Old and New Phoenix

The Westward Ho is a landmark of sorts in Phoenix. It is a building that I see almost every day, yet is one that I have never been inside nor do I have any knowledge of what it actually is, or was for that matter.

Upon further research, I discovered it was formerly a well-known hotel here in Downtown Phoenix from 1928–1980. Many famous people stayed there during its prime years of operation and it was looked upon as one of the premier hotels in Arizona. Since then, it has been transformed into a place to stay for the physically and mentally disabled, as well as the elderly. Because of its fall from grace, I do find it particularly interesting that its distinctive signage is still up and that it still holds a prominent place in the Phoenix skyline.

Part of why I think it is so recognizable is because of the antenna spire on top of it. I have never seen anything like that on any other hotel, so that definitely adds a factor of uniqueness. The antenna as a whole is 40 feet tall and has turned the building from something that looks bland to one of the more detailed architectural wonders in the city.

However, what it really represents to me is part of the change in Downtown Phoenix. The Westward Ho used to be one of the main attractions in a mostly desolate downtown area. It even was the tallest building in Arizona for 33 years. Yet it seems year after year this city continues to grow. What was once a ghost town has now become a hub for dining and entertainment in the state of Arizona. The two sports stadiums as well as the Arizona State downtown campus have ushered in plenty of restaurants. The city still has a very long way to go before it is looked upon as a legitimate downtown area, but this rapid growth is the start.

At the same time, the Westward Ho shows a willingness that this city has to hold on to its past despite the fact that most of it is all but gone. The hotel is still intact and the sign is as large as its always been, signifying that it does not seem to be going away anytime soon. Since most of what is contained in this small but on-the-rise downtown area is new, the outdated but tall Westward Ho building makes for a nice contrast.

Source: Westward Ho Wikipedia Page

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