LAKE HAVASU CITY – The Lake Havasu community had a chance at an early celebration with the 100 Years Grand event, the story of Arizona Highways Magazine. Win Holden hosted the event who was the publisher of Arizona Highways from 2008 to 2018. Holden is an inductee for the Arizona Tourism Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Award from the Business Journal.
Holden shared the history of the photo enriched magazine. Technically, the magazine does not turn 100 until 2025, however the impact that the magazine has had on its readers, an early recognition was deserved. In 1921, Arizona Highways made its debut on newsstands. Only the publication was not centered around travel and beautiful scenic photography. The 10-page pamphlet was intended to advertise good roads throughout the state of Arizona by 1922, publication ended after only nine issues.
The relaunch of the magazine was in April of 1925 with stories of the old west, travel tales, and engineering stories. This transition was largely due to editor Ray Carlson, who discontinued advertisement submissions and set the tone for the magazine it is known for today. The evening’s lecture primarily centered around the pioneer photographers of the magazine like Ester Henderson who began contributing her photos in 1938. The New Yorker was an aspiring Broadway dancer but was repeatedly turned away due to her tall lanky figure. She eventually moved to Tucson, Arizona and is known as one of the first female landscape photographers in the U.S. The magazine went on to hire other notable photographers like Josef Muench who moved to Arizona all the way from Germany. Muench was inspired by the photographs he had seen of Arizona.
He is famously known for his photographs of Monument Valley. Additionally, Barry Goldwater joined the team. Natives of Arizona mostly remember him as being a politician but Goldwater’s niche for the magazine was capturing the lifestyles of Native American people. In the 1940’s, the publication welcomed photographers like Ray Manly known for his desert and westerns themed photos. Probably the most well-known photographer would be Ansel Adams whose Mission San Xavier del Blanc submission was made into a book in the 1950s. Currently, the magazine has subscribers in all 50 states long with 100 countries.
The Story of Arizona Highways event took place on Thursday, January 11 at the Lake Havasu Library. The event was free to the public and many residents of Havasu attended this event and were fully engaged in the history of Arizona’s most well-known tourism magazine. The event was brought to town by Arizona Humanities whose mission is to bring communities together through reflection, discussion, and learning.