If you are from around here, you likely know the little A-frame building on the South side of McDowell, just West of 68th St. I have driven past the a-frame for years, but I didn’t know much about its history until early 2018. The building is going to be demolished unless someone steps forward to help move it from its current location.
This is the current state of the Polynesian Dairy Queen as of September 8th, 2018.
I happened to be researching a listing in Polynesian Paradise, which is located directly behind the A-frame. The whole SW corner of 68th St. and McDowell was Polynesian-themed; shopping, restaurants and condominiums. I started digging into 1960s history in the surrounding area and I found out that there used to be a shopping center called Polynesian Plaza right at 68th St. and McDowell. The plaza was demolished in the 1990s, but the little A-frame remained. The A-frame sat vacant for years before various businesses started leasing the building. First a rental car business (Enterprise), then an RV business (Scottsdale RV). Now, it sits vacant again and awaits demolition to make way for a storage facility, which will belong to a neighboring business.
I knew that the a-frame building was once a Dairy Queen, but I would soon find out it was actually built as the “Polynesian Dairy Queen”. Special thanks to John Southard, historic preservation commissioner for the city of Scottsdale (and Tempe), for finding an original certificate of occupancy for the Polynesian Dairy Queen in Scottsdale, AZ, which shows that it was even referred to as the Polynesian Dairy Queen back in 1965.
Ralph Haver ‘s office is credited with the design of Polynesian Plaza, and is also believed to have designed the Polynesian Dairy Queen, as an addition to Polynesian Plaza.
Special thanks to Scottsdale and Tempe historic preservation commissioner, John Southard, for finding this old article regarding the Polynesian Dairy Queen.
Photo of Christie Kinchen of Twins & Co. Realty in front of the Polynesian Dairy Queen when it was used as Scottsdale RV in early 2018.
The Polynesian Dairy Queen was opened by Don and Eleanor Voelz from Columbus, Indiana in 1965. They moved to Arizona to open the Polynesian Dairy Queen. The building itself was completed in 1964. It is the only Polynesian-themed Dairy Queen that ever existed. The roof peak is 42′ tall and has an outrigger-style beam with notched-out detail, a nod to Polynesian design. The interior space is small at only 1,110 square feet, with no additions since it was built.
Alison King of Modern Phoenix snapped these shots when the Polynesian Dairy Queen was used as an Enterprise Rental location. The covered driveway on the right has been removed since this photo was taken a few years ago, but the volcanic rock column that supported it is still onsite.
Polynesian Paradise condominiums were built in 1962 by Kaufman and Broad. The condominiums are located just to the South of the Polynesian Dairy Queen, which was built 2 years after Polynesian Paradise. Based on historic aerials, there was a street entrance to Polynesian Paradise that went right by the Polynesian Dairy Queen. There was a thriving section of Polynesian architecture in this area and it was just the coolest. Check out these old ads for Polynesian Paradise: