Friday, June 29, 2007

This Day in History

June 27, 1829 : SMITHSON'S CURIOUS BEQUEST. English scientist James Smithson dies after a long illness, leaving behind a will with a peculiar footnote. In the event that his only nephew died without any heirs, Smithson decreed that the whole of his estate would go to "the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge." Smithson's curious bequest to a country that he had never visited aroused significant attention on both sides of the Atlantic. Smithson had been a fellow of the venerable Royal Society of London from the age of 22, publishing numerous scientific papers on mineral composition, geology, and chemistry. In 1802, he overturned popular scientific opinion by proving that zinc carbonates were true carbonate minerals, and one type of zinc carbonate was later named smithsonite in his honor.

His nephew indeed died without children, and on July 1, 1836, the U.S. Congress authorized acceptance of Smithson's gift. Two years later Diplomat Richard Rush set sail for home with 11 boxes containing a total of 104,960 gold sovereigns, as well as Smithson's mineral collection, library, and scientific notes. After the gold was melted down, it amounted to a fortune worth well over $500,000. After considering a series of recommendations, Congress agreed that the bequest would support the creation of a museum, a library, and a program of research, publication, and collection in the sciences, arts, and history. On August 10, 1846, the act establishing the Smithsonian Institution was signed into law by President James K. Polk. Today, the Smithsonian is composed of 19 museums, nine research centers throughout the United States and the world and the national zoo. John Smithson, the Smithsonian Institution's great benefactor, is interred in a tomb in the Smithsonian Building.

Residents push to expand Phoenix's Coronado Historic District

[Source: Audrie Garrison, Arizona Republic] -- Some residents in and around the historical Coronado district are pushing to expand its boundaries. The city’s Historic Preservation Office will hire an outside consultant next year to determine how much of the proposed area is eligible to be designated as part of the historic district, said Barbara Stocklin, the city’s historic preservation officer. The district could be expanded by 2009. The existing district is approximately the area south of Virginia Avenue, east of Seventh Street, north of McDowell Road and west of 14th Street. Residents have proposed expanding the boundaries to Seventh Street, 16th Street, Thomas Road and Interstate 10. The city will begin the process next June but Stocklin said the entire expansion process would take up to two years. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Iconic 'mushroom' bank focus of Phoenix preservation fight

[Source: Jaimee Rose and Jennifer Price, Arizona Republic] -- Fists are up in a fight to save the Valley's "mushroom" bank, an adored Arcadia architectural icon threatened by modern America: developers with condos and stylish retail in their eyes. The quirky '60s structure reigns supreme over some seriously swanky real estate: the corner of 44th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix. JP Morgan Chase & Co. owns the building and is willing to save the bank and preserve its fungal glory, especially if the neighborhood will play nice and let developers rezone and make over the bank's yard with four-story condos and luxe shopping.

The neighborhood wants nothing of the kind: no more condos, no demolition, and, lest we forget, these are the residents who trumped The Donald and his Camelback tower. No one wants to tear down the bank, but its future is left dangling, pawnlike, in the middle of a zoning fight. Chase is willing to apply for historic designation, a move that would persuade historians and city officials to cooperate with operation condo. But the mushroom structures that give the bank its nickname will, at the least, be transplanted, and some of the shrooms may not survive. On Monday, the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission will meet regarding formal historic status, and on Tuesday, a city planning committee will open discussions to allow the condos. Ultimately, the future of the bank and its backyard is held by the Phoenix City Council. Preservationists lean in favor of giving up the green space in order to save the bank.

"In order to keep this icon," Councilman Tom Simplot said, "they need to develop that green space. They are not going to be able to save the building if they don't give it up." But wedging condos onto the lawn, said Frank Henry, 73, the building's celebrated architect, is "like taking a painting and cutting off a corner of it." And in a valley where everything old is torn down and rebuilt again, then painted beige or turned Tuscan, this is one place that doesn't look like everywhere else, preservationists say. "One way of losing a community is losing the history of the community," said Rusty Foley, chairwoman of the preservation commission. "People don't think of anything out here as old, but we're a community that grew up in the 20th century. . . . If we lost those buildings, maybe you forget where you came from."

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Walt Lockley.]

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Phoenix's Hanny's Shop gets new look after 20-year vacancy

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] -- For decades, Valley men turned to Hanny's for a polished, new look -- a natty suit or crisp shirt. This year, the shuttered department store's a getting the makeover. It could reopen as a swank restaurant as early as December in downtown Phoenix. Hanny's, at First and Adams streets, has been vacant for 20 years but is in the midst of a $5 million renovation, said Grady Gammage Jr., the owner's attorney. Karl Kopp, the businessman behind Scottsdale hotspot AZ88 as well as restaurants in New York's Soho neighborhood and Milwaukee, plans to channel that buzz into Hanny's. On Wednesday, Scottsdale designer Janis Leonard, eyed the 1947 building's shell as crews poured concrete and rebuilt a wall. "We want everything to slowly reveal itself ... not hit you over the head," said Leonard, who would say little about of the future decor.

Her firm designs AZ88's art installations - which change every month - and won a national award for work on Kopp's Soho project. Hanny's will be a mix of old and new, Leonard said. The first-floor display windows will showcase the dining area and bar. Art could hang in an empty elevator shaft. The kitchen will be tucked in the back of what once was the store's men's department. There will be lots of amber light, an undulating mezzanine level - which is original to the building - and a few spots where she plans to keep the building damage intact. "I like the rough edge," she said. Hanny's will also keep its name and some original department store signs. Hanny's is a survivor, one preservationist says. Hanny's was burned over and over again to train city firefighters, said Debbie Able, a former Phoenix historic preservation officer, who's now a consultant for the project. When Able worked for the city, many officials asked if the city could raze Hanny's.

Since Phoenix bought the building with federal funds, it couldn't be torn down, said Able, who was a preservation officer from 1989 to 1998. Kopp ended up with Hanny's because another downtown building that he planned to use for a restaurant was in the path of Arizona State University's downtown campus. The city gave Kopp the Hanny's building as part of a swap, Able said. Kopp also got nearly $370,000 in preservation funds to repair the roof, said Barbara Stocklin Phoenix's historic preservation officer. The rebirth of Hanny's is another sign of the wave of change downtown is experiencing, said Phoenix Councilman Michael Johnson, whose district includes Copper Square. Phoenix's core needs more destination and trendy eateries, and Kopp can help bring that energy downtown, he said. That energy also will bring life to a once-unwanted department store, Able said. "Nobody understood why it should be saved," Able said. "Now it will be a gem."

Phoenix cemetery goes historic

[Source: Veronica Sanchez, 12 News] -- After a fight to preserve it, and years of neglect, a century old Phoenix cemetery is deemed historic. This week, the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission voted to preserve the cemetery. That means no one can alter or change the Sotelo-Heard Cemetery without expressed permission from the commission itself. It's been a long and sometimes forgotten battle. Hundreds of Mexican laborers and their children were buried near 12th St. and Broadway from the late 1880's to the 1920's.

Throughout the years, grave robbers and kids trampled on the headstones and destroyed them. Some people actually cared, like 76-year-old Emily Lilly. As a young woman she walked the grounds of the cemetery sketching the names of the dead before headstones were destroyed. And then there was Tim Diaz who two years ago became the unofficial caretaker. About that time the owner of the cemetery wanted to develop on the land but was pressured by Hispanic activists not to. Since then a new owner has taken over, the non profit agency Neighborhood Housing Service. Representatives say they fought to preserve the cemetery but also want to build homes near it. Some people who live near the cemetery aren't wild about the idea, but it's better than the old scenario. NHS still has to clear zoning hurdled to build on the lot but reps claim the cemetery will not be disturbed. The dead will be remembered with a dignified memorial.

Couple fall in love with 1898-vintage Tucson home

[Source: Alexis Blue, Daily Star] -- When Jeffrey and Trisha Stanley moved from their modern suburban home on the Northwest Side to a historic home in Downtown's Barrio Histórico, they didn't expect to stay long. Their plan was to "flip" the house — fix it and sell it while the real estate market was hot. The plans changed when the couple fell in love with the 19th-century Queen Anne revival, a home they now hope will stay in their family for years to come. Original mahogany doors with ornate hinges, mahogany moldings, 12-foot-high tongue-and-grove wood ceilings and wavy lead glass windows lend the sturdy home, built in 1898, an undisputable historical feel.

A striking built-in china cabinet in the dining room and a fireplace in the living room are also left over from earlier days. The three-bedroom home came complete with creaky floors, made from red fir believed to have come from Mount Lemmon in the days of its thriving logging industry. Known as the Aurelio Orozco house, the Stanley residence is on city, state and national registries of historic homes. "It's nice because we've met a lot of our neighbors, and a lot of them are business owners that have moved from Oro Valley or the Foothills, and they come here because they believe in preservation," Trisha Stanley, 48, said. "That's what kept us here. We loved it, and we thought it's such a shame that people just raze homes and put up condos."

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Jeffry Scott, Daily Star.]

Downtown Tucson makeover starts to bear fruit

[Source: Tom Beal, Daily Star] -- When the first residents of the Mercado District at Menlo Park move in next month, the city can honestly claim that its Rio Nuevo project has added to the population Downtown — or at least quite near Downtown. Justin Dixon and his partner, Dale Thompson, expect to be living in their Sonoran row home in time to celebrate Dixon's 39th birthday July 4 by watching the fireworks on nearby "A" Mountain from their patio. Dixon is managing member of Rio Development, which planned these 100 homes being laid out around seven plazas. He and Thompson will become the first residents lured by city expenditure of state sales tax money set aside for redevelopment in the Rio Nuevo district. Their home, built by Paolo Delorenzo of Innovative Living Design and Development, is sleekly modern inside but part of a zero-setback streetscape that resembles Old Mexico or Downtown Tucson's Barrio Viejo.

Another six homes will be populated by the end of the year at this site, south of West Congress Street and west of the Santa Cruz River and Interstate 10. The Mercado District sits at the western edge of a planned modern streetcar route that will extend through Downtown, up Fourth Avenue and through the University of Arizona to the campus of University Medical Center. Development will occur along that line, says City Manager Mike Hein. "Too many things are converging — the modern streetcar, the cost of gas and strong developer interest in building Downtown — for it not be an inevitable occurrence," Hein said. Hein said he initially underestimated the psychological impact of reaching a million in population but was convinced by the level of interest in building a convention hotel Downtown that the milestone is making outside investors take Tucson more seriously. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Native Americans complain graves dug up for border fence

[Source: Tim Gaynor] -- Members of a traditional Indian nation spanning the Arizona-Mexico border are complaining that work to put up a new barrier to secure the border has desecrated an ancient burial ground. The U.S. Border Patrol is building a 75-mile (120-km) vehicle barrier across the Tohono O'odham nation lands next to Mexico's Sonora state, in a bid to stop drug and human traffickers driving across from Mexico in trucks and cars. The barrier is made of closely set steel posts sunk in concrete, and is being built in close consultation with tribal authorities. It replaces a rusted, barbed wire fence that stretched across the vast, cactus-strewn tract of desert where the tribe has lived for generations. The tribal government said on Friday that "human burials" dating from the 12th century were found at two sites during preparatory work on the footings for the fence, and say the discovery was handled correctly according to protocols developed with the U.S. government.

But members of five traditional families who say they are directly descended from the dead, complained that their removal is a desecration of a site they hold sacred. "It is a place where our ancestors have slept for many, many years, and someone just dug them out of their graves and put them in little bags in storage," said Ofelia Rivas, a traditionalist who lives in the tiny, cactus-ringed village of Ali Jegk, Arizona, just yards (meters) from the Mexican border. The Tohono O'odham nation, whose name means "Desert People," reaches up to Casa Grande in the north, a few miles (kilometers) south of the state capital, Phoenix, and stretches across the international line into Mexico, where some members live in nine scattered communities. The tribal government said in a news release that the areas in which the human remains were found were among 11 archeological sites identified by the tribe that lie in the path of the barrier. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cuts through South Mountain for freeway called unacceptable

[Source: Kerry Fehr-Snyder, Arizona Republic] -- The head of a prominent environmental group is calling a plan that would blast parts of the South Mountain Park for a proposed freeway "outrageous and irresponsible." Sandy Bahr, conservation outreach director for the Sierra Club's Grand Canyon chapter, said the group is disappointed that the proposed route for the 22-mile South Mountain Freeway would mean cutting a chunk out of three ridge lines in the 16,000-acre park. "From the Sierra Club's perspective, we're opposed to cutting through the preserve," she said Tuesday night at the group's monthly meeting. "It's really outrageous and irresponsible." The park is a wildlife corridor with various desert animals, including bobcats, javelina, tortoises, foxes, reptiles and squirrels. But none is protected under the Endangered Species Act, Bahr said. "There is a habitat for pygmy owls but no pygmy owls anymore," she said.

Doug Nintzel, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation, said the cuts comprise a relatively small proportion - 32 of 16,000 acres - of the park and have long been anticipated in the design for the proposed freeway. "The cuts through the ridges would be designed to minimize the impact, and that's required as part of any project like this," he said. But Michael Goodman, a member of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve Council, said Phoenix should be preserving the park and fighting the state's powers of eminent domain to bulldoze it for the freeway. "It doesn't seem like a lot of land, but it really is," he said. The preserve runs south of Baseline Road starting at about 27th Avenue on the west and swinging eastward to 48th Street. ADOT has said that the most likely design would mean the removal of three ridge lines on the mountain. Construction crews would make cuts up to 20 stories deep and more than two football fields wide to make way for the 10-lane freeway. Goodman, who also serves on the South Mountain Citizens Advisory Team, said he is frustrated by the lack of information about freeway noise, the fate of animals, the visual impact and other environmental aspects to cutting through the mountain. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Native American leaders focus on holy sites

[Source: Joanna Dodder, The Bugle] -- American Indian officials spoke at the State Historic Preservation Conference in Prescott Thursday about their efforts to save their holy sites such as the San Francisco Peaks, Fossil Creek and Apache Leap. "We're here to let you know about some of the battles we're going through ... in order to continue to exist," said Vernelda Grant, tribal historic preservation officer and archaeologist for the San Carlos Apache Tribe. Destruction of one holy site impacts them all, added Angela Garcia-Lewis, assistant cultural resource specialist for the Gila River Indian Community. Grant has helped draft a Declaration of Unified Tribal Nations that calls for protection of holy places. "Many of these scenarios are repeating themselves across Arizona and the nation," said session moderator Alida Montiel, a Pascua Yaqui who is the health and cultural project specialist for the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona.

Archaeologists, historians and cultural resource specialists from the Yavapai-Apache, Gila River and San Carlos Apache tribes in Arizona all called for better understanding and communication from government officials. For example, government officials rely heavily on the written word when American Indians might have trouble putting their cultural perspectives into writing, said Barnaby Lewis, cultural resource specialist for the Gila River Indian Community. 'We want to get the message out that (documents) do not define us," Garcia-Lewis said. "A lot of tribes distrust the written word because it's not precise." Federal officials must consult with tribes about how projects on federal lands could impact their cultural resources on their ancestral lands. Private developers must report ancient burial sites. It would be better if they start that consultation in person instead of writing, she said. "We have to fight for our holy places because they're all off the reservation," noted Yavapai-Apache Historian Vincent Randall (pictured). Randall referred to his 2005 testimony in Prescott's federal courthouse against the Snowbowl ski area's plans to use wastewater for snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks on the Coconino National Forest. Several Indian tribes still are battling the plans in court. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

L. Ron Hubbard House in Phoenix wins Governor's Heritage Preservation Honor Award

[Source: PR-inside] --The Friends of L. Ron Hubbard Foundation and the Church of Scientology International received the Arizona Governor's Heritage Preservation Award this week for the painstaking restoration they did of the house where L. Ron Hubbard lived from 1952 to 1955 in Phoenix, Arizona. Presented by Mr. Vince Murray, President of the Arizona Preservation Foundation, the award recognizes people, organizations, and projects that represent outstanding achievements in preserving Arizona's historic and prehistoric resources.

Two years of intensive research went into the planning of this restoration project to recreate the house and its furnishings exactly as they were at the time Mr. Hubbard lived there, more than 50 years ago. Those carrying out the project found and interviewed Scientologists who had attended the courses and lectures Mr. Hubbard conducted while in Phoenix and who had visited the house. Project personnel studied and used Scientologists' photographs and memorabilia from that period, they pulled documents that were on file with the City of Phoenix planning office, and an historical restorations expert who directed the project conducted a thorough inspection of the building against all the information that was collected, all to create a completely accurate reconstruction of the house. But while the project made sure of the accuracy of every detail, it is half a century since L. Ron Hubbard lived and worked there, and it would not have conveyed the essence of the building and its history if the furnishings and fixtures looked brand new. So care was taken to ensure it looked the way Camelback House would look in the 21st Century had it been kept and maintained by the Church ever since Mr. Hubbard lived there. [Note: To read the full article, click here. To view video footage of the Preservation Award's Grand Prize Winner click here.]

Friday, June 22, 2007

Arizona tribes unite against mine

[Source: J. Craig Anderson, Tribune] -- American Indians from several Arizona tribes set aside centuries-old differences to speak in unison Wednesday against a plan to mine copper underneath land that San Carlos Apache leaders say has been part of their religious and cultural activities since time immemorial. But San Carlos tribal council Chairman Wendsler Nosie isn’t expecting unity among the tribes to keep government and copper mining interests at bay. That’s why the tribe has hired a Scottsdale lawyer and plans to fight for the 3,000 acres of Tonto National Forest (pictured) subject to a proposed federal land exchange with Resolution Copper Mining, the Arizona joint subsidiary of Britain’s Rio Tinto and Australia’s BHP Billiton.

“This has unified the tribes to start defending the land,” Nosie said. “We’re looking forward to the days to come.” A protest and blessing ceremony on Wednesday at Oak Flat campground near Superior drew about 300 American Indians from six tribes and their supporters — an event that tribal leaders say has not happened in Arizona’s modern history. The mining company’s plan for Superior involves opening the most productive copper mine in North America and pumping 1.8 billion gallons of treated wastewater from previous mining operations into an irrigation district between Florence and Queen Creek. Culling pure copper from the new mine’s underground ore deposit would require an additional 6.5 billion gallons of water each year. The proposed mine “is exclusively driven by the need to obtain the greatest profit for its mostly foreign shareholders,” according to a joint resolution addressed to President Bush and signed Wednesday by leaders of the San Carlos Apache, White Mountain Apache, Camp Verde Yavapai Apache, Tonto Apache, Hopi and Hualapai tribes. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Multicultural celebration in Tucson marks official dawning of summer

[Source: Albert Ching, Daily Star] -- There's no hiding from the summer in Southern Arizona, so why not greet its official start the right way with a solstice party? That's the attitude at the Arizona State Museum, where you'll get that chance with "Marking the Summer Solstice" on Saturday. "The event actually started nine years ago," said Lisa Falk, the museum's education director. "It grew out of a summer cultural program we did in collaboration with the public library. It started very small, and we did it for two years." Falk then came on board, and decided to expand the event to celebrate a diverse range of cultures.

"I'm from the East where there are lots of festivals, and here there didn't seem to be much to do to bring families out of their air-conditioned homes," she said. "It grew from about 200 people that they were getting, and now we get about 1,200 people." The event aims to be a veritable smorgasbord of culture presented by local groups, with performances from Ballet Folklorico Tapatio, Irish music from Halfway Round the House, Japanese drumming from the Tucson Taiko Kyokai, Cuban salsa with Cuban Connection, and Apache hoop performance from the Yellow Bird Indian Dancers. Tucson pyrotechnic theater troupe Flam Chen will perform for the event's "grand finale" with the Dambe Drum Ensemble. The event also boasts educational talks from cultural experts, including Navajo physics and astronomy instructor David Begay and Arizona State Museum head of collections Patrick Lyons. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Yavapai County projects take home good share of state archaeology awards

[Source: Joanna Dodder, The Bugle] -- If awards are a good indication, Yavapai County is making a noticeable contribution to the protection of archaeological resources. People and projects in the Prescott and Verde Valley regions received six awards Thursday at the 2007 Awards in Historic Preservation at the Elks Opera House in Prescott. The Grand Award Winner this year was the rehabilitation of the 1908 Karlson Machine Works Building/Southwest Cotton Company in Phoenix. The awards were part of the fifth annual Arizona Historic Preservation Partnership Conference, which takes place in different cities each year.

The Arizona Preservation Foundation is the main host of the annual conference, which ran Wednesday through Saturday and featured dozens of educational sessions, workshops, tours and speeches. Four of the 10 Governor's Archaeology Advisory Commission Awards in Public Archaeology went to Yavapai County residents and projects.

Verde Valley recipients of the Public Archaeology Awards were:

• Avocational Archaeologist: Jerome Ehrhardt, who as a leader in the Arizona Archaeological Society's Verde Valley Chapter has helped professional archaeologists learn more about prehistoric sites in the Sedona region and Agua Fria National Monument.

• Tribal Program: Chris Coder, the Yavapai-Apache Nation's archaeologist for 11 years who has led work on documenting sites important to the tribe.

Tucson's Downtown Alliance broadens its scope

[Source: Rob O'Dell, Daily Star] -- Over a couple hours Wednesday, with little fanfare, the Tucson Downtown Alliance became the mega public-private partnership intended to prod Tucson to revitalize its Downtown core. The Downtown Alliance's board voted unanimously to reincorporate itself as the Downtown Tucson Partnership — an expanded group that now includes influential developers, investors, politicians and community activists. Their plan is to merge several existing Downtown organizations and efforts to oversee redevelopment there. The proposed private-public group would help raise money and bring together business deals aimed at creating a vibrant Downtown, along with picking up TDA's mission of largely providing an extra level of security and maintenance for Downtown.

It also will continue to get the $800,000 in property taxes and city assistance TDA has received annually. The new organization would be 35 to 40 members strong, with an additional 12 to 15 nonvoting members, including politicians. Larry Hecker, who will be a member of the new board, said it was legally easier for the TDA to transform itself into the new organization than to start over from scratch and file incorporation forms with the state and the Internal Revenue Service. "There's a corporate structure that avoids having to form a new corporation," Hecker said. "Its mission recognizes the overall importance of a vibrant Downtown to the wider community." For the time being, Donovan Durband, TDA's executive director, said the paid staff will remain the same, and "it will be business as usual." [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Promoting cultural & heritage tourism

Departments and agencies of the federal government and a number of travel-related organizations in the private sector are working together and separately to persuade Americans and visitors from abroad to visit the nation's cultural and historic treasures. There have been successes and disappointments along the way, but the effort has encouraged cultural and heritage initiatives across the country. Cultural and heritage travel differs from other mass-market tourism, noted a position paper released at the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Summit in Washington, D.C., last October. The document defines the segment as unique, authentic and a one of a kind, non-cookie-cutter experience. "Consumers "don't want it (cultural and heritage travel) packaged, noted another summit paper by New York University's Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality. "They are after experiences" such as sampling local food, learning about ethnic groups and visiting museums, according to a study released at the summit. "They don't want 'generica.'" Earlier studies by the Travel Industry Association noted that cultural and heritage tourists say longer and spend more than other travelers.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Phoenix to update historic preservation design guidelines

[Source: Barbara Stocklin] -- Heritage Architecture and Planning, Inc., began the update of the City of Phoenix General Design Guidelines the week of June 4 - 8,. City staff will be working closely with the consultants on the project and there will be many opportunities for public involvement, beginning with two stakeholder workshops on August 28 and 29. The purpose of the project is to update the existing historic preservation design guidelines to make them more accessible and user-friendly for the end user.

City of Phoenix receives two 2007 Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Awards

[Source:]--The city of Phoenix accepted two of the 10 Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Awards at a special ceremony 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 14, at the Elks Opera House, 117 E. Gurley St., Prescott. The two awards are for the Phoenix Union High School Exterior Rehabilitation for the University of Arizona College of Medicine and the Post World War II Commercial Historic Building Photography Project. The awards, presented by the Arizona Preservation Foundation and Arizona State Historic Preservation Office/Arizona State Parks, are to promote public awareness and recognize various groups and organizations that promote the goals of historic preservation in Arizona. “The preservation and rebirth of the city’s first high school have given three of the city’s most important historic buildings a future, and allowed them to play an exciting new role in education for the 21st century,” said Mayor Phil Gordon.

Three vacant historic buildings on the Phoenix Union High School campus were saved from the wrecking ball by the city and are now the centerpiece of a modern medical campus for the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix. The Domestic Arts and Sciences Building, Auditorium and Science Hall (pictured) were transformed in 18 months with new interior state-of-the-art facilities while preserving key historic features such as wood floors, coffered ceilings, display cases and grand staircases in the auditorium. More than 200 wood windows were replicated in the three buildings based on historic photographs and their historic exteriors were restored to original condition. The historic flagpole and World War I Memorial Sundial in front of the auditorium also were restored. The result has been to save three significant historic buildings and provide a University of Arizona medical presence on the biomedical campus in downtown Phoenix. This project was a partnership between the city of Phoenix, Arizona Board of Regents and University of Arizona College of Medicine. [Note: To read the full article, click here. To view video footage of the Preservation Award's Grand Prize Winner click here.]

This Day in History

June 19, 1885 : STATUE OF LIBERTY ARRIVES IN NEW YORK HARBOR. Nine years late, the 300-foot statue was a gift from the people of France, who had been the Patriots’ primary foreign ally in the War for Independence, to those of United States as a celebration of the Declaration of Independence’s centenary in 1876. The monumental work is mounted on a steel framework designed by Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel. Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi sculpted the statue, originally titled “Liberty Enlightening the World” from copper sheets upon a steel frame. After completion, the statue was disassembled into 350 sections and shipped in 214 crates to New York Harbor.

Over a year later, on October 28, 1886, the statue was reconstructed and dedicated in a large public ceremony by President Grover Cleveland. The statue’s pedestal bears the words of poet Emma Lazarus, written in 1883: Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door. When the Ellis Island immigration center opened its doors on an island in New York Harbor near the Statue of Liberty in 1892, Lazarus’ words welcomed the 12 million immigrants who passed by “Lady Liberty” after trying trans-Atlantic journeys on their way to becoming Americans.

Tucson cemetery to be home to reburials of soldiers’ remains

[Source: Bill Hess, Herald/Review] -- The remains of soldiers who died more than a century ago will have a new resting place in a “cemetery within a cemetery,” (pictured) said Joe Larson, administrator for Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery. From the mid 1860s to mid 1880s, soldiers from Fort Lowell were buried in what became an abandoned cemetery in downtown Tucson. At least 10 sets of identifiable graves and 50 containing the remains of unknown soldiers have been found in a military portion of the old cemetery, which experts said holds more than 1,000 burials in the entire burial place of slightly more than 4 acres, Larson said. “There could be more (military),” he said, adding some could be family members of soldiers. The cemetery in Tucson is located east of Stone Avenue between Toole Avenue and East Alameda Street.

The cemetery was abandoned about a year before the United States entered World War I. The gravesites were covered by homes and later became a commercial area, as Tucson grew in the 20th century. The graveyard was primarily a site for civilian interments, with a small defined area, generally in what is an alley now, for military burials. The relocation of the graves is part of a multimillion-dollar project preparing the ground for a new Pima County and city of Tucson court complex, said Roger Anyon, program manager for the Pima County Cultural Resources and Historic Preservation Office. At least $10 million is budgeted for the project’s archaeological aspects during a multi-year period, he said. The identification of gravesites began in November and reburials are not expected to take place until early 2009. While that seems to be a long time off, there are many legal steps that must be done to ensure the treatment of the remains is done with dignity and they are provided to any known next-of-kin or “lineal descendent” group, such as Indian tribes, Anyon said. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Historic label not likely for Tempe's Maple-Ash neighborhood

[Source: Katie Nelson, Arizona Republic] -- Tempe's oldest existing neighborhood likely won't be granted historical designation. And a new voter-approved state law is the reason. Maple-Ash is a high-visibility neighborhood, tucked into a corner between downtown Tempe and Arizona State University. The shaded, quirky university-influenced character of the neighborhood has long been touted as a point of pride for the city. But the city's Development Review Commission this week decided it won't back the designation for Maple-Ash. The basis for its decision was Proposition 207, which requires cities to reimburse homeowners whose property values are negatively affected by zoning changes. It's a sign, although not a sure one, that the designation won't go forward.

The resident-run commission will submit its recommendation to the City Council. The council tentatively is scheduled to make the final decision in July. The Maple-Ash neighborhood's historic designation fight has garnered attention in both Tempe and in the city-governance community. The case is unusual because of the neighborhood's multifamily zoning. Most single-family communities have zoning that allows only single-family homes. Maple-Ash's multifamily zoning heightens the stakes because it is more favorable to developers, ratcheting up the property values by leaps and bounds. A handful of Maple-Ash neighbors initiated the request for the historical designation, a measure that allows a neighborhood to establish suggested standards for building exteriors in order to preserve an area's character. But while no one seems to dispute that Maple-Ash is something special in a Valley full of cookie-cutter homes, the request was hotly contested. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Quirky lodgings along Route 66 listed as endangered

[Source: Bob Dart, Washington Bureau] -- Preservationists are warning that coming generations of Americans won't be able to get their kicks on Route 66 unless steps are taken to save the aging neon-lit lodgings beside the storied highway. The often tacky, always memorable motels along U.S. Highway 66 — once called "America's Main Street" as it bore travelers between Chicago and Los Angeles — will be included in the 2007 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, to be released today by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Forlorn neon greetings, forgotten Art Deco castles, vacancy signs on motels shaped like wigwams and empty booths in diners designed like coffee pots now line the road once romanticized in the TV series "Route 66" and by its hit theme song. These "quirky roadside attractions and mom-and-pop motels . . . offered travelers essential amenities and a touch of fantasy," the Trust said.

But the Trust said these historic motels are now caught "in an economic squeeze" — some rural ones dying after motorists deserted them for interstate highways and chain establishments and others pressured by high taxes and development in growing suburbs. "Route 66 is a road of memories and adventures, many of which began at one of the hundreds of historic motels along this storied highway," said Trust president Richard Moe. "If we don't fight hard to save the Route 66 motels, there won't be anything left to break up the monotony, and a distinctive, irreplaceable part of this nation's history will be lost forever." In the 1950s, for example, Central Avenue in Albuquerque, N.M., had more than 100 motels, the Trust said, but now there are about 25, and more are closing despite efforts by the city to protect signature motels such as the DeAnza Motor Lodge and the El Vado. The Trust urged local governments to develop policies and financial incentives to support these motel properties. The Munger Moss in Lebanon, Mo., and the Blue Swallow in Tucumcari, N.M., are examples of motels that cater to a growing base of heritage tourists looking for an authentic Route 66 experience. "Route 66 has to be by far the most famous road in America," Moe said. "It tells the story of western migration during the Dust Bowl and beyond.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Peter Tobia, Philadelphia Inquirer.]

Monday, June 18, 2007

Jerome's new water tank grant delayed

[Source: Philip Wright, Verde Independent] -- Plans for a new water-storage tank in Jerome hit a snag in May -- actually, four snags. But those snags appear to have been removed and the town likely will be on track again for funds through a Community Development Block Grant in January. The Town Council voted in mid-April to use grant money to build a new 200,000-water tank on Sunshine Hill instead of an alternate site on Montana Hill. At that time, everything seemed to be on course for work to begin on the $236,000 project. The deadline to have everything turned in to CDBG was May 31. Unfortunately, that date passed without all the paperwork being completed.

During May four hurdles appeared that ultimately caused the town to lose out on the grant, this time around. The first problem came when the State Historical Preservation Office questioned the placement of the proposed tank. "They said it would ruin the historic integrity of the town," said Al Palmieri, town manager. "But they had already approved it." Palmieri said Phelps Dodge came to the rescue and produced historic photos showing water tanks sitting almost exactly where the new one would be built. The second problem surfaced when Yavapai County got involved. "The county called," Palmieri said. "They were concerned because the site is in the county and out of the Town of Jerome." Once again, Phelps Dodge stepped in and answered the county's questions about lease arrangements. Problem solved. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Regional heritage tour map available

The Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance has produced a regional "heritage tourism map" to help direct visitors to some of Southern Arizona's historical and cultural attractions. The colorful map, which includes markers for historical sites, scenic spots and wineries, is being distributed to visitors bureaus and local government offices throughout Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, Nogales, and other locations in the Santa Cruz Valley, according to the alliance. The organization is also working on an online version for its Web site.

Agencies work to preserve Kofa's bighorn herd

[Source: James Gilbert, Yuma Sun] -- Wildlife officials now have a plan for restoring the historically low population of bighorn sheep to the area. According to a triennial survey of the Kofa bighorn sheep herd that was completed in November by two wildlife agencies, there has been a more than 50 percent decline in the sheep population estimate. Six years ago, the estimate was 812 of the animals; now the estimate is a historic low of 390. "This is the lowest herd estimate we have ever recorded and is well below that of what is considered a healthy herd," said Gary Hovatter, information and education program manager for the Yuma Arizona Game and Fish Department.

As part of an intensive and coordinated effort over the past several months by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agencies have jointly completed "The Investigative Report and Recommendations on the Kofa Bighorn Sheep Herd" to address the herd's recent decline. "The report is very important because it makes some very specific recommendations about what actions we are going to take to restore that herd," Hovatter said. "It allowed us the opportunity to put our biologists together to take a fresh look at the approaches we have been taking and make new decisions, based on the biological data, that are best for the herd." [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Archaeologists relate challenges of Border fence work

[Source: Joanna Dodder, Prescott Courier] -- Federal plans to build a two-layer fence across most of Arizona's border with Mexico would be hard to complete by the 2008 deadline, and the environmental and cultural damage would be severe, a top U.S. Army Corps of Engineers archaeologist said Thursday. Patience Patterson, a federal archaeologist who helps plan construction of new border fences, spoke at the Arizona Historic Preservation Partnership Conference in Prescott Friday about the challenges of saving cultural and environmental resources in the path of Mexican border fence construction. While Patterson discussed the planning-level challenges, archaeologist David Hart talked about the physical challenges of conducting archaeological surveys and digs in advance of the new fences. Hart works for a government contractor, Northland Research Inc.

While at first the Border Patrol viewed the fence-line archaeologists as an impediment, after about 1.5 years now they all get along, Hart said. Unfortunately, he still gets to deal with the 100-plus degree temperatures with little shade. Well-equipped drug-smuggler lookouts watch him from the hilltops, although it helps to have a Border Patrol officer nearby. Often-corrupt Mexican police drive right over his work area without care, since he's actually working 60 feet south of the livestock fencing on the vast, remote Tohono O'odham Reservation. The new border protection fence will be on the actual international border where he is working. Some of the newer border protection fencing tries to cut off vehicular traffic while still allowing wildlife and foot traffic to pass through. The fence builders avoid saguaros and other plants on the Tohono O'odham Reservation that are culturally important to the tribe, Patterson said. They try to avoid archaeological sites and ancient burials, but when necessary, they record them and move them. "We're trying to work this out in the best environmental fashion we can," Patterson said. However, some environmental degradation is beyond their control. They see the abandoned vehicles, trash and illegal roads that cut through the once-pristine Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (pictured) that the federal government set aside in 1936, for example. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Steinfeld warehouse steeped in city history

[Source: Ernesto Portillo Jr., Daily Star] -- Look at the picture of the old brick building. Albert Steinfeld and Co. Warehouse, blares the large sign above the building facing east. His name faces the north and is stenciled in white, block letters on the water tank above. There was no question who the building belonged to in the 1920s when the photograph, now at the Arizona Historical Society library, was taken. It belonged to Albert Steinfeld — a German-born Tucsonan whose name and Downtown businesses once dominated Tucson, and whose mining and banking enterprises made this Jewish pioneer one of the most successful and important Territorial figures.

His Tucson realm occupied the four corners of Stone Avenue and Pennington Street where Tucsonans shopped for the latest fashions from New York City and Europe, and where upper-crust visitors stayed in the once majestic Pioneer Hotel. While the Steinfeld businesses anchored the four corners, it was the warehouse, a few blocks north, that held the businesses together. It was the warehouse where the goods arrived by train, were unloaded within its four walls and basement, and then distributed to the Steinfeld's stores. Other than the Steinfeld Mansion on North Main Avenue in Snob Hollow, only the warehouse holds out as a vestige of Steinfeld's presence. The Pioneer building at the northeast corner of North Stone and East Pennington Street was a Steinfeld building, but its facade has changed enough since the disastrous December 1970 Pioneer Hotel fire — which killed Steinfeld's son and daughter-in-law and 26 others — there is no resemblance of the hotel's regal past.

The warehouse, at least 100 years old, dilapidated and owned by the state, remains as a visible and honest physical memory of an important part of Tucson's history. The City Council Tuesday will decide the fate of the Steinfeld warehouse at West Sixth Street and North Ninth Avenue. The state Department of Transportation owns the warehouse, which for more than 20 years has housed artists and anchored the arts district. The council will consider a financing plan to stabilize the building and rehabilitate it for possible use by artists. It's not just any only building. It's a territorial-era building, one of the first brick structures, and had Tucson's first indoor sprinkler system, relying on gravity to draw water from the large tank, said Lee Davis, the last executive of the Steinfeld company. He worked in the warehouse as a kid in the 1940s. [Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Arizona Historical Society.]

Friday, June 15, 2007

2007 statewide historic preservation conference is here!

The Arizona Preservation Foundation, Arizona State Historic Preservation Office, Arizona Main Street Program, and City of Prescott invite you to make a greater impact on preserving Arizona heritage and history by attending our 2007 Historic Preservation Partnership Conference, "Distinctive Destinations," June 13-16. Your registration entitles you to participate in interesting sessions; hear outstanding national, state and local guest speakers; honor exemplary preservation achievements at the Governor’s Heritage Preservation Awards and Public Archaeology Awards, and network with fellow preservationists from around the state.

The 2007 Annual Statewide Historic Preservation Partnership Conference will be held in the beautiful mountain town of Prescott, which boasts the historic Courthouse Plaza and Whiskey Row. The Hassayampa Inn will be the headquarters for the conference. Hassayampa Inn is located at 122 E. Gurley Street, at the northwest corner of Gurley and Marina Streets.

Conference sessions will be held at the Hassayampa Inn, Hotel St. Michael, the Elks Opera House and the City of Prescott City Council Chambers--all within a convenient fresh air walk of only several minutes. Downtown Prescott is a festive environment with a unique past and many sights to see. Between sessions observe how a vibrant downtown functions with its historic centerpiece, the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza. Experience a higher state of mind in our mile-high city's cooler temperatures and clear, deep blue skies!

In addition to Saturday's sessions, Architect Bill Otwell and Nancy Burgess, Historic Preservation Specialist for the City of Prescott, will lead a walking tour along Prescott’s most famous street – Mt. Vernon. Both North and South Mt. Vernon Street are part of a National Register Historic District, and South Mt. Vernon is also within a historic preservation overlay district. The tour leaders will discuss the architecture and history of the downtown neighborhood as well as issues and opportunities that go along with having overlay districts vs. no overlay districts.

Also on Saturday, there will be a tour of Arcosanti—Italian architect Paolo Soleri’s experimental town (33 miles from Prescott). Within the buildings of Arcosanti the gospel of “arcology,” the fusion of architecture with ecology with minimum human impact on the environment, is taught. Arcosanti actually means"before things." Between tours of the premises Dr. Soleri himself will discuss his perspective of historic preservation. Dr. Soleri was born in Turin, Italy in 1921 and has devoted his life to researching urban planning.

Speakers at the conference will include Terry Goddard, Arizona Attorney General, and Alberto Rios, Regents Professor of English, Arizona State University. [Click here to download a full conference brochure. Registration payments not recieved on or before June 8 may be made on site.]

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tohono O'odham museum to open

[Source: Carmen Duarte, Daily Star] --The grand opening of the Tohono O'odham Nation Cultural Center & Museum kicks off with two days of festivities starting Friday in the community of Topawa. Priceless artifacts dating back 5,000 years up to modern-day pieces will be showcased in the nation's $15.2 million state-of-the-art complex. Arrowheads, pottery and agricultural tools that were unearthed in archaeological digs and now rest in Arizona museums are returning to the O'odham, or the "Desert People". "Not only will the legacy of our past be celebrated, but the future survival of our heritage will be practiced through the interactive programs and events planned by the staff," outgoing Tohono O'odham Nation Chairwoman Vivian Juan-Saunders said in a news release. "We embrace our past, honor our survival and prepare to meet tomorrow's challenges with the same spirit as our ancestors."

Last week, the museum staff was working to prepare artifacts and complete exhibits for Friday's opening (pictured). Among them were Allison Francisco, the museum's visiting curator, who was building an exhibit that included a roundhouse and a ramada. She made an adobe base and worked on the exhibit with mud, straw, mesquite and creosote. She worked within the 38,000-square-foot complex nestled in desert with the sacred Baboquivari Peak as a backdrop. The O'odham creator, I'itoi, is said to live in a cave on the 7,730-foot mountain where O'odham make pilgrimages and pray to their creator. The complex includes a community cultural and educational center with artist studios for a residency program, a special-collections cultural archive and two repositories for artifacts. Outside are an open amphitheater, a covered patio and a storytelling circle. At the entrance of the museum, guests will receive both O'odham and English greetings that will air on a rotating video display.

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

National Trust's Moe testifies before House subcommittee on conservation system permanence bill

[Source: National Trust for Historic Preservation] -- National Trust president Richard Moe (pictured) testified before the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on June 7th on HR 2016, a bill to make permanent the National Landscape Conservation System under the Bureau of Land Management. The Conservation System is a collection of 26 million acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that contain some of the most significant national monuments, national conservation areas, national wild and scenic rivers, wilderness areas, wilderness study areas, and national historic and scenic trails located on public lands.

Moe’s testimony emphasized that HR 2016 would confer official statutory basis to and raise the recognition of the unique archeological and cultural resources of the Conservation System. However, he was quick to point out that the bill does not mean that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would have to abandon its traditional multiple-use mandate. In fact, Moe’s testimony advocated for people having wide access to BLM lands and to be able to enjoy them. In addition, he stated that “codification of the Conservation System would not impact private in-holdings or lands managed by other agencies; alter existing oil and gas or grazing leases or other grandfathered uses; limit public access or activities such as fishing and hunting; or in any way affect units that are co-managed with other federal agencies, as only BLM lands would be included in the System. Neither would it affect the underlying enabling legislation for individual units.”

National study shows high return for Mesa’s investment in arts, culture

[Source: EVliving] -- The City of Mesa announced results from one of the most comprehensive economic impact studies of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States. The report reveals the nonprofit arts industry in Mesa generates $47.57 million in economic activity every year, more than double the activity from as reported in the previous study conducted in 2000-01. In 2005, the arts and cultural organizations from Mesa, Arizona participated in the national Americans for the Arts, Arts & Economic Prosperity III study to examine the economic impact of the arts and culture industry. The regional data released June 6th, as well as the comparative numbers from 2000, show overwhelming evidence regarding the economic growth and benefits Mesa, Arizona has realized from its investment in arts and culture The City of Mesa voters approved a Quality of Life tax in May of 1998.

The measure is a half-cent sales tax designed to stimulate economic development through arts and cultural initiatives and provide important amenities, and construct facilities such as Mesa Arts Center. The study findings give substantial evidence the investment is generating significant economic benefits for the community. Findings from the released study include: Local economic impact due to Mesa’s arts and cultural activities more than doubled from $18.1 million in 2000 to over $47.57 million in 2005; Event related spending by visitors from outside Maricopa County grew tenfold in just in five years. In 2000, these visitors spent an estimated $1,354,495. By 2005, that amount grew to $11,426,325 million; Participation at cultural events in Mesa increased from 658,164 in 2000 to 822,177 in 2005. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Safford downtown vision plan created at workshop

[Source: Rick Schneider, Eastern Arizona Courier] -- Safford residents and community leaders worked with professional consultants to chart a course for creating a vibrant and exciting Downtown during an intensive three-day Vision Plan workshop. RBF Consulting of Irvine, Calif., will take the information gathered during this exercise to create a large, colored drawing of what Safford residents want their Downtown to look like. Safford’s assets and opportunities were identified during a community workshop Tuesday. Participants were asked to write down three values, treasures, challenges and visions they had concerning Downtown Safford. Some of the challenges included unsightly buildings and alleyways, not enough retail businesses, absentee landlords, building restoration, lack of a common development theme and a shortage of parking.

Treasures listed included the slow pace, a safe environment and friendly businesses. Values noted included friendliness and the ease of walking around Downtown. Visions listed included the need for more parking, a cultural museum, trees, art galleries, updated storefronts and unique retail. After identifying the top three priorities in each category, participants broke into groups and drafted vision statements for Downtown Safford. The group met Wednes-day morning in front of the City Hall and walked around Downtown Safford. Participants were asked to write down observations they had concerning pedestrian issues such as sidewalks, benches, crosswalks and shade, vacant sites or buildings with development opportunities, sites for additional parking and facade conditions. Pictures were taken of things they liked or disliked. On Wednesday evening, participants into broke four groups and did team design exercises on Downtown maps (pictured). The areas worked on included parking and circulation, ease of getting around Downtown and arts, public spaces and Downtown districts. Drawings were made and development solutions to problems were written down.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Rick Schneider]

Phoenix ’40’s-era apartment complex to be demolished

[Source: Arizona Republic] -- The 1940s-era Palmcroft Apartments at the corner of 15th avenue and McDowell Road are scheduled to be demolished at 8:30 a.m. Monday. Developer Scott Haskins plans to build Encanto Parkside, a four-story, 87-unit upscale townhouse complex. The apartments, located in the Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District, were built in the mid-1940s as inexpensive housing for returning GIs. Some preservationists tried to keep the apartments from being torn down because they are part of Phoenix’s history. But the Haskins, who bought the 2.2-acre property in mid-2006, argued that in recent years, the apartments were a haven for drugs, robbery and prostitution, and some of that crime spilled over into the otherwise idyllic neighborhood to the north.

Construction on the Encanto Parkside development is expected to begin in early 2008, with completion slated for mid-2009. Sales prices are projected to be in the $400,000 to $900,000 range. Local architects Virginia Senior and Kim Kristoff of SRK Architects are designing the development. A news release about the development sent out on Friday included these comments from Haskins: “The Encanto-Palmcroft neighborhood is a treasure in the heart of Phoenix. With imagination and creativity, we are replacing tired, worn-out apartment buildings that had minimal historic value and destabilized the neighborhood with first-class, modern residences. I want this development to rejuvenate McDowell Road as a gateway to downtown, while enhancing property values of the surrounding neighborhood.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Fund lists climate change as threat to cultural sites

[Source: Jayne Clark, USA Today] -- For the first time, global climate change has joined political conflict and development pressures as an underlying threat to cultural heritage sites, as cataloged by the World Monuments Fund on its biennial list of the 100 most endangered places. The 2008 watch list, announced Wednesday, includes places in 58 countries on all seven continents. The WMF cites climate change as threatening spots from Canada's Herschel Island, an Inuit whaling town, to explorer Robert Falcon Scott's hut in Antarctica to the historic areas of New Orleans. "Cultural heritage is part of what we're at risk of losing, and that point hasn't been made when you talk about climate change," says WMF president Bonnie Burnham.

Political strife in Iraq landed the country's cultural heritage sites on the list for the second consecutive time. Economic development pressures were named as endangering Machu Picchu in Peru (pictured), Old Damascus in Syria and the skyline of St. Petersburg, Russia, among others. Besides New Orleans, five U.S. sites made the list: historic Route 66, the New York State Pavilion in Queens, Tutuveni petroglyph site on Arizona's Hopi reservation, the campus of Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Fla., and San Diego's Salk Institute. The public buildings in the Main Street Modern architectural style also are included. The watch list is meant to bring attention to endangered cultural heritage sites. It was culled from more than 200 nominations and chosen by an international panel of experts in architecture, archeology, art history and preservation.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Phoenix offers Hispanic survey celebration and museum projects

[Source: Barbara Stocklin] -- On June 4, Historic Preservation staff joined in the first meeting of the Hispanic Exhibit Advisory Committee at the Phoenix Museum of History. The museum is planning an exhibit based on the history compiled in the Hispanic Historic Property Survey, a project recently completed by the Phoenix Historic Preservation Office. The exhibit will be approximately 1,400 square feet in size and will open this fall, running for at least a year. Once completed, items from the exhibit will be incorporated into the museum's permanent collection. The advisory committee's next meeting will be June 18. Planning efforts are also in process to organize a city-sponsored celebration of Hispanic History and the Phoenix Hispanic Survey during Hispanic Heritage Month in early fall 2007. This event will celebrate the city’s Hispanic Survey Project, the Hispanic historic designations slated for City Council approval in early October 2007, a Channel 11 video on the study to be aired in fall 2007, and the Museum of History exhibit. The date and details of the event should be finalized in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Phoenix weighs plans for cooler downtown

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] -- Phoenix is pitching a seductive idea to lure more people to downtown: shady, cooler sidewalks lined with canopies, mini parks, fountains and public art. And, city officials say, several crucial projects will bring those scenes from the drawing boards to the streets. Crews are working on a 2.7-acre, $30 million park that will bring trees and shade near Arizona State University's downtown campus. The loved-and-loathed red bricks of Patriots Square will be bulldozed in the fall to make way for CityScape, a development that promises green space for large events. And this fall, city leaders are expected to weigh a slew of proposals for shady building overhangs, open space and strategic landscaping. The stakes are high because foot traffic brings another kind of green to downtown.

Future downtown projects, tourism and the success of the ASU campus could hinge on making Phoenix's sometimes sweltering downtown more inviting, business and university leaders say. While residents say they would embrace more greenery, some worry the new push will eventually wilt like past plans. Residents have a right to be skeptical, said Phoenix Councilman Michael Johnson. But the recent flood of downtown projects brings added momentum that wasn't there before. "Before, we didn't have development. Before, we didn't have ASU. Before, we didn't have the (new) convention center," said Johnson, whose district includes downtown. "It's imperative that when we revitalize downtown, we have shade connectivity." [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Step up to Centennial (Republic editorial)

[Source: Arizona Republic] -- Arizona is in its 95th year as a state. And wow, what a splendid ride through time it has been. The dramatic evolution - from an agriculture-based economy through mining's boom and bust cycles to the high tech and the information age to the biosciences - has been fast, furious, profound and defining. In five short years Arizona will be awash in centennial activities that will look back to where we were, offering an historical perspective that will be educational and impressionable. We'll also have activities that will look into the crystal ball and chart a course down the myriad paths on which we might venture in the next 100 years. Our past. Our future. What made Arizona the great state that it is today. Its people, rural and urban. Its diversity of cultures. Its rich heritage. Its mountains and deserts, landscapes that are drop-dead gorgeous. Its industry. Its phenomenal growth. Our ability to sustain what we have. Our ability to grow smartly.

It is not too early to get excited about the Arizona Centennial in 2012. Not by a long shot. This week, Goodyear took an important step. The City Council authorized the earmarking of $47,548 to be deposited in a special state account. It is the first city to have done so. Over time, the hope is that other communities will make similar contributions. The aim is to raise $5 million from non-state sources - cities, towns, counties and Indian tribes - a threshold that will activate the release of $2.5 million in state-appropriated funds to assist in the financing of individual "legacy projects" for the Arizona Centennial celebration. As part of the Goodyear resolution, a centennial committee will be named in September to identify and develop Goodyear centennial projects. Project criteria formulated by the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission is specific, and include such things as portraying a significant aspect of Arizona history to including an education component to live on after 2012. Goodyear Mayor Jim Cavanaugh sees his city's contribution as a "jump start," and says, "It's something we need to get moving on because 2012 isn't that far off," he says. Goodyear just happened to be the first out of the box. Surely, other West Valley cities and towns can emulate Goodyear and give the Arizona Centennial a boost. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Phoenix plans Historic Streetscape study

[Source: Barbara Stocklin] -- On May 23, 2007 HP staff met with the Metro environmental manager and consultants from Arizona Historical Research, LLC to discuss the citywide historic streetscape study. Metro is required to complete a citywide streetscape study and to develop a plan for conserving historically significant streetscapes pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement executed with State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) as mitigation for the light rail project. Metro’s consulting team includes a landscape architect and historian who will conduct the study. HP staff as well as staff from Parks and Streets will provide input on the study throughout the process. A design charette with community professionals will be hosted in July to assist in identifying significant streetscapes in Phoenix and the characteristics that define them.

Church's plans cause concern among Yuma's downtown merchants

[Source: Joyce Lobeck, Yuma Sun] -- A church that may be settling into a new home on Main Street has merchants worried that it might infringe on one key commodity to revitalizing downtown: liquor. Centro Familiar Cristiano Buenas Nuevas purchased the vacant, old J.C. Penney building at 354 S. Main St. and "just wants to be a part of the community." Arizona law says that a liquor retailer's license will not be issued for any premises which at the time of application is within 300 feet of a church or school. Debbie Mansheim, owner of Basket Creations and More, 245 S. Main St., said she is concerned the law may hamper new businesses' ability to obtain liquor licenses.

"We're just right at the turning point," Mansheim said of the downtown efforts. "One of the ways you revitalize an area is to have retail, entertainment, nightlife and people living here. If you take away nightlife, revitalization won't happen. There's lots of places along Main Street where businesses could have outdoor dining. To make the area unique, you need that possibility." However, Arizona law goes on to say that the 300-foot restriction "does not apply to premises granted a restaurant, hotel-motel, special event, club or government license. Nor does it apply to the transfer of premises which had been operating under a previously issued valid license," according to the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control Web site. Laurie Lineberry, community development director for the city of Yuma, said the 300-foot restriction only applies to bars and liquor stores. She confirmed that restaurants with food service, hotels and special events are exempt from the restriction.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Benjamin Hager.]