HomeCar CultureThrowback Thursday: Phoenix in 1924 and 2024

Throwback Thursday: Phoenix in 1924 and 2024

Re-creating a vintage photograph


Many of you enjoyed seeing the story about my New Year 2024 road trip to an old mining town called Superior, Arizona. There, I re-created a 90-year-old image of the main thoroughfare through town. More recently, I did a similar thing with an old photo of Phoenix that a friend sent me. The caption said something about the photo being from 100 years ago, which sounds about right.

The current population of the Phoenix metro area as of 2024 is 4,777,000. The figure reflects a 1.27% increase from 2023. I’ve lived in the area of almost 19 years and seen incredible growth in the area.

According to the government’s census website, the entire state of Arizona had a population of 334,162 in 1920, and that same year, the city of Phoenix had 29,053 residents. I would have expected Phoenix, which slots as the state’s largest city today, to have a larger portion of the overall state’s population, but back in the day, the landscape was dotted with many other boomtowns for mining and other industries.

What a trip it would be to go back in time and see what our roads and infrastructure must have looked like upwards of 100 years ago. As you can see in today’s illustration, the landmarks look largely the same. Of course, the vegetation covers up the majority of the urban development, but the mountain range on the horizon is unmistakably the same. The photo location, by the way, is on 56th Street just north of Camelback Road, looking southbound. I should have walked further away from the car for the photo, but it was midday on a Tuesday and I didn’t want to block passing traffic any longer than I needed to.

By the way, there was an all-electric Ford Model A from 1930 at the recent Future Collector Car Show. It’s fun to see new technology grafted into an old design. What would the automotive enthusiasts of 90 or 100 years ago would say if we time-traveled and showed them our latest in technology?

I’m sure 56th Street has seen a lot of activity in the last century. It makes you wonder what our cars (and cities) will look like in 2124 when another 100 years have passed.

Thanks for joining on my trip down memory lane!

Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie is a Phoenix-based automotive enthusiast who has been writing for The Journal since 2016. His favorite automotive niche is 1980s and 1990s Japanese cars, and he is a self-diagnosed “Acura addict” since he owns a collection of Honda and Acura cars from that era. Tyson can usually be found on weekends tinkering on restoration projects, attending car shows, or enjoying the open road. He publishes videos each week to his YouTube channel and is also a contributing author to Arizona Driver Magazine,, NSX Driver Magazine, and other automotive publications. His pride and joy is a 1994 Acura Legend LS coupe with nearly 600,000 miles on the odometer, but he loves anything on four wheels and would someday like to own a 1950 Buick Special like his late grandfather’s.


  1. Kool photo Tyson! We moved to Phoenix in 1976. Talk about explosive growth! I think the Phoenix metro area was 750k then. We moved to Prescott in 1982 – same explosion! Love to run into you sometime. 👍


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