Researchers from across Arizona State University are coming together to analyze, preserve and revitalize historic materials found during the renovation of Park Central Mall in midtown Phoenix.
The materials found range from old photographs and advertisements to microfilm reels and antique signage, all depicting a mid-century Phoenix in the midst of monumental growth.
The site of Phoenix’s first shopping mall, Park Central Mall is undergoing renovations to revitalize and return the property to its stature as a hub for community gathering. The developers, Peoria-based Plaza Companies, in conjunction with Tucson’s Hoalualoa Companies, discovered the historic materials during the first few days of renovation. Sharon Harper; president and CEO of Plaza Companies, ASU Trustee and co-chair of ASU President's Club; reached out to ASU with the thought of preserving materials.
An interdisciplinary team of ASU researchers from the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies (SHPRS), the Nexus Digital Research Co-op and ASU Libraries are working together to preserve and share the stories held within these historic pages.
“This is a one-of-a-kind collection of newspaper clippings, photographs, advertisements and ephemera related to Park Central Mall,” said Matthew Delmont, director of the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and professor of history. “It is a sort-of time capsule that gives us a glimpse of into Phoenix's cultural history from the 1950s through the 1990s. It is an important collection of everyday history, that reveals where people socialized, what they bought, how they dressed, what they ate and how these styles and tastes changed over the decades.”