The Community That Changed a Nation...

Discussion in 'Sun City General Discussions' started by BPearson, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Quickly, for a sense of where we are going: The Wright Brothers invented the airplane. Henry Ford the first model T automobile. Arthur K. "Spud" Melin and Richard Knerr the Hoola Hoop (bet ya didn't know that one) and Steve Wozniak for the genius behind the personal computer.

    We know all of those items as having an impact on society. First's of anything are almost always recognized for the imprint they leave. So why in the world haven't those of us living in Sun City AZ taken more pride, a larger sense of accomplishment in the first age restricted, active retirement community in the nation? Seriously, it was that significant.

    Sun City changed the country and maybe even the world. Nearly 60 years after its opening, we are still the one folks visit to get a sense of what worked. New communities still study us while college students have done their thesis on the impact we made.

    Yet within these white walls, way too many home owners know little about the community and the company that forged us from virtually nothing. Cotton fields that had outgrown their usefulness suddenly became an opportunity to blossom well beyond fibers for tires, clothes and towels.

    Our history is stunning. The company and the man behind it, Del E Webb are legendary. Unfortunately the handful that know and appreciate his story grow less every year. His death in 1974 left a void that could never be filled.

    Our goal is to recreate his legacy. We know people don't read like they used to. We know attention spans grow shorter as technology is enhanced. We also know his story is too powerful to ignore. We know once we start showing and telling readers about Del Webb, his company and ultimately his greatest creation, Sun City, people will be mesmerized.

    In the coming months, the Del Webb Sun Cities museum and I will be working to showcase this remarkable story. It's a journey too good to miss. I will post the first links this afternoon. One will be to Facebook where we will give you a teaser with the second link to the "rest of the story" on the museum site. The FB link will direct you to the museum site, so if you are interested, skip Facebook (unless you want to follow us on it) and just go to the second link.

    As i have been writing these pages on Del Webb, it has rekindled my passion for all things Sun City. We played an incredibly important role in the evolution of retirement. Back in the day, rich people had their second homes; those of us of average means stayed put and sat in the rocking chair. Sun City changed all of that and made life far better for millions.

    Stay tuned as i will use this thread for each release of the ongoing stories we are telling.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
    Julianna likes this.
  2. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    First link up, this one to the museum site.

    I loved this line when i wrote it, it speaks volumes to Sun City and to Del Webb:
    "Del Webb wasn't the genius behind Sun City, but his life's work was the genesis for it."
    To read the rest of the story, click here: Del Webb's Sun City...The Prologue.
  3. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the links, Bill. Looking forward to more interesting reading in the upcoming weeks.
  4. CMartinez

    CMartinez Active Member

    Great stories of a legendary man. Thank you Bill for allowing all of us to take this journey, and am looking forward to more of your fantastic writings about a phenomenal person.
  5. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Thanks gang, we're just getting started. We will release a story a week until the opening of the addition at the Museum around the 1st of November.

    For those that haven't jumped to them, today, July 4, 1974 was the day Del Webb died. You can read it here.
  6. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Terrific responses and feedback so far. Funny; everyone is too busy to one should be too busy to learn.
  7. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    This weeks story is now posted on the museum website. Rather than directing you to the museum Facebook page, here is a direct link to the story: Born With a Silver Spoon? Hardly.

  8. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Well-Known Member

    Thank you for posting this every week. The only "complaint" I have about this installment is it was too short, lol. But I realize why you're presenting it this way.

    Does the museum still sell the Del Webb biography book? I seldom buy books unless they are reference books, but I do have the Jubilee and Sun City history books so this would round out my collection.

    What amazes me about Del Webb was how many different interests and projects he worked on besides Sun City. I started to read the Webb Spinners at one time but there are so many to read so I stopped reading and just scanned the photos instead. How different society was and how his company treated the employees so well stood out to me.

    I think the houses in Phase 1 stand out more than any other phase in terms of how Del Webb understood the folks buying in. Good solid houses for retirees not born with a silver spoon, but who worked hard all their lives and wanted an affordable piece of the American Dream in their later years. Had he not experienced the hardships that he did in life he may not have understood the psychology behind those first buyers at all. Or, like you said, Sun City may never have even existed.
  9. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Thanks E, it's a privilege being able to take Del's story and try and make it come to life. Your analysis is spot on and why i wrote "Del wasn't the genius behind Sun City. His life's work was the genesis for it." Everything he did was leading up to creating something spectacular. Sun City was so far out there, most couldn't fathom it. Ultimately he surrounded himself with fantastic people he trusted and turned the loose.

    As this story unfolds, you will meet many of them. We will walk though that remarkable time in Sun City where everyday was an adventure. Those 18 years through build-out is a story unto its own. We've let too many buyers/owners in this community miss the joy of our history. This series is just the first step in growing the awareness of how we were built and why we succeeded.

    "Del Webb, A Man, A Company," the book you were referring is available at the museum. The originals are out of print, but they have reproduced it. Oddly, some of the pictures are different.

    The Web Spinners, that emily mentioned was the company monthly magazine. The museum has it available on their website. There's like 20 years worth. One day hopefully we will be able to restructure and categorize various pieces to make it more searchable. There's so much potential at the museum to recreate the Webb/Sun Cities story and then make it available.

    Damn, i get excited just thinking about it.
  10. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

  11. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Well-Known Member

    Thank you Bill for another interesting installment. I didn't know how dire that illness truly was.
  12. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

  13. CMartinez

    CMartinez Active Member

    Another great read and entertaining as always. Thank You Bill
  14. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Thanks Carole, the more i write and research, the better i understand what drove Del Webb. Just wrote this weeks post and even i was surprised by the turn it took. It was like the heavens parted and i saw Mr. Webb smiling down on me. Seriously, damned if i didn't have a dream we were together at what i think was the old Kings Inn. If this keeps up, i'm going for some kind of psychological evaluation.

    By the time we get to the opening of the addition on the museum, i will tie all the parts together and hopefully people will see where i am taking them. Journey of a lifetime for me.

    By the way, if you aren't a member of the Del Webb Sun Cities Museum, you should be. $20 for the year and one of the things we will be doing is giving member access to special events
    . Anyone can go to the museum, it's open to the public. One of the things i am toying around with is running monthly "Coffee's With Ben and Bill." We meet every couple of weeks and i almost always leave excited about both the past and the present. Need to see if Ben is interested, but i am sure he will be. Obviously McD's wouldn't be thrilled by that many senior coffee's being sold, so the new addition might make for a wonderful venue. It will only hold 20 or 25 people; anyone be interested in joining us if we do it?
  15. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Well-Known Member

    I had read some of this (probably in one of your other posts or in the two books I have). I was partially raised with folks of DW's generation. I miss those folks and their values greatly, and I'm fortunate to have internalized what I feel are the best of those values. I relate better to that generation and the Greatest more than I do my own.

    Bill did you mean that A/C didn't begin to come into commercial use until 1928? DH told me that A/C was actually invented in 1902. Then he started to blather on about the history of Hvac and I had to walk away. Lmao.

    Thank you for a great read.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
  16. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    DH is right, kind of. It was invented in 1902 by Willis Carrier, but it was for use in a Lithograph and Publishing Company in NY. BTW, there's been efforts to cool the air for centuries.

    The point i was making was neither air conditioning units nor central air were available to the consuming public back in the 20's and 30's. The oppressive heat of Phoenix was just that. There are stories of how well healed folks able to buy cooling machines go as far back as 1914, but it was 7 feet high, 6 feet wide and 20 feet long. Hardly a window unit.

    Window units first burst on the scene in 1931 and were available for purchase a year later. The cost between $10,000 and $50,000. By 1953 the cost became more manageable and a million units were sold. The Museum sold what was called in the ads refrigerated air conditioning for $1250 as an upgrade. Pricey when you consider that 850 square foot house was only $8500 (not on the golf course). I'll have to check, on the price and if it was actually an air handler because the article i was reading from said central air didn't become available till the 1970's.

    The real point through all of this was, back in those early days, during the summers, you just sweated your ass off.
  17. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Well-Known Member

    Sorry Bill. 1912 was a typo. I had to go back and correct.

    Yes, if no A/C I wouldn't have moved here.
  18. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    This weeks story will take an interesting twist. Even i didn't see this coming. It's why research is so valuable, the more you dig, the better you get your head around what was going on and why.
  19. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

  20. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Well-Known Member

    I think he was a shrewd businessman. He saw opportunity and took chances that others may have overlooked or passed on because he had a bigger picture plan for the future. And he had patience.

    Sure everyone needed money back then too, but people and the times were so different. People cared about things greater than and outside their own self-interests. Maybe I'm over romanticizing that time era but the folks I remember around DW's age that I knew as a child growing up emphasized the importance of good character and doing the right thing over the almighty dollar.
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