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  • Douglas Towne

Westward Ho Acrobatic Duo

The Hotel Westward Ho became Phoenix’s tallest building when it was completed in 1928, a title it would hold for 32 years. The largest hostelry between Kansas City and the Pacific Coast, the elegant hotel charged $2 per night at a time when most Phoenix hotel rooms went for a quarter. The hotel was a glamorous hot spot for the famous, powerful, wealthy and those celebrating special occasions.

The hotel spawned many intriguing stories, about a secret tunnel leading to the underground Gold Spot bowling alley, Marilyn Monroe’s late-night skinny-dipping in the swimming pool, sightings of mischievous ghosts, and Al Capone’s auto hidden in its underground parking garage.

Adding to the hotel’s lore is this fearless acrobat performing on the 11th floor, as her assistant calmly watches, on November 11, 1954. She’s perched on one leg above Central Avenue, a street lined by the Apache Hotel featuring Milton’s Skylark Dining Room, the First National Bank of Arizona under construction, and the Professional Building. The inset photo reveals the precariousness of her perch, held in place by sandbags and a second assistant.

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