Walking Tour of South Phoenix




The East side of Central Avenue


Southern to Greenway Road


The business people who have been along Central Avenue for a long time have a sense of community.  They know each other and the history of the area and are very proud of the way they have continued to support each other.

Southern Avenue

McDonald’s is on the corner of Southern and Central.  On the exterior many tiles form a border in an AZTEC design.  Inside the McDonalds, Our Lady of Guadalupe is in a prominent place in the dining room.  Other plaques and decorations adorn the restaurant.  It truly has unique additions to the McDonald’s tradition.

On a large lot just south a construction crew from Suft Construction is in the process of building an OSCO Drug.

The Southside Animal Hospital has been at 6045 South Central for over 30 years in a modest house.  Prior to the Animal Hospital, the house served as a rectory for St. Catherinie’s Parish.  The church is across Central and the school is one-half block to the south.

Emergency Chiropractic at 6207 S. Central is located in a building that was previously a restaurant.  The covered patio is still in front of the building.  The patio is a pleasant space of light and shadows with a few plants to add life.

No one at the site could indicate the year of the change.

Burk’s Complete Auto Repair was the highlight of the afternoon.  Bob has been owner/operator of the business since 1981.  A car repair business has been at this site since 1950 (52 years).  He lives in South Phoenix and has a passion for restoring old Studebaker cars as well as an interest in the community. 

Bob Burk currently has a 1924 Touring Car in his shop.  We asked about the Isenglass curtains and horsehair seats and he took us round back to see them.  He believes that it will be complete by early summer.  Bob invited us back for a ride.

Bob’s Shop (Blue Building) and the neighbor to the south, El Fenix Panadoria Mexicano.  This establishment not only has the best smelling breads and cakes but also offers a fine selection of Statues, pinyadas, candles, cast iron and large wash tubs as well as a selection of miscellaneous items.  The bakery as been at this site for 23 years.

6231 South Central is Desert Dentistry.

Several times we stopped but no one was ever present.  Without windows, doors locked, the building has a coold feel that seems almost forbidding.


The Corral has been the Corral all of its life.  First, more than 45 years ago, it was Corral Burgers. Looking at the shape of the building will take you back to the car hops and rootbeer or the 1950’s Rock n Roll movies.  It is a classic old drive in (semi-circular shaped) building that you just expect to see a car hop come out of on roller skates.

For the last 35 years, however, it has been the Corral Drive-in Dry Cleaners.  The current owner has owned the building for 25 years.

Alta Vista Avenue

St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School.  The church across the street and this school leave little doubt as to why the street to the south is named St. Catherine Avenue.


St Catherine Avenue

Life Choices is a Women’s Clinic that has been at this location for two years.

The Statue of Liberty is on the curb in front of Virginia’s and the Fast Tax Refund.

Virginia’s Beauty Salon has been here only a short time.  Little store fronts, this one and the one next door have changed many times over the years according to one of the beauticians.  Twenty five years ago, it was a beauty salon, she remembers, then a laundry mat.

Fast Tax Refund is renting for the tax season.

LLANTERA Arellano Tire Company has been a tire company for two years, according to one of the gentleman bending over a tire he was fixing.  Previously, it was a gas station.

They have the tire baths and the stacks of tires in the back.  During the time we were there, they were doing a brisk business.

St. Anne Avenue

Turk’s Fish and Chips has at least 4 varieties of fish as well as barbecue and hamburgers.  They are famous for their cracker battered cod according to the waitress.  The restaurant has been at this site for 30 years.  Before that, it was a chinese restaurant.  The current owners have owned Turk’s for 7 years.   The feature that catches my attention is the lack of windows – all of the walls are solid.  We had lunch, Cod and a mountain of fries that came with it.

Sue’s Fashions – School Uniforms is a new building with exposed ductwork and silver covered insulation up at the ceiling.  You can tell how new it is by all of the glass.  Most of the buildings we have been in have small windows or now windows.  The parking lot is enclosed with a wrought iron fence with a huge rolling gate.

St. Charles Avenue

A house at 6629 South Central Avenue.  This is the only open yard in the half-mile of central.  What a difference from the neighbor with the chain link fence and gate.

This house at 6645 South Phoenix was completely surrounded by chain link and had a sliding gate. 

If we needed to talk to this family, we would need to hang a message on the fence.  If the postman or the person from the Census comes to this house, they have no way to reach this family.  The trade off seems to be safety for isolation.  This house is an island and is so different from the businesses along the avenue.

The business on the northeast corner of Central and Vineland is closed.  The high stucco wall is clean and gives no hint of the buildings previous existence.  The neighbor to the north walls us out.  We can not ask about the people who once created their lives here.  Did they move on to better or did they fail?


American Child Child Care is a storefront with a high wall.  Some daycare facilities have open walls and it is fun to watch the children play.  The children at this day care are hidden behind the wall.


The Law Office was well kept with an architectural style that looked more like Payson than South Phoenix.

Little Ceasar’s Pizza looks the same in this neighborhood or any other around the United States.  Some are cleaner or neater than others but they have their identity.  The presence of the major chains usually affects a cohesive community.  The individual flavor of small town America is lost and the neighborhood becomes gradually “anytown USA.”

Greenway Road