Friday, June 30, 2006

Phoenix's Garfield, North Garfield become historic districts

[Source: Marcia Gaysue, Arizona Republic] -- After 12 years of planning, the Garfield and North Garfield neighborhoods in central Phoenix have been declared Phoenix historic districts. "We started the process in 1994," said Dana Johnson, Revitalization and Economic Development Committee chairman. "We made tiny steps, but we finally got what we wanted."

There are 728 properties in the Garfield Historic District and 290 homes in the North Garfield Historic District. "Being a historical district increases the values of properties. Look at what it did for the Roosevelt and Fairview districts: Their property value went up," Johnson said. "It doesn't increase overnight, but it's nice too see it increasing."

The Garfield Historic District is bounded by Roosevelt and Van Buren streets between Seventh and 16th streets. The North Garfield District boundaries run from Interstate 10 to Roosevelt Street between Seventh and 16th streets.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Volunteer who complained about failure to protect archaeological site dismissed

[Source: KVOA News 4, Tucson] -- Arizona's historic site steward program has dismissed the head steward at an archaeological site north of Tucson for complaining to the media about Pima County's failure to protect it from vandals. Retired Army Col. Bill Ohl was the chief steward at Los Morteros, the site of a Hohokam ball court and associated village near Marana. He was dismissed from the volunteer post two days after a story appeared in the Arizona Daily Star in which he complained about the vandalism and lack of county response. Ohl received a letter from the State Historic Preservation Office telling him to "find other venues for your volunteer efforts."

The June 21 letter from state program coordinator Mary Estes said Ohl violated the site steward's code of ethics by talking to a reporter and writing "confrontational" letters to county administrators. The letter also said Ohl endangered the site by revealing its location. Ohl said he wasn't aware of any rules barring him from talking to the press. He said he was only carrying out the second and third goals of the program, to "increase public awareness" and "discourage site vandalism." [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Monday, June 26, 2006

Downtown Prescott's post-fire era is focus of new historic district

[Source: Cindy Barks, Prescott Daily Courier] -- Within months of a turn-of-the-century fire that destroyed much of Prescott's business district, a vigorous rebuilding effort was under way. Indeed, history shows that downtown Prescott owes its unique architectural look in large part to the July 14, 1900 fire that burned eight blocks of the community.

The 1900 fire ­ the third in Prescott's then-relatively brief history ­ caused local builders to re-evaluate their materials. While the pre-fire frontier town consisted mostly of false-front wooden buildings, the new downtown that sprang up featured more "fireproof" materials of brick, poured concrete and stone. That is one of the points in the City of Prescott's recent application for designation of a new historic district. The post-fire era is the focus of the North Prescott Townsite Historic District, which would commemorate a large chunk of Prescott's commercial district.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Les Stukenberg, Daily Courier]

Arizona's historic places benefit from lottery ticket sales

[Source: Arizona State Parks press release] -- Why preserve historic places? The places of Arizona's yesteryear should be preserved and incorporated into present day living. It provides a sense of place and gives us insight to where we came from and direction on where we are going. Preservation cannot wait. Arizona voters created the Heritage Fund back in 1990 and stipulated that a percentage of the funds go towards state historic preservation projects. Since that time Arizona State Parks has supported 519 projects statewide and awarded more than $19.8 million towards Arizona's historic preservation.

Heritage Fund Historic Preservation projects awarded in the 2nd grant cycle totaling over $1 million:

Central Arizona
  • Buckeye Main Street Coalition, Inc. - $92,529 for Buckeye's Courthouse and Jail for stabilization work to the 1912 Buckeye Courthouse and Jail.
  • Glendale - $57,009 for weatherizing, stabilizing, and repairing exteriors of four contributing Floralcroft Historic District properties.
  • Tempe - $33,000 to prepare a National Register Nomination and rehabilitate the red tile roof on the 1915 D.J. Frankenberg House.
  • Mesa - $100,000 for rehabilitation of the 1920 Alston House into office spaces for community organizations, and a community center for residents of the Washington Park/Escobedo neighborhood.
Northern Arizona
  • Prescott - $16,000 for restoration work on the 1928 Elks Opera House second lobby including removal of the dropped ceiling and mural and artwork restoration.
  • Peeples Valley-Yarnell Historic Society - $23, 357 for renovation and restoration of the 1927 Peeples Valley Schoolhouse and attached teacherage.
  • Springerville - $100,000 for repair and stabilization of the 1884 Springerville Elementary School.
  • Arizona Board of Regents for & on behalf of Northern Arizona University - $15,936 for orchard restoration to preserve historic tree varieties; and develop information to interpret the historical and biological importance of the 1912-1933 Slide Rock orchard.
  • Center for Desert Archaeology - $96,892 for "Planning for Little Colorado River National Heritage Area Feasibility Study" in Apache County. Significant economic benefits are expected for the region as an outcome of this project.
Western Arizona
  • Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area - $100,000 for Yuma's Railroad at the Swing Span Pivot to facilitate the telling of the arrival of Arizona's first train in 1877, and how the swing span pivot bridge allowed rail and steamboats to co-exist.
  • International Sonoran Desert Alliance - $50,000 for the 1917 Ajo Curley School Rehabilitation and Stage Door project.
Southern Arizona
  • The Primavera Foundation, Inc. - $98,600 for restoration to Tucson's historic 1937 Alamo Apartment Building, one of the few remaining two-story motor hotels in Pima County.
  • Miami - $99,155 for the 1920 Miami-Bullion Plaza School Building Phase I.
  • Pinal County - $100,000 for the 1891 Pinal County Courthouse Roof repair located in Florence, Arizona.
  • Florence Preservation Foundation - $93,750 for rehabilitation to the circa 1882 Cuen House & Butcher Shop/First Telephone Exchange in Florence's Historic District.
  • Bisbee Community Y - $16,778 to enhance both the appearance and integrity of the 1920s Bisbee Community Y building basement.
Historic Preservation grant workshops are scheduled in October 2006 for the 2nd grant cycle. Deadlines are the last working day of May for the 1st cycle, and the last working day of December for the 2nd cycle. Contact Vivia Strang, Historic Preservation Grant Coordinator, at 602-542-4174 for more information about the application process or visit the Arizona State Parks website for more information on grant programs.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Jerome strikes it rich with art

[Source: Karen Fernau, Arizona Republic] -- Jerome draws visitors with its Old West history and sends them away with a healthy appreciation for its modern-day charm. This hillside town of defunct copper mines and brothels, ghost stories and historical buildings is home to artists, writers, merchants, hippies, and restaurateurs.

Dubbed in 1903 by the New York Post as the "wickedest town in America," Jerome today is better known as an up-and-coming art community with 18 galleries, about 50 specialty shops, museums and restaurants with well-stocked wine cellars and sophisticated entrées such as Blue Nose sea bass and prickly pear barbecued pork tenderloin. "Hip people from all over have made this pretty town, especially in the last five years, a hot art destination," said Curt Pfeffer, who opened Arum Jewelry 22 years ago. "Shoppers can find merchandise and art here that they can't find anywhere else." [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Vanishing past: Important archaeological sites face growing threats

[Source: Tim Vanderpool, Tucson Weekly] -- Narrow your eyes here, and it's easy to imagine ancient Hohokam villages fanning across the flats, smoke from their low fires curling into desert. Tagged Los Morteros by archaeologists, for bedrock mortars found atop boulders, this Tucson Mountain site bustled with civilization long before civilization gave it a name. But open your eyes a bit wider, and now what you see is the subdivided sprawl of Continental Ranch. Today, entombed under Continental's tidy concrete--beneath the cul-de-sacs and curbing and meaty foundations--are the ghosts of this finally vanished world.

Meanwhile, in areas less touched by development than Los Morteros, looters, vandals and off-roaders are taking up the slack. Last year alone, monitors with a state-run volunteer program reported 212 vandalism incidents, 27 lootings, 21 trashed signs, two unearthed human remains, 13 cases of spray-painting and two petroglyph thefts. Amongst deliberate destruction, blind ignorance and so-called progress, Arizona is quickly losing its prehistoric heritage. And that dismays Mary Estes, who runs the volunteer Arizona Site Steward Program for the State Parks Department.

"You'd think people would have a little more respect for Arizona's past," she says. "But unfortunately, much of this damage is done by people who haven't been educated to the fact that it's our collective past--a past we should appreciate and enjoy." [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Catlin Court homeowner shares rehabbing lessons

[Source: Michelle Park, Arizona Republic] -- Before she rehabilitated a historical home, Catlin Court resident Lori Green said changing a light bulb was about the extent of her home-improvement skills. Now, after installing a toilet, digging a sewer line and treating window stress cracks, the executive director of the Catlin Court Historic District Association said she can do "just about anything." On Saturday, Green spent about an hour sharing the lessons she's learned about historical home renovation with an audience of more than 20 at the Glendale Civic Center. Her program, "Remodeling Your Historic Home: A Case Study," was one of several sessions offered during the first Home and Heritage Fair, held on the last day of the fourth annual Arizona Historic Preservation Conference.

In sharing the chronological story of how she renovated the house at 5845 W. Gardenia Ave., Green imparted advice, identified mistakes she made and earned laughter with tales of misfortune. Having a vision for a property and devising a solid plan are two things those interested in rehabilitating historical properties should do, Green said. Selecting a property that fits one's lifestyle is important, too, she said. About 30 days after Green moved into her house on Gardenia Avenue, the air-conditioning died. After that, her washer and water heater sprung a leak. Using the problems as prime examples, Green strongly encouraged property owners to take out homeowner warranties on everything and have property inspections. "Either A, hire a contractor, or B, buy some tools," she said. [Note: To read the full article, click here]

Friday, June 16, 2006

Scottsdale seeks historic status for ’50s district

[Source: Brian Powell, East Valley Tribune] -- The 1950s-era garden apartment buildings tucked away in downtown Scottsdale feature “Googie,” or Space Age architecture, accented rock walls and large balcony windows surrounding grassy courtyards with fountains and pools. And that’s how many residents want it to stay, supporting a city proposal to designate the area a garden apartment historic district. “We love the (Scottsdale) Palms and will do everything we can to maintain what we have,” said Mark Bianchi, homeowners association vice president of the building originally known as Jacaranda.

Similar comments were echoed by other building owners and residents who want to invest in their properties while maintaining the style and features that attracted them there. “Just the charm, the vintage, retro feel, there’s nothing like it anywhere in Scottsdale or Arizona that I’ve seen,” said Toby Tibbet, who is in escrow to buy a unit at Parc Scottsdale. “There’s a real neighborhood feel that some subdivisions don’t have.”

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo of Scottsdale garden apartment by Paul O'Neill, East Valley Tribune.]

2006 Governor's Heritage Preservation Awards

Peoria may monitor archaelogical sites

[Source: Cecilia Chan, Arizona Republic] -- Peoria may set up its own volunteer program to monitor archaeological sites after hitting an impasse with the state, apparently over liability insurance. The city last year signed an agreement to participate in the Site Steward Program, a project of the Arizona State Historical Preservation Office. The program trains and assigns volunteers to monitor historical areas to prevent vandalism. Senior Planner Phil Gardner said staff will propose at the June 20 City Council meeting that Peoria operate its own program. "It essentially will be one that will have a big component of training and processing of applications of site stewards and program monitoring," Gardner said. "We feel we need a program."

Gardner said that for now, neighborhood residents and police drive by sporadically to keep an eye on the 20-acre Hohokam site near Terramar Boulevard. City Attorney Steve Kemp said Peoria and the state have a number of legal issues over the intergovernmental agreement. "Regardless if those are resolved or not, the city has been working with the state and whether we work with the state under the program or do it ourselves, the city is committed to taking care of these sites," Kemp said. "The biggest difference would be that the city might be more responsible for training as compared to the state."

Kemp declined to disclose what the disagreements are between the city and state. "If this is the direction they want to go, it's up to them," said Mary Estes, the program's resource protection specialist. "This is the first time since 1988 when the program first started that we were not able to negotiate or get the entity participating in the program to provide insurance." [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tarp not enough to save 90-year-old Tucson building

[Source: Rob O'Dell, Arizona Daily Star] -- The torn blue tarp that adorns the Marist College building in Downtown Tucson looks like it belongs on the top of a temporary tent. Instead it is the protection from the elements for a crumbling 90-year-old historic adobe building that is deteriorating before everyone's eyes. The tarp, put up last year to protect the building after a piece of it fell off during the last monsoon season, has since split wide open, exposing a crater in the northwest corner of the structure, which is the only three-story adobe building in Southern Arizona, said local architect Bob Vint. Another monsoon should arrive within weeks.

Hoping to save the building from another pounding from Mother Nature, City Councilman Jose Ibarra has put up $24,000 of his ward office money to study how much it will cost to rehabilitate the building and make it safe to occupy. The study should take about three months, and Ibarra wants the city's Department of Urban Planning to do the study to ensure that it is done in a timely manner. The study will "tell us how bad a situation it is," Ibarra said, adding, "We have to do all we can to preserve historic structures Downtown."

"The building is exposed and is only protected by the tarp," Ibarra said, noting that monsoon season is again almost upon us. "We need to get going on this, protect the building and not allow it to fall into more disrepair." John Shaheen, the property and insurance director for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, said the building is in its last days. He said the city and the diocese must move quickly and not get caught up in the details on what it may be used for in the future. "If we don't do something to save it, the point will be moot," Shaheen said of the building. "We're up against time."

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Kelly Presnell, Arizona Daily Star]

Monday, June 12, 2006

Arcadia High bids farewell to its Circle

[Source: Melissa Navas, Arizona Republic] -- At Arcadia High School, it's hip to be That's what students, teachers and staff say about their beloved Circle, an iconic building. This week construction crews are taking over the school and are working to raze the Circle at the end of the month. It will be rebuilt as part of a $45.7 million renovation of the 46-year old school. The Circle is doughnutlike with a two-story classroom structure enclosing a circular library. Ramps and stairs zigzag throughout the complex. Circle buildings were popular in post-World War II architecture, especially in the Valley, said project architect Brad Gildea. However, very few, if any schools aside from Arcadia featured the futuristic circular buildings, and Arcadia became known as the school with the spaceship. Perhaps what has made the building's design so special is its ability to create a welcoming and comforting atmosphere, said Principal Anne-Marie Woolsey. "They say you're never alone in the Circle," Woolsey said.

Last week, during the final days of school, people said goodbye to the Circle in their own ways. Minutes before Ben Ren's biology final, the freshman walked around both the inside and perimeter of the building to capture images with his digital camera. Since he has a 96 percent in the class, the photos were more of a priority than the test, he said. He passed by students who were playing hacky sack, listening to portable music players and others chatting with friends. Ren, who is originally from Guangzhou, China, said he had never seen anything like the building in his former country. "It's kind of special. I've had a good time with this building because me and my friends meet here every day at lunch," said the 16-year-old Ren.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Suzanne Starr, Arizona Republic]

Downtown dig reveals Tucson of 1880-1915

[Source: Garry Duffy, Tucson Citizen] -- Tucson's past is being unearthed downtown as a prelude to the city's future. Two archaeological digs offer slices of life in the Old Pueblo, circa 1880 to 1915, adding to the relatively skimpy knowledge available about commercial establishments from territorial days up to and through statehood in 1912. While we can expect more digging as redevelopment progresses, archaeological work won't necessarily uncover everything downtown. That's because such work, required when federal dollars are involved, is not required when projects are done with purely private funds. That makes the current digs more significant, archaeologists say. "This was a block that had saloons and restaurants, an opera house and billiard halls," said Homer Thiel, dig project manager for Desert Archaeology, the private firm gathering data from the site, which is just north of the Martin Luther King Jr. apartments and just east of the Ronstadt Transit Center downtown. "People would get off the train across the street and come here" for food, drink, entertainment and a place to sleep, he said.

The location is directly south of the Historic Train Depot on Toole Avenue, a site being prepped for a major new mixed-use development for Depot Plaza, which is to be a cornerstone of the city's ambitious Rio Nuevo downtown rejuvenation. The new development will house residential, retail, restaurant and other commercial enterprises, an upscale version of the small commercial node that Thiel and his team of archaeologists have probed for the past three weeks and will continue to study for 2 1/2 weeks. What they are finding offers insight into the daily lives of merchants and customers of the businesses at the dig site: bottles; pottery, both intact and in pieces; a corroded ax head - odd bits and pieces that were parts of people's lives. Excavation pits dot the site, unearthing old foundations, even the remnants of an old orchard, that researchers believe will tell them about the nature of the buildings and architecture of that period. "We're hoping to find samples of materials from the restaurants and saloons and other buildings that were here," Thiel said.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Norma Jean Gargasz, Tucson Citizen]

Goldwater memorabilia is being lost to time

[Source: Matthew Benson, Arizona Republic] -- Historic preservation and modern fiscal conservatism collide in a fourth-floor room at Arizona State University's Hayden Library. This is home to the Goldwater Papers, the world's largest collection of letters, photographs, newspaper clippings and every manner of correspondence from Sen. Barry Goldwater. The Republican and political titan, considered by many the forefather of modern conservatism, died in 1998. But here he remains - his spirit, anyway - kept in box upon box and stacked floor to ceiling.

There are at least 2 million documents, not including microfilm, videotapes and other records. Some photographs date back to the 1800s. "His legacy is right here. This is it," archivist Linda Whitaker says. "I find something every day that just blows me away." But she and others with the Arizona Historical Foundation, which manages the collection, worry that it's in jeopardy. Much has yet to be cataloged and preserved, and the enemies of preservation - air, humidity and time - are slowly eroding history. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Phoenix City Council subcommittee wants Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District expanded

[Source: Barbara Stocklin, City of Phoenix] -- On June 7, 2006, the Housing, Neighborhoods, and Historic Preservation Subcommittee of the Phoenix City Council recommended 3-1 that the City Council initiate Historic Preservation zoning to expand the Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District. The boundary expansion would consist of the north side of McDowell Road between 11th and 15th Avenues (except for the service station at the northeast corner of McDowell Road and 15th Avenue). The blocks in question consist primarily of low-scale garden apartment buildings built between 1930 and 1950. The proposed local historic district boundary expansion would correlate with the National Register Historic district boundaries for this district.

Initiation of HP zoning for these boundaries will be on the June 21, 2006, 5 p.m. agenda of the City Council. A public hearing on the item would then be held by the Historic Preservation Commission on August 21, 2006, with hearings by the Village Planning Committee, Planning Commission, and City Council to follow.

Douglas' Grand Theatre renovation proceeding

[Source: The Daily Dispatch] -- Next time you drive by or stroll down G Avenue, you may notice a buzz of activity around the old Grand Theatre generated by the renovation efforts of the Douglas Arts and Humanities Association (DAHA). This diverse group is composed of local community members, who have been working on the restoration and refurbishment of this grand, historic theater. The Grand Theatre has been approved for a federal grant for $346,000, for which DAHA must raise matching funds. The feasibility of restoring the Grand Theatre to its former glory is guaranteed if all restoration phases are completed.

The restoration benefits will be felt not only culturally with movies, concerts, and live performances, but with an influx to the Douglas economy of visitors, tourism, shopping and lodging. Currently, DAHA is sponsoring its annual 4th of July Raffle. The winning raffle number will be drawn on July 4, 2006. [For details, visit their special website.]

The Grand Theatre opened in 1919. It was considered to be the largest and most beautiful theatre between Los Angeles and San Antonio. Ginger Rogers, Pavlova, and John Philip Sousa, to mention just a few great artists, performed on stage at the Grand. Originally it also housed a Tea Room, candy store, and barbershop. The Grand was the site of many stage productions, movies and Douglas High School graduations. This aging dowager of theatres has fallen on hard times over the years, having a collapsed roof due to plugged gutters and massive interior damage from the water. In addition to being listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Grand is also on the local "Endangered List" of Historical Buildings that need immediate attention.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Arizona Governor announces 2006 Heritage Preservation Honor Awards

The recipients of the 24th Annual Governor's Heritage Preservation Honor Awards have been announced by Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. The awards recognize individuals, organizations, and projects that represent outstanding achievement in preserving Arizona's prehistoric and historic resources. The Arizona Preservation Foundation and the State Historic Preservation Office, a division of the Arizona State Parks department, commissioned a panel of judges representing the fields of archaeology, history, and historic preservation to select the honorees.

"Preserving Arizona's history and culture is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give to the state," said Governor Napolitano. "These awards honor those who have spent countless hours ensuring that Arizona's past remains an important part of our future."

2006 recipients of the Governor's Awards are:
  • Arizona Public Service for historic preservation efforts related to the retirement of the Childs and Irving hydroelectric power plants (between Strawberry and Camp Verde).
  • Catlin Court Historic District Association for efforts to create and nurture Glendale's first historic district.
  • Victor Linoff (Mesa) for more than three decades of work in preservation.
  • Mandell & Meyer Building rehabilitation/adaptive reuse project team (Casa Grande).
  • Danny Morales for his rehabilitation work on San Xavier del Bac Mission (Tucson).
  • The makers of "Nihizazii K'eeda'didleeh Nt'ee: Our Ancestors Knew How to Farm" documentary (Ganado).
  • U.S. Representative Ed Pastor (Phoenix) for long-standing support of preservation in the halls of Congress.
  • Lyle Stone, Ph.D. (Tubac) for a lifetime of preservation work.
  • Verde Valley Senior Center rehabilitation/adaptive reuse project team (Cottonwood).
  • Yuma Crossing Cultural Alliance for Yuma Crossing Day.
The 24th Annual Governor's Heritage Preservation Honor Awards will be presented on June 16 at a special lunch to be held in conjunction with the 4th Annual Arizona Historic Preservation Conference at the Glendale Civic Center in Glendale, AZ. All ten award winners will be honored at the luncheon and the Grand Award will be announced at the luncheon. Lunch attendance and conference registration are open to the public. Tickets to the awards luncheon are $65. Conference registration information is online. Those wishing more information about the awards luncheon and conference can also call 602-789-9132.

Arizona historic preservation conference next week

[Source: Elizabeth Jackman, Glendale Star] -- “Changing Places” has been chosen as the theme for the Fourth Annual Arizona Historic Preservation Conference scheduled for June 15 to 17 at the Glendale Civic Center. Board President of the Arizona Preservation Foundation, Jim McPherson, said Glendale was chosen as the site for this year's conference because of the excellent work Glendale has done in historic preservation, especially the downtown Catlin Court neighborhood. The first conference was in Chandler, the second in Tempe, and the third in Tucson.

“There will be three components to the conference, the first will be 36 sessions on a variety of different topics, the second is the 24th Annual Governor's Heritage Preservation Honor Awards luncheon, and the third is the First Annual Home and Heritage Fair,” McPherson said. The 36 sessions are designed to play off this year's theme. “They will be of interest to people who live in urban places, small town and rural places, ancient places (archaeology), Native American places, parks and heritage places, and protecting places,” McPherson said.

Speakers at the conference will include Mayor Elaine Scruggs; author Charles Bowden; noted lecturer on American and general archaeology Brian Fagan; and Ann Pritzlaff, presidential appointee to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in Washington D.C.

Carol St. Clair, president of the Glendale Historical Society, said her organization will be organizing tours of Manistee Ranch, Sahuaro Ranch (pictured above), Historic downtown Glendale and the Catlin Court Historic District.

The 24th Annual Governor's Heritage Preservation Honor Awards luncheon and ceremony will recognize people, organizations, and projects that represent outstanding achievements in preserving Arizona's prehistoric and historic resources.

“We plan to hold our First Annual Home and Heritage Fair on Saturday to increase attendance,” McPherson said. “There is a $15 fee and it is completely open to the public, who can come and go as they please. There will be demos, workshops, and tables with vendors with information on preservation projects.” Topics will include how to research your historic home and neighborhood; rehabilitation for beginners; financial incentives for historic homes; how to buy and sell historic homes; who's who in preservation; advocating for preservation; taking your board from good to great; and preservation roundtable.

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Antiquities Act, the 100th anniversary of Montezuma Castle National Monument, and the 40th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act,” McPherson said. “Preservation advocates have much to celebrate at this year's conference, but much more work must be done to protect Arizona's heritage in this time of frenzied growth.” The conference is open to the public. To register or to get additional information, visit the conference Web site.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Scottsdale moves to save "gardens"

[Source: Carol Sowers, Arizona Republic] -- Riding the country's wave of post-World War II nostalgia, Scottsdale leads the Valley in preserving homes from that era. Now it may become the first to add disappearing "garden apartments" to its cache of midcentury treasures. Valley preservation experts say they know of no other cities discussing historical designations for the garden-style apartments that flourished nationwide between 1946 and 1965. The graceful complexes are known by their decorative metal fences and dramatic rock walls marking the entry ways. Saving the garden apartments will be discussed by the city's Historic Preservation Commission today and will help keep Scottsdale ahead of the curve in preserving midcentury architecture.

Scottsdale is the Valley's first city to give historic designation to two post-World War II neighborhoods, which were typical of mass-produced homes built around the country for returning GIs. "When you preserve property, you look for the ones that reflect your history," said Debbie Abele, Scottsdale's preservation officer. The 1950s were Scottsdale's "boom period, when we rose to national progress," she said. It is the era when Motorola came to town and GIs returned from the war, she said. Now that many of these Scottsdale neighborhoods have turned 50, they have reached the magic number to qualify them for historic status. Scottsdale's aggressive efforts to hang on to its significant buildings "make it a local leader" in the Valley, said Kathryn Leonard, National Historic Register coordinator for the State Historic Preservation Office, which keeps an eye on cities' preservation efforts.

Mesa and Phoenix have post-World War II neighborhoods on their historical registries, but they were not mass-produced, making them less typical of the era, said Liz Wilson, a Phoenix preservation planner, who has worked in Mesa and Scottsdale. Wilson says Phoenix is interested in garden apartments but has not surveyed the city to decide if any can be preserved. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva's offers comments on 100 years of the Antiquities Act

June 8 is the 100th anniversary of the Antiquities Act, an obscure law adopted by Congress in 1906, giving the president authority to permanently reserve as national monuments federal sites with significant prehistoric, historic, or natural features. Beginning with Theodore Roosevelt, presidents have used the act to protect more than 160 of America's best-known and beloved landscapes. To read U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva's full comments about the history and importance of the Antiquities Act, click here.

"Images of a Storied Land" lecture series to be held June 10 in Mesa

This lecture series focuses on key Phoenix area archaeology and current research, and will conveniently be held at both the Mesa Southwest Museum and Pueblo Grande Museum. The first lecture of the series is this Saturday, June 10 at 2 PM, in the Mesa Southwest Museum theater. Dr. Jerry Howard of Mesa Southwest Museum and Dr. Todd Bostwick of Pueblo Grande Museum will offer their perspectives on the platform mound sites that defined the many large villages that lined the canals of the Gila and Salt river valleys. Why were Pueblo Grande and Mesa Grande platform mounds so large? And how did the residents of these communities relate to one another and to the many other communities with smaller mounds that were once common? What needs to be done to ensure that these mounds are preserved for the future? Click here for more information about this and other upcoming lectures.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tucson Heritage Park work may start in 2007

[Source: Teya Vitu, Tucson Citizen] -- Tucson Origins Heritage Park - the heart and soul of the downtown Rio Nuevo revitalization - could start coming out of the ground by the end of next year. That could bring Tucsonans a rebuilt Mission San Agustin and Convento - the start of Europeanized Tucson - in 2009-10. The Mission Gardens may be ready for the public in 2008, said Marty McCune, the city's historic preservation officer. The origins park had been promised as an early feature of Rio Nuevo in 1999, but those ambitions slowed considerably when a 25-foot-deep garbage dump had to be cleared from the site. "This is a difficult site. It takes time to get the site ready," McCune said. "We are interpreting 4,000 years of history. It is a monumental task to figure out a way to interpret that."

A 2004 master plan pegged the cost for Tucson Origins Heritage Park at $38.5 million, but downscaling a proposed interpretive center could bring the cost down to $20 million to $25 million, McCune said. The early years of the 21st century have seen $7 million in Rio Nuevo-funded site work to get the 25 acres just west of Interstate 10 and south of Clearwater Street ready to re-create history. Garbage dump work was largely finished earlier this year, and Avenida del Convento is being built to link the park with Congress Street.

Conceptual designs for the rebuilt walled mission complex including the mission and convento as well as mission gardens outside the walls should be ready for City Council approval in four to six months. "I call it the historical and cultural cornerstone of Rio Nuevo," McCune said. "I believe it is the basic project that celebrates the history and cultural heart of this community." The architecture firm Burns Wald-Hopkins will be introduced as the park's design team tonight at a Rio Nuevo Citizens Advisory Committee meeting. A contract with the firm should be finalized next week. [Note: Computer image shows a replica of the Mission San Agustin and Convento planned for Rio Nuevo South. Source: Doug Gann, Tucson Citizen.]

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Friends of Flagstaff's Future to learn about HP proposals, June 27

Historic preservation advocates in northern Arizona are urged to mark their calendars for Tuesday, June 27 at 6 p.m. Downtown library, 300 W. Aspen Avenue. At that time, Karl Eberhard, Architect, Urban Designer, and City of Flagstaff Historic Preservation Officer will give a presentation to Friends of Flagstaff's Future members on the proposed Flagstaff Heritage Preservation Program. The presentation will include general discussion about what are heritage resources, why we should be protecting them (including economic benefits), the issues with our current program (including current status of resources), and an outline of possible solutions.

Some of the big changes suggested:
  • Including things other than buildings in the definition of heritage resources, such as sites, objects, and structures like the trains, signs, and most importantly archeological resources.
  • The introduction of "floating" overlay zones as tools for protection of archeological and other resources.
  • Changing the mechanics of designation to attract public participation and to allow the Council to act and act quickly when needed - to untie their hands.
  • Changing how the data is kept and used at City Hall.
  • Changing the development process (in this regard) from voluntary on a small scale to mandatory for all resources -- just like for flood plains, trees, and slopes now.
  • Integration of the program into the Land Development Code.
For more information, contact Becky Daggett, Executive Director, Friends of Flagstaff's Future, 928-556-8663, P.O. Box 23462, Flagstaff, AZ 86002.

Tribes stress preserving culture at 3-day town hall

[Source: Angelique Soenarie, Arizona Republic] -- American Indian representatives from across Arizona began a three-day session Monday to map out how to prevent their culture from slipping through the sands of time. The theme of the 26th-annual Arizona Indian Town Hall is "Preserving Arizona's Tribal Cultural Resources, Sites, and Languages."

Alicia Nosie 18, a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe hopes to carry on her tribe's cultural traditions. Nosie, who spoke during a panel discussion at the Doubletree Paradise Valley Resort, said the University of Arizona's Mount Graham International Observatory is one example of development on a sacred site. "It is sacred for Apaches and other tribes," said Nosie, a freshman at Arizona State University. "It's kind of like they're putting a telescope on a church. That's where we go pray and get herbs and stuff. We don't want them to destroy our ground."

Her father, Wendsler Nosie Sr., was acquitted of criminal trespass at the Mount Graham observatory for praying in preparation for his daughter's passage to womanhood, called the Sunrise ceremony. "I just don't want the youth to lose their culture, because in the next 10 years, there probably won't be anymore Apaches or culture," said Nosie, who participates in sacred runs. "We don't want to compromise who we are and someday become who we are not."

This week, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community will hold a film festival by the American Indian Film Institute. Admission is free and begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Salt River High School Lecture Hall. Information: (480) 850-8056.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Scottsdale officials study home for historic status

[Source: Carol Sowers, Arizona Republic] -- JoAnn Handley, coordinator of the Scottsdale Historical Museum, stood inside the restored 1915 Charles Miller House on Saturday, reliving memories. Handley is a distant relative to Miller, whose name is attached to Miller Road. "I used to be in and out of this house all of the time," Handley said, standing in the dining room partly lined with dark built-in cabinets.

She joined city preservation officials in considering whether to include the Craftsman-style home at 69th and First streets on the city's list of historical homes. A tour was also conducted Saturday at nearby garden apartments that have been turned into condominiums. The city's volunteer Historic Register Committee, an arm of the city-appointed Historic Preservation Commission, will meet June 13 and may vote on whether to recommend the house for designation. The full commission, which advises the City Council, may take action on the house in August. The tour was open to the public but only a couple of passers-by stopped to take pictures.

Only the home's pale green and cream exterior with its welcoming wood porch would qualify for the designation because the bathroom and kitchen no longer fit the period, said Richard Funke, who owns and restored the Scottsdale home. If the house makes the cut, he could qualify for up to $10,000 in matching city funds for further restoration. But Funke's decision to put a metal roof on the house could be a sticking point. Debbie Abele, Scottsdale's preservation office, said homes of that period typically had machine-sawed flat-wood roofs. Funke disagrees.

[Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Sunday, June 04, 2006

ASU's "dome" tenants set to move; building's fate uncertain

[Source: Walt Lockley] -- The Arizona State University information center, currently housed in the former Valley National Bank Building, 826 E. Apache Blvd. in Tempe, has been asked to be ready to move out by the end of June 2006, but the move itself may not take place until a couple of months afterward. ASU has not made its intentions clear about the building's fate, but demolition is an option.

Click here for the building's history and more of Walt's exterior and interior photos. To express your opinion about the building's fate, contact:
[Note: For more information about metro Phoenix's classic midcentury design, art, and architecture, visit the Modern Phoenix Neighborhood Network.]

Hohokam platform mound makes way for Phoenix housing development

[Source: Brian Kenny] -- A new WalMart is going in at 35th & Southern (red circle). Lennar Homes (green box) is selling houses in the Vista Rio Development. Lennar may have purchased the property from Curtis Land Company of Scottsdale; Curtis may have graded, developed, and prepared the property prior to construction of homes.

Nearby, on private property, there is a very large Hohokam Platform Mound. It seems that the platform mound (blue circle) will soon disappear under new development. The ground surface of the mound area is highly modified already, and the nearby structures are old and derelict, and development in the area is booming. The mound and surrounding area probably contain human remains. Several years ago, a local pothunter was working the site and selling ceramic pots and artifacts out of a cafe on Baseline Road. Human bone fragments in the backdirt spoil were found. Investigators from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office were asked to investigate the activity and the information from local informants, but the investigation never went anywhere and the issue quietly died on the vine...

Official site files haven't been checked to determine if archaeological research has been conducted recently in the area of the platform mound (or the nearby development areas). Since the platform mound is situated on private property, not much can be done even with burial laws now in place, so this is written as a bit of an obituary for the platform mound as the area converts to new land use patterns.

Mary Leighton retires from Rex Allen Museum post

[Source: Carol Broeder, Arizona Range News] -- For 34 years, Mary Leighton's name has been synonymous with the Rex Allen Museum in Wilcox. Now retired from her post as manager, Leighton wants to see the museum continue and grow. "I want it to go on like it is. I want people to remember whom those things belong to. They are not just 'things;' they're a part of Rex."

The museum in historic downtown might never have existed if not for Leighton and other Willcox residents who cared. When Leighton and her husband, Charlie, moved here in 1970, old buildings were being torn down. "They had just torn down the old high school, and were tearing down the hotels downtown. Coming from New England, I couldn't have that," she said. "We're all stewards of our history. Once it's gone, it's gone. You can't get it back again."

So, Leighton founded the Sulphur Springs Valley Historical Society in 1971. The non-profit organization was "a vehicle through which we could do things," she said. The society was named for the whole area, not just Willcox. From 1972 to 1973, Leighton was the executive secretary for the Willcox Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. One day, Allen walked into the visitor's center to see Leighton. A Willcox native, Allen had heard about the new historical society in town and asked her if she wanted his "stuff" for its collection. Leighton asked if he meant a museum, to which he replied, "Call it anything you want, Honey."

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Arizona Range News.]

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Survey of Asian American historic structures in Phoenix to begin

[Source: Karen Leong] -- The City of Phoenix recently commissioned Arizona Historical Research to conduct the Historic Property Survey of Asian Americans in Phoenix. This is an exciting acknowledgement that Asian Americans have actively contributed to the growth of Phoenix and Arizona, and it’s a critical opportunity to demonstrate these contributions by documenting the history of properties that have been significant to Asian American communities from initial settlement through the 1960s. This project also is providing educational opportunities for ASU students to learn more about Asian Americans in the local community the program of Asian Pacific American Studies.

The project cannot succeed without the input of all Asian American communities, and your help is requested. You're invited to meet the research team (including Vince Murray and Scott Solliday of AHR, and Karen Leong, consultant for this project), ask questions, and make suggestions. It's the hope of the project leaders that this project will be able to address the rich diversity of the Asian American communities in the Phoenix area.

Two public meetings are scheduled for the Mercado, ASU at the Downtown Phoenix Campus:
  • Wednesday June 14, 2006, 7-9 pm, Mercado at ASU Downtown, Room C230
  • Saturday June 17, 2006, 9-11 am, Mercado at ASU Downtown, Room C230
For validated parking, park at the Heritage and Science Garage, at the southeast corner of Fifth and Monroe Streets. Bring your parking card for validation at the meeting. Click here for a map to the Mercado, driving instructions, and/or parking information.

Please RSVP to Vince Murray, Arizona Historical Research, 480-829-0267 or Karen Leong, ASU, 480-727-6052. They'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Holbrook train depot restoration work continues

[Source: Tammy Gray-Searles, Holbrook Tribune-News] -- For just a few days, residents and visitors caught a glimpse of the interior of the historic railroad depot in downtown Holbrook as the windows were being “dry fitted.” Project Manager Paul LeBaron explained that construction crews placed the windows in the frames to check their fit, then removed them to make necessary repairs and adjustments before the final installation.

Although the windows will give the depot a new appearance, the windows and frames themselves are not new. They were removed from the depot at the start of construction, and as much of the original woodwork and glass as possible was restored. A close inspection of the panes reveals smooth new glass alongside rippled original glass. Original wood panes were joined with new panes and injected with a special preservative. Even the wood in what appears to be new window frames consists of wood salvaged from other areas of the depot, which was refinished for use in repairing the frames. “It would be a lot easier to just use all new materials,” LeBaron said, “but then it would lose that historical feel.”

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Arizona Rail Passenger Association.]