Tuesday, October 09, 2007

History lessen

[Source: Robrt L. Pela, New Times] -- Mr. Blackwell has his annual Best Dressed List. Condé Nast Traveler has its Best Destinations List. And Phoenix, Land of a Thousand Demolitions, apparently keeps a list, too — of important buildings that are in danger of being demolished. The Most Endangered Historic Places List is compiled each year by the Arizona Preservation Foundation, a statewide save-the-buildings organization founded in 1979 in an attempt to rescue some of our architectural and archaeological history from the wrecking ball. The group's just-released 2007 list of 16 districts and individual buildings — compiled, like the Foundation's past inventories, from nominations by building-huggers like myself — includes a couple of shockers (a well-loved performance space; an entire neighborhood of charming old Tempe tract homes) as well as the usual abandoned schools and decimated ranches.

"We're a city built on the ruins of our own recent past," sighed Vince Murray, president of the foundation's board of directors, when I called him the other day. "We know that the issue of property rights is important to a developing community, but can we stop taking away our history during that development? We lose a piece of ourselves, and our history, every time we blow up another building." [Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo: White Gates House, a Phoenix property on APF's 2007 Most Endangered Places List.]