This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

The noise, and the smell, of old Phoenix

I love visiting historic places and old buildings around Phoenix, Arizona. One of my favorite places is right near me, an historic farm called Sahuaro Ranch in Glendale. It's so quiet and peaceful. But I know that it wasn't that way 100 years ago - it was noisy, and it smelled!

Walking around an old farm you see a lot of old machinery, sitting quietly and peacefully in the sunshine. But every once in a while the Sahuaro Ranch shows off these machines as they would have been used, generally with diesel engines that were very loud, and very smelly. And if you've ever spent time around where cows and chickens live, you know that the aroma can be powerful! So I am glad to visit these places in the 21st Century, but I'm sure I wouldn't have been happy in 1895! Or maybe I wouldn't have known the difference?

Another thing that I ponder as I look at old 20th Century buildings is how they must have smelled from tobacco. Like most people of my generation and younger, I never smoked. I am sensitive to the smell of tobacco that lingers in old buildings. And if they smell like that decades after the last cigarette was burned in them, it boggles my mind to image what they were like when just about everyone smoked in them. I often think that I would probably not have noticed, as I would have probably been a smoker back then, too. Or, in the more distant past, I would have chewed tobacco, spitting into spittoons, and every once in a while on the floor. I suppose I would have had big *walrus* mustachios, too.

Since I like to time-travel in my imagination, I imagine future generations will wonder how we could stand the constant smell of gasoline from the internal combustion engines in the 21st Century. I know that I don't notice any smell, but I have a car in my garage, and cars go through my neighborhood all of the time. I don't notice the smell of gasoline in my suburban neighborhood any more than I image people years ago not noticing the smell of farms, of horses, and of tobacco.

Pictured above: the Sahuaro Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, 59th Avenue between Peoria and Olive.
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