Saturday, April 29, 2006

Scottsdale homes not old, just historic

[Source: Shanna Hogan, East Valley Tribune] -- Some may describe Scottsdale’s 1950s neighborhoods as old, worn or weathered. The city’s Historic Preservation Commission views them as windows to the past. Last year, the commission designated its first two historic neighborhoods, Village Grove (pictured at left) and Town and Country Scottsdale. This year the commission hopes to do the same for at least two more. “We’re looking at neighborhoods built in the 50s,” said Don Meserve, Scottsdale’s preservation planner. “Production homebuilders were just learning their trade after World War II -- some of these 1950s neighborhoods really represent that.”

Scottsdale Estates 4, from Virginia Avenue to Oak Street west of 74th Street, and Sherwood Heights, between 56th and 60th streets north of Oak, are among the neighborhoods under consideration. The ones chosen could receive their designation by the end of the year. Using historic designation, the city is able to protect and preserve the area’s character. “It’s really considered a partnership between the city and the residents in these neighborhoods,” Meserve said.

Jesse and Cecile Rosalez are 15-year residents of Village Grove, a 255-house subdivision at the southwest corner of 68th and Oak streets. They said they sought out the neighborhood because of its classic character. “All the houses are different here,” Cecile Rosalez said. “These are solid, sturdy homes. You feel like they’ll last longer.”

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Jennifer Hibbard, The Real Estate Twins.]

Friday, April 28, 2006

UA's Rainbow Bridge to be completed by 2010

[Source: Teya Vitu, Tucson Citizen] -- The vote for color choice was too close to call last night for the $350 million Rainbow Bridge. Town hall participants split between light orange and dark copper for the proposed arch that would suspend the Arizona Science Center over Interstate 10 and the Santa Cruz River. The polling will continue on the Internet. The public more closely embraced the 50-foot-wide walkway on the roof of the center that replaced a much narrower previous design that renowned architect Rafael Viñoly described as a "catwalk." Viñoly described the fabric covered walkway as a park setting that could have "kiosks of food, places to sit, and shading."

People also liked Viñoly's ideas to illuminate the 370-foot-tall arch with colored lights at night. "To me, to be able to see a rainbow every evening would be wonderful," said Teresa Toro, a Tucson native who is a counselor at the downtown Davis Bilingual Learning Center. The town hall at the Berger Performing Arts Center unveiled design modifications Viñoly made in response to public reaction to his earlier design, where people complained about the stark white color, ungainly buildings at both ends, and unsightly views of the freeway. Viñoly's new design builds spiral pedestrian approach ramps into berms that blocks out the freeway. The landscape also partially shelters the IMAX theater, planetarium and observatory that have been moved off the bridge and onto land at both ends.

The audience largely welcomed the Rainbow Bridge. However, a large number also leaned more toward history than futuristic design. "To me this just overwhelms anything we want to see," said Gayle Hartmann, president of the Tucson Presidio Trust for Historic Preservation. "I would like to see something more European, something low, with tiles." [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Regents approve downtown Phoenix Ramada Inn for student housing

[Source: James Kindle, ASU State Press] -- The Arizona Board of Regents unanimously authorized ASU to lease the Phoenix Ramada Inn for the Downtown Phoenix Campus at their April 27 meeting. The Ramada will serve as housing for up to 267 students for two years starting this fall until permanent housing is built, said Richard Stanley, ASU senior vice president and university planner. "The nature of the rooms convert very nicely to student rooms without renovation," he said.

Mernoy Harrison, a vice provost for the Downtown campus, said the hotel was historic. "It is one of the oldest Ramadas in the world," he said. [Note: For more information about ASU's downtown campus, click here. For more information about the Ramada Inn, click here.]

Monday, April 24, 2006

Flagstaff cultural resources topic of April 24, 2006 City Council meeting

[Source: Marshall Whitmire and Nicole A. Woodman, Department of Geography, Planning & Recreation, Northern Arizona University] -- Monday, April 24, 2006 will be a critical day for continuing efforts to preserve and enhance Flagstaff's cultural resources, including historic districts, sites (esp. archaeological), buildings, other structures, and objects. After many months of careful development work, an extensive proposal for Heritage Resource Preservation will be made to the Flagstaff City Council at its 4 p.m. meeting at City Hall. The public is invited to attend.

Scheduled to be the first agenda item, the concept proposal will be presented by Karl Eberhard, Flagstaff's Urban Designer, using a creative and extensive PowerPoint presentation. A major emphasis of the proposed new program are the very significant sustainable economic benefits to Flagstaff and its local businesses that can result if our cultural heritage is preserved and becomes an even more central part of the city's tourism industry.

Currently, there is very little, if any, protection for even the most noteworthy of our cultural resources. In fact, under current regulations, the city would immediately have to issue a demolition permit for a building on the National Register of Historic Places if it were requested by the property owner. Without the development and implementation of the provisions of the proposal, Flagstaff's substantial cultural resources will continue to be extremely vulnerable to compromise and loss. With it, Flagstaff will be positioned to be a leader in heritage preservation in the state. For a copy of the proposal document and/or PowerPoint presentation, contact Karl Eberhard at 928-779-7632, ext. 7268.

Last call for Historic Preservation 101 workshop, Thursday, April 27, 2006 in Tucson

As part of the 2006 Arizona History Conference, a special pre-conference workshop, "Historic Preservation 101," will be held on Thursday, April 27, 2006, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Radisson City Center Hotel in Tucson. Sponsored by the Arizona Preservation Foundation, this workshop is designed for professionals and non-professionals who have little or no experience in historic preservation or who want to begin a historic preservation project. Professionals from the private and public sector will disseminate information on National Register of Historic Places, U.S. Secretary of Interior Standards for Rehabilitation, State Historic Preservation Office programs and policies, and local topics (researching a historic property, preservation and designation process, and preservation techniques and resources). Workshop leaders:
  • William Collins, State Historic Preservation Office, “The State Historic Preservation Office and You”
  • Ralph Comey, Ralph Comey Architects, “Working with Consultants”
  • Janet Parkhurst, Janet H. Strittmatter, Inc., “Researching a Historic Property”
  • Eric Vondy, State Historic Preservation Office, “Benefits and Tax Incentives for Historic Properties”
Registration fee: $25 (lunch not included). Send an e-mail to Vince Murray and include your name, organization, street address, city, state, zip, day phone, and e-mail address. Bring your check (made out to Arizona Preservation Foundation) to the workshop.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Tempe's Eisendrath House in need of help

[Source: Garin Groff, East Valley Tribune] -- Tempe’s historic Eisendrath House is celebrated for its adobe construction. But that treasured feature also threatens the home’s existence unless volunteers can raise some quick cash and reverse the aging process. The city-owned structure is essentially melting -- deteriorating in a process called adobe melt. The origin of the term is obvious to anybody who has seen walls that resemble a snow fort melting in the spring. Unless workers stop the melt soon, the house will crumble beyond repair. “It’s really deteriorated dramatically,” said Vic Linoff, a member of the Tempe Historic Preservation Foundation.

The work could cost $2 million. The city and community organizations expect to make their first significant financial progress this year during various events, including a May 6 fundraiser. Organizers hope to raise $20,000, but Mayor Hugh Hallman said he’ll announce a more substantial funding source at that event.

The home’s melting is obvious from the outside. Deep cracks in the stucco expose areas where walls that were once a foot thick are nearly gone. Some of the rose-tinted stucco is covered with modern, gray patches. The patches were done with the best of intentions, likely by an artist who rented the house in the 1980s and 1990s. But the patches have done more harm than good, said Darlene Justus, president of the foundation. The original stucco breathed and kept walls from getting too moist, but the modern stucco mix trapped moisture.

The city’s first priority is to fix the cracks and redo the roof to ensure rain doesn’t get inside. Also, the city needs to shore up the second floor because the adobe construction doesn’t tie it to the walls securely enough, said Joe Nucci, Tempe’s historic preservation officer. That will cost about $600,000. After that, the city would make nonstructural repairs and prepare the house for some other use. Officials have mentioned a museum, community meeting place or city offices, but no decision has been made.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Toru Kawana, East Valley Tribune. The fundraiser is 6 p.m. May 6, Tempe Historical Museum, 809 E. Southern Ave. $75 per person. R.S.V.P. by Friday. For more information, call 480-946-2168.]

Friday, April 21, 2006

HGTV seeks houses that are going to be moved

Home & Garden TV needs help finding houses that are going to be moved. HGTV seeks high-energy house movers and their clients for the new series, "House Movers." While HGTV understands that moving a historical property should be the last resort for preservation, it does happen. They're not just looking for historical houses that are ready to be moved, but any and all houses that are being moved, old or new. They're looking for challenging private house moves and interesting homeowners. The series will focus on the stories behind the move -- who's moving the house, where to, and why? What sort of obstacles will you face during the move? How will you execute the perfect move? For more information, contact Jeff Tipton at High Noon Entertainment at 303-712-3150.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

State issues revised standards for conducting archaeological investigations on private lands

The Arizona Governor’s Archaeology Advisory Commission (GAAC) and State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) have announced the revision of the 1993 Standards for Conducting Archaeological Investigations on Private Land. This document has been updated to reflect changes in philosophy, technology, and preservation that have occurred over the past 13 years of archaeology in this state and throughout the U.S. In generating this revised document, the GAAC solicited comments from the general public, as well as from professional and avocational communities, and this revision includes consideration of the comments received during that process.

Feel free to pass these standards onto private landowners, developers, and others, so that the messages and guidance contained within are available to those who need them. If you have any questions, contact Ann Valdo Howard, SHPO Public Archaeology Programs Manager, or the current GAAC Chair.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Local historic society hopes to preserve Wickenburg-Boetto pioneer property

The Wickenburg Historical Society was founded in 2000, the same year that the Town of Wickenburg purchased the property that contained the last home that Henry Wickenburg lived in prior to his death. The home (pictured left) was built in 1903. Henry Wickenburg was found dead outside the home in 1905, from what was thought to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Boetto family purchased the Wickenburg home in 1913 and owned it until 2000.

The intention for the Wickenburg Historical Society was to become instrumental in saving and refurbishing the Boetto property, which had been slated for demolition. The dream may become a reality. The town of Wickenburg has finally recognized the historical significance of the property and has imposed stringent CC&R’s upon the property, so that a preservation group can purchase it at auction.

The property has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. The completion for acceptance should be in early summer. Bill Otwell & Associates, Architects, are monitoring the renovation of the project. While partial funding has been applied for, the estimate for the entire project is $254,443. For more information, contact Cindy Thrasher, P.O. Box 771, Wickenburg, AZ 85358, 928-684-5129. [Photo source: Vince Murray, Arizona Historical Research.]

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

History related electronic news service initiated

The Coordinating Committee for History in Arizona (CCHA) has launched an electronic news service to inform interested parties about history-connected activities in Arizona. This service is not lengthy and does not have a standard delivery date, but it consists of concise, timely bulletins on subjects ranging from history-related events to current research. If you or someone you know would be interested in receiving these bulletins, send an e-mail. For more information about CCHA, visit their website.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Phoenix announces National Historic Preservation Month events

The City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office has announced its schedule of National Historic Preservation Month activities. For more information about any of the following activities, call 602-261-8699 or send an e-mail.
  • Pierson Place Sign Dedication, Thursday, May 4, 6:30 p.m, 3rd Avenue and Pierson Street.
  • Encanto Manor Sign Dedication, Tuesday, May 16, 6:30 p.m., 11th Avenue and Edgemont Street.
  • Historic Sites Poster Display, May 22 to June 2, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Phoenix City Hall Lobby, 200 W. Washington Street.
  • Garfield and North Garfield Sign Dedication, Tuesday, May 23, 6:30 p.m., Safe Haven, 1029 E. Garfield Street.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Eminent Domain reform bills tainted with buried “diminution in value” language (APA opinion)

[Source: Alan Stephenson, Vice-President for Legislative Affairs, Arizona Planning Association] -- The Arizona Legislature is considering Senate Concurrent Resolution 1019 restricting the use of eminent domain in Arizona. The Arizona Planning Association, a professional organization formed of land use experts, supports balanced eminent domain reform. Unfortunately useful and appropriate legislation to achieve this reform has been tainted by the insertion of buried “diminution of value” language in SCR 1019; language that would have a detrimental effect on Arizona’s communities and give our tax dollars to developers. What’s the most surprising is that the hidden language isn’t coming from inside Arizona –- it’s being forwarded by a well financed Illinois anti-government political action group. This group does not care about development that balances diverse property owner interests -- only eliminating government regulation.

What is “diminution of value?” It’s when a government regulation on a parcel of land causes the property owner to perceive a loss in value. For instance, say there is a vacant parcel adjacent to your home with residential zoning and a developer proposes to rezone it for a mega-mart shopping center because that will increase the property’s value. The proposed “diminution of value” language requires the government to either give the developer the right to build the center or pay, with your tax dollars the property owner for the lost commercial value. Your tax dollars would pay for every denied rezoning request and/or other government regulation along with all associated court costs. This will severely impact all city and county services such as police, and fire.

The language ensures that any land use action, whether it be rezoning or just the approval of a building permit could likely be subject to litigation and compensation. The language eliminates the ability of local elected officials to balance development interests with adjoining property owner concerns or other issues such as the economy or environment. It is important to note that current federal, state and local regulations already provide for appropriate safeguards relating to “diminution of value.” The current property rights system is an equitable and responsible system built on Arizona’s commitment to individual rights and community values. I urge you to contact your legislators and oppose SCR 1019 because it eliminates local ability to balance property owner rights with larger community needs and will lead to significant litigation and loss of your tax dollars.

Preservation Action moves its D.C. offices

Preservation Action, the national grassroots historic preservation lobbying group, will be moving its offices to the National Building Museum as of April 26, co-locating and partnering with the DC Preservation League. Staff is excited about this move -- to a fantastic historic building and community of allied nonprofits and agencies right on top of the Judiciary Square Metro stop (red line) and close to Capitol Hill. Their new address:

Preservation Action
National Building Museum
401 F Street NW, Room 324
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: 202-637-7873
Fax: 202-637-7874

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Why worry? Be happy? Cheerful-sounding lane buoys residents

[Source: Angela Cara Pancrazio, Arizona Republic] -- People don't believe Ray and Shari Lewis when they give out their address. Or John Lynch, Bruce Kinkner, Duvel and Andrea Pierre and their son, Gabriel. They have to repeat the name of the street they live on and spell it nearly every single day. Why Worry Lane.

No kidding, they tell bankers, mechanics, dry cleaners and school officials. They live on a street in north-central Phoenix called Why Worry Lane. Amidst the chaos of war, immigration and political scandals, Why Worry Lane symbolizes a refuge, or at least the illusion of one. "Everybody you talk to, they say, 'Gee, I never heard that name before. Must be fun not having to worry,' " said longtime Why Worry resident Kinkner. "Who doesn't have worries?" he asked. "In today's hustle bustle it's hard not to have something to worry about."

There was a time when people came to the Valley to relax, when asthma sufferers flocked to the desert air, when brittle winters persuaded those east of the Missouri River to relocate to the Southwest. When the first subdivisions began to take root among the citrus groves on the outskirts of Phoenix, the suburban ranch house developments became emblematic of American life in the mid-20th century. Today, the name of one of the streets in an early development, Why Worry Lane, speaks of another time, of an era when people came here to relax. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Holbrook Chamber committee works to develop comprehensive tourism plan

[Source: JoLynn Fox, Holbrook Tribune-News] -- A comprehensive development plan for Holbrook’s tourism being prepared by the Holbrook Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee is nearing completion. The roots of the plan have come from such resources provided by a number of studies, surveys and recommendations from state agencies. Using these resources, the committee has addressed four areas of development to help expand Holbrook’s tourism economy, including culture and heritage, recreation and leisure, regional tourism, and general marketing.
  • Under culture and heritage are listed the Old West, Native American Culture, Route 66 Experience, Historic Preservation, and Railroad District.
  • Recreation and leisure addressed city parks and recreation facilities, business development, and community events.
  • Regional tourism focused on day trips and Petrified Forest National Park.
  • General marketing includes the community environment, community/general marketing, and community education.
Each of these sections has been defined as to descriptions, goals, the benefits, the stakeholders, process/method of implementation, and a directory index that refers to the resources and the particular pages containing the used materials. The stakeholders include the City of Holbrook, the Holbrook Chamber of Commerce, the Navajo County Historical Society, Holbrook Main Street, local businesses, Navajo County Parks and Recreation, and surrounding communities and tourism related entities, such as Petrified Forest National Park. The goal of the tourism committee is to bring money into the community by visitors spending more time here and, in turn, more money. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Scottsdale City Council approves Taliesin West rezoning 6-0

Scottsdale City Council approved 6-0 a boundary designation for Taliesin West (pictured at left) at its first meeting in April, setting the stage for the property to be included on the Scottsdale Historic Register. “This has always been a worthwhile project, and we are excited that it is coming to a close,” said Beverly Hart, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation chief executive officer.

The designation will be achieved by rezoning 10.6 acres — what is called the historic core — of the foundation property to add a historic property overlay to the existing single-family residential environmentally-sensitive zoning. The foundation owns nearly 500 acres bordered by McDowell Mountain Ranch to the north, Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. to the southwest, Ancalla to the east, and McDowell Mountain Sonoran Preserve. The affected acreage is roughly in the middle of the property. “This will be a formal recognition of the property’s significance to the city, and ensures we will work together with the foundation to maintain and preserve the property,” said Don Meserve, Scottsdale preservation planner.

Taliesin West was the winter home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the site of his architecture school. The school continues to operate on the site. “Our efforts are designed to show the property is honored as a living, breathing site of architecture,” Ms. Hart said. “The foundation plans no major changes to the historic core.” [Photo source: Arizona State University.]

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Final lecture on "the good, bad, and ugly" of Arizona cities is April 4, 2006

"The City: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" lecture series, sponsored by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, addresses the potential (and problems) our rapidly growing Phoenix metropolitan community faces. Guests along with local intellects of national stature will ponder our sprawling, low-rise suburbia, and what kind of megacity and urban fabric our various municipalities might shape for the future.

April 4: Panel Discussion and Audience Dialogue ~ ASU's College of Design dean Wellington Reiter, Linda Hirshman, ASU professor Nan Ellin, and architect Will Bruder will debate and exchange ideas with the audience. Discussion will explore such questions as, What are the most memorable and functional cities you have experienced and why? How might we, collectively, shape a future metropolitan area that is livable and extraordinary?
Free parking is available in the public parking garage located to the west of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and directly behind Los Olivos restaurant on Wells Fargo Avenue. Additional free parking is available at the Old Town Parking Corral at East Second Street and Brown Avenue and at the library parking garage located on Drinkwater Boulevard at East Second Street. [For more information, click here.]