Arizona Highways magazine celebrates 90 years with special issue

Arizona Highways magazine is celebrating its 90th anniversary issue in a big way. The special issue features the best in every single issue over the past nine decades.
   
The pages of Arizona Highways magazine are rich with history; the photographs, sketches and articles tell the tale of Arizona then and now.

"Originally the magazine when it started in 1925 it was what we call a trade journal. It was a magazine that was done primarily for engineers. If you think about Arizona in 1925, there weren't a lot of roads," said Robert Stieve, Editor-in-Chief of Arizona Highways.

Stieve says 90 years ago, the readers consisted mostly of engineers, bridges made headlines and bulldozers were highly advertised.

"Then along came a guy named Raymond Carlson who ended up being editor for 35 years and then an art director named George Avian. They are really the founding fathers of our magazine," said Stieve.  

The new focus was showcasing Arizona, the beauty, richness and uniqueness of our state.

"The magazine was really ahead of the curve on so many things along the way, whether it was photography or even illustrations, a lot of the things we were doing."

Ansel Adams was a favorite artist often featured, as was as was Ted Degrazia.

"The magazine was actually banned in the Soviet Union in the mid 1960's and the government there really viewed this as American propaganda. They saw the photographs, especially the sunsets and thought nothing can be this beautiful, they're just glamorizing the American way of life," said Stieve. "Biggest selling issue, the turquoise issue, sold one million in 1974."

To celebrate 90 years, members of the staff sifted through one thousand issues, old maps, illustrations, photographs even logos, the culmination: a 90th anniversary issue that is Arizona Highways.

"We were looking for things that we thought represented the history of the magazine and the evolution of things and  also sort of spotlighted different eras, you know, in society," said Stieve.

The cover was painted by local artist Ed Mel. The anniversary issue is already on news stands. You can purchase a special digital subscription for just $1, but that offer is only available April 1 from 8 a.m. to midnight. Visit arizonahighways.com for more information.
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