Bisbee | Nina Schulz

One of my favorite duties at Arizona Highways is authoring our annual look at some of Arizona's most iconic landmarks. The Historic Places feature has appeared in the magazine's February issue each of the past four years. This year, one of our five featured locations was Bisbee's Copper Queen Hotel.

In researching the history of the Copper Queen and the iconic mining town of Bisbee, I came across a statement I hadn't heard before: that Bisbee, at the height of its mining heyday, was the largest U.S. city between St. Louis and San Francisco. It seemed hard to believe, so I verified it with multiple reputable sources, including the Copper Queen, the Bisbee Visitor Center and even the Arizona Office of Tourism. It seemed solid, and a quick look through our archives indicated we'd reported it several times in the past.

As magazine subscribers and Bisbee residents Mike and Judy Anderson pointed out, though, I'd fallen victim to an urban legend so pervasive that it's wormed its way into the historical record:

Bisbee is referred to in the article as at one time being "America's largest community between St. Louis and San Francisco, with a population of more than 20,000 in the early 1900s." That statement is simply not accurate. In 1910, when Bisbee's population was near or at its peak, Denver, CO, both Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS, San Antonio, TX, Houston, TX, Dallas, TX, Fort Worth, TX, El Paso, TX, Salt Lake City, UT and St. Joseph, MO all had populations much larger than Bisbee's.

A quick check of U.S. Census Bureau data reveals that, indeed, the cities the Andersons mentioned were much more populous than Bisbee around that time. Denver, for example, had a population of about 213,000 in 1910, and even in 1880, it was around 35,000. It's possible that many mine industry employees lived in the Bisbee area but were not counted in the censuses. But it's unlikely that there were enough such people to overtake Denver, Salt Lake City or some of those other cities.

To learn more about this claim, I contacted Annie Graeme Larkin, the curator at the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum. Larkin said she thinks the myth has endured because of the unique contrast between the city's past and its present. "We were one of the most important mining camps in the West, and undoubtedly a factor in Arizona achieving statehood," she said. But the closure of the Copper Queen Mine in the mid-1970s changed everything.

"The city saw longtime families moving and businesses closing, and the best-paying jobs dried up," Larkin said. "So I think perhaps the statement thrived in the past two to three decades to illustrate that we were no ordinary mining camp. While we might be viewed as a small, quiet city now, the community was a major component in Arizona's success during its formative years — something one who visited Bisbee in 1985 would not be able to readily see."

There's no doubt the legend of Bisbee as one of the West's biggest cities is a fun story. But readers of Arizona's magazine of record deserve a higher standard. So I'll close by saying that we regret the error — and as much as we love the Bisbee Breakfast Club, the Copper City Inn and the other establishments in the great city of Bisbee, this is an error we won't make again.

— Noah Austin, Associate Editor

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information regarding the origin of the Bisbee population myth. That information has been deleted.

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Happy New Year

James Robert Terrell | Escudilla Mountain

And, dear friends, our wishes for you for the New Year?

Health, happiness, serenity, of course, with all the joyous beauty of all the seasons of the year being part of your riches:

The sprightliness of spring with the gay flowers speaking so eloquently a new, awakening world —

The lazy green of summer whose shadows offer haven from the hot sun, but whose depth of color is that of growing things reaching blessed maturity —

The gold of autumn, dried, crackling leaves making music underfoot, the restless wind shimmering the gold in the trees —

The silent whiteness of winter, snow crystals turned to diamonds in the sun —

May all the seasons — the beauty with which they are so generous — be yours throughout the New Year!

— Editor Raymond Carlson, Arizona Highways, December 1953

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Merry Christmas

Eric Rosen | Monument Valley

Our thoughts at Christmas time instinctively turn to the finer and more beautiful things of life. With the added burden of the present world conflict tearing at our hearts, Christmas time should reflect its fuller meaning to all of us and instill in our very being its true significance to a free and peace loving people.

In nature's plan of things, Arizona has been favored with many places of great scenic beauty, and, through man's ingenuity, many magnificent examples of his handiwork have been placed upon our land.

Arizona is a land of contrasts and contradictions. In the sun-drenched valleys of southern Arizona flowers bloom throughout the year, and winter, far from being a reality, is just the name of a season. At the same time, in northern Arizona and the high country, just a few hours from our southland, snow covers the great forested areas in scintillating beauty.

We who have lived in Arizona through the years have long ago learned to love our land for the beauties of nature, the health-giving sunshine, the opportunities of a pioneer state.

To the friends we have made from the far reaches of our nation — those who have visited our land and found pleasure and inspiration, and those who have yet to experience the many fine things our state has to offer — the people of Arizona welcome you.

World conditions have temporarily deprived many people of the pleasure and privilege of visiting our land. We therefore bring you some of the things we proudly have and hold and wish to share with all the people.

To our boys in the far flung theaters of the world who are fighting to uphold the things that mean so much to all of us, it is hoped that this glimpse of their land will prove inspiring — a glimpse of their land which they may enjoy to the fullest upon their return.

Season's greetings to all, with a hope and prayer for peace on earth again and good will toward men.

— Governor Sidney P. Osborn, Arizona Highways, December 1943

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It's Time to Order Your 2016 Arizona Highways Calendar

Monument Valley graces the cover of our 2016 Classic Calendar. | Derek von Briesen

It's December 1, which means there's just one more month left on your 2015 calendar. It also means it's a perfect time to order an Arizona Highways calendar for 2016!

Our traditional wall calendars come in two sizes. The Classic Calendar (pictured) is the smaller of the two (12 by 9 inches), while the Scenic Calendar is larger (14 by 12 inches). Each features exquisite images from all around Arizona, made by some of the world's best photographers.

For fans of the Seventh Natural Wonder, pick up our Grand Canyon Calendar, which captures all the seasons of Arizona's best-known natural landmark.

And if you're the planning type, there's our Engagement Calendar, which features a full-color photo of Arizona's landscapes or wildlife for each week of the year.

Order your calendar today — and don't forget, our calendars make excellent holiday gifts!

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