Saturday, July 01, 2006

Catlin Court a nice fit in Glendale

[Source: Arizona Republic editorial] -- Glendale is a young city in a young state. Arizona officially entered the union in 1912, and although Glendale sets its birthday at Feb. 27, 1892, the city really started to take shape only after World War II and the advent of air-conditioning and subdivisions. But anyone who visits downtown Glendale can get a feel for the city's early years. Strolling through the Catlin Court Historic District is like strolling backward in time. The circa-1920s neighborhood brims with shaded sidewalks, charming bungalows and an eclectic mix of locally owned shops and restaurants. It's little wonder that the area is a popular destination for residents and tourists. And Glendale city officials sponsor numerous festivals in and around downtown and Catlin Court throughout the year.

Members of the Catlin Court Historic District Association have worked hard to keep the neighborhood's historic appeal. Their efforts brought them recognition with a Governor's Heritage Preservation Honor Award at the fourth-annual Arizona Statewide Historic Preservation Conference. Eric Vondy, preservations incentives program coordinator for Arizona State Historic Preservation Office and moderator of this year's competition, describes the award as the "Oscars of historic preservation." It's a well-deserved accolade.

Association members volunteer their time to help preserve the historic character of the neighborhood. That often means spending weekends doing cleanups and helping neighborhood residents apply for grants for improving their properties. The association's dedication to Catlin Court has made the neighborhood the success it is today. That, in turn, ties into the relative success of downtown Glendale. Catlin Court is the perfect companion to the downtown antiques district. It's a living, breathing antique, a chance for people to get a glimpse of an Arizona that has since been swallowed up by countless strip malls and master-planned communities.