Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tucson's HP Officer, Marty McCune, retires

After 27 years in local government, Marty McCune's last day on the job was today. Marty, the City of Tucson's historic preservation officer, wrote to her friends and associates, "It has been a wonderful experience working with every one of you. My time with the City of Tucson has been very fulfilling in many ways. I got to work on significant projects and with wonderful people both inside and outside the City organization."

Marty served on the Arizona Preservation Foundation board of directors for many years and, in recognition of her numerous achievements in historic preservation and urban planning, she received the Governor's Heritage Preservation Grand Prize Award in 2001. During the year she served as chair of the Arizona Statewide Historic Preservation Conference, four deserving projects in Tucson received recognition:

  • Rio Nuevo Archaeology & History Public Outreach Program (Grand Prize)
  • H. Kelley Rollings (Barrio Libre)
  • University of Arizona's Herring Hall Rehabilitation Project
  • Vista Del Rio Cultural Resources Park

In the picture above, Marty is joined by other Tucsonans in accepting the 2005 prize for Rio Nuevo: Doug Gann, Center for Desert Archaeology; Gwen Harvey, Arizona Historical Society; Kyle McCoy, Arizona Historical Society; Beth DeWitt, Arizona State Museum; Marty McCune, City of Tucson; William Doelle, Center for Desert Archaeology; Bob Walkup, Mayor of Tucson; and Alan Stephens, Governor Janet Napolitano's Chief of Staff.

Why is historic preservation important? In an October 2004 Arizona Daily Star interview, Marty related, "All you need to do is drive around the Armory Park, Barrio Historico, El Presidio, and West University neighborhoods and you'll see that the visual character remains. It's why people want to live and work there."

Marty and her spouse, Jerry Kyle, will consult "in all things historic" through their company, Skylark Consulting. She can be reached at 520-437-5355 and

2008-09 Save Our History grant available

The Save Our History Grant Program provides funding to history organizations that partner with schools on a local community preservation project. During the 2008-2009 school year, The History Channel will again award grants of up to $10,000 to historical organizations to fund hands-on, experiential educational projects that teach students about their local history and actively engage them in its preservation.

Since launching the Save Our History Grant Program in 2004, The History Channel has awarded $1,000,000 in grants to organizations and schools large and small, urban, suburban and rural, in the northern, southern, eastern, western, and central United States. For guidelines and an application, click on, and then click on grants. Applications are due Friday, June 6, 2008.

"Progress & Preservation" theme for April 5-6 Modern Phoenix expo/home tour

[Source: Modern Phoenix] -- Join Modern Phoenix for a home tour and expo devoted to helping Phoenicians reshape and riff off the historic Modern lifestyle. Co-hosted by The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, the event is devoted exclusively to highlighting postwar achitecture, design, landscape and interiors as they inevitably collide with today's lifestlye and needs. The Progress + Preservation event spotlights the urgent need to practice mid-century modern design preservation while also honoring the independent spirits that create contemporary design in Phoenix. This weekend event will juxtapose local attitudes and approaches toward both Midcentury Modern and Contemporary architecture and design. We'll take the dialogue between past and present to the next level by bringing together a dynamic mix of creative personalities in a variety of stimulating venues.

Saturday April 5, from 11:30 - 4:30, is a free public expo featuring products and services related to modernism and modern contemporary design including: fine art, mid-century modern furniture, real estate, green design, interior design, custom contemporary furniture, design preservation and design education. At 4 the keynote speaker Frank Henry, Adjunct Professor, Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin West, presents "The Iconic Age of Modern Phoenix." Click here for a full itinerary and prices for Saturday's seminars.

Sunday April 6, between 2 and 6 p.m., 10 to 15 homes designed by Charles Schreiber for Allied Builders and surrounding neighborhoods will be open for a self-guided park-and-walk tour. These tract ranch homes feature similar floorplans but several modifications over the years. Low-pitched rooflines, covered carports, cheerful porch posts and block fenestration are all qualities Schreiber's Allied Modern Elevations share. Tickets are $25 and can be ordered by phone at 480-994-2787. For more information, click here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Phoenix's Rosson House/Heritage Square Foundation seeks board members

For the past 28 years, the Board of the Rosson House-Heritage Square Foundation and Guild has overseen and managed the 1895 Rosson House, a fully restored and furnished building of the Queen Anne style, and other historic buildings at Heritage Square, 6th Street and Monroe, in downtown Phoenix.

The board is comprised of 12 individuals, mostly from the Guild, four of whom will rotate off in May 2008. Board leaders hope to gain new board members who reflect all aspects of the community, among them historic preservation advocates and individuals interested in early Phoenix history.

If you are interested in serving on the board, please contact Liz Zveglich, Board President, at 480-538-3381 or Darla Harmon, Executive Director, at 602-261-8063.

Nowakowski gives Phoenix residents chance to voice concerns

[Source: Sadie Jo Smokey, Arizona Republic] -- Five central Phoenix historic districts border McDowell Road, and residents of those neighborhoods have told new District 7 City Councilman Michael Nowakowski that improving and revitalizing the thoroughfare is a priority. And Nowakowski is listening. Nowakowski on Saturday morning staged a meet-and-greet at Encanto Park Club House (pictured, Nowakowski on left). "How can we best serve you all?," Nowakowski asked about 40 guests. "How can we bring the District 7 office back to your neighborhoods?" Resident leaders from Willo, Encanto-Palmcroft, Fairview Place, Coronado, Roosevelt, and Los Olivos shared their concerns and praised Nowakowski's goal to give a voice back to the people.

Revitalization results have varied in the downtown area, with some neighborhoods just starting to see success, those in attendance said. Some expressed feeling hampered by gentrification, land speculators, or a city agenda that doesn't take residents' wishes and concerns into consideration. Gerry McCue, of Fairview Place, said a lot of money, time, and effort has been spent on behalf of the residents of the historical districts. McDowell Road, which bounds five historical districts, needs a new vision. "Something could be done to let (residents) use their own street, make it more pedestrian friendly," McCue said. "There's a lot of energy in historic districts to use their streets."

Bob Cannon, president of the Willo Neighborhood Association, agreed. "We're a little jealous of Melrose on Seventh Avenue," Cannon said of the revitalized merchant area between Indian School and Camelback roads. "McDowell Road impacts everyone." Nowakowski, a member of the Neighborhoods, Housing, Historic Preservation, Arts and Culture Subcommittee and Downtown, Economy, and Aviation Subcommittee, said he's committed to listening to residents, developers, and business owners before making decisions. "When a developer comes to the council and says, 'I want to come in and invest in this neighborhood,' it's our responsibility to go to the community and see if this is something they want and need," Nowakowski said. "We want to start that conversation before the investor spends money on fees, consultants and development." Nowakowski said he expects to have a plan for revitalizing McDowell Road from 19th Avenue to Arizona 51 in three or four months. "It's been pretty easy being the councilman, I'm just listening," Nowakowski said. "It's easy to listen because you have the answers."

Your next opportunity to meet Michael and his staff:
- 5th annual Crime Summit, 7:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Valley Garden Center, 1809 N. 15th Ave.
- Community celebration, 1-5:30 p.m. Feb. 9, Bougainvillea Golf Club, 5740 W. Baseline Road.

For more details, call 602-262-7492. [Photo source: Arizona Republic.]

These kids know Tucson's Barrio Viejo, and more

[Source: Stephanie Innes, Daily Star] -- A youth docent program at a tiny Downtown museum will be honored today at the White House, partly for teaching Tucson children "the extraordinary history of their hometown." The program at La Pilita Museum, which trains children ages 8 through 11 to lead site tours, is one of 18 community arts and humanities programs nationwide to earn a 2007 Coming Up Taller Award. More than 350 programs were in contention for the honor, says a news release from the award program. First lady Laura Bush is expected to present the awards. La Pilita Museum will receive $10,000 as part of the reward. Two representatives of the local program will be in Washington, D.C., to collect the award today — Joan Daniels, La Pilita's development and education director, and former senior docent Jacob Mejias, who is 12 and completed his docent service last year. Jacob's mother will also be at the ceremony.

Children, typically from Carrillo Magnet School across the street from the museum, usually participate in the docent program for three years. They must apply to be part of the program, which has between 15 and 20 young docents at any given time. The commitment is one hour per day, four days each week. Students conduct museum tours, tend the gardens and give histories of a vibrant mural, of the adjacent El Tiradito, a historic wishing shrine, and the El Ojito spring (pictured). They have interviewed dozens of residents of Barrio Viejo, where La Pilita is located, as part of an oral history project. Part of their training also includes studying local and Arizona history, and setting up exhibits at the museum. On Friday, the master docents, who wear blue caps and vests, were training youths newer to the program, reminding them why their jobs are special. Until they achieve master status, the junior docents wear orange caps and vests.

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

Monday, January 28, 2008

McFarland museum houses Florence's past

[Source: Scott Craven, Arizona Republic] -- Wander to the end of Florence's quiet downtown and you'll encounter a modest home that gives few hints about its historic standing. If not for the small sign declaring this McFarland State Historic Park, visitors never might know they are looking at what is likely the town's most significant structure. When the two-story adobe building was erected in 1878, Florence had grown from a trading post to the Pinal County seat. And it now had its courthouse, consisting of courtroom, judge's chambers, district attorney's office and, later, a jail and sheriff's office.

But as Florence evolved, so did the courthouse. Farmers, ranchers and recent settlers gathered within to do business or share the news of the day. The courtroom also served as a public dance hall - justice may have been blind, but it enjoyed a good time as much as anyone else. In 1891, the courthouse was transformed into the county hospital, and in 1938, it became the welfare and public-health offices. Its many roles are reflected in the exhibits. Floorboards groan underfoot as visitors enter the modest courtroom, where a small judge's bench sits against the back wall. A wooden, and very uncomfortable-looking, witness chair shares the dais. Two hospital beds occupy the next room. These are not the thickly padded beds of today's hospital rooms, but thin mattresses laid across metal supports. Medical instruments, with their sharp bits and blades laid bare, from the period are arranged neatly in a nearby display case.

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

Friday, January 25, 2008

2008 Willo historic home tour February 10th in Phoenix

[Source: Willo Historic District] -- Sunday February 10th, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., is the 2008 Willo historic home tour & street festival. Willo Home Tour is an annual event that promotes the neighborhood through advertising at local establishments and the media. The positive attention that comes from the tour has brought many anew resident to Willo. Additionally, the monies raised from this event enable the community to pursue neighborhood improvements including traffic mitigation, community wide activities, the Willo web site, and subsequent Willo Home Tours. Between twelve and fourteen homes open their doors to the public the Sunday before Valentine's Day. A variety of homes from Tudor to Spanish Revival - Bungalow to Ranch style homes dating from the 1920's through the 1940's will be on tour. Stroll Willo's tree lined streets from house to house, or jump a trolley that will carry visitors throughout the neighborhood. Willo is just west of Central Avenue between Thomas and McDowell Roads from 1st to 7th Avenues. ADMISSION: $15 day of event or presale online discount; free for children 12 years and younger when accompanied by a paying adult. For more information, click here.

National parks robbed of heritage

[Source: Judy Keen, USA Today] -- Looting of fossils and archaeological artifacts from national parks — such as Native American pottery and Civil War relics — is increasing as demand for such items rises on the Internet and the world market, U.S. National Park Service officials say. Over the past decade, an average of 340 "significant" looting incidents have been reported annually at the 391 national parks, monuments, historic sites and battlefields — probably less than 25% of the actual number of thefts, says park service staff ranger Greg Lawler. "The trends are up," he says. It's "a chronic problem that we simply have not even been able to get a grasp on," says Mark Gorman, chief ranger at South Dakota's Badlands National Park.

Park service investigators search websites and the FBI helps track looted items, some of which are sold to collectors in Europe and Asia. Prices are rising for some items, including Native American pottery and garments, says Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, manager of the FBI art theft program. The most coveted items can cost "in the tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars," she says. Thieves caught last year at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park sold a Confederate belt buckle for $3,300 and buttons for $200 each. The park service has 1,500 law enforcement rangers and 400 seasonal law enforcement rangers — one for about every 56,000 acres. "We really don't have enough manpower," Lawler says.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Andrew Councill, USA Today. Pictured: Park Ranger shows a buckle recovered from an "illegal" sale and a bayonette recovered at a Park Service storage facility in Va.]

Efforts under way to save Tucson's Magic Carpet menagerie

[Source: Jack Gillum, Daily Star] -- There may be time to save paradise before they put up a parking lot. A state representative is in talks with the new owners of Magic Carpet Golf on East Speedway to designate the mini-golf course's larger-than-life statues in the Arizona Centennial Project, a state historic preservation effort. "It's just so eccentric and unique," said State Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson. He added that the oddball structures at the park may find a new home at Tucson's Valley of the Moon. "It's really important to save the soul of a place," Farley said. Magic Carpet, at 6125 E. Speedway, is known for its skyline of towering monkey and T-Rex figures that complement a decrepit miniature-golf course. But the park's former owner, Carol Koplin, sold the property Jan. 4 to the Chapman Automotive Group for $1.8 million because her uncle, who ran the park, died before Christmas. Chapman may use the property as an overflow lot for its nearby Mercedes dealership.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Saving state parks is business of all (Arizona Republic letter to the editor)

Kudos to The Arizona Republic for highlighting the plight of our wonderful state parks ("State-park cash crunch threatens links to past," Sunday.) As a former Arizona State Parks Board member, I was lucky enough to see the parks firsthand and meet the wonderful staff and volunteers who keep our state treasures alive and protected. But all their hard work and their generous spirit cannot make up for the years of limited state support.

We are at risk of seeing these places crumble -- such as the Tombstone Courthouse and the Douglas Mansion in Jerome (pictured above) -- and some of our special areas for conservation put at risk.

I would encourage everyone who cares about our open spaces and our terrific state parks to go to and sign up to get more information about the state budget. You can lend your voice and your support to make sure we get the kind of financial support from the state that we need.

Even in times of fiscal constraint, it is important to maintain our historical places and protect the natural areas we hold so dear. Your input can make a difference, but it is up to all of us to act. -- Suzanne Pfister, Phoenix

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Superior Council ratifies contract for Magma partial demolition

[Source: Cindy Tracy, Superior Sun] -- “I think the intent of council is to move on this and clear the property,” said Mayor Michael Hing, in what was possibly the most understated comment of the new year so far, about the crumpling center structure of the Magma Hotel. The remark was part of the brief discussion Jan. 14 that accompanied Superior Town Council’s ratification of an already awarded contract to Spray Systems of Arizona Inc. to demolish the fallen structure and abate the danger it poses to the public.

The town had previously declared the state of the building an emergency and given the owners a time limit to fix the problem, even though they had stated they were unable to do so. The cost to the town is $85,000 plus related and administrative expenses. The town will seek to recover the cost from the property’s owners, but Town Manager Rosie Cordova has stated that this process could take years.

8th annual Mesa historic home tour coming up Jan. 26

[Source:] -- Mesa’s 8th Annual Historic Home Tour will be held Saturday, January 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tour will include visits to eight homes in the West Second Street Historic District in addition to a variety of historic buildings, such as the 1896 Sirrine House Museum (pictured at left), Irving School, Queen of Peace Church, and the Womens Club of Mesa. “The home tour highlights Mesa’s historic roots and the importance of preserving our heritage,” Mesa Historical Museum President and CEO Lisa Anderson said. The eight homes in the West Second Street Historic District are outstanding examples of restored historic homes of various architectural types, including Mission Revival, Tudor Revival, and Spanish Colonial.

Mesa High School students are helping by researching the buildings on the tour, drawing architectural diagrams, and building scale models of the houses, which will be presented to the homeowners. The students are part of an architecture class under the direction of Bob Chambers, Industrial Technology Teacher at Mesa High School. Tickets for the home tour cost $25. They include visits to more than a dozen historic buildings, complimentary lunch at RigaTony’s, a visit to the Mesa Historical Museum, dessert at the museum, and a souvenir book and map to locations. Tickets are available online at and at Mesa Historical Museum (480-835-7358), RigaTony’s in Mesa (480- 649-3333), Domestic Bliss (480-733-0552), and Antique Wedding House (480-649-1934). All proceeds benefit the Mesa Historical Museum. The City of Mesa Office of Historic Preservation, RigaTony’s, The Arizona Republic, and Americopy are sponsoring the home tour.

Noted architectural historian to speak at UA on Feb. 20

Noted architectural historian, Dr. William Seale, will speak to University of Arizona students and faculty on Historic Preservation in the U.S.: The White House, State Capitols, and Beyond.
  • Date: Wednesday, February 20, 2008
  • Time: Noon
  • Place: Harvill Building, Room 115, UA

The presentation is made possible by the University of Arizona Desert Southwest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit and the National Park Service. If you have questions and to RSVP, contact Kristy Schmidt via e-mail (click on name) or 520-621-9597.

William Seale is an independent historian who specializes in the restoration of historic houses. He was born in Beaumont, TX, and received his B.A. from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, and Ph.D. from Duke University in Durham, NC. For the past three decades, Seale has been involved in the restoration of historic buildings across the nation, specializing in state capitols and other public buildings, including opera houses, courthouses, historic homes, and museum village buildings. His recent historic house projects include the George C. Marshall House in Leesburg, VA; Ten Chimneys near Milwaukee, WI; and Rosedown Plantation in St. Francisville, LA.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mesa history documented in new book

Did you know Mesa was home to a thriving wine industry in the late 1800s? Or, that Mesa’s livestock industry once included ostriches? Mesa’s fascinating history, along with more than 200 vintage photographs, can be found in a new book “Mesa” which is now on sale. Arcadia Publishing is releasing the book in their “Images of America” series.

Two of the authors are City of Mesa employees: Tom Wilson, Director of the Arizona Museum of Natural History, and Alice Jung, Educational Services Coordinator of the Arizona Museum of Natural History. The other authors are Lisa Anderson, President and CEO of the Mesa Historical Museum, and Jared Smith, Collections Manager of the Mesa Historical Museum.

The authors have researched the history of Mesa from its pioneer beginnings in 1877 to its resilient agricultural community to its transformation into a tourism and manufacturing destination. The book also captures the everyday life of Mesa residents over the years. The photographs are primarily from the collections of the Arizona Museum of Natural History and Mesa Historical Museum. Some of the photographs have never been published before.

Copies of “Mesa” are on sale at the Mesa Historical Museum, the Arizona Museum of Natural History and at bookstores throughout the area. The book, which retails for $19.99, can also be purchased online at or Copies of the book will also be sold Saturday January 26 at Mesa’s 8th Annual Historic Home Tour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both museums will benefit from the sales.

Local land trust helps preserve Skull Valley ranch, historic buildings

[Source: Joanna Dodder Nellans, The Daily Courier] -- The Central Arizona Land Trust has saved three scenic sites in the Prescott area over the past few decades, but its latest conservation easement is by far its largest ever. Skull Valley rancher Dave Jenner (pictured at left) wanted to keep his ranch a ranch forever, so he turned to the Central Arizona Land Trust (CALT) for help. CALT came into being in 1989 to preserve open space at the base of Thumb Butte in Prescott, and later took on easements of 10 acres in the Mountain Club subdivision and 35 acres in the Granite Dells of Prescott. Jenner chose to donate a 4,296-acre conservation easement on his W Diamond Ranch to CALT. In exchange, he received federal tax benefits.

The ranch sits on the southern fringe of the tiny settlement of Skull Valley, about 20 miles southwest of Prescott. The ranch is about half deeded land, and the other half is state trust land and U.S. Bureau of Land Management property. The easement means no one ever will develop the private land into a subdivision. "I saw rapid growth that was coming all through this area, and I thought, 'Well, we shouldn't have all this bottomland in development,'" said Jenner, who served as a county planning commissioner for three decades and as a school board member. "Dave will be the steward of this property, just like he's always been," said Jeanne Trupiano, CALT project manager. "He's exercising his property right to protect this forever."

It is easy to see why Jenner wants his ranch to stay undeveloped. When he was looking to buy a ranch in this area back in 1954, the stately row of cottonwoods along the ranch's entrance road caught his eye. They are still there and still catching the eyes of visitors. The bottomlands that run through the ranch alongside Skull Valley Wash contain a wildlife haven with lush riparian vegetation dominated by Fremont cottonwood and willow trees. Artesian springs pop up out of the native grasslands that segue into mesquite, hackberry, desert willow, oak, manzanita and mountain mahogany. "You can see by the diversity of the land how important this (easement) was," CALT President Steven Corey said. "It helps to assure that ranching keeps happening in this area."

Matt Turner documented the ranch's baseline conditions for CALT, which will review the on-the-ground conditions each year. "I think it's incredible, one-of-a-kind, unparalleled," Turner said. Wildlife appreciate it, too. Jenner and Turner said they have seen coyote, javelina, deer, elk, bobcat, lion, fox, roadrunners, birds of prey and abundant waterfowl on the ranch. Groups such as CALT can fashion easements to fit the owner. Jenner, for example, left a few small pieces off the easement for future family homes and an experimental farm site for Prescott College. Existing structures also will remain. Some of those structures have historical value also worth preserving.

The ranch's first owner in the 1800s was Jake Miller, Jenner said. Miller was one of the Prescott area's first settlers, and Miller Valley still bears the family name. He and his brother Sam owned an early freight service on the Ehrenberg Road from Prescott to the Colorado River. The oldest portion of the main ranch house was a stage stop along the old Ehrenberg Road and dates back to the 1800s, Jenner added. The house has incredible views of the bottomlands and rugged Kirkland Peak. Now, those views will never change.

AHA's Don Farmer wins Arizona Game & Fish Commission's Award of Excellence

Don Farmer, board president of the Arizona Heritage Alliance, received an Award of Excellence from the Arizona Game and Fish Commission at its annual banquet on January 19, 2008. Each year the Commission recognizes outstanding Arizonans that have contributed significantly to the welfare of Arizona's wildlife and the mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The Arizona Heritage Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was created in 1992 to protect Arizona's Heritage Fund and its objectives. It is guided by a Board of Directors drawn from a broad base of outdoor sports, environmental conservation, and historic preservation groups that helped pass the 1990 statewide initiative creating the Heritage Fund. Numerous attempts in the past have been made to redirect the flow of Heritage Funds. AHA members and supporters -- through hundreds of phone calls, e-mails, letters, and one-on-one meetings -- have successfully maintained the integrity of the Heritage Fund.

In the picture above, Don visits with Kathryn "Sam" Campana at the awards banquet. Don, Sam (fellow AHA board member), and the entire AHA board encourage you to contact your state legislator to sign the pledge to protect the Heritage Fund, wildlife programs, and State Parks from any cuts in the state's budget during the 2008 legislative session. To contact your legislator, click here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Voice your opinion about land use in Arizona

Follow-up meetings to the 91st Arizona Town Hall on "Land Use: Challenges and Choices for the 21st Century" are now underway at these locations. To attend, contact the Arizona Town Hall at 602-252-9600. Click here to review and download the final report.


  • Tuesday, January 29 @ Noon; Pima Community College; Lunch: $25; Host: Dr. Roy Flores, Chancellor, Pima Community College
  • Presenters: Tara Jackson, ATH President; Shannon Scutari, Policy Advisor, Growth & Infrastructure, Office of the Governor; Priscilla Storm, Vice President, Public Policy & Community Planning, Diamond Ventures, Inc.


  • Wednesday, January 30 @ Noon, Mesa Community College, Paul Elsner Library, Room 145, 1833 W. Southern Ave.; Host: Mesa Community College
  • Presenters: Roc Arnett, President/CEO, Easy Valley Partnership; Tara Jackson, ATH President; Alberto Olivas, Acting Director, Center for Civic Participation, Maricopa Community Colleges; Shannon Scutari, Policy Advisor, Growth & Infrastructure, Office of the Governor; Scott Somers, Mesa City Councilmember


  • Thursday, January 31 @ 7:15 a.m., University Club of Phoenix, 39 E. Monte Vista Rd., Breakfast: $20; Host: Jim Condo, Snell & Wilmer, L.L.P. & ATH Board Chair
  • Presenters: Steve Betts, President/CEO, SunCor Development Co.; Tara Jackson, ATH President; Shannon Scutari, Policy Advisor, Growth & Infrastructure, Office of the Governor


  • Wednesday, February 6 @ 11:30 a.m., Mohave County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St., Host: Ron Walker, Mohave County Manager
  • Presenters: Tara Jackson, ATH President; Mark Nexsen, Mayor, Lake Havasu City


  • Friday, February 15 @ Noon; Phoenix Country Club, 2901 N. 7th St.; Lunch: $20; Host: Rotary 100
  • Presenters: Debbie Hill, Attorney, Osborn Maledon, P.A. & ATH Board Member; Tara Jackson, ATH President; Dennis Mitchem, Director, Corporate Relations, Northern Arizona University


  • Thursday, February 28 @ 8:00 a.m., Bagels and Coffee served beginning @ 7:30 a.m.; Scottsdale City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.; No Cost; Host: Mary Manross, Mayor
  • Presenters: Jamie Hogue, Deputy Land Commissioner, Arizona State Land Department; Yvonne Hunter, Senior Public Affairs Representative, Pinnacle West Capital Corp./APS; Tara Jackson, ATH President; Tom Largo, Councilmember, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community

History takes a nap; Casa Grande makes little progress on its preservation plans

[Source: Harold Kitching, Casa Grande Dispatch] -- Little is new on historic building preservation, the preservation ordinance, and the railroad depot project that the Central City Redevelopment District Subcommittee has been discussing. The residential historic properties discussed are the old Casa Grande funeral home at Eighth Street and Olive Avenue and the Meehan-Gaar house on First Street east of Sacaton Street (pictured above). Housing Director Rosa Bruce had told the subcommittee at its December meeting that her office might be able to help with assessments and restoration of the homes.

During Tuesday's meeting, Planning and Development Director Rick Miller told the group that Bruce had gone to both properties but neither owner was there. "She left her card, a little note asking them to call, didn't hear a response," Miller said. "She phoned them, left messages, hasn't had a return response, so then she wrote a letter to those property owners and is awaiting a response to the letter."

Miller said the letter basically tells the owners that the subcommittee "is very interested in conducting assessments of the property, building conditions and there's an opportunity to do those, really, at no cost to them. She talks about her program and how it provides perhaps some funding opportunities to them, provided they're qualified, to help them with the stabilization of their homes. "She also places an emphasis on that she'd like to treat this first and foremost as a residential property that they own and live in and secondly as a historic structure and balance those two needs. She wants to provide assistance because they own the property, they're living there, that's what her program's here for. Secondly, how can we balance the historic value of those homes with those needs and make them work together, and she says that she's been able to do that successfully for more than 30 years in this area, so hopefully we'll hear something soon."

The old train depot on Main Street has also been a topic for the subcommittee, hearing reports each month on the status of negotiations with Union Pacific Railroad to acquire the building. The negotiations are part of talks between the city and Union Pacific over what the railroad must do to gain city support before the Arizona Corporation Commission for its double-tracking plan. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Costs spur Buckeye to kill Raney House's relocation

[Source: Rebekah L. Sanders, Arizona Republic] -- The Nels Benson/Raney House, built by one of Buckeye's first residents in the 1890s, has been the center of preservation efforts for years, but a wrecking crew will tear down the farmhouse by April if no bidders buy it at auction. The Town Council's decision represents a blow to residents in Buckeye and throughout the Valley who are trying to save buildings with ties to Arizona's past. Musicians, professors, and arts lovers have been pushing to designate Arizona State University's adobe Kerr Cultural Center, built in 1948 by Mexican artisans, as a historic property. And last year, a Phoenix man paid more than $150,000 to move a rare, 98-year-old brick home less than a mile in downtown Phoenix rather than see it demolished. But the Nels Benson/Raney House, estimated to be about 115 years old, may not be around much longer. "I'm not willing to put another penny into it," Buckeye Mayor Bobby Bryant said.

The town paid about $40,000 in 2006 to move the home to downtown Buckeye, saving it from a developer's bulldozer. But construction on a $13 million, three-story town-office building is scheduled to start in less than three months on the home's 46-acre, town-owned lot. The price tag to refurbish and transport the home again, plus buy land to keep it on, is about $1.8 million. The home has deteriorated from sitting on beams too long and would need a new foundation and roof after losing shingles and becoming a pigeon magnet, said Chris Williams, manager of contracting and purchasing for the town. To meet disability requirements, the town also would have to install an elevator, he said. The home lost its historical value with the move and previous renovations such as aluminum siding, Williams said. "I've been having a hard time finding people wanting to see it saved," Bryant said. "The reaction I get in general is people don't want to spend any money on it."

But some contend the house's deterioration and the cost to restore it were exaggerated. "There wouldn't be a problem with moving it. The doors still work and it's still solid," said Roy Dean, owner of A-Arid State House Movers and Enterprises, which initially moved the home. "It's just a matter of taking the bull by the horns and getting it done." [Note: To read the full article, click here. Arizona Republic photo of Buckeye resident Lee Hunter watching the Raney House being moved from Irwin Avenue to the south side of downtown Buckeye in 2006. ]

Sunday, January 20, 2008

State-park cash crunch threatens links to Arizona's past

[Source: John Stanley, Arizona Republic] -- The Arizona State Parks system is suffering a midlife crisis. The 50-year-old system is showing the signs of age that only money can fix. Budget shortfalls have meant that funds designated for repairs have gone instead to operating costs. "We've bled 'em down," said Rep. Jack Brown, D-St. Johns, speaking of the Arizona Legislature's appropriations for parks. "We've said, 'Wait till next year.' We need to do better by our parks, build them up instead of trying to close them."

Problems in the system's 30 parks, which threaten Arizona's links to its past, include:
  • Water damage at the House of Apache Fires at Red Rock State Park in Sedona. "(It's) a beautiful home, and the roof's falling in, water is dripping, and the hardwood floors are buckling," said Ken Travous, who has served as Arizona State Parks director since 1988.
  • Eroding shorelines at Buckskin Mountain State Park, along the Colorado River.
  • Crumbling walls at the courthouse in McFarland State Historic Park in Florence.
  • Cracks in walls and peeling wallpaper at the popular Riordan Mansion State Historic Park in Flagstaff (pictured above).
  • A collapsed ceiling at the Yuma Quartermaster Depot Historic Park in Yuma.

"We've lost so much of Arizona's heritage and the Southwest's heritage either due to undervaluing (their importance), benign neglect or lack of funds," said Jerry Emert, manager of the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Park. "There's a point where we need to draw a line and save these buildings. They're part of what's made Arizona, Arizona." [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Where are Arizona's historical markers?

[Source: Sam Collins III, Texas Advisor, National Trust for Historic Preservation] -- The Historical Marker Database website is an illustrated searchable online catalog of historical information viewed through the filter of roadside and other permanent outdoor markers, monuments, and plaques. It contains photographs, inscription transcriptions, marker locations, maps, additional information and commentary, and links to more information. Anyone can add new markers to the database and update existing marker pages with new photographs, links, and comments. So far there are two Arizona entrees. Can you or people you know add more?

  • Grand Canyon: Trans-Canyon Telephone Line, built in 1935 by CCC workers, maintained by Mountain Bell, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of Interior. — Map (db m4484)
  • Lake Havasu City: London Bridge, opened by The Right Honorable The Lord Mayor Of London Alderman Sir Peter Studd G.B.E.M.A.D.Sc. in the presence of The Honorable Jack Williams, Governor Of Arizona, October 10, 1971 — Map (db m4328)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Contemporary American architecture focus of Arizona photographer, William Fuller

The Temple Gallery, managed by Etherton Gallery, announces the first solo Tucson exhibition of Payson, Arizona photographer, William Fuller in "William Fuller: Photographs," continuing through February 27, at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Avenue, Tucson.

Fuller's modernist sensibility is highlighted in this exhibition of his spare, abstract, black and white photographs of contemporary American architecture. Although the city is his subject, Fuller is not an architectural photographer. He is interested neither in documenting buildings nor using the city as a backdrop for other ideas. In photographs taken in cities such as Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit, and Miami, Fuller sees the ubiquitous office building, banal condominium, even a Mormon Temple, as pure, abstract form, rendering them beautiful and even edgy in our eyes. Fuller envisions the city as a formal composition, and this is the key to his working method.
Fuller's work is included in the permanent collections of The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Help envision where and how future Central AZ residents will live and work

AZ One, a Reality Check for Central Arizona, is a one-day exercise that will bring together more than 300 diverse stakeholders to discuss, analyze, and develop alternative growth scenarios for this rapidly growing region. On May 16, 2008 participants will work in groups to envision where and how the next 6 million people expected to move here will live and work. The group will allocate expected growth patterns using Legos® in a hands on approach that will visually depict challenges and opportunities facing the Central Arizona region which includes all of Maricopa County and the northern portion of Pinal County.

Who? Over 300 stakeholders will be selected from open nominations and invited to participate in the morning visioning process. The group will ultimately represent all sectors of the community, including government and elected officials, Tribal communities, large corporations and small businesses, non-profits, neighborhood activists, interfaith groups, environmentalists, educators, and others. The selection process has been developed to ensure diversity from across the region. To nominate yourself or others for the opportunity to participate in the morning visioning process, visit

Initiated by the Urban Land Institute, AZ One is a collaboration of the State of Arizona , the Governor's Growth Cabinet and an additional 18 public, private and civic alliances. Among these alliances are: Arizona State University, Central Arizona Association of Governments, East Valley Partnership, Maricopa Association of Governments, The Nature Conservancy, Valley Forward Association, WESTMARC, and others.

About the Day. The day will include the morning visioning exercise followed by a luncheon and afternoon program. The morning exercise involves 10-person teams who will create guiding principles for future development based on their shared values. Using their guiding principles, each group will then gather around a large-scale map and begin allocating colored Legos® representing jobs and residential growth. All of the Lego® blocks signifying expected future growth in the Central Arizona Region must be placed on the map. The placement of the Legos® will result in different growth scenarios created by each team.

The luncheon and afternoon program are open to the public and will feature recognized keynote speakers on growth issues. The afternoon session will also include the results and an analysis of the different growth scenarios.

Registration open for national conference on building assets in Latino communities

Click here for more information or to register.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Green means preserving, not destroying

[Source: National Trust for Historic Preservation] -- With "green building" all the rage, Americans are beginning to realize what preservationists have long known: contrary to much of the hype around sustainable design and construction, the "greenest" building is often one that has already been built. When he was honored with the National Building Museum’s prestigious 2007 Vincent Scully Prize last month, National Trust President Richard Moe used the opportunity to hammer home that point, using his address to make the case for historic preservation’s “essential role” in fighting climate change. “We can’t build our way out of our environmental problems. We have to conserve our way out. That means we have to make better, wiser use of what we’ve already built.” His speech included statistics that illustrated the breadth of this issue and new sustainability initiatives for the National Trust.

Expanding on Mr. Moe’s speech, the January/February 2008 edition of the National Trust’s Preservation magazine is titled “The Green Issue.” Covering many timely topics such as the cost of overlooking old buildings in favor of new ones, tips for an environmentally friendly home, and a look at sustainable architecture at work in Chicago, the issue is available in print and online. APF encourages you to share this with your friends and associates to expand your knowledge of the benefits of preserving and reusing existing buildings, and its impact on Arizona communities.

From across the pond, support for Phoenix synagogue

From across the Atlantic Ocean -- DoCoMoMo in France and Jewish Heritage UK in Britain -- come these letters of support for the preservation of the former Beth Hebree synagogue at 333 E. Portland in downtown Phoenix.

Phoenix Channel 11 taping Tovrea restoration

[Source: Barbara Stocklin, City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office] -- Phoenix Channel 11 has begun filming the restoration of Tovrea castle, and will continue filming the restoration work as it progresses. The film will be used to update the city’s video on Tovrea castle’s history and for future historic interpretation videos for public viewing on the site once it is open to the public. The project is slated to be completed by late 2009.

[Note: For more information about the city's historic preservation efforts, visit]

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Get involved in Arizona's "smart growth" initiatives

[Source: Jan Lesher, Director, Arizona Department of Commerce] -- The Arizona Department of Commerce has launched a new Smart Growth website to provide a one-stop-shop for smart growth resources and to highlight the agency’s new Office of Smart Growth. This Office engages in planning and zoning technical assistance, boards and commissions training, public participation, military land use compatibility, and an expanded smart growth focus. The new website includes:
  • Information on the Governor’s Growth Cabinet, Growth Cabinet Advisory Board, and Smart Growth Interagency Committee.
  • The Arizona Smart Growth Scorecard.
  • Smart Growth resources (such as data, pilot projects, emerging trends, and educational materials).

The intent of the new website is to provide a comprehensive primary resource, or clearinghouse, for strategies and actions related to Smart Growth. The website is dynamic as new services, events, and technologies will be continually developed, monitored, and incorporated by the Office of Smart Growth. The website marks an exciting and powerful milestone for the Arizona Department of Commerce.

We encourage you to “surf” through our new Smart Growth website and hope you will find this resource useful. Please feel free to provide the Office of Smart Growth with your input by calling (602) 771-1191.

Wickenburg still ‘True West’ town

[Source: The Wickenburg Sun] -- Wickenburg has once again made the top 10 list of True West magazine’s “True Western Towns.” Wickenburg was the only town in Arizona awarded this honor. There are thousands of towns throughout the West — many of which do an excellent job of maintaining and celebrating their heritage and history, according to True West, but some truly stand out. For the third year, True West honors the 10 True Western Towns in its January/February 2008 issue, on newsstands Jan. 15. They are:

10. San Diego, Calif.
9. Casper, Wyo.
8. Wickenburg, Ariz.
7. Pendleton, Ore.
6. Durango, Colo.
5. Dodge City, Kan.
4. Cheyenne, Wyo.
3. Trinidad, Colo.
2. Deadwood, S.D.
1. St. Joseph, Mo.

True West editors determined the winners based on a number of criteria — especially how each town has preserved its history through older buildings and districts, museums and other institutions, and events. The Top 10 also take the lead in promoting their historic resources to visitors. Last year’s Top Town was Helper, Utah. “This is a remarkable group of towns,” said True West Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell. “Their residents have taken it upon themselves to keep the real West alive for now and posterity. They not only celebrate their past — they live it.” The feature also includes a list of “Towns to Watch” for their good works in historic preservation, and several legendary Old West locales that folks should know. True West magazine is in its 55th year of leading the way in presenting the true stories of Old West adventure, history, culture, and preservation.

Oro Valley's Steam Pump design idea topic of public meeting

[Source: Patrick McNamara, Explorer News] -- A public meeting was held for the Steam Pump Ranch master planning process last Thursday. Architect Corky Poster of Poster Frost Associates, the firm contracted to create a master plan for the historic property, gave a presentation on a possible final design scenario. Working with the Steam Pump Ranch Task Force, a group of citizen volunteers, the firm has distilled the final scenario from three preliminary plans. One scenario, which the task force called “Eras of Oro Valley History,” included proto-history and Native American displays, Arizona territorial representations, statehood and town incorporation exhibits.

Another option, termed “A Day in the Life,” consisted of ranch recreations circa 1944. The year was chosen because researchers believe buildings from most prior eras of the property were in place then. A third choice included major elements from two dominant periods in the history of Steam Pump Ranch: the founding of the property in the 19th Century, and the post-1933 era when the Procter family bought the ranch. All of the scenarios included variations on a visitor center that would inform guests of the property’s history. The ultimate goal is to have the property registered with the U.S. Department of Interior’s National Register of Historic Places. German immigrant George Pusch settled the site in the 1870s. It acted as a stopover for ranchers driving their cattle to rail stations on Tucson’s west side on their way to markets in the east. The property got its iconic name from Pusch’s use of a steam-powered pump used to bring up ground water at the ranch.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Arizona Daily Star. Pictured is the adobe building which used to enclose the steam-operated water pump that gave the ranch its name.]

Status report on efforts to preserve Scottsdale's Kerr Cultural Center

[Source: Patricia Myers, CCKCC chair; Kathy Howard, CCKCC co-chair] -- A total of 42 friends of Kerr Cultural Center submitted comment cards favoring preservation at the Jan. 10 meeting of the Scottsdale Historic Preservation Commission (HPC). Of those, 21 spoke in favor of the proposal. No one was opposed. ASU's representative asked for a continuance to propose an alternative to historic preservation overlay rezoning, called a preservation easement. Research reveals that this designation might be stronger than the usual HP rezoning. We are optimistic that a properly written document could ensure Kerr continuing as the arts and cultural venue that Louise Lincoln Kerr envisioned when she willed it to ASU in 1977.

The HPC instructed city staff to meet with ASU representatives and work out a satisfactory agreement within 60 days. If this is accomplished, there will be a progress report to HPC next month, with the final report and vote at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 13, when we will again need support. If the vote is in favor, the issue will go the Scottsdale Planning Commission, then to the Scottsdale City Council in late spring, where we again will need attendance support of 100 or more.

We are appreciative of support for our grassroots organization, Concerned Citizens for the Kerr Cultural Center (CCKCC), particularly from the more than 250 people who signed our petition on behalf of the preservation of this remarkable jewel in the desert. We continue to collect signatures, so if you wish to support the cause, click here to download, complete, and send in the petition.

CCKCC was formed out of concern about increasing development and a rezoning request in the immediate area of the Kerr center. We began meeting in February 2007 as an advocacy group for supporting and preserving the unique identity and original purpose of this remarkable and historic adobe arts center -- a facility without peer or parallel. Louise Lincoln Kerr, daughter of John C. Lincoln, was a gifted musician and arts advocate who built the adobe performance studio in 1959, nearly 50 years ago. Her will specifically expressed her fervent wish for the center to continue in its original purpose. The Kerr is renowned as a unique cultural venue, attracting people from throughout the Valley and across Arizona, the Southwest, and West Coast. Those who attend come from as far as Sun City West, Fountain Hills, Sun Lakes, Chandler, Carefree, Flagstaff, Prescott, and Tucson.

CCKCC will continue to monitor the progress of the discussions for preservation easement, and keep you in the loop as elements develop.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

ASU in downtown Phoenix initiates Urban & Metropolitan Studies program

Click on the graphic to enlarge the text. Now recruiting for Spring and Fall 2008. Details at

Downtown Chandler business grants questioned

[Source: Luci Scott, Arizona Republic] -- Taxpayer-funded business grants have been a key factor in the redevelopment of downtown Chandler's historic buildings, but now the city is considering changes following complaints about how the grants are distributed. Grant amounts have varied. For example, the SanTan Brewing Co., a popular brew pub and restaurant that opened last year, received $100,000 in taxpayer money through the Downtown Improvement Fund. Sushi Eye in Motion, Art on Boston, Urban Tea Loft, and the yet-to-open sushi restaurant KiZake each received $50,000.

Dick Mulligan, director of economic development, confirmed that his department is working on changes to the DIF program, but he isn't making the proposals public yet. "It's premature to lay it out," Mulligan said. "We haven't put together a draft."

The proposals need to be presented to the City Council's economic development subcommittee before they go to the council, he said. "And we've got to interface with a lot of stakeholders," Mulligan said.

Councilman Jeff Weninger has complained that taxpayers and tenants contribute to building improvements that benefit the owners, but owners are not required to contribute. However, some landlords voluntarily do. "Without this kind of financial help, the tenants, the mom-and-pop businesses most likely would not open a business downtown," said Niels Kreipke, a developer and a downtown landlord who has contributed to tenant improvements. From fiscal year 2002-03 through 2007-08, the city distributed $601,859 from the DIF. Private investment during that time totaled more than $2.4 million.

New Civic Tourism Book & Conference

Dan Shilling, past director of the Arizona Humanities Council, has recently released the book, Civic Tourism: The Poetry and Politics of Place, the result of a three-year project at Sharlot Hall Museum. Many readers may have attended the March 2006 national conference in Prescott, which was hailed by some as a “landmark” meeting. Another conference will be held this October.

Civic tourism is an extension of heritage tourism, ecotourism, geotourism, and other “place-based” models. The mission is to “reframe” tourism’s purpose, from an end to a means – from a growth goal to a tool that helps citizens preserve and enhance what they love about their place. Shilling suggests three strategies: (1) “Reframe Economics” encourages communities to connect tourism planning to contemporary restorative economic policies; (2) “Connect to the Public” suggests engagement practices that foster support for a responsible tourism ethic; and (3) “Invest in the Story” urges a robust financial and conceptual investment to place-making.

David Weaver, professor of tourism at the University of South Carolina, and author of Sustainable Tourism: Practice and Procedures, writes, “In his groundbreaking book on civic tourism, Dan Shilling invites your community to engage in a conversation about tourism and place that it cannot afford not to have.” The book, which is 128 pages, includes dozens of “conversation starters” and more than 80 best practices and suggestions. It is available from, and costs only $12.

The 2008 civic tourism conference will be held October 15-18, 2008, in the Blackstone Valley of Rhode Island, one hour south of Boston and one hour north of Newport, RI. The conversation has gone national now, even international, and the next meeting will feature more people who practice responsible, place-based tourism. For further information visit, or call Dan at 602-300-6694.

Valley youth learn about archaeology and ancient cultures

Valley students learn about archaeology and ancient cultures at the Pueblo Grande Museum's Hohokam Experience Summer Camp. Learn more at this know99 Television segment.

New Ahwatukee resident writes history of his home

Ahwatukee, a suburb of Phoenix, has a lot of history that many are unaware of. Mountain Pointe High School students recently learned about Ahwatukee's past and present in their history class. You can learn more too by viewing this know99 segment.

Phoenix high school student a fan of Route 66 in Arizona

Route 66, recently listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 11 Most Endangered Places list, has a rich history in the U.S. especially in the Southwest. High school student Adam Falk exlains a little bit about the history of Route 66 in Arizona in this know99 Television segment.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Message from the APF President

For many of us, the New Year marks a time of renewed vigor and enthusiasm for the year ahead. Here at the Arizona Preservation Foundation, we also look forward to what lies ahead and have no doubt that this year in preservation will be even better than the last. But, before we forge ahead, let’s take a moment to reflect on a few accomplishments from the last months of 2007.

In August of 2007, APF released its annual list of Arizona’s Most Endangered Historic Places. The Foundation continues to monitor these properties and often takes an active role in preventing their destruction. An ongoing example is Scottsdale’s Kerr Cultural Center (KCC), given by the Kerr family to Arizona State University for cultural use only. Past APF President Jim McPherson and others are fighting to have Scottsdale declare an historic overlay to protect the site. Our efforts have had significant impact on Scottsdale and ASU. We will help you prepare for the March 13 Scottsdale Preservation Commission hearing on the issue and will urge you to attend and voice your support.

Improvements have also been made on Florence’s Second Pinal County Courthouse. When the 1891 property was placed on the Endangered List, the roof was in an egregious state of disrepair, to the point of needing a water collection system on the second floor. The building is currently undergoing a roof repair with the help of the Town of Florence, the Arizona Office of Tourism, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

We also maintain an Arizona Properties to Watch List and are pleased to announce there have been significant strides made in the preservation of more than one of the properties. Some time after an APF "Action Alert" went out, Phoenix’s 1909 M. Edward Morin House moved right off the watch list and into its new location at 621 N. Fifth Ave. The home’s 2004 owners opposed the city’s effort to place it on the historic registry and went as far as applying for a demolition permit. Dan Klocke, who purchased the building and arranged for its relocation, plans to renovate the house and rent it to a business.

The early Wickenburg settlers’ graves were placed on the Watch List and have also been saved (again with public mobilization from an APF "Action Alert"). In November, the decision to move the more than hundred-year-old grave of Henry Wickenburg and four early pioneers from the hill on which they rest, was repealed. The property surrounding the tombstones has been developed into housing and the property owners want the tombs moved. The City Council originally voted in favor of the property owners, but after intervention by the Wickenburg Historical Preservation Society, State Historic Preservation Office, and concerned citizens, the decision was rescinded.

Please bookmark this e-newletter as we're always posting news and information about historic preservation and Arizona's heritage. Literally, hundreds of news items have been posted in the past few years. Also, take some time and visit the APF website at And provide us with your feedback. We'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Scottsdale postpones decision on Kerr Cultural Center

[Source: Lesley Wright, Arizona Republic] -- Scottsdale's Historic Preservation Commission on Thursday reluctantly gave in to Arizona State University's request to postpone designating the Kerr Cultural Center as an historic property. On her death in 1977, composer and arts patron Louise Lincoln Kerr bequeathed her home and performance hall at 6110 N. Scottsdale Road to the university so famed concerts and programs could continue there.

ASU had asked that the proposal be withdrawn, but came up with a compromise at the 11th hour. If the city withheld an historic zoning overlay, the university would draw up an easement, a legal document that preservation experts said would give the buildings greater protection.

The commission voted 6-0 to continue the item until March 13. "It seems to me we have to be practical and operate in the real world," said Commissioner George Hartz.

It was a disappointment to the crowd of about 40 musicians, professors, and arts lovers. No one who spoke displayed much trust for the ultimate goals of the university, especially after Commissioner Chair Ed Wimmer read part of a letter from ASU's real estate division complaining about the cost of maintaining the adobe buildings in the desert environment.

"Apparently, the new American university does not care much about the old," said Jim McPherson, former president of the Arizona Preservation Foundation, which placed the Kerr Center on the state's Most Endangered Historic Places list last year.

The adobe bricks, handcrafted by Mexican artisans in 1948 and 1959, are a significant part of what makes the Kerr buildings of such iconic significance, preservationists said. Debbie Abele, the city's historic preservation officer, said that the one-story, five-room house and the studio were stunning examples of Spanish Colonial revival -- the signature style of the Southwest.

[Note: Related article in East Valley Tribune:]

Tempe gives OK for Monti’s towers

[Source: Garin Groff, East Valley Tribune] -- Tempe finally approved plans for three towers next to the historic Monti’s La Casa Vieja on Thursday. The City Council unanimously approved the 1.1-million-square-foot hotel and condo project following months of controversy and changes to the proposal at Thursday night’s meeting. Tony Wall of Scottsdale-based 3W Companies said he will first build a hotel along Mill Avenue while restoring the historic La Casa Vieja. He said he would later build two condo towers rising 257 feet.

The first version of the plan would have placed a 300-foot tower directly above the historic La Casa Vieja, which triggered preservationists to blast the plan. The adobe structure likely would have crumbled during construction, critics said, or at least be obscured by piers supporting the tower. Wall then backed the tower away from the adobe structure and won praise from former critics — though neighboring landowner US Airways called for a “good neighbor height” of 225 feet. Tempe’s elected officials had blasted the airline as a bully for refusing to agree to various concessions offered.

La Casa Vieja was built in 1871 by Tempe founder Charles Trumbull Hayden. The house also served as a general store, boarding house and community gathering place. It’s the Valley’s oldest continuously occupied building, often called the most significant historic structure in the metropolitan area.

Tucson's San Xavier del Bac Mission undergoes renovation

One of the most beloved icons of the Southwest, San Xavier del Bac Mission, is getting a much-deserved facelift. In this KPNX Channel 12 news segment, you'll meet the preservation specialist who's undertaken the painstakingly slow job.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Take an animated tour of threatened Phoenix synagogue

In an October, 2007 Arizona Preservation Foundation "Action Alert," the potential demolition of Phoenix's first Orthodox synagogue was communicated to APF members and friends. The structure, located at 333 E. Portland St., was designed by architect Max Kaufman and built by Arizona’s Mardian Construction in 1954. It's not protected by any kind of historic designation, and the land on which it stands may be in the process of being sold. Local developer Michael Levine hopes to save the building. He put together this "rough" model animation of what the building could look like restored.

Take an animated tour of endangered White Gates House in Phoenix

The White Gates House on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, designed by noted local architect Al Beadle, is listed on the Arizona Preservation Foundation's 2007 Most Endangered Historic Places List. Take an animated tour of what the house could look like restored, courtesy of Jason Steele.

Jan. 17 is Neighborhood Day at the State Legislature

Residents are invited to attend Neighborhood Day at the State Legislature to learn about the legislative process, talk about issues important to neighborhoods, hear from lawmakers, learn about the 2008 neighborhood legislative agenda, tour the House and Senate chambers, and enjoy a free lunch.

Date: Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Place: Capitol Mall, 1700 W. Washington St.

The event is free; registration by Jan. 11 is required. Register online at or call 602-534-2997. For more information or reasonable accommodations, call 602-256-4257/voice or 602-534-5500/city TTY.

The cities of Avondale, Buckeye, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Surprise, Tempe and Tucson, and the League of Arizona Cities and Towns host this annual event.

Attendees also can attend a free neighborhood lobbying workshop, which will be open to the first 100 people to register. This separate workshop will cover how a bill becomes law, ways to effectively communicate with legislators, and techniques used by professional lobbyists to influence legislation. Residents interested in the lobbying workshop should contact the League of Arizona Cities and Towns at 602-258-5786.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tempe's Eisendrath House to serve as center for sustainability

The City of Tempe is partnering with several private, non-profit entities to begin full rehabilitation of the historic Eisendrath House property (rendering at left by Mark Vinson). Motley Design Group, headed by architect Bob Graham, is nearly complete with a rehab report and recommendations. It is believed that funding for at least the initial stabilization of the structure is secured, and advocates are optimistic that once "the ball rolls" this spring, funding will continue and the full rehab, according to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior's Standards, will occur.

The goal is to rehab and then occupy the house as the "Carl Hayden Center for Sustainability at the Eisendrath House." Exhibits on water conservation and other forms of sustainable design and construction may be installed, along with interpretive exhibits on the house and the Eisendrath family. Some office, conference, and meeting space, as well as other support functions, would also be provided. The City would be the prime tenant, but the possibility exists that other groups could office and/or meet there.

For more information, contact Mark Vinson, AIA/AICP/NCARB, City of Tempe Architect, at 480-350- 8367.

Book offers pictorial history of Mexicans in Phoenix

[Source: Beth Litwin, Arizona Republic] -- Local author Frank Barrios (pictured at left) and the Phoenix Museum of History invite you to a dinner and book-signing event for his new pictorial history entitled "Mexicans in Phoenix." Barrios, a Phoenix native with family roots dating back to the 1800s, compiled 213 photographs with captions highlighting the social, cultural and economic history of Mexicans in Phoenix. "I often refer to the story of Mexican people in Phoenix as the untold story," said Barrios, adding that the majority of the photographs have never been displayed or published before. The 127-page book features family history and Mexicans photographs from the late 1800s through the 1970s. Barrios gathered many of the photos and stories from interviews with members of pioneer Mexican families in Phoenix while working on the Hispanic Property Survey project last year.

He joined Phoenix Historic Preservation officers and other researchers working on the survey that identified Mexican American properties important to Phoenix's history. Barrios agreed to put together the book after the project's completion. Among many community involvements, Barrios serves as the vice president of the Board of Directors at the Phoenix Museum of History, the president of First Families of Arizona and is on the state board of the Arizona Historical Society. The book signing, dinner and presentation will start at 6 p.m. on Jan. 26 at the Phoenix Museum of History, 105 N. 5th St. Guests may purchase the book, meet the author to have it signed and visit the complementing new exhibit, "Mexican American Mirror: Reflections of our City's Heritage." Dinner and a slide show presentation by Barrios with photographs from the book will follow at 7 p.m. Tickets are $50 and the book is $19.99 with all proceeds from tickets and book sales benefiting the Phoenix Museum of History. To reserve tickets call the museum at 602-253-2734 ext. 224.

Nature Conservancy buys key Upper Verde River parcel

[Source: Associated Press] -- The Nature Conservancy has bought the last major parcel of private land along the Upper Verde River, a rare strip of riparian habitat. The Nature Conservancy bought 312 acres for an undisclosed price from a Paulden couple, who also donated two major conservation easements on the uplands portion of their ranch to The Nature Conservancy (160 acres) and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (2,440 acres). The easements prevent development. The Upper Verde River is one of the two best remaining native fisheries in Arizona and is home to three endangered and threatened species, Nature Conservancy officials said Friday. The Upper Verde has been at the center of controversy in recent years as Prescott-area communities move forward with their plans to pump groundwater from the Big Chino Sub-basin south about 20 miles to their water-strapped region.

Those plans prompted American Rivers to name the Verde one of the most endangered rivers in the country in 2006. Scientists generally agree that the Big Chino supplies 80 percent of the base flow of the Upper Verde River. The new Nature Conservancy property encompasses the first mile of the river, where springs help keep the first 24 miles of the river flowing during the dry seasons. The Arizona Game and Fish Department already bought 700 acres on three parcels along about three miles of the river that are interspersed with the new Nature Conservancy property. The Prescott National Forest and State Land Department are the other major landowners along the Upper Verde. Nature Conservancy and state wildlife officials say the new purchase will foster efforts to protect and restore native fish threatened by at least eight non-native fish species.

Law may block city purchase of Downtown Tucson warehouse

[Source: Andrea Kelly, Daily Star] -- City efforts to buy the state-owned warehouse once occupied by Zee's Gallery and sell it to the former occupant may be stymied by a law requiring a sale to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, another state-owned warehouse tenant is again hosting concerts after canceling them for a time when an Arizona Daily Star investigation revealed safety issues throughout the Downtown Warehouse Arts District. The city of Tucson hoped to buy the state-owned building known as Zee's Gallery, at Toole and Stone avenues, from the state and then sell it to the former tenant, artist Zee Haag.

The state bought several Downtown warehouses 15 to 20 years ago as right of way for the extension of the Barraza-Aviation Parkway. But plans for the road have changed, and the state is looking to divest itself of many buildings that are no longer needed for the road. The city of Tucson wants to keep the warehouse in artists' hands and continue following the goals of the city's Warehouse Arts District Master Plan, city Transportation Director Jim Glock has said. However, legal issues at the state level may require that the building be sold at a public auction to the highest bidder, with no guarantee on how it would be used afterward. That could mean anything, including demolition or redevelopment for another purpose. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Monday, January 07, 2008

Deadline Jan. 10 for Phoenix History Ball award nominations

Each year at the Phoenix History Ball, the Phoenix Museum of History honors individuals, families and organizations that have made significant and enduring contributions to the history of our community. Nominate a deserving person or group you know by downloading and completing a 2008 Honoree Nomination Form. The deadline for submitting nominations is January 10. Nominations must be postmarked on or before that date or delivered in person to the Phoenix Museum of History, 105 North 5th Street, Phoenix 85004. For more information, call 602-253-2734.

The Phoenix History Ball raises essential funds to support the Valley's first and oldest museum. Community support for the Phoenix Museum of History ensures that future generations will have access to the wisdom and inspiration of their ancestors.

Progress being made on Second Pinal County Courthouse

The 1891 Second Pinal County Courthouse at 31 N. Pinal St. in Florence is undergoing a major roof repair that will greatly improve the preservation potential for the building. The Town of Florence has contributed a significant amount of money to help with these repairs. Grants also have come from the Arizona Office of Tourism, Arizona State Parks Historic Preservation Heritage Fund, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), with the help of U.S. Congressman Rick Renzi.

Although nearly $1 million has been spent thus far on the roof alone, additional funds are still needed to repair the building's chimneys and dormers, which are among the major defining features of the roof. Pinal County is still trying to raise money to repair these items, as well as the building's front porch and moisture-damaged brick.

What you can do
  • The county intends to once again apply for funds to the Arizona State Parks Historic Preservation Heritage Fund. Citizens can help by making sure the state legislature does not raid this fund to make up for its budget shortfall. To locate or contact your legislator, click on
  • Others interested in donating to the cause can contact Ernie Feliz, Pinal County Grants Coordinator, at or 520-866-7221.
  • Information on the brick campaign to raise funds can be obtained by going to the Pinal County website -- -- and scrolling down to the 'Brick Paver Project' link.
  • For those interested in going through the building, the courthouse will be on the Tour of Historic Florence scheduled for Saturday Feb. 9. Details on the tour can be obtained by calling 520-868-4496.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Take a tour of Phoenix's Pioneer and Military Memorial Park

What: The City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department is giving free self-guided tours of the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park. Dating to the 1880s, the seven cemeteries that make up the park are the final resting place for about 3,700 veterans and such Arizona pioneers as Jacob Waltz, known as the "Lost Dutchman," and John T. Alsap, Phoenix's first mayor and Maricopa County's first probate judge.

When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 27, Feb. 24, March 30, and April 27

Where: Pioneer & Military Memorial Park, 14th Avenue and Jefferson Street

Information: 602-534-1262 or

Supporters of Scottsdale’s Kerr Cultural Center ask for your help on Jan. 10

[Source: Arizona Preservation Foundation "Action Alert!"] -- The Kerr Cultural Center (KCC), a cultural icon for Scottsdale performance arts for nearly 50 years, is a Valley historic treasure -- a valuable vestige of the John C. Lincoln family, and a fitting remembrance of Louise Lincoln Kerr, one of Arizona's brightest composing and performing lights. KCC has been a performance venue for lectures and musical performances from the likes of Barry Goldwater to Pablo Casals. Today, it continues to serve the community with a variety of cultural events. It is listed on the APF’s 2007 Most Endangered Historic Places List.

Now you -- people who care about Arizona's cultural heritage -- are needed to attend a meeting Thursday, January 10, at 5:30 p.m. when the Scottsdale Historic Preservation will vote on whether to designate KCC. ASU representatives will be present, and a huge turnout is needed to show them and the Commission that there is major community support for KCC historic designation.

A grassroots committee -- Concerned Citizens for the Kerr Cultural Center (CCKCC) -- continues to be proactive on behalf of this longtime (since 1959) and unique cultural venue in Scottsdale. Increased nearby development (e.g., Borgata makeover) and a rezoning request last March for the adjacent property north of the Kerr prompted citizens to take action. Their goal is to focus attention on this irreplaceable property, bequeathed by Louise Lincoln Kerr to ASU to be used as a public performance resource.

Last June, CCKCC requested historic preservation designation for KCC via the Scottsdale Historic Preservation Commission. They are now in the second phase: presentation to the Commission. Next will be consideration by the Scottsdale Planning Commission. Final action will require a vote by the Scottsdale City Council (likely in Feb. or March).

Historic overlay increases the visibility of the value of the property to the entire community, not just the owners. The 1977 will of Louise Lincoln Kerr clearly spelled out her wishes that the KCC continue to be a venue for Valley performance arts. It was with this understanding that she bequeathed the property to ASU. At this time, ASU has issued no official response, pro or con, regarding the preservation move. But CCKCC has heard that some ASU administrators oppose historic designation for KCC.

What you can do

CCKCC presents its case for the KCC historic preservation overlay at a very important meeting, and it needs many people there to show support. APF members and friends are encouraged to attend (and forward this information to others who care about Scottsdale's heritage; just click on the envelope symbol at the bottom of this entry).

For more information about this issue, contact Patricia Myers, CCKCC Chair, c/o P.O. Box 4201, Scottsdale, AZ 85261-4201. For more information about historic preservation in Scottsdale, visit