Arizona State Fairgrounds Stadium and Art – Phoenix AZ


The Works Progress Administration built the grandstand at the Arizona State Fair grounds in Phoenix.

“As the Great Depression deepened and thousands were uprooted and looking for work, numerous fairgrounds were turned into camps for these transients. The Arizona State Fairgrounds provided a temporary place to stay and an opportunity to earn money through labor. Funded by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and later the Works Progress Administration, transients helped to construct the stadium. A fifty-foot grandstand, an adobe wall on three sides of the grounds, and an auto racing track inside the horse track were created in 1936. Exhibit buildings were also built; the principal surviving one faces McDowell Rd. On the exterior of the grandstand 23 bas-relief panels by David Carrick Swing and Florence Blakeslee are featured. The works were funded by the Federal Art Project. The panels depict local history, industry, and sport. Binoculars might be useful to view these detailed panels better.”

Source notes

National Archives Record Group 69-N

"The New Deal in Arizona: Connections to Our Historic Landscape," University of Arizona, The New Deal in Arizona Chapter of the National New Deal Preservation Association.

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Location Info

1826 W. McDowell Rd.
Phoenix, AZ

Coordinates: 33.46594200000001, -112.095684

4 comments on “Arizona State Fairgrounds Stadium and Art – Phoenix AZ

  1. Vincent Murray

    The State of Arizona is ready to demolish one of the WPA buildings at the State Fair Grounds. It will probably be gone unless someone intervenes. For more information, contact me. But do it soon.

    • David Huber

      Thanks Vincent. I live just 2 blocks away and am just sick about this. I have emailed Governor Brewer and have asked all of my neighbors and those in surrounding neighborhoods to do the same. Not sure how this flew under the radar until now giving us all but no time to take action. Construction fencing went up yesterday and only the governor’s intervention at this point seems likely to save the WPA Administration Building. The shortsighted leadership and lack of vision by the Exposition and State Fair Board is beyond all belief!

  2. I was very sad when I heard about the plan to demolish these building. Although not these buildings, my father worked on WPA projects before the war. This is American history and I don’t think that we should be so cavalier to demolish the buildings without much as a second thought.
    My mother purchased a house in this neighborhood. I realize that change is necessary, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of history!

  3. I’m pleased to report that efforts to save and renovate the 1938 WPA Administration Building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds are looking positive. Significant funding has been raised and public/private support grows. Can this building be listed separately from the Grandstand/Stadium?

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