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Did you know Phoenix's hotel bellhops used to race each other downtown?

The fastest and strongest employees from the Valley's hotels reportedly competed in the event in the 1950s. Here's how the event came to be.

PHOENIX — I was today years old when I found out "Bellhop Races" were once held in the Phoenix area. A recent Facebook post from the City of Phoenix posted the little-known history.

According to the post, someone came up with the idea of a "Bellhop Race" where hotels from across the Valley had their fastest and strongest employees compete in public races. These trials took place on Central Avenue during the 1950s and the entrants lugged real luggage.

It was an interesting entertainment option as the bellhops looked to prove who was the fleetest of them all. Historian Steve Schumacher contributed the image and details for the post.

Take a look at the photo below.

Credit: Facebook screenshot

The photo gives us a great glimpse at life back then and shows some of the culture you could find back in that era.

What is the Valley?: 

“The Valley” is what locals call the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. It is considered the largest metropolitan area in the Southwest.  

The Valley is made up of various major cities other than Phoenix, including:  

  • Mesa  
  • Chandler  
  • Scottsdale  
  • Tempe  
  • Glendale  
  • Surprise  
  • Peoria  
  • Gilbert  
  • Maricopa  
  • Casa Grande 

Whether a city is in the “East Valley” or “West Valley” depends on where it is in relation to Phoenix.  

The cities of the Valley have a combined population of 4,845,832 people, according to the 2020 United States Census. This makes it the 11th largest metropolitan area in the country right behind the Boston and Atlanta areas. 

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