Monday, December 31, 2007

Chandler's farmworkers cemetery being neglected, some say

[Source: Edythe Jensen, Arizona Republic] -- A 90-year-old cemetery for Hispanic farmworkers, surrounded by the Fulton Ranch development, is being neglected in what preservationists worry is an attempt to justify moving the graves off valuable land. Two years ago, Fulton Homes fenced the cemetery and installed benches and trees at the entrance as it prepared to develop the surrounding land. The home builder doesn't own the cemetery, but investors who bought it following a tax auction have told volunteer caretakers to stay out. That has angered a Chandler police group that has vowed to intervene -- with weed-removal equipment to cut down the overgrown tumbleweeds.

"It's an ethical thing," said Chandler Police Sgt. John Shearer, who is organizing the cleanup as an officer in the Chandler Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 14. "The cemetery used to be back in a field. Now it's in the middle of Fulton Ranch behind a beautiful wall. The gate is unlocked; you walk in . . . and there's a mess." The cemetery is one of the few remaining links to Chandler's once-thriving Goodyear farming community. Shearer said he has been unable to contact current owners of the Goodyear-Ocotillo Cemetery, northwest of Chandler Heights Road and Arizona Avenue. Pat Florence, a member of the Pioneers' Cemetery Association, said a representative of the previous owner ordered her group to halt regular cleanups because the land was private property. Florence said she feared she would be sued if she defied the order.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. To view Channel 12 video on the cemetery, click here. Photo source: Arizona Republic.]

National Trust's best and worst of 2007

[Source: Preservation Magazine] -- Is preservation becoming more hip? This year, celebrities like Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Darryl Hannah showed their support of historic architecture and wide open spaces. Longtime building buffs like Diane Keaton, who likes to restore Los Angeles houses, were joined by fellow showbiz types like director Michael Moore, who has promised to rehab a historic Michigan theater. Here’s the best and worst in the world of historic preservation news of 2007, compiled by the National Trust's Preservation magazine editors. (Note that Phoenix and Tempe are mentioned in the "Worst" section)

Best of 2007
  • Floodwaters Spare Farnsworth House. A few weeks after Brad Pitt’s August visit to the iconic Farnsworth House (pictured), floodwaters reached the front steps of the Plano, Ill., house designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1951. Miraculously, only the landscape suffered damage.In 2003, the National Trust for Historic Preservation paid $7.5 million at the auction of the Farnsworth House, rescuing the 58-acre property from potential development. It’s now open to the public as one of the National Trust’s 29 historic sites.
  • The Sun Rises on Hemingway’s Cuban House. After crumbling for decades, a restoration of Ernest Hemingway’s house, Finca Vigia, outside Havana was completed this year. Hemingway, who lived at “Lookout Farm” off and on from 1940 until his death in 1960, wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls in Cuba. With help from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Cuban preservation group repaired Finca Vigia, built in 1886, and opened it to the public for the first time.

  • Celebs Chip in to Protect Telluride Valley. The town of Telluride, Colo., managed to raise a whopping $50 million to protect 250 acres of its valley floor from development. Tom Cruise and Darryl Hannah pitched in to meet the May 11 deadline. “The town is elated,” Mayor John Pryor told Preservation Online. “Everyone is smiling.”
  • Philip Johnson’s Glass House Opens. Next to the Superbowl, the most sought-after tickets this year were to see the inside of Philip Johnson’s home and masterpiece, the Glass House in New Canaan, Conn. The house, which Johnson left to the National Trust for Historic Preservation after he died in 2005, opened to the public for the first time in 50 years in June as one of the Trust’s 29 historic sites. (Nearby, however, another Johnson house is threatened.)

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: National Trust.]

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Chandler's Bogle water tower will be demolished

[Source: Edythe Jensen, Arizona Republic] -- Gilbert gave its 1920s-era water tower a $250,000 facelift and puts its image on town documents. Owners of a nearly identical tower in Chandler are giving theirs the heave-ho. The Bogle water tower northeast of Alma School and Chandler Heights roads was erected before 1920 and is slated for demolition by next month, said Chandler Public History Coordinator Jean Reynolds. "This is one of the last remnants of the old town of Goodyear. Sadly, it will soon be gone," she said.

Neighbors, however, have been complaining about the structure's peeling paint and the city has no ownership rights, she said. "Though old and rusty, it represents our history," Reynolds said. Chandler Museum Coordinator Jan Dell said Chandler's tower is as much a symbol of city history as Gilbert's, and she is hoping someone launches a preservation effort to stop the demolition. Messages left for members of the Bogle family seeking comment were not returned. The family has farmed in Chandler for more than 75 years, and nearby Bogle Junior High is named for them. [Photo source: Arizona Republic.]

Tempe center highlights SE Valley arts headlines

[Source: Srianthi Perera, Arizona Republic] -- With the opening of the much-anticipated Tempe Center for the Arts this year, the Southeast Valley further established itself as an arts hub in the Valley. Here's a city-by-city look at newsworthy happenings in the arts and entertainment for 2007.


  • The $67.6 million Tempe Center for the Arts opened in September. Situated on the edge of Town Lake, the 88,000-square-foot facility has two stages, gallery space, meeting rooms and an arts park. It was welcomed by nine groups that were able to call it home, including Childsplay, Tempe Symphony Orchestra and Tempe Little Theatre.
  • By coincidence, 2007 also marked the 30th anniversary of Childsplay, and the popular children's group opened a gallery at the new arts center with a retrospective exhibition. The group evolved through a master's degree project that David P. Saar began in 1977.


  • The Mesa Arts Center embarked on its third season in October, continuing to establish itself as a leading venue for arts and entertainment in the Valley. During the 2007-08 season, the center will host more than 500 performances in its four theaters, among them classical masters, country superstars and rock artists. Local arts groups are also featured and the center's family theater company, Stageworks, continues to thrive. The arts center is also making inroads to include local communities, and organized a many-tiered celebration to mark Dia de los Muertos this year.
  • Meanwhile, although the private Mesa-based arts organizations did not receive city funds this fiscal year as well, they continue to function. The Mesa Symphony Orchestra changed its name to Symphony of the Southwest, and the Mesa Southwest Museum changed its name to Arizona Museum of Natural History. Both organizations feel the new names better reflect their geographical reach.

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

Friday, December 28, 2007

Concern expressed for historic house in Pinal County

[Source: Mark Cowling, Casa Grande Newspaper] -- Preservationists were abuzz last week with reports that the historic James E. McGee house - better known today as the Pinal County Visitor Center - was slated for demolition. McGee was a former Arizona Ranger who had served several years as Pinal County Sheriff when he died unexpectedly after a short illness in 1914. But if the house is about to be razed, it's news to Pinal County, which owns the building, county government spokesman Joe Pyritz said. He said the building comes up for evaluation periodically, as do all county facilities, but there has been no decision to tear it down.

McGee still has at least one relative left in Florence. Dottie Borree's grandmother was a sister of McGee's wife, Mary, who was a two-term county recorder and the local postmaster for many years. Mrs. Borree said she was startled to hear last week that preservationists were calling the visitor center at 330 E. Butte Ave. the "McGee house." "I don't ever remember a McGee in that house," she said Monday. Rather, she remembered her Aunt Mary in a bigger house, facing the old courthouse, which the county tore down years ago. Yet historical sources such as the state "Historic Property Inventory Form" and the National Historic Register Information System call it the "James E. and Mary McGee House."

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Casa Grande Newspaper.]

Thursday, December 27, 2007

To move or not to move? That is the question regarding Casa Grande's historic train depot

[Source: Harold Kitching, Casa Grande Newspaper] -- The historic train depot in downtown Casa Grande may need to be moved in order to be restored and opened as a museum. But if moved, it likely will lose its designation on the National Register of Historic Places. While the future of the old train depot in downtown Casa Grande remains shunted to a siding, the question arises over what the city would do with it if it got it. It's something that's been brought up at City Council meetings for years, always to fall aside as discussions with first Southern Pacific and now Union Pacific Railroad went nowhere. The city has hoped for the station to be handed over as a gift, something once proposed by the railroad but with the catch that the city would have to agree to close some crossings, including the one on Sacaton Street. The city, to put it politely, declined. With the double-tracking of the UP lines through the area, the railroad now needs some cooperation from the city when it eventually appears before the Arizona Corporation Commission to spell out its plans and what it would or would not do for cities along the tracks, leading Casa Grande to keep the depot issue on the table.

"We've been working on it for a long time, and this is our best opportunity to get that building," Public Works Director Kevin Louis told the Central City Redevelopment District Subcommittee during last week's meeting. That leads to the question of what the city would do with the depot, listed on Arizona's most endangered list. With the double-tracking, the building would probably have to be moved, although that might mean taking it off the National Register of Historic Places, a listing that if kept might make getting grants and other renovation and preservation money easier. Richard Wilkie, the city's senior management analyst, told the subcommittee that he had a lengthy phone conversation with a person at the State Historic Preservation Office, coming away with the feeling that if moved the depot would be taken off the register. "I even brought up the reason we're looking into this is the double-tracking," he said. "They said part of the response or the plan of action would have to include a section that explains if it's not moved, what impact the double-tracking will have on the depot. But as she explained, everybody's reason for moving (a structure in their area) is to preserve and trying to protect. It's not something that's unique; we're not in a unique situation here.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Steven King, Casa Grande Newspaper.]

Tucson post-World War II subdivisions could qualify for preservation list

[Source: B. Poole, Tucson Citizen] -- A recent tally of local neighborhoods confirms what southern Arizonans have been shouting from the rooftops for decades: Tucson is not another Phoenix. Though both cities sprouted sizable stretches of tract housing in the decades after World War II, the way Tucson grew and the homes built here - about 66,000 from 1945-73 - are very different from our larger neighbor to the north, according to a study commissioned by the city. The Old Pueblo grew in smaller chunks than the Valley, and our mountain views and local brickworks sparked a distinct style of home - the Tucson ranch. The inventory of 304 neighborhoods built from 1945-73 is on the first cut of post-World War II subdivisions that could qualify for the National Register of Historic Places, said Marty McCune, city historic preservation officer. The list was culled from just more than 800 neighborhoods started during the study period. "There are just so many of these neighborhoods that we have to have a way of weeding out the ones that clearly are not going to be eligible," she said. The study lays the groundwork for comparing Tucson neighborhoods - a key to deciding which to nominate as historic districts, which would likely increase property values and could net homeowners a 50 percent property tax break if they agree to limit remodeling.

Echo of baby boom

Tucson's post-World War II housing explosion matched the nation's. Veterans needed homes for the baby boom, which was springing up so fast that traditional, one-at-a-time construction couldn't keep pace, said preservation specialist R. Brooks Jeffery, associate dean of the University of Arizona College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. "Like the rest of the nation, we had a pent-up demand," he said. The answer was production building, in which neighborhoods could be built assembly-line style, Jeffery said. But Tucson had smaller lenders than Phoenix, and many developers here were small-time operators - often married couples developing just a few acres - which helped make Tucson's production scale smaller than the Valley's in the post-war years, the study shows. A similar report shows Scottsdale's 103 post-war neighborhoods averaged 146 homes each while here the average was 83 homes. Tucson's water situation also forced smaller neighborhoods. Phoenix's valleywide water system allowed broad-ranging developments with thousands of homes and dozens of plats, or chunks local governments approved one by one. Tucson had no valleywide water system, said Deborah Edge Abele, president of Akros, the Tempe consulting firm that got $57,000 to do the study.

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

Arizona man has plan to save Seligman's 1913 Harvey House

[Source: Margaret Foster, National Trust] -- An Arizona hotel might have a shot at seeing another year. When the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad announced its plans to demolish the 1913 Havasu Hotel, which it abandoned in 1989, locals publicized the threat to one of the last historic buildings in tiny Seligman, Ariz., 80 miles west of Flagstaff. The Arizona Preservation Foundation put the Harvey House on this year's list of the state's most endangered places. A "Harvey House," the hotel is one of an 80-building chain of railroad hotels and restaurants that entrepreneur Fred Harvey built throughout the West.

Local Frank Kocevar, who spent two years restoring a Route 66 store in Seligman, stepped forward this fall and asked the railroad to give him the 60-room hotel, which he wants to move to his 10-acre site nearby. The railroad has given Kocevar until Jan. 8 to submit a formal plan for the building's relocation. This week, Kocevar received an estimate to move the hotel's main section, and the project is "doable," he says. "I came up with this idea when all hope of saving it was kind of lost," Kocevar says. "My plan was just to save the building, relocate the building, and then see what develops." Kocevar "has inspired other businesses in town to spiff up their facades," says resident Mary Clurman, who has been trying to save the ailing building for seven years. "It's the best-looking thing in Seligman, and it should be preserved because of that." Kocevar envisions the Havasu Hotel as a visitors center stocked with artifacts from Harvey Hotels, and he'd like to include a business that would turn the building into a tourist attraction, "just to have that sort of a monument in town. The town sure needs a draw."

[Note: To read more about Harvey Houses on Preservation Online, click here. Photo source: National Trust.]

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Group to preserve Henry Wickenburg's burial site

[Source: Sherry Anne Rubiano, Arizona Republic] -- Atop a hill near downtown Wickenburg lie the remains of the town's namesake, Henry Wickenburg. But unless someone told you exactly where the site is, you would never know it was there. There are no signs directing visitors to the burial plot in a residential neighborhood at Adams Street and Howard Court. Only eroded headstones and aboveground tombs, wild trees and cacti, and a flagpole with no flag mark the site. "It's kind of sad," said Cindy Thrasher, president of the Wickenburg Historical Preservation Society. "People don't know where it is. A lot of improvements need to be made." The society plans to purchase the site through an auction held by the town. It also would restore the gravesite.

Proposed improvements include repairing the tombs, purchasing adjacent property, moving an APS power pole, providing a walkway that is ADA-accessible, adding biographies of each pioneer buried there, and surrounding the site with a wrought-iron security fence. They also would like to add the property onto the Arizona and National Registers of Historic Places. Total improvements are estimated at $150,000, but Thrasher said restoring the site is priceless. "This is something that we can grasp and hold onto, and we should," she said. "It's just something I think the community should hold dear." The "Henry Wickenburg Gravesite" has been a controversial issue over the years. Several improvements need to be made, but some residents opposed spending tax dollars on the town-owned site. Encroachment issues also have come up because nine properties abut the gravesite.

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

'Peek into the past' at Kingman's Bonelli House

[Source: Andraya Whitney, Daily Miner] -- History buffs, longtime Kingman residents and newcomers to the city can all find something interesting in the Bonelli House, located downtown. The house was built in 1915 after the original frame house burned down. Today, it exists in virtually the same condition as when George and Effie Bonelli lived in it, albeit with the addition of some modern conveniences such as heating and cooling. Because the Bonellis first home was lost to a fire, the contractor built the new one with tufa stone and thick, fire resistant plaster to protect against future fire dangers - which also helped to shield the home from extreme heat and cold. Every room was equipped with an exit to the outdoors due to fire safety concerns for the Bonellis' nine children.

The city of Kingman bought the house in 1973 from Joseph Bonelli, one of George's sons. Joseph was still cooking on the coal-fired stove in the kitchen when he turned the home over to the city. That stove remains in place, along with several other heating stoves in the bedrooms and living areas. With the help of a National Historic Preservation Grant and the Daughters of the Mohave County Pioneers, the home was restored for use as a historical museum. Although largely furnished with original belongings of the Bonelli family, some period pieces are also used to fill out the d├ęcor, chosen to represent original pieces that were present in the home. Private individuals donated some of the display items, and others were purchased at local antique shops. "When people come through, they find things that they can relate to, one way or another, and it just really is a great interest to them," said Cathy Kreis, a volunteer with the Mohave County Historical Society.

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

Resting place of Phoenix's first mayors, 'Lost Dutchman' opens for tours

[Source: Sadie Jo Smokey, Arizona Republic] -- Thin black bars protect the graves of the famous and not-so-famous people who made up Phoenix's early history. One volunteer has a key and unless visitors call ahead to arrange a tour, they're not getting past the gates at Pioneer & Military Memorial Park. Made up of seven historic cemeteries near 15th Avenue and Jefferson Street in downtown Phoenix, this is where early Phoenix families buried their dead from 1884 to 1914. Wearing blue-gray Easy Spirit sneakers Marge West, a researcher with the Pioneers' Cemetery Association, walks slowly on a brick path, key in hand to open the wrought iron gates. "All the early history of Phoenix is buried here," West said. "I came in 1983 to see what it was all about. Since then I've been finding out who there people were." On Dec. 29, the Pioneers' Cemetery Association volunteers will offer free, guided tours of the park and the 110-year-old Smurthwaite House. The first mayors of Phoenix are buried in the 11-acre park, along with Buffalo Soldiers, miners, prostitutes, victims of scarlet fever, small pox, measles and childbirth, and Jacob Waltz, also known as the "Lost Dutchman." Like Waltz, the desert park has its secrets. Many of the graves are unmarked. For the most part West knows who's in the park, but she doesn't always know where. "This was not segregated in any way," West said. [Photo source: Arizona Republic.]

Mass at Phoenix's Sacred Heart reunites barrio each year

[Source: Amanda Chan, Arizona Republic] -- It sits in the middle of a dirt field, at 16th Street and Buckeye Road, just west of the always-bustling Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The Sacred Heart Church building is usually quiet with dusty plastic covers draped over the pews. It's a deserted area for much of the year. But every Christmas, the building transforms into a hub for reunion, laughter and tears. People fill the pews. Cars fill the lot. Former residents of the Golden Gate Barrio, the surrounding neighborhood that was cleared out by Phoenix in the 1970s and '80s, come to the church for a special Christmas Mass. Each year, people laugh and talk loudly with their old friends and former neighbors while others weep quietly and kneel in the dirt where their homes stood 30 years ago, said Abe Arvizu Jr., chairman of Braun-Sacred Heart Center Inc., the non-profit group that has organized the Christmas Mass for the past 20 years. Folks like Carmen Peralta, 81, used to live in the barrio and attend Sacred Heart, which was started in the 1950s by the Franciscan and former military chaplain Rev. Albert Braun.

She said that for her and her husband, Vincent, the Christmas Masses are like reunions. "We go every Christmas just to see our old friends, whoever is left, maybe the grandchildren or the people we used to know," Peralta said. "We just love to see somebody that we haven't seen for a long time." Peralta said that most of the original residents of the Golden Gate Barrio are gone, but that the older ones and their children still come to the church every year. Arvizu, 50, also lived in the neighborhood, bound roughly between 16th and 24th streets, before residents had to relocate to other parts of the Valley. His family helped to build the church structure in 1956, particularly with the electrical wiring. He said the Masses are like coming home to see family. "It's like a coming-home Mass . . . a jubilee Mass, because you get to come back home and you get to be with family and friends, people you haven't seen in years, or that you haven't seen since the last Mass," he said. The Christmas service is like a big celebration of everyone's life all over again, he said. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Friday, December 21, 2007

Five Statements of Qualifications received for National Register nomination project

[Source: Barbara Stocklin, City of Phoenix] -- The Historic Preservation Office received five Statements of Qualifications (SOQs) on December 17 from prospective consultants for a National Register nomination project. The five consulting firms are: 1) Akros, Inc.; 2) EcoPlan Associates, Inc.; 3) Logan Simpson Design, Inc.; 4) Preservation Central, Inc. and 5) URS Corporation. A sixth consultant submitted an SOQ after the deadline and was disqualified. The goal of the project is to list 10 Phoenix neighborhoods on the National Register of Historic Places, located in City Council District 4, 7 and 8. All 10 of the proposed National Register districts are currently listed on the Phoenix Historic Property Register. A staff panel will review the SOQs and make a recommendation to the Historic Preservation Commission at its January 28, 2008 meeting. It is anticipated that the item will go to the Council Subcommittee in February and to the full Council in March for final approval. The consultant is scheduled to begin work April 1.

Legislative cost-cutting threatens state's parks (op-ed)

[Source: Arizona Republic] -- The Arizona state parks system is crumbling, and the Arizona Legislature is threatening to apply a sledgehammer to the problem. For those who are not parks-savvy, the 30 state park sites preserve some of the state's scenic gems, like Red Rock State Park in Sedona, Catalina State Park near Tucson and the world-famous Kartchner Caverns near Benson. State parks also protect historic treasures like Homolovi Ruins near Winslow and the Yuma Territorial Prison. And they include a bevy of wildly popular water-oriented parks at lakes and rivers across the state. State parks welcomed 2.3 million visitors last year. In exchange for meager state funding, the parks generate about $126 million annually in tourist revenue for counties and municipalities that are neighbors to state parks, according to a 2002 study by Northern Arizona University. The Legislature appropriates only $8.2 million to the Parks Department from the state's general fund. The rest of the department's operating budget and all its money for park upkeep and improvements come from funds made up of user fees, various grants and a voter-approved share of the state lottery.

That might be marginally acceptable, but the Legislature won't let those funds alone. During the past state budget crisis, in 2002-03, the Legislature swept more than $40 million out of those funds, leaving the parks system with almost no resources for capital spending. The parks have never recovered, and now the Legislature is proposing to do it again. Legislative budgeters have proposed a list of parks-fund sweeps totaling $38.3 million in the current fiscal year to help the state out of its projected $1 billion budget deficit. Much of that money is actually designated by law to be used as grants to counties and municipalities for parks and open space, but the net effect of the sweeps is that state parks would again be left with no capital money. Clearly, there is a problem of fairness here. The parks system is being asked to contribute to fiscal rescue far out of proportion to its tiny $8.2 million impact on the state budget. But the real issue is that this scheme will leave the parks with no resources to stop the steady deterioration of the system. The Parks Department has identified nearly $44 million in urgent capital needs encompassing 27 of the 30 state parks. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Developer pays big in Pinal County eco-damage case

[Source: Ronald J. Hansen, Arizona Republic] -- A developer and his partners have agreed to pay the state a record $12.1 million to settle a lawsuit that accused them of polluting the state's water, bulldozing protected land, fatally infecting bighorn sheep and destroying archaeological sites. The state's settlement with George H. Johnson and his business partners primarily involves a tract of desert in the Santa Cruz River Valley area of Pinal County that he wanted to turn into a 67,000-home development about the size of Tempe. The 2003 deal, which would have bordered Ironwood Forest National Monument, fell apart as some landowners resisted Johnson's offers and complained of strong-arm tactics intended to bully them into selling. He sold the land in 2004.

"This resolution is a strong message to anyone who would despoil our environmental heritage," Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said. The settlement, to be split among five state agencies, is the largest environmental-enforcement action in Arizona history, Goddard said. Johnson still faces a federal lawsuit claiming water violations, Goddard said. John DiCaro, one of Johnson's lawyers, stressed that there was no admission of wrongdoing and that Johnson's insurance companies forced the settlement because they will pay for it. "This is a very expensive case to defend. They made a decision to settle," DiCaro said. "George is a very successful developer...He wants to put this case behind him."

Breakdown of costs:

  • Johnson's contractors destroyed 270 acres of state trust lands near the Ironwood property in the area, known as the La Osa Ranch, the suit claimed. Additionally, contractors bulldozed 2,000 acres of private land without a permit and seven Hohokam archaeological sites, the state said (pictured).
  • About $500,000 of the settlement will pay for trial-preparation costs, such as hiring expert witnesses in the case. A portion, $150,000, is to be used to establish a preservation fund for the Arizona State Museum.
  • Goddard declined to give the state's estimate of environmental and archaeological damage, but DiCaro said the state had suggested it was $200 million.
  • Under the agreement, Johnson must pay $7 million before Jan. 4.
  • A firm he used, 3-F Contracting, must pay $5.05 million, and Preston Well Drilling must pay $61,500.

For Johnson, it is the most costly and prominent action taken against him and his businesses in recent years. Records show regulatory agencies have cited him 31 times from 1999 to 2005 for 93 suspected violations in Apache and Pinal counties. The citations range from trespassing to unauthorized construction. At least five of the citations were resolved with a consent order, in some cases with no admission of wrongdoing. Lawyers for the state said Johnson routinely skirted rules to force his developments. DiCaro said Johnson's regulatory record was irrelevant and could not comment about the citations raised by the state. [Photo source: Arizona Republic.]

Fish, Wildlife Service proposing changes to wolf program

[Source: Associated Press] -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to change some of the rules for a program that began putting Mexican gray wolves back into the wild in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona nearly 10 years ago. Federal biologists began releasing wolves in 1998 to re-establish the species in part of its historic range after it had been hunted to the brink of extinction in the early 1900s. Ranchers have consistently complained about wolves killing their livestock, while conservationists have criticized the program's management _ specifically a policy that requires wolves to be removed if they're linked to three livestock killings. The federal agency has begun taking comments in a series of public meetings in New Mexico and Arizona about potential changes to the program.

The wolf reintroduction program originally predicted that by now, there would be a viable, self-sustaining population of 100 wolves and 18 breeding pairs in the wild. Instead, the service counted 59 wolves and six breeding pairs last winter during its official, once-a-year count. Since the first releases, the agency has removed 65 wolves permanently _ either by capturing them for permanent captivity or by killing them, said Dave Parsons, who oversaw the wolf recovery program from 1990 to 1999. He is now is carnivore conservation biologist for The Rewinding Institute. The wild population has been "propped up by continued releases far beyond what we thought would be necessary,'' he said.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Associated Press.]

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Vote now to protect historic places nationwide

[Source: Home & Away] -- The National Trust for Historic Preservation is accepting nominations for its 2008 America’s Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places list. The list is issued annually to raise awareness of historic sites at risk from neglect, poor maintenance, insufficient funds, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy. Since its founding, the list has been one of the nation’s most successful tools in the fight to save America's irreplaceable architectural, cultural and natural heritage. “America’s Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places list has been a powerful wake-up call, alerting people to treasures in trouble and rousing efforts to save them,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “This list has helped save some very significant pieces of our nation’s heritage. (But) important historic sites are still in danger, and we must continue to protect the places that tell America’s story.”

The list has brought national attention to 189 significant buildings, sites and landscapes. At times, that attention has garnered public support to rescue a treasured landmark; while in other instances, it has been the impetus of a long battle to save an important piece of our history. America’s Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places list has been so successful in educating the public about the importance of preserving our nation’s history that more than 35 states now publish their own lists of endangered historic places. Among the many sites that have been listed are Historic Neighborhoods of New Orleans; Ellis Island in New York Harbor (pictured); the Kennecott Copper Mines in Alaska; Bethlehem Steel Plant in Bethlehem, Pa.; the World Trade Center Vesey Street Survivors’ Staircase; and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground corridor through Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Descriptions of past listings can be found at

The National Trust uses three primary criteria to determine the eleven finalists: significance, urgency and potential solutions. For more information about the application process and to download the application, click here or call (202)588-6141. Nominations will be accepted until Jan. 4.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Grant deadline announcement for National Trust preservation funds

[Source: Nicole Vann, National Trust] -- Are you seeking grant funding for a project that involves a historic interior? The Mitchell Fund assists in the preservation, restoration and interpretation of historic interiors by supporting project planning activities, workshops and conferences, and educational programs. In the past, funded activities have included paint analysis, the conservation of textiles, historic furnishing plans, and fundraising plans; but the Trust is always looking for more creative projects that go beyond the usual activities associated with historic interiors. Click here to get an idea of some of the more innovative projects that have been funded in the past.

Grants from this fund range from $2,500 to $10,000. Nonprofit organizations and government agencies are eligible to apply. Individuals and for-profit businesses may also apply if the project for which funding is requested involves a National Historic Landmark. An electronic application form can be found on the National Trust's website. The postmark deadline is February 1, 2008.

February 1, 2008 is also the deadline for the Johanna Favrot Fund for Historic Preservation, the Hart Family Fund for Small Towns grant program, and the National Trust Preservation Fund grants. More information on these grants can be found on the National Trust's website, or by contacting the National Trust regional office in your area. Spread the word about this unique funding opportunity!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Phoenix's Willo district is a fairy-tale land of cozy cottages, funky shops

[Source: Eric Noland, Los Angeles Daily News; reprinted in Miami Herald] -- The ceiling beams were hewn by hand in 1922, and Jeff Cirulla points to the chisel marks as he stands in the living room of this Spanish colonial treasure. He appreciates the workmanship all the more, he says, now that the painstaking task of removing layers of purple latex paint has been completed. Elsewhere in the neighborhood, residents proudly show off leaded-glass windows, murals on backyard walls and scored concrete floors. In a cozy California bungalow, Jeremy and Denise Staley indicate the newly installed hexagonal tile in the kitchen; a classic touch. "We took out the granite countertops," Denise says.

These are the people of Phoenix's Willo Historic District, and this is their annual home tour. Held during the winter (the next one is Feb. 10), about 15 homeowners open up their storybook cottages, most built in the 1920s and '30s in such styles as English Cotswold, Spanish mission and French provincial.

The homes were designed long before the imperative for entertainment centers, walk-in closets and a separate bedroom for each and every child. But, for the sake of abundant charm, the residents make adjustments. "A substantial majority have a storage facility somewhere, for the winter clothes," Bob Cannon, president of the neighborhood association, said with a chuckle. "The lack of storage and a garage is a challenge for some of the (newly arrived) suburbans to handle."

A historic district in Phoenix? Well, you have to stretch the concept a bit -- and New Englanders would split their sides with laughter -- but it is, after all, a young city. The Willo gained protection as a special conservation district in the 1980s, which spared it the distressing trend of mansionization. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Modern Phoenix Neighborhood Network rolls out new features

[Source: Alison and Matthew King, Modern Phoenix Neighborhood Network] -- For all of you fans of Mid-Century Modern architecture and design, we know you're likely frittering away your Monday morning with last-minute gift purchases and self-indulgent surfing through your bookmarked guilty pleasures, but we think we have something you should really drop everything for. has rolled out lots of new features that we're rightly proud of.

THE MAP. We are thrilled to announce the debut of a Google-enhanced, zoomable, clickable version of our already-famous Modern Phoenix Neighborhood Map. Five years ago this knowledge was once the domain of word-of-mouth and a few scattered publications -- now you can pinpoint the heart of every modern neighborhood we have content about, and some swank modern landmarks to boot. Over 100 areas are identified. Still in beta, the map will keep growing this season as more resources are added. Click here!

TOP TEN SURVEY. We'd like your input in creating the NEW official 2008 Top Ten Modern Phoenix Neighborhood Map. From Arcadia to Brannandale to Campus Vista, we've got tons of neighborhoods listed for you weigh your opinion on. Only 100 votes will be counted, so represent yourself and your 'hood in our SurveyMonkey poll. Click here!

MESSAGE BOARD MAKEOVER. If you haven't already blown off a half-hour on Items One or Two, your jaded self must check out our new message board forums. We have a whole new look and tons of 2.0 features. Click here!

HISTORY. What would a major ModPhx upgrade be without juicy new content? You can peek inside the archives of our own personal home, The Hopkins House, and learn about the early postwar stylings of architect Ralph Haver. Our renovation progress may be slow, but the history of the home is long, and we hope you enjoy digging trough our archives as much as we did. Click here!

PHOENIX FROZE OVER -- WE NOW ACCEPT ADVERTISING. We can't wait to run your ads. Seriously. If you have a service or product that is modern, what better way to let your market know than to advertise on our site? If your own website is not getting over 100,000 pageviews a month like ours is, drop Alison a line. New ads roll out on January 1, so enroll soon to reserve the winter quarter. Click here!

The good, the bad, and the ugly in Nogi (op-ed)

[Source: Marcelino Varona Jr., Nogales International] -- Abrazos y Coscorrones... COSCORRONES to our moment of crisis. I still remember the time when former Arizona governor and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt walked into the old Nogales Flower Shop on Morley Avenue while on the campaign trial and marveled about the beauty and relevance of the building. Gov. Babbitt questioned my father about the history of the building and that is when I myself learned about the hotel on the top part of the building. So after my father worked in the building for more than 40 years and it was torn down it left a substantial void. It even had the same little heater for the entire 40 years. My father was never much for change. As he would say, "Leave things as they are."

So what did we learn to take care of our past? If we as a community are really interested in historic preservation, commercial and neighborhood, why not visit Telluride, Colo., and implement its preservation guidelines. Main Street Telluride is the closest you will ever come to Nogales 100 years ago.

Portions of Superior's Magma Hotel collapses

[Source: Jodey Elsner] -- The 1916 (middle) addition to the Magma Hotel (constructed between 1912 and 1923) in downtown Superior has lost its facade due to the recent heavy rains. The State Historic Preservation Office is aware, but it's in the owner's and city's hands at this point.

Phoenix Council approves 16 exterior rehab projects

[Source: Barbara Stocklin, City of Phoenix] -- The City Council approved $126,281 in 2006 Historic Preservation Bond funds for 16 grant applications. These Exterior Rehabilitation grants will fund needed restoration work on 16 historic homes in 11 historic districts: Ashland Place, Coronado, Fairview Place, F.Q. Story, Margarita Place, Medlock Place, North Encanto, North Garfield, Oakland, Willo and Windsor Square. For more information about the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office, click here.

Chandler High named to historic registry

[Source: Ray Parker, Arizona Republic] -- Another distinction has been added to the venerable Chandler High School built in 1922. It's now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Principal Terry Williams said Old Main, the original building built 85 years ago, has been a key place for Chandler life. And now it's a landmark. Kevin Weight, a Chandler resident with experience in historic preservation, helped the city prepare Old Main's nomination for the National Register. After a lengthy review process at the state level, the National Park Service awarded the designation on Nov. 20. Old Main is believed to be the oldest high school building in Arizona still used for education.

A $30 million renovation and expansion of the Chandler High campus, at Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard, was completed in 2005 and included a new career and technical education center, an Olympic-quality swimming pool and upgraded athletic facilities. Until 1998, Chandler High was the only public high school in the Chandler Unified School District, which now has four. The latest, Perry High, opened in August. Key events in the history of Chandler High:

  • 1913: First classes in buildings at Cleveland (now Chandler Boulevard) and California streets.

  • 1918: School graduates its first class.

  • 1922: School completed at cost of $12,500.

  • 1953: Football field moved to Erie Street and named Austin Field.

  • 1995-96: Major renovation. Original building gutted, interior rebuilt, named Old Main.

  • 2005: $30 million renovation and expansion, part of 2002 bond package, is completed. [Photo source: Arizona Republic.]

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Deadline 1/11 for education/poster session for 2008 National Preservation Conference

Have you thought about your Education or Poster Session submission to the National Preservation Conference (October 21-25, 2008) in Tulsa? The deadline is January 11!

You know about the outstanding education opportunity that the Conference offers. Don't yet know what there might be to love about Tulsa? Check out the Conference website to see just some of the unique sites and opportunities. There is NO other conference that immerses you so fully in the rich history, architecture, and culture of a region and a city -- all applied this year to the Southern Plains.

If you are from Oklahoma, you'll learn all sorts of new things about the state and the city, and if you are not... well, some people say you'll leave wishing you were.

Submit your proposal for an Education or Field Session here. Have questions? Email us.

Friday, December 14, 2007

National Trust issues call for nominations for 2008 National Preservation Awards

[Source: Donna Leahy] -- Each year the National Trust celebrates the best of preservation by presenting National Preservation Awards to individuals and organizations whose contributions demonstrate excellence in historic preservation. The Trust invites you to nominate a deserving individual, organization, agency, or project for a National Preservation Award. The deadline for nominations for all awards, including the Trustees awards, ACHP, HUD Awards and National Preservation Honor Awards, is March 1, 2008. Those nominations not selected to receive a Trustees, ACHP or HUD Award are automatically considered for an Honor Award. Download the nomination form from the National Trust’s website. For more information about the awards or the nomination process, contact Caroline Healey by email or phone at 202-588-6236.

Beadle home, Spanish revival highlight Phoenix home tour

[Source: Body Positive] -- A home designed by architect Al Beadle, an old adobe house in the Arcadia district and a Spanish revival will be among homes on the Tour For Life annual home tour February 25. Beadle, perhaps best known for designing the original Cine Capri Theater, designed the 2,600-square-foot Paradise Valley house owned by Herbert and Olivia Quist. It has been featured in a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

The self tour also includes the adobe Mexican-style home in Arcadia owned by Meghan and Jerry Hirsch. It was acquired in 1890 by Thomas Murphy of Detroit through the federal Desert Land Act. He transferred the house to his brother William. The house was used as a sheep weighing station and gatehouse, bunk house for ranch workers and now serves as a 5,000-square-foot home with nine fireplaces, hand-painted murals and garden courtyards. The entry door is 200 years old.

Tour travelers also will be routed to the Willo neighborhood in downtown Phoenix to see a Spanish colonial revival of 2,200 square feet with hardwood floors, coved ceilings, a terrace and guesthouse. Glen Hammond owns the home. Another tour stop is on Lincoln Drive in Paradise Valley, showcasing a 7,000-square-foot Wiseman & Gale California ranch adobe home dating from the 1930s. Cost of the noon to 5 p.m. tour is $75. Booklets with maps, information and tickets to each home, can be purchased in advance. A limited number of brochures will be available on the day of the event. For more information, call 602-307-5330 or click here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

National Trust for Historic Preservation announces preservation leadership training

[Source: Alison Hinchman] -- The National Trust for Historic Preservation is pleased to announce Preservation Leadership Training June 21 - 28, in Portland, Maine. The application deadline is March 31, 2008. Preservation Leadership Training (PLT) is an intensive one-week program that provides participatory learning experiences in leadership and organizational development; stimulating education sessions; and up-to-the-minute information on current preservation practices, issues, and action strategies.

PLT is for board members and staff of preservation organizations and agencies, Main Street communities, and others who are in a position to influence preservation efforts in their communities. The tuition for the program is $450; National Trust Forum members are eligible for a discounted tuition of $350. Participants are responsible for lodging costs, meals and transportation to and from the PLT site. A limited number of scholarships are available; please see the website for details. For more information, call 202-588-6067, or send an email.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Floating $2.4 million Phoenix sculpture not sunk yet

[Source: Connie Cone Sexton, Arizona Republic] -- Phoenix officials decided Monday to give a $2.4 million proposed piece of downtown public art another chance. The floating sculpture by internationally known artist Janet Echelman was axed last week by the City Manager's Office but now will have its fate tied to a City Council meeting next week. But first, members of the council's arts, culture and historic preservation subcommittee will discuss the piece Friday afternoon. A meeting time has not been set.

Ed Zuercher, the Phoenix deputy city manager who initially decided to kill the artwork, said that he and other city officials were moved by the passion of several members of the arts community who want to see the piece erected, or, at the very least, have more of a public review. Zuercher had said that the artwork, which would be suspended about 55 feet in the air and supported by three large towers, would be too difficult to install in time for the November opening of the Civic Space park. He said "it appears a lot of people are concerned about the cost." However, the funding is mandated to be used for art under a city ordinance.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Glendale's Catlin Court historic district adds 71 homes

[Source: Carrie Watters, Arizona Republic] -- An additional 71 homes in Catlin Court have been added to the National Register of Historic Places, giving the downtown Glendale neighborhood 134 properties with historic status. Some of the quaint homes date to 1914, with numerous Craftsman bungalow-style homes built in the 1920s. Russ and Debbie Spencer bought their Catlin Court home more than two years ago. The couple were leaving Las Vegas and a tract home in a walled community. They sought a place without fences. "We were getting back to neighborhoods," Russ Spencer said. Their 70-year-old Gardenia Avenue home is now on the National Register. The latest expansion takes the historic district from seven to 22 blocks, from 59th to 55th avenues and roughly Orangewood to Palmaire avenues. For the first time, the historic district has pushed east of 57th Avenue.

That's a welcome addition for homeowner Gilbert Chavez, whose 1930s-era home is now on the register. Chavez should see nearly a 50 percent reduction in his property taxes and has applied for grants to assist with improvements. The landscape architect would like to replace windows and replaster his Santa Fe-style home. He gave kudos to the city for assisting residents through the process. Glendale has 290 properties on the National Register, which began in 1966 to support, protect and coordinate properties considered worthy of preservation. The historic-district expansion into East Catlin Court is just one sign of renewal there. The neighborhood has been tentatively approved for a $50,000 city grant to begin planning streetscape improvements that could include trees and antique-looking streetlights that match others throughout downtown.

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

Arts, culture and heritage website offers event and venue information for Arizona

Arizona is a crossroad of culture and heritage where many different traditions have met and combined into a unique culture that defines Arizona. Want to learn more about our state's rich history and historic places? Click here to view the Arizona arts, culture and heritage guide. The heritage guide provides information about Arizona including:

  • Museums, sites and learning facilities

  • Art galleries and performing arts venues sorted by type and city

  • Ghost towns and haunted places

  • Architecture and historic landmarks sorted by type and city

  • Hispanic and Native American cultural attractions and diversions

  • Military history at museums and sites

Tickets now on sale for Mesa Historic Home Tour

[Source: East Valley Living] -- If you’re looking to buy a holiday gift that is unique, highlights Mesa’s historic roots and benefits a great cause, you might consider purchasing tickets to Mesa’s 8th Annual Historic Home Tour. Tickets are now on sale for the tour, which is scheduled for Saturday January 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year’s tour will be in the West Second Street Historic District and will showcase 9 private homes along with several historic buildings, including the Sirrine House, Antique Wedding House and Irving School.

Tickets are available now at the Mesa Historical Museum, 2345 N. Horne, or you can buy them online. Tickets are $25 per person and include a tour of more than a dozen historic buildings, complimentary lunch at RigaTony’s, a visit to the Mesa Historical Museum and dessert. All proceeds benefit the museum. As part of the tour, the Mesa Historical Museum produces an information-packed book, which is given to all tour participants. The book includes information on the styles of homes on the tour as well as the individual histories of the homes. The City of Mesa, RigaTony’s, The Arizona Republic, SRP and Americopy sponsor the 8th Annual Historic Home Tour. For more information, contact Mesa Historical Museum President and CEO Lisa Anderson at 480-835-7358.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hidden area of Glendale faces historical extinction

[Source: Carolyn Dryer, Glendale Star] -- While one part of the city is gaining recognition for its historical distinction, another area is facing historical extinction. The Catlin Court Historic District has been approved for expansion by the National Register. The organization approved the expansion Oct. 20 for Catlin Court to expand from seven to 22 blocks, adding 134 additional contributing properties to the National Register of Historic Places. But another area of Glendale is facing extinction. An organization that researches the status of various sites around the country each year has the Glendale Tract Community Center on its 2007 most endangered list in Arizona. Ron Short, deputy director for long-range planning and director of historic preservation for the city, said the federal government platted the area on the southeast corner of 51st and Northern avenues in 1933. It was part of the New Deal to help farmers. The Glendale Tract consisted of 25 lots ranging in size from 15,000 to 18,000 square feet. Adobe homes that were built on the lots were approximately 680 square feet. A one and one-half acre site was set aside for the community center. All of the buildings have tin roofs.

In 1948, the community center site was sold to a private party. “It’s a very interesting part of Glendale history,” Short said. “At the present time, 13 of the homes and the community center still meet eligibility requirements.” Buildings must be 50 years old and their exterior integrity maintained. Last year, Short said, the owners of the community center property came to the city with a plan to build eight homes on the one and one-half acres. To put in a cul-de-sac, the community center would have to be torn down. City planner Maryann Pickering said the owners submitted their plan for a first review Jan. 5. Pickering said, “We’ve told them we’re going to support five lots and they finish up the citizen participation process with the neighborhood.” The property owners, Jaime and Alfredo Lopez, last met with neighbors Jan. 29, Pickering said. She attended the meeting and said there were about 15 to 20 residents who showed up. “A lot of people were concerned with traffic,” Pickering said. “A lot of people were concerned about the historic character of the neighborhood.” Still others, she said, were concerned about public safety access into the area. “People didn’t like the fact an HOA would have to be created,” Pickering said. Anytime a subdivision is created in the city, retention is required and that is where the HOA comes in, Pickering said. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Phoenix's Luhrs Center, built in 1920s, to get face lift

[Source: John McLean, Business Gazette] -- The historic Luhrs Center in downtown Phoenix is getting a makeover. The property was recently purchased by Hansji Urban and is being updated to offer historic ambience while adding modern technology. The 10-story Luhrs Building at 11 W. Jefferson St. was constructed in 1924 and features approximately 78,000 rentable square feet. The building is currently vacant. The 14-story Luhrs Tower, built in 1929 by local businessman George Luhrs at 45 W. Jefferson St., is full of historic features, including Art Deco accents and Spanish-colonial influences. It was once the tallest building in Phoenix. It contains approximately 35,000 square feet of rentable space. The one-story Luhrs Arcade sits between Luhrs Building and Luhrs Tower. The new owner plans to bring the entire center up to class-A level upon completion in 2008. Jerry Jacobs and Larry Downey of Cushman & Wakefield in Phoenix are the leasing agents for the property.

Children's Museum of Phoenix announces opening

With significant progress being made, the Children's Museum of Phoenix has announced it will be opening its doors on June 14, 2008. The museum will be housed in the historic Monroe School, and is the culmination of 9 years of planning and fundraising. For more information on the progress, as well as events leading up to the grand opening, click here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Scottsdale aims to protect Kerr’s venue

[Source: Julie Janovsky, Tribune] -- Thirty years after her passing, Scottsdale historians are lobbying to keep Louise Lincoln Kerr’s legacy alive. The Scottsdale Historic Preservation Commission will be holding its second public open house on Dec. 10 — the anniversary of Kerr’s death — to inform Scottsdale residents of a plan to have the late philanthropist’s home and adjoining studio added to the city’s historic registry. Advocates of Kerr, who is described by many local arts patrons as “the grand lady of music,” say the honor is worth bestowing upon the Kerr Cultural Center (pictured). "The Kerr Center has a long and rich history of being an arts center. This honor will bring more visibility to the theater and recognize its value,” said Patricia Myers, author of Scottsdale: Jewel in the Desert, speaking of the musical performances Kerr’s intimate theater has hosted since the 1940s. The Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously in September to initiate a case to the Scottsdale City Council to grant historic status to Kerr’s Center, located off Rose Lane, south of the Borgata shopping center.

For the next few months, the Commission will be holding hearings for the public and city leaders outlining why the center merits landmark status. Those who knew Kerr say she was instrumental in giving Scottsdale’s cultural scene a boost at a time when the area was not known for the arts. “She left a legacy of musical exposure,” said Charles Lewis, of Scottsdale. Lewis, a jazz pianist, met Kerr when he was a student at ASU in the 1950s. “Many of the artists who performed at the Phoenix Symphony and recitals would all come to her studio and have classical jam sessions,” said Lewis, who was a friend of Kerr’s son, Bill, while both attended ASU. Lewis said he would often attend dinners Kerr hosted at her Scottsdale home for artists and writers. At one point, Lewis said he moved into one of the small artist apartments on Kerr’s Scottsdale property, affectionately called “shacks.” “It was like its own artists’ community,” said Lewis, who recalled hearing famed violinist Isaac Stern practicing at Kerr’s studio. Kerr’s family members hope a historic designation will protect their matriarch’s property, which she bequeathed to Arizona State University so the institution could continue to celebrate her love of music with patrons of the venue. “The center is her legacy,” said Kerr’s great-granddaughter Kirby Weatherford, a sophomore at ASU. “It’s the only way to ensure it will be around for future generations to come.” Don Meserve, a planner with the city’s Historic Preservation office, said he hopes to have a decision by the City Council by March or April.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Casa Grande may redo preservation ordinance

[Source: Harold Kitching, Casa Grande Dispatch] -- Following complaints from the Central City Redevelopment District Subcommittee that the city historic preservation ordinance is not particularly effective, Casa Grande will study possible changes. The issue came up when subcommittee members raised questions about the deteriorating condition of the 1903 Meehan-Gaar house on First Street (pictured), the 1927 former mortuary building at Eighth Street and Olive Avenue and the 1939 pueblo deco train depot on Main Street. During a study session on preservation, subcommittee Cochairman Bob Mitchell told the City Council that the present ordinance, besides lacking teeth for enforcement, applies only to buildings designated as historic landmarks or in historic districts. It was pointed out that there are other buildings in the city in poor shape that would not be covered. "To my knowledge, the Evergreen district is the only historic district we have, so we really don't have an ordinance that can deal with these additional homes that aren't in a historic or that the council hasn't declared a landmark property," Mitchell said.

"I'd like to see something in an ordinance that at least if it's listed on the state historic preservation list and also maybe the national, they might be eligible for the work to be done by the historic preservation committee." Mitchell said that in looking through ordinances and policies of other Arizona cities he found they have a person designated for inspections, citations and enforcement. "As you read through this (Casa Grande) ordinance, there is no one. It's the Historic Preservation Commission," which has no real enforcement powers, he said. "It talks about what the penalties are, and it's a class 2 misdemeanor, which means that you could be fined up to a thousand dollars and you have to bring the property back to the proper condition. However, there's no one to determine what that proper condition is, what the prior condition was, there's no one sent out to do any of the kinds of things that this ordinance has given the city the authority to do. So, those are some of problems we have." [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Monday, December 03, 2007

Smithsonian Museum traveling exhibit, "Between Fences," comes to Ajo

[Source: June Nickell, ISDA] -- The International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA) received a grant from the Arizona Humanities Council to host a Museum on Main Street exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service entitled "Between Fences." The regional show will include works by artists from Ajo and surrounding area, the Tohono O'odham Nation and Sonoyta and Puerto Penasco, Mexico. "Between Fences" tells American stories through diverse fence types, and in doing so, examines human relationships on an expanding scale: neighbor versus neighbor, gated communities, and the Mexican and Canadian borders of the United States. The exhibition runs through January 20, 2008. FREE. Curley School Auditorium, Ajo, Arizona. For more information, call 520-387-6823.

Arizona Office of Tourism learns more about cultural & heritage tourism

[Source: Margie Emmermann, Director, Arizona Office of Tourism] -- Last week, AOT deputy director Kelly Paisley attended the 9th Annual Cultural & Heritage Tourism Alliance Conference in Seattle, WA. The conference was a great opportunity to meet with tourism industry leaders from across the nation and discuss strategies for generating economic development through cultural and heritage programs.

The Grand Canyon State has an incredible amount of opportunities that can be highlighted and help increase tourism visitation and benefit local communities. Through conference sessions such as, how social media can be used to market cultural tourism and how to development dynamic cultural tourism destinations through effective marketing, AOT learned from best practice examples on how the agency can successfully promote our amazing cultural and heritage destinations in addition to the efforts we have already been doing.

[For more information about the Arizona Office of Tourism, click here. Also, visit the Arizona Heritage Traveler website to make your travel plans to historic and cultural sites and places in our state.]