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  • Wrigley MansionWrigley Mansion Phoenix, Arizona
    Built sometime between 1929 and 1931, the Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix, Arizona, was the former home of chewing gun mogul William Wrigley Jr. The villa is also known as the William Wrigley Jr. Winter Cottage or La Colina Solana, and sits atop a 100 foot knoll that offers views of Phoenix to the south, near the Arizona Biltmore Hotel; that William also owned. The architect was Earl Heitschmidt of Los Angeles, at a cost of $1.2 million and various styles that included Spanish colonial. The cottage, as it was called, holds 24 rooms, with 12 bathrooms and covers 16,000 square feet of space filled with all the opulent furnishings that a multi-millionaire could buy at the time. The majority of the tilework was shipped here from another of William's factories in Catalina, and then hauled up to the knoll by mules. These wealthy folks had other more magnificent homes in Catatlina Island, Philadelphia, Pasadena, Chicago and Lake Geneva; using this, their smallest residence as their summer cottage a few weeks a year. Wrigley passed on in 1932, just after the completion of this small cottage; which became listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. Geordie Hormel purchased the estate in 1992, and began making it available for conventions, meetings and other functions of that nature. Because of the zoning laws, the mansion can operate only as a private club, with an annual membership fee of $10.00, just about anyone can join and enjoy the finer things in life that they ordinarily wouldn't have access to. The mansion has been made a Phoenix Point of Pride. It is hard to imagine the kind of money that William made from his chewing gum company, but it afforded him a spectacular style of living. He started the company that bears his name in 1891, selling various household products like baking powder and soap, and in the next year decided to send a package of chewing gum with each can of baking powder sold. It wasn't long before the gum was more popular than the powder, so he restructured the company to make the wonderful gum; which today sells in more than 180 nations in the world and has 14 factories worldwide. In 2004, the company purchased the Life Savers and Altoids business from Kraft Foods and in 2008 sold Wrigley for $23 billion to Mars, the chocolate candy bar company. He was very important in the building of Catalina Island, just off the coast of LA, buying controlling interest in the island in 1919 and bringing much modernization and jobs. He owned the Chicago Cubs baseball team and so much more. He left his fortune and wealth to his daughter, Dorothy Wrigley Offield and his son, P.K. Wrigley who continued to manage the company for the next 45 years, when he passed on. His great-grandson William Wrigley Jr. II was the executive chairman and CEO of the Wrigley Company when it was sold.

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  • Wells Fargo History MuseumWells Fargo History Museum Phoenix, Arizona
    Starting in 1852, Henry Wells and William Fargo began a company that has grown into a legend that crossed this country so many times that it is impossible to count. The men started the company to serve the west, offering banking, sales of paper bank drafts as good as gold, buying gold; and express, fast delivery of the gold or bank notes or anything else of value. The company opened in the gold fields of San Francisco and before too long, there were many other offices in new cities and mining camps of the west. During that boom time economy of the 1850s, the company soon earned a reputation of trust, doing business fast and responsibly with other folks money; and in the next decade, became part of historical relevance and fame with the marvelous adventures of the overland stagecoach business. These early entrepreneurs sent their business by the fastest way possible, whether it was by pony rider, steamship, telegraph, railroad or stagecoach. In 1858, they helped start another important business, the Overland Mail Company stageline, that became known as the "Butterfield" after its president, John Butterfield, and within two years had taken control of the fledgling company and began moving north and creating the central overland route, taken by the famous Pony Express. The company contracted independent stagecoach owners to handle their business, but then decided to build their own reliable coaches, helping them to become the biggest stagecoach empire in the world. These coaches would travel between 5 and 12 miles per hour across the huge 2757 miles of great expanses of treeless plains, hot burning deserts, high mountain passes and treacherous rivers, many with beds of quicksand. These coaches would stop only long enough to change out the horses, and allow the passengers to swallow some coffee after eating beef jerky and biscuits.  Some of the wonderful exhibits in the museum are; an interactive telegraph, authentic 19th century stagecoach, a copy of a stagecoach that you can sit in and a magnificent art gallery with the biggest display of N.C. Wyeth's western themed artworks.

January 11, 2011