This is Melanie Sturgeon, and on behalf of the Sun Cities Area Historical Society and the Arizona Historical Foundation I am interviewing John Meeker, the former President of the Del Webb Development Company in his home in Phoenix, Arizona. It is March 6, 1996.
MEEKER: I was born in Brownwood, Texas in 1926, June 5th. We moved to Arizona and I grew up in the Phoenix area, went to school here, went into the service in 1944, came out in 1946 and went to work for the Webb Corporation.
STURGEON: How did you decide to do that?
MEEKER: Well, I met Mr. Webb. I used to caddy after school and weekends and I met Mr. Webb on the golf course at Phoenix Country Club in 1941 and started caddying for him and when I finished high school and went into the service he asked me to come back and see him after I got out of the service and I did and decided to give the construction business a whirl rather than go to Arizona State, and I must say that I am very happy that I did because I had a very rewarding working relationship with the Webb Company.
STURGEON: And how did you start out when you started there?
MEEKER: I started out as the assistant mail clerk. About as low as you can get. From there I worked in various — I worked in the warehouse, then moved into the accounting department, worked for various accounting functions and equipment management. At that time the Webb Company was involved in primarily Type A construction type projects, hospitals, office buildings, high-rise buildings. I worked on the Phoenix Veterans' Hospital as an assistant job engineer. Then I moved to Kansas City, Missouri on another Veterans' Hospital which Webb was working on. I was the office manager there. Then I transferred to Travis Air Force Base where Webb was building some barracks buildings for the Air Force. Then went from there to San Manuel, Arizona where I was a job engineer, where they built a thousand homes, a hospital, school, commercial and so forth for the Magma Copper Company. Then I came back to Phoenix and worked on various jobs, hotel jobs and along the way there I worked in Las Vegas on the Sahara Hotel and motel that they built and then came to Phoenix and got involved in the housing in the Phoenix area in 1954-55 and built houses in various locations around the valley for Webb until Sun City was started which was in 1959 and I became involved in the planning and model home design of Sun City. [READ MORE]
|Promotional video about Sun City, Arizona produced by Del E. Webb Corporation in about 1961. Great look at the 1960's - cars, customs, etc. [click here to view Part 1]||Part II of promotional video produced by Del E. Webb Corporation in early 1960's. Great look at the 60's including cars, clothes, etc.
[click here to view Part 2]
When the Del Webb Sun Cities Museum reopens to the public this fall, it will do so with a new and unique designation: The only building in the Sun Cities now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Museum officials were notified last spring that after several years of applying for the designation, the museum was finally granted historic status. The museum, located at 10801 W. Oakmont Drive in Sun City, is home to the Sun Cities Area Historical Society. The organization was created in 1985 with a mission to preserve and present the history of Sun City and Sun City West. The museum is located in one of the first five model homes built by the Del E. Webb Corporation in 1960 as it prepared to launch Sun City, the nation’s very first master-planned, active-adult retirement community. The community opened to the public on Jan. 1, 1960. The five model homes, along with Oakmont Recreation Center and a golf course were open to the public on that first weekend. The home has been restored and features rotating exhibits focusing on the history of the community, as well as its developer – Del E. Webb – and the clubs and organizations in the retirement communities. “We’re extremely proud of our museum and think it’s a fitting honor to be recognized as one of our nation’s historic landmarks,” said Bret McKeand, president of the museum’s board of trustees. The National Register of Historic Places is the “official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation.” The list is overseen by the National Park Service. Presently there are over 80,000 places on the list. Locations on the list in Arizona include the Wrigley Mansion, Hunt’s Tomb, Petrified Forest and Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The Del Webb Sun Cities Museum becomes the first property in either Sun City or Sun City West to earn the designation. The museum is closed during the summer and is expected to reopen Wednesday, Sept. 16. Museum hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. When the museum opens this fall, exhibits include a celebration of the performing arts in the Sun Cities, a display honoring Del E. Webb, and a new tribute to the Sundome Center for Performing Arts. The museum is a nonprofit organization and relies on memberships for its funding. Call 623-974-2568 or visit delwebbsuncitiesmuseum.org for information on supporting the organization.
|Fall 2014||Spring 2014|
|Spring 2013||Fall 2013|
|Spring 2012||Fall 2012|
Del Webb Sun Cities Museum tour with museum past-president, Bill Pearson.