Phoenix also underwent significant changes during the Roaring ’20s. Since the days of horses and buggies, it has grown from a small wild west town to a thriving city with automobiles and the nouveau riche. However, this was evident more than ever during the 1920s. With the war’s end, Phoenix’s cotton industry crashed, plunging the city into a recession sweeping the nation. However, the city recovered swiftly. In 1920, the new Heard Building was the tallest in Arizona at seven stories. A number of taller and more impressive buildings were built in the city’s downtown area in the next ten years. The Central Methodist Church moved to its new building at Central and Pierce, which is located in the heart of the city.
After the massive economic expansion of the 1920s, Phoenix quickly changed its fortunes, which American writer Fitzgerald described as the “greatest, gaudiest spree in history.” Phoenix, along with most towns in the West, saw little enforcement of prohibition during the ’20s. The large open area soon attracted bars, brothels, and gambling dens. Al Capone, a notorious mob boss, wasn’t too far behind. The city’s population was rapidly growing. Monroe Street still boasted the mansions of “Millionaire Row,” however, as the central business district expanded north, new elegant homes began popping up in its place.
The city commissioners and county supervisors issued a new bond for a grand building backed by the chamber of commerce. The building stood at the corner of First Avenue and Washington and was surrounded by a large city park. This iconic six-story building was designed by Edward Neild and the firms Lescher, Mahoney & Edwards and Wildey & Dixon. It features Phoenix birds rising on either side of the entrance. There were also notable buildings constructed during this time, such as the Fox Theater and the Orpheum Theater. Despite being reserved for the most luxurious, air conditioning was introduced in the 1920s. There was also a small focus on civic buildings other than the city-county building. In 1920, Phoenix Junior College became Phoenix College. Despite Phoenix’s rapid growth, the city did not attract any significant universities or liberal arts colleges during this time.