The vicinity of Central and Washington in Phoenix, Arizona was once the heart of the territorial city. It was also a center of death, murder, and suicides. The area has changed through the years, but it still carries high energy with sporting venues such as Chase Field and Talking Stick Resort Arena at the current locale. This same region also houses museums and convention centers. At times guests may experience a sense of déjà vu as they go about their business.
The original Phoenix City Hall was located on Washington and Central Streets and sat in the area where the downtown bus terminal stood until recent years. Constructed in 1888, the building served the city up into the 1920’s when a more modern facility was built at 125 W Washington Street.
Frank B. Moss was the acting Mayor of Phoenix in 1906. He was born in Wisconsin in 1852. His father was a blacksmith and he followed in his footsteps by opening his own blacksmith shop on 4th Avenue between Washington and Jefferson Streets. He later became the Phoenix fire chief and was a strict Republican.
On March 22, 1906, Moss felt uncontrollably sick to his stomach. He had vomited in the streets and was embarrassed that citizens would think he had been drinking. He had not touched a drop of liquor in several years. Between 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM he arrived at City Hall. He placed his bicycle on the rack and ascended the City Hall stairs. He stumbled as he passed through the entrance door of the building. He called for the security guard to please call for a doctor. The physician quickly arrived and administered a stomach medication and urged him to lie down on a cot in a back room. When they checked back on Frank Moss between 9:00 PM and 10:00 PM, he had no pulse. Moss had died at City Hall. There was no evidence of poison in his system. His death certificate read he died of acute indigestion which induced a heart clot.
His funeral was held in the council chamber of the City Hall. He lay in the grand hallway at the main entrance. American flags, potted plants, greenery and a draping of black were the backdrop of this solemn occasion. Every store and shop on Washington Street closed from 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM during the funeral service. Even the street cars stopped running. The funeral cortege was led by the Pioneer Band as they made their way to the IOOF section of the old Pioneer & Military Memorial Park (cemetery) of Phoenix.
If you are walking to nearby establishments for a few more drinks and food after the big game, remember your Tums. Too many hot dogs and nachos could lead you to a close encounter with the former Mayor’s spirit who unfortunately over indulged in his eating pleasures as well.