Phoenix, Arizona / Wednesday, December 25, 2013
© 2013 by JPB Publishing Ltd.
Avenue Weather: Partly cloudy with possible late afternoon showers. High 74 / Low 38
Joan De Arc salutes 50th anniversary of Bueker debut
(BP) - Has it really been half a century? You’d better believe it, you big ox.
Joan De Arc Avenue this week observes the 50th anniversary of the storied Bueker family’s arrival on the street, a watershed historical event of the first order.
The Buekers’ arrival in mid-December 1963 completed an epic exodus from their Livonia, Michigan home that began in June of that year. After arriving in Phoenix and gaining their bearings in Westown for several months, the family proceeded to their permanent homestead here on Joan De Arc, where they remained until their departure in 1977.
Carl and Barbara Bueker’s decision to pull up deep roots in Michigan and move their family out west to Arizona was a courageous one, and ultimately a wise one in retrospect, given the current financial conditions in their former state of residence. All five surviving members of the family - Barbara, Susan, Barbie, Charles, and John - continue to reside in the Phoenix area.
In the days leading up to Christmas 1963, the Buekers quietly moved into the vacant house at 3219, and then immediately stirred a rousing controversy by attempting to rent out rooms to complete strangers in order to generate extra income. When their “Room for Rent” sign caused a backlash of protest among their new neighbors, Carl and Barbara Bueker concocted a clever cover story, blaming 5-year-old John for placing the sign in his bedroom window without their knowledge or consent.
For the next dozen years, the Buekers would extensively influence the cultural and spiritual evolution of the neighborhood. These folks were trendsetters from the get-go, introducing such dazzling innovations as “happy unbirthdays,” the “time in-time out” game, the “Mr. Wonderful” award, and perhaps their most enduring legacy, an obnoxious but curiously endearing street newspaper.
The Bueker family opted to commemorate their golden anniversary in Arizona by attending the 50th anniversary celebration for the defunct Legend City amusement park held earlier this year.
John Bueker is lone observer of Phoenix anniversary
By J. Beaver
On July 2nd of this year, former Joan De Arc resident and Crusader publisher John Bueker made a nostalgic pilgrimage to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his family’s momentous 1963 arrival in Phoenix.
Oddly enough, he did so alone.
The brief ceremony took place on the site of Howard and Lois Swaggerty’s former residence on Northern and 11th Avenues, where the Bueker family spent their first two weeks in town before moving on to a rental home in Westown. Five months later, they would relocate to Joan De Arc Avenue and begin their eventful 13-year residence at 3219.
Bueker was surprised to see that he was the only family member who had shown up at his grandparents’ former home to mark the historic occasion.
“I’m a bit befuddled that nobody else thought it was important to be here today,” he said, gazing up and down the street with a puzzled look on his face.
Bueker lingered in front of the old Swaggerty home for several minutes, taking a few “selfie” photos to document the occasion before swiftly departing “in case the neighbors are calling the cops” to report a suspicious character loitering on the street.
Legend City remembered in festive fashion
By J. Beaver
The vanished Legend City amusement park, popular with aging Joan De Arc residents past and present, was celebrated with a lavish 50th anniversary event in Tempe earlier this year.
Organized primarily by former Joan De Arc resident John Bueker, his wife Sue, and the family of park founder Louis Crandall, the event drew an estimated 350 attendees on June 22 to the Arizona Historical Society Museum in Papago Park, little more than a stone’s throw from the site where Legend City once entertained the local populace.
Bueker gave a brief address at the beginning of the museum auditorium program, shamelessly plugging his Legend City website before introducing the emcee for the event, entertainer Brad Zinn. This was followed by a series of guest speakers, skits, video presentations and elaborate reminiscences about the long-lost theme park, which disappeared from the Valley landscape 30 years ago. After the auditorium program, attendees were treated to commemorative cupcakes and then ushered off the premises to make way for a wedding scheduled at the museum later that afternoon.
Event attendees procured commemorative t-shirts and pins during the proceedings, while viewing memorabilia and rubbing elbows with Legend City celebrities like Vonda Kay Van Dyke, Dolan Ellis, and Wallace. “I wish the park had been this well attended,” Bueker remarked as he surveyed the overflow crowd.
A Legend City book is rumored to be set for release in early 2014.
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