The George H.N. Luhrs Family in Phoenix and Arizona, 1847-1984

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In 1977, when Uncle George moved into our home, he was ill. He had one broken arm, the other was dislocated, and he was suffering from depression. At this time we brought home the collection of over 100 years of family and business history from the basement of the Luhrs Hotel. This assemblage of documents had been stored haphazardly; it was not sorted, and the pictures were not labeled. As I unpacked a box, I would take the pictures to Uncle George to ask him about each person in the photographs. Often only he could identify the people portrayed. Excited, I would show each group of letters to him. Many of the early letters were written in German. He had some of the old German letters translated immediately. During part of this time, an archivist from Hayden Library, Arizona State University, was making regular visits to our home to tape Uncle George's recounting of the history of the early days of Phoenix as he lived them. The involvement with the letters, pictures, and the oral history was the catalyst which led to Uncle George's becoming so interested in the events of the family that he decided to write a book to preserve his family's history and its contribution to the early days of his beloved Phoenix. In order to permanently safeguard the documents and to provide availability to future scholars for study, he labeled the pictures, put all family and Luhrs business papers in the "Luhrs Family Collection" and arranged for the collection to be given at intervals to the Hayden Library, ASU, Tempe, AZ. In addition, at the time of his death he left Hayden Library a stipend for the maintenance of the papers and for the acquisition of other historical papers and pictures of Phoenix and Central Arizona.

Writing the history became Uncle George's dream, his desire, his passion. He spent the rest of his life, nearly seven years, working on "THE BOOK" and labeling the many, many pictures of early Phoenix and the family. Uncle George suffered several serious illnesses during this time, but his zeal endured. He wrote with fear that he would be unable to complete the book. He finished writing THE GEO. H.N. LUHRS FAMILY OF PHOENIX and ARIZONA, 1847 to 1983 early in 1984 just a few months before his death.

Uncle George spent many hours selecting the pictures and historical papers and determining their exact placement in the book. He planned the title page with great care. The cover design gave him great pleasure. He chose the cover material after some thought. He even chose the weight and type of paper to be used. He did not want the book to be edited, and the book has not been edited. All of his wishes have been carried out. THE GEO. H.N. LUHRS FAMILY OF PHOENIX and ARIZONA 1847 to 1983 is indeed Uncle George's book.