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Western Lights: 1940

Western Lights: 1940

May 1940. "Cactus light standard in front of hotel in Phoenix, Arizona." Behold the Urban Saguaro. Medium format negative by Russell Lee. View full size.


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Westward Ho

My father, Robert W. Lamb, worked in the Westward Ho office as a humble filing clerk before being drafted into WWII. I remember sleeping on sheets with "Westward Ho" stitched in red when I was 3-4 years old.

Shorpy Vehicle Identification Imperative

Left to right: 1940 Ford Deluxe 4dr sedan, 1939/40 Dodge pickup (although there seems to be some kind of custom framework in place of a pickup bed), 1938 Oldsmobile coupe, 1938 Ford standard 4dr sedan.

Grand Canyon State

is the slogan across the bottom of that beautiful blue-on-white 1940 Arizona license plate. 1940 was the first year Arizona used that slogan on its plates, a practice which has continued every year right up to the present.

That beautiful '40 Ford Deluxe

in the foreground appears to have a sad case of neglected whitewalls. Within a couple of years people would gain a new appreciation for the value of tires.

Westward Ho

The hotel has been converted to senior and disabled residences. The houses are gone, replaced by a parking lot. Contrary to many rumors, this wasn't the hotel at the opening of "Psycho".


That light standard feels both kitschy and clever at the same time ... and I'm unsure which feeling is going to win out.

A 2015 article details the modern-day woes of the Westward Ho.

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