Arizona Highways celebrates 90 years with special anniversary issue

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Arizona Highways magazine is celebrating its 90th anniversary in April with a special collector's issue.

The editorial staff went through every issue since 1925 to assemble a collection of some of its most memorable photos, words, ads, maps and artwork.

Nearly double the size of most issues and divided into nine decades, the anniversary issue walks readers through the history of Arizona Highways.

"We've come a long way since 1925, when we ran ads for road graders and published stories about bridge construction," Arizona Highways Editor Robert Stieve said in a statement. "Things got a lot more interesting in 1938, when Editor Raymond Carlson and Art Director George Avey came along. They're the founding fathers of a magazine that would go on to make publishing history in 1946 with the world's first all-color publication, get banned in the Soviet Union in 1965 because it was viewed as propaganda, and share the beauty of Arizona with readers in all 50 states and more than 120 countries around the world."

The April issue pays tribute to some of Arizona Highways' milestones, like that first-all color publication and an issue known as the "turquoise issue." When an oil crisis in 1974 made it difficult for Americans to travel, Arizona Highways shifted its focus to Native American art and jewelry, helping to put that industry on the map.

"You have to evolve for a changing audience," Stieve told 3TV.

The anniversary issue also recognizes Avey's work with a reproduction of a map he created in 1940 on the back cover.

"He did all these little illustrations, made these beautiful maps, and they really became a trademark of Arizona Highways," Stieve said of the magazine's original art director. "Over the years, we've done a couple of posters. I've been trying desperately to get one. I've been searching eBay. I saw one hanging on a lodge in the White Mountains and I was just (like), 'Please, let me buy that.' "

The front cover, which features a highway and elements of Arizona's landscape, was created by world-renowned painter and Arizona native Ed Mell.

Limited-edition prints of these front and back covers will be available online at or by calling 1-800-543-5432.

Also, for one day only, Arizona Highways is offering a 12-month digital subscription for $1, the same price as a subscription for the magazine in 1925. The sale will begin at 8 a.m. April 1 at and end at midnight. The special price is limited to the first 10,000 customers.

A one-year subscription to the print version of Arizona Highways is $24.