Martin Gibson

Ahwatukee author-historian Martin Gibson will be talking about his new book on Ahwatukee’s past and will have some of its founders on hand during a discussion at 1 p.m. Saturday at Ahwatukee Rec Center. (Kimberly Carrillo/AFN Staff Photographer)

Marty Gibson has written two books on the history of Ahwatukee, and on Saturday he’s bringing part of it to life.

At 1 p.m. March 2 at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center, 5001 E. Cheyenne Drive, Ahwatukee, Gibson will discuss the community’s history along with some of the people who laid the foundation for Ahwatukee – in one case, literally.

Guest speakers thus far are architect Wayne Smith, who laid the groundwork for the original portion of Ahwatukee, including the Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course as a flood control mechanism for South Mountain runoff.

Also on hand will be longtime Realtor Pete Meier, who sold some of the first houses for Ahwatukee and is also commander of the community’s only military service organization, American Legion Post 64.

Also speaking will be Kathy Martin, granddaughter of Byron Slawson, caretaker of the Ahwatukee Ranch; and Joe Garner, grandson of Arthur Hunter, who had a street named after him that ultimately became 48th Street.

Among the stories audience members likely will hear is one captured in Gibson’s recently published “Historic Tales from Ahwatukee Foothills.”

That book is published by History Press – a subsidiary of Arcadia Press, which published Gibson’s “Phoenix’s Ahwatukee-Foothills” 12 years ago as part of its “Images in America” series of history-in-pictures books.

In “Historic Tales,” Gibson lays out the history of 48th Street and what it was used for in the days before Ahwatukee even became part of Phoenix.

Gibson also will be holding a book signing for his new work 2-4 p.m. March 9 at Changing Hands Bookstore on the southwest corner of Guadalupe Road and McClintock Drive, Tempe.

Gibson calls “Tales” a “counterpoint” to his first book.

A longtime Ahwatukee resident, Gibson got interested in Ahwatukee’s history out of a kind of habit.

Wherever he’s lived, the Long Island, New York, native would always visit the local historical society or the history section of the local library to bone up on the community’s past.

When he realized Ahwatukee had neither a historical society or a library with a local history section, he started interviewing old-timers and early settlers, carefully constructing. First, a pictorial guide to Ahwatukee’s past and, with his most recent work, a richly detailed collection of 27 stories about particular people, places and events that shaped the community.

Gibson said he had a similar public event when he published his first book and it attracted a standing-room-only crowd, so people attending Saturday’s event might want to come early.

(1) comment

Moses Watson

Ahwatukee culture is very rich in heritage and it is our national asset but it is our tragedy that we did not know much about the Ahwatukee culture. But I am quite sure after reading fastessay that work of Marty Gibson will finally reveal something interesting from their culture.

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