Ganz lived in Prescott, Arizona, before moving to Phoenix in 1879. He established the Bank Exchange Hotel that same year and, in 1885, built a wholesale liquor business. He sold his liquor store in 1895 and served for 25 years as president of the National Bank of Arizona.
He began his political career with a two-year term on the Phoenix City Council, before being elected mayor in 1885 and 1899. During his first term as mayor, one of the city's most destructive fires burned 13 businesses on April 26, 1885, including Ganz's own Bank Exchange Hotel. Phoenix had no fire department or waterworks at the time, and Ganz urged the City Council to establish these improvements. It wasn't until after another fire on August 6, 1886, that funding for a waterworks facility and volunteer fire department was approved.
In 2001, professional historian Mark Pry wrote a biography of Ganz, Immigrant Banker: The Life of Emil Ganz. The book was commissioned by granddaughter Joan Ganz Cooney, a television producer who co-created Sesame Street; the biography is part of her papers, donated to the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University.
- Barbara Yost, "Right place, right time". The Jewish News of Greater Phoenix, 23 March 2001.
- Emil Ganz at Find a Grave
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