Did You Know: Phoenix's Bethany Home Road Is Named After Century-Old Health Facility

By Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez
Published: Friday, February 5, 2016 - 4:54pm
Updated: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - 10:56am

(Photo by Sky Schaudt - KJZZ)
A sign on State Route 51 directs drivers to Bethany Home Road.
(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez)
Historian Reba Wells Gradrud points toward the area where Bethany Home once stood. Grandrud is researching the history of the health clinic that was established in 1908 around 16th Street and Bethany Home Road.

A north Phoenix road is a major throughway in town, but 100 years ago is was just a small path.  Its name honors a place that once existed to help people with tuberculosis.

Shopping centers and restaurants are among the many businesses that sit on the corners of 16th Street and Bethany Home Road, but when this district was first settled it was a desert with just a few properties. Did you know Bethany Home Road is named after a health facility built in the area more than 100 years ago?

“It was opened Nov. 26 in 1908 and dedicated to God. It was called a Christian home for the sick.”

Reba Wells Grandrud is a north Phoenix resident and a historian. Her current project is researching the history of Bethany Home. Standing on a shopping center parking lot near the intersection she fills me in on what she’s uncovered.

“That’s roughly, back here, where the home was located.”

She points toward the 15th Street area south of Bethany Home Road. In 1908 there was scattered farming in the area. Grandrud said some of the information about the medical facility is found on a brochure created after the place opened.

“Bethany Home was started by the Missionary Church Association. The church was downtown, and that church came out five miles north of what was Phoenix at that time and purchased 20 acres of land.”

On that land is where the Bethany Home was founded. She said the marketing material shows the place had a kitchen, dining and assembly room. It also had four screened bungalows. A few years later the place was expanded. It installed a wind mill, a cement water storage tank, and hot and cold baths. It also added more bungalows, and they were connected with the nurse’s quarters by electric bells.

“At the time this brochure came out, it’s $10 a week, and they’re catering to people who cannot go fancier. And they wanted to get people into facilities that would help them.”

Grandrud said she’s researching a few details that can reveal more about the facility, including how many patients did it assist and when and why the Bethany Home closed.

She said Bethany Home Road sits in the vicinity of the wagon path that led to the Bethany Home.

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