Monday, April 28, 2008

Sedona's Historic Preservation Commission announces first “Most Endangered Places” list

[Source: City of Sedona, Historic Preservation Commission] -- The City of Sedona’s Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) announces its first “Sedona’s Most Endangered Places” list. The list is intended to bring attention to endangered historic resources through the use of a publicized list. It is hoped that the list will not only bring awareness, but will generate ideas and support for preservation of important historic properties in the City. “The HPC put a lot of thought into the creation of this program and the identification of these first properties.”, said Commission Chairperson, Janeen Trevillyan. “The program itself is based on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s program. Considering the pressures of development and build-out in Sedona, the high percentage of historic properties in intense zoning areas of the city, and the rarity of historic structures in town, this seemed like one more way the Commission could bring attention to the fragility of our few historic resources.”

Kathy Levin, Associate Planner in the City’s Community Development Dept. outlined the criteria for the HPC’s inclusion of properties on this new list. That criteria includes the 1.) significance or architectural, artistic, and/or historic importance of a site; and/or 2.) urgency for immediate action to stop or reverse serious threats; and/or 3.) the existence of potential solutions that can remove the threat. “The Commission hopes that these criteria will stimulate positive action and they feel the properties on this first list illustrate some or all of these important local historical themes.”, she stated. The HPC met several times and made site visits in order to determine what properties should be included on this list. They considered their condition, known or presumed threats, and potential solutions for preservation. They carefully limited this list to the properties they considered most critical in need. The City of Sedona’s Historic Preservation Commission’s first “Sedona’s Most Endangered Places” list is as follows, and in no particular order:

  • The Elmer & Lizzie Purtymun House (at Lomacasi), 1924
    The Purtymun house (pictured) built by members of the fourth permanent family in Oak Creek Canyon is a typical Sedona vernacular house of its era and is potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The owner is currently seeking permission to develop the site for high-intensity commercial uses and potential solutions for preservation might be to incorporate the house into the development, or move it on the site to an undeveloped area of the project.

  • Madole-Rigby House, circa. 1948
    This adobe house was built for Douglas and Elisabeth Rigby, and is perhaps the oldest adobe house in Sedona. It was designed by Howard Madole and built by his family. Madole is known as Sedona first designer to use modern design and building materials. It also may be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. This home sits in the center of a large vacant parcel that could experience dense development. A potential solution would be to incorporate it into any new development on the site.

  • Irrigation Ditches, begun in 1880s
    Sedona’s earliest settlers built irrigation ditches from Oak Creek to their farms. These ditches contributed to our orchard history. Some are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. These ditches have many owners with varying degrees of interest in preservation and they are occasionally damaged by flooding. While some owners on these linear landmarks have received Local Landmark status for the ditch segments on their property, a final solution to preservation would be to have the balance of owners agree to “Local Landmark” status.

  • Old Post Office, circa. 1938
    Charley Thompson, descendant of our first permanent settler, built this structure along the ‘new’ road in Uptown Sedona to replace the post office washed away by the 1938 flood. The building was relocated to Brewer Road sometime after a new post office was built in 1950. This building sits on a large commercially zoned mostly vacant parcel that is prime for large and intense development. Potential solutions could be either incorporation into any new development or move to another site.

For more information about this list or the work of the Historic Preservation Commission, call Kathy Levin at 928-203-5035.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Phoenix's South Mountain Las Lomitas Ramada scope meeting

[Source: Barbara Stocklin, City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office] -- Staff from the Historic Preservation Office, Parks & Recreation Department and Engineering & Architectural Services Department met with Bob Mather of Westlake Reed Leskosky Architects to discuss the scope of work for rehabilitation of the the Las Lomitas Ramada at South Mountain Park. This is an extensive 1930s wood and stone ramada built by the Civilian Conservartion Corps as a work relief project. The ramada, which is the largest at the park, has been closed for several months due to concerns about its condition. HP staff recommended hiring WRLA architecturs due to the firm's experience rehabilitation historic structures. Mr. Mather is currently preparing a proposal that will be submitted to HP, P&R and EAS staff for review.

Phoenix's Hotel San Carlos not for sale, but seeks "partner"

[Source: AZCentral] -- They aren't using the word "sale," but the family that owns Hotel San Carlos is looking for someone to take over day-to-day operations of the 80-year-old landmark. "We are looking for someone to join our family and to take Hotel San Carlos to the next level," said Greg Melikian, who has owned the historic, the 121-room hotel on and off for 35 years. The price is negotiable, Melikian said, depending on who's interested. The family would like to wrap up the transaction by the end of the year, but will hold out if they don't find a suitable candidate, Melikian said.

Two things are driving the decision, the 83-year-old hotelier said. First, Melikian's wife, Emma, is slowly losing her eyesight to macular degeneration. Melikian would like to take her on a trip around the world while she still has some vision left, he said. Also, Melikian says that he'd like more time to spend on Arizona State University's Melikian Center, a university division that studies Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Melikian is of Armenian descent and he and his wife speak eight language between the two of them, he said. Melikian says that he has met with a handful of serious candidates, but he hasn't had any luck yet, he said. The family is still interested in having a financial interest in the hotel, he added. And they won't rush the decision, he said. "I want someone who is an asset to this hotel and an asset to this town," he said. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Payson's Tonto Monument ruins yield fresh clues to ancient mystery

[Source: Payson Roundup] -- Like the poppies proliferating beneath the brooding 800-year-old ruin, research into some absorbing archeological mysteries has bloomed at Tonto National Monument. Many Payson residents looking for spring flowers, fishing on the revitalized Roosevelt Lake or diverted by the closed Beeline Highway have rediscovered the 1,100-acre, 100-year-old national monument about 50 miles from their doorstep.

When they arrive, visitors browse through the small visitor's center, climb the steep trail with its panoramic views, and stand in the mud and stone ruins abandoned so mysteriously in the 1400s. But few casual visitors realize that after dozing in the scientific shade for a century, the monument researchers now find themselves perched with a view of vital questions about human cultures stretching back 10,000 years. After spending most of its long history curating artifacts and keeping visitors from destroying the ruins, the park now has two archeologists on staff and deep questions to explore.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Tom Brossart, Payson Roundup.]

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Vision for structural icon in downtown Phoenix takes shape

[Source: Eugene Scott, Arizona Republic] -- In 1926, many Phoenicians were buying their daily bread from markets. But a new J.B. Bayless grocery store was working on changing that. Today, the owner of that downtown building hopes the structure at 825 N. Seventh St. once again becomes a leader in downtown Phoenix's business community. Joseph Lewis, owner of the 9,000-square-foot building (pictured), bought the building 20 years ago and has wanted to renovate it for years. Lewis was able to do the work after receiving the Neighborhood Revitalization Award from Phoenix.

"I knew it had beautiful bones, but it would take a lot of money to show it in the best light possible," he said. Most of the doors and windows had been boarded up with one door allowing access into the historical structure. But in March 2007, that changed when the renovation began. The $450,000 project lasted nearly a year. Lewis also received a Community Development Block Grant from the city for the project. "I knew that historic buildings are a lot more expensive to restore than the typical mall-type," he said. "So there was a matching grant that we utilized to help pay for the façade renovation to kind of bring it back to its historic glory." The Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department recently honored Lewis for his revitalizations of the building. Ten local businesses were honored as part of national Community Development Week.

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

Light touch is just the right touch in old Phoenix home

[Source: Jaimee Rose, Arizona Republic] -- Lew Gallo and Brad Plumley live together, own stores together and spend weekends knocking down walls, pouring concrete and renovating their 1937 home together. They're still speaking. "We're either very compatible or very crazy," says Gallo, 42. Gallo and Plumley, along with friend Gregory Gordon, own decor hot spot Haus Modern Living in Scottsdale and Phoenix, and for eight years let their own home languish while they helped everyone else achieve insanely cool rooms.

Naturally, people wanted to know where they lived. Customers imagined a perfectly pared-down abode filled with Gallo's handmade furniture and piles of Jonathan Adler goodies. Invitations were hinted at, magazine spreads expected. "People would get offended we didn't invite them over," Gallo says. The house was in "before" mode, so last summer, they dug in. The big news: The bathroom and master suite are nearly finished, and we have a sneak peek here today. They still have the rest of the house to go, but we can testify that many, many magazines will come calling when it's through. The home is a vintage adobe in the Phoenix Homestead Historic District near 28th Street and Osborn Road. "Eleanor Roosevelt built this neighborhood for farmers that lost their land after the Depression," Gallo says.

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

Monday, April 21, 2008

Legislature funds new archive building in Phoenix, threatens to cut monies for moving artifacts

[Source: Bill Coates, Capitol Times] -- Capitol Museum Curator Brenda McLain is working against the clock - and a state budget deficit - for the big move. Some 8,000 items in storage at the old Capitol are slated for transfer to the new Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building (pictured), 19th Avenue and Madison. Preparations for the fall move began last summer. Artifacts can't just be tossed onto the back of a truck. They have to measured and carefully packed. Their condition and catalog numbers have to be written down, then keyed into a database that tracks museum items using special software. Money to complete the move is in jeopardy, as Gov. Janet Napolitano and the Legislature scramble to find ways to plug budget deficit for the current fiscal year that stands at $1.2 billion and counting.

The $38 million approved to construct the Polly Rosenbaum building originally included moving expenses. The money, however, was appropriated piecemeal over a three-year period. Last year, the Legislature approved the final $8 million to complete the project. In January, the governor's budget office proposed lopping off $3.5 million of that to boost state coffers. The Legislature echoed that in H2857, legislation that called for a state spending freeze. Though that bill drew a veto, it at least showed the governor and lawmakers had agreed on a number when it came to a funding cut. One likely cut would be the estimated $200,000 to $800,000 required for the move, says Michael Braun, executive director of the Legislative Council. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Planner: Modest, shorter projects work better in Tucson's downtown

[Source: Teya Vitu, Tucson Citizen] -- Don't expect a Manhattan skyline with Glenn Lyons as the point man shaping downtown. Downtown Tucson shouldn't aim at being a high-rise center, but should develop more in keeping with its character and the character of the city, Lyons believes. He wants to fill downtown vacant lots and surface parking lots with a scattering of two- and three-story housing and office complexes. Lyons, chief executive of the Downtown Tucson Partnership, recently unveiled to the Tucson Citizen his vision of downtown redevelopment. The downtown partnership Lyons heads is jointly funded by the county, city and private sector. Instead of a few grandiose developments that, given Tucson's history, undoubtedly would founder in a sea of controversy and never be built, Lyons is concentrating on more modest private-sector projects downtown.

Those developments ultimately would mesh with the large public projects at Rio Nuevo already being planned. "It's not hard to figure out you can build on a lower scale," Lyons said. "Everything is more modest here, which leads to more modest development. "It's never going to be a high-rise office environment." A low-slung downtown residential sector would make Tucson unique among American cities and attractive to visitors seeking something distinctly different, said Lyons, who moved to Tucson in mid-February from Calgary, Alberta. And it would please the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the downtown core that routinely protest proposals that climb higher than two or three stories. "The El Presidio neighborhood was clapping," Lyons said, when he presented his vision a few weeks ago to the neighborhood north of City Hall. Double the downtown population of residents and office workers, and that should create enough critical mass to establish a solid beachhead for vibrant downtown retail, Lyons reasons. Lyons has built his vision in the year since first walking the Presidio Trail (pictured), the painted blue line that has snaked through downtown and fringes of the Barrio Viejo and El Presidio neighborhoods since September 2006.

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

Snowflake considers library issues

[Source: Donna Rescorla, The Independent] -- With Mayor Kelly Willis proclaiming April 13-19 National Library Week in Snowflake, it seemed only fitting that several other library related items were brought up at the April 8 meeting of Taylor Town Council. Town Librarian Cathie McDowell appeared before the council asking them to approve a resolution authorizing an application for a State Historic Preservation Grant to be used toward the renovation of the Snowflake Academy Building for use as the town library. She said they have the opportunity to use the grant because they already have matching funds.

"We can apply for up to $150,000 and we're going for the maximum," she said. "We have the $80,000 from the (Community Block Development Grant) grant we are receiving from the county. We also have the CDBG grant from the town." She reported the State Historic Preservation Office has already confirmed that CDBG funds as well as their State Library grant can used for the match. "Winning this grant would help move this ambitious and important project forward," she stated. The Snowflake Academy was also brought up by David Flake in call to the public. He thanked the council and the community for their support, adding that now the goal of the foundation board is to work aggressively at fundraising. "We want to thank you," he told the council. "It's up to all of us to support this project to put the building back to the way it was." [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

David Wilson joins Tucson's ABA Architects

[Source:] -- David Wilson joined ABA Architects as senior architect and historic preservation specialist. Through his work with the Arizona Main Street Program and as a consultant to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Wilson gained extensive knowledge and experience in preservation architecture, qualifying him as a historic architect.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Phoenix Beadle House saved

[Source: Margaret Foster, National Trust for Historic Preservation] -- Until now, it looked like the Arizona desert would swallow a mid-century modern house designed by Phoenix architect Alfred Beadle. Last month, Lynda Maze, owner of the 1958 White Gates House, convinced a Phoenix court to give her time to renovate her blighted property, which she had considered razing two years ago. The city retracted two blight citations that neighbors had filed against the house. "I didn't realize it would take possession of my body," Maze says of the White Gates House. "I'm not a historian, but I just got the house, spent some time up there and decided, 'I've got to do something.'"

Maze has asked local "Beadlemaniacs" to help her with the restoration, and several architects have submitted pro bono designs for an addition to the house. "Things are moving forward," says Alison King, founder of Modern Phoenix, a Web-based group that has been trying to save the White Gates House since 2001, when a magazine article revealed that its land was worth more than the ailing building. "She was really seeking some input, so we gave it to her. We all care about Alfred Beadle's legacy." In the meantime, however, another Beadle work, the Modern Bell Building in downtown Phoenix, is scheduled to be demolished later this year. Its owner, San Diego-based developer Joe Pinsonneault, has allowed the glass-and-steel office building to deteriorate since he bought it in 2003. Located on nine acres, the building, now known as the Qwest Building, will be torn down for an upscale condominium complex.

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

Oro Valley's Steam Pump Ranch panel agrees on restoration plan

[Source: Lourdes Medrano, Daily Star] -- The Oro Valley community task force charged with creating a development plan for the historic Steam Pump Ranch wrapped up its work last week. The town wants to restore the ranch for public viewing and use. The group's final plan now goes before the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on April 14. The group will gather at 5 p.m. in the Oro Valley Town Hall, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive. After the commission puts its stamp on the plan, it goes to the Town Council for consideration on May 21. The council got an early glimpse of the plan in February, when some members expressed concerns about the potential cost. The property includes roughly 11 structures, including the original ranch house.

If the council approves the project, the public could have access to the site about eight months later, said Corky Poster of Poster Frost Associates Inc. As a town-hired consultant, Poster worked for months alongside the task force on a Steam Pump Ranch master plan. The task force recommended that the town initially focus on the project's first phase, which would cost about $5 million. Full restoration previously was estimated at $8.4 million. The final plan scaled back some of the amenities in the build-out, Poster said. "We have a smaller-scale equestrian center and a smaller-scale event center, for example." The changes mean new costs, Poster said, but the task force did not tackle the new estimates. Any work done after the opening phase will need additional study and funding, Poster emphasized. "The main thing is that it restores the historic buildings," Sarah More, the town's planning and zoning director, said of the task force's final recommendation. The initial phase includes restoration work and displays about the two eras in which the ranch figured prominently. "There are so many buildings there, we can't use them all," said Dick Eggerding, a task-force member. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Mart may get OK to join Tucson's Historic Depot eatery

[Source: Teya Vitu, Tucson Citizen] -- Hotel Congress owner Richard Oseran may get the City Council go-ahead Tuesday to open a market in the lobby of the Historic Depot across from his hotel. The council will consider an amendment that would add the lobby and trackside platform to the eight-year lease Oseran already has for the restaurant space at the east end of the city-owned depot, 400 E. Toole Ave. The lease calls for Maynards' Kitchen and Maynards' Market to open by Oct. 1, and Oseran hopes to have them open in late summer or early fall.

Oseran will start paying a $2,400 annual lease Sept. 1 for the lobby and platform, but the restaurant will be lease-free until May 2011, according to the lease Oseran negotiated with the city in October. Oseran's lobby market proposal passed muster with city, state and federal historic preservation guidelines, but Friends of the Historic Depot in February let the Tucson-Pima Historical Commission know they disapproved of filling waiting room space with a market. The council will discuss the lease amendment at a 3:30 p.m. study session, and will likely approve it with no discussion at the 5:30 p.m. council meeting, where the depot item is on consent agenda. Both sessions are in the Council Chambers, 255 W. Alameda St. [Photo source: Tucson Historic Depot.]

Bad news for Seligman's historic Harvey hotel

[Source: Jeremy Thomas, Cronkite News Service] -- Looking through a chain-link fence at the abandoned Havasu Hotel, once the economic and social center of this community, Angel Delgadillo found it hard to acknowledge that it won't be here soon. "Progress," he said, shaking his head. Residents who have fought for years to save the former Harvey hotel learned recently that Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway will tear it down. "We're losing so much," said Delgadillo, a lifelong Seligman resident who runs a gift shop. "All we have are the memories. It was the elite of hotels not just in Seligman, but in the entire state. It was a time of dignity. It was so special. These are the things you don't forget."

Lena Kent, a spokeswoman for the railroad, which owns the property, said demolition would begin this week. She declined to elaborate on what might replace the building. "It's really sad that it wasn't able to find a new home," Kent said. "After a decade we had to make the decision to go forward." The railroad was willing to let someone move some or all of the hotel to another site, but a deal didn't materialize. Instead, some items from the hotel will be salvaged and donated to the Seligman Historical Society, Kent said.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. For details on the remaining Harvey Hotels in Arizona, click here. Photo source: Sonu Munshi, Cronkite News Service.]

Domed roof of Tempe's former Visitor Information Center still without a home

[Source: Emma Breysse, ASU Web Devil] -- A former Tempe landmark that was displaced last year is still homeless, and plans for its future are up in the air. University officials looking for a new home for the gold-domed roof of the former Visitor Information Center at the University have begun eyeing the new Vista Del Sol residential community currently under construction. The University preserved the dome after the building, formerly at Rural Road and Apache Boulevard, was demolished in February 2007, despite the protests of community members and historic preservationists.

The University announced at the time that it had plans to incorporate the dome into the design of the new honors college facility but earlier this year looked to the new luxury residences at Vista del Sol to include it. Though the dome is still in storage while the University debates plans, Leah Hardesty, an ASU spokeswoman, said the University does still intend to find a use for it. "ASU is actively looking to find a new home for the former gold dome roof of the Visitor Information Center," Hardesty said.

While plans are still uncertain, Hardesty said one of the most likely options is a public ramada, or semi-enclosed shaded shelter, along a new pedestrian mall. "This mall is the major connection between the south campus residences and the center of the Tempe campus," Hardesty said. Other plans were not specified. The University allocated about $1.3 million to preserve the dome. The Arizona Preservation Foundation fought against the demolition of the building, a Valley National Bank built in 1962, because the bank lent money to build many of the new homes in Tempe. Many older Tempeans have developed a bond with the building and its specific location, a representative of the group said in 2007.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Jamie Scharer, State Press: a worker explains the system that holds the dome together. The dome was removed February 2007.]

Monday, April 14, 2008

Save the buildings, save the world

[Source: Richard Moe, New America Media] -- Historic preservation has always been the greenest of the building arts because it necessarily involves the conservation of energy and natural resources. Now it’s time to make sure everyone knows it. It’s all about sustainability. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), transportation accounts for just 27 percent of America’s greenhouse gas emissions, while 48 percent – almost twice as much – is produced by the construction and operation of buildings. Nearly half the greenhouse gases Americans send into the atmosphere is from our buildings. More than 10 percent of the entire world’s greenhouse gas emissions is from American buildings. Historic preservation must be a key component of any effort to promote sustainable development. The challenge is to help people understand that preservation is environmentally, as well as economically, sustainable.

Buildings are embodied energy

The retention and reuse of older buildings is an effective tool for the responsible, sustainable stewardship of our environmental resources. Buildings are vast repositories of energy. It takes energy to manufacture or extract building materials, more energy to transport them to a construction site, still more energy to assemble them into a building. If the structure is demolished and land-filled, the energy locked up in it is wasted.

  • According to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, about 80 billion British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy are embodied in a typical 50,000-square-foot commercial building, the equivalent of 640,000 gallons of gasoline. If you tear the building down, all of that embodied energy is wasted.

  • Constructing a 50,000-square-foot commercial building releases about the same amount of carbon into the atmosphere as driving a car 2.8 million miles. Demolishing it creates nearly 4,000 tons of waste.

  • Since 70 percent of the energy consumed over a building’s lifetime is used in operating the building, some people argue that the energy used in demolishing an older building and replacing it is quickly recovered through the increased energy efficiency of the new building – but that’s simply not true. Recent research indicates that even if 40 percent of the materials are recycled, it takes approximately 65 years for a green, energy-efficient new office building to recover the energy lost in demolishing an existing building.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Michael Lundgren. Phoenix Towers, Phoenix.]

Historic Seligman hotel will be demolished

[Source: Nathan Ryder, Channel 2 News] -- Efforts to save an historic railroad hotel in northwestern Arizona have come the end of the line. The 100 year old Havasu Harvey House was built alongside the old Santa Fe Railroad mainline in Seligman. Many living in the tiny town of less than 1,000 people are upset they weren’t able to preserve this piece of history. The Havasu Harvey House was built by Fred Harvey around 1905, a glorious stopping point for tourists looking to enjoy the rough and tumble of the old west. During the golden age of railroads, passengers would stop at the Havasu Harvey House for a bite to eat and a place to sleep for the night. It was also called Prescott Junction because another rail line met up with the Santa Fe line and ran south into Prescott. Cattle and mail were often picked up in Seligman to be transported to points in the Midwest and east. During World War II, trains carrying soldiers to the west coast for trips overseas would stop at the Havasu Harvey House. Soldiers were allowed off the train to stretch their legs and grab a boxed lunch from the Harvey lunch counter.

That history will soon turn to nothing but memories when the building is demolished beginning next week. “The town was created around the building and that’s part of our heritage here,” said Frank Kocevar. He has lived in Seligman for the last 7 years and restored his early 1900’s home and historic Route-66 storefront. Kocevar was also working hard to try and preserve the historic hotel and move it around the corner to an empty lot he owns right on Route-66. “My proposal was to save at least part of it, something that would fit into the town. We weren’t asking for a handout. We went in with a business proposal that we thought would work for both parties.” The Havasu Harvey House now sits behind a chain link fence topped with barbed wire. Officials with BNSF say they had to fence off the historic building after years of vandalism and theft. Last used as an office for the railroad in the late 1980’s, thieves quickly moved in stealing the original woodwork and fixtures and even tore up walls to take electrical wiring and the building’s plumbing. Spokeswoman Lena Kent says teens would also use the building as a place to party.

Between the two different groups she says the building has been destroyed inside. Kent says BNSF has been working with community members in Seligman for the last 10 years on trying to find a way to save the hotel. She says they’ve agreed to delay demolition in the past but now they need to take action. “We’ve decided to move forward because we do feel that it’s a safety issue and that building needs to come down,” said Kent. She added that local fire officials have indicated they wouldn’t enter the building to fight a fire if it ever broke out because of the dangerous conditions. Standing in his historic shop complete with the original soda fountain, Frank Kocevar says there is one good thing that is coming out of this situation. He thinks more attention has been brought to the need to preserve pieces of our past. Kocevar hopes more people will stand up in their own communities and keep things original in the modern world. As demolition crews move in on Monday, he says it will be hard to watch but feels he tried to do everything he could to save a part of Arizona’s history. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Group eyes ways to capitalize on Naco's history

[Source: Laura Ory, Bisbee Daily Review] -- Naco may be the only community that can claim mammoth kill sites, historic military buildings and a golf course. Its history is what many are hoping to capitalize on for future development projects. About 30 “stakeholders,” including Naco residents, school board members, local and county government officials, college and university students and faculty, and many others met for a Camp Naco community planning meeting Saturday at Naco Elementary School. Though getting local residents involved in community projects has been an ongoing problem, said some Naco residents, none present were apathetic about Naco’s future at the meeting.

“Our goal is coming up with a sustainable development master plan for the Naco area that incorporates the historical, cultural and natural resources of the area,” said Brooks Jeffrey, a professor and associate dean of the University of Arizona College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. By including the community and a diverse group of stakeholders, they hope to create a plan with broad support. “We want to avoid planning in isolation and instead plan holistically,” Jeffrey said. Among those brainstorming ideas at the meeting was JoAnn Armenta, a Clean Cities coordinator for the U.S. Department of Energy. She hopes the community will be able to incorporate alternative and sustainable energy practices. “So when we do develop, we develop green,” she said.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Pictured: Historic Camp Naco.]

Friday, April 11, 2008

Panel delays vote on future of Scottsdale's Kerr Cultural Center

[Source: Lesley Wright, Arizona Republic] -- Scottsdale's Historic Preservation Commission has postponed a key vote on the future of the Kerr Cultural Center. Hundreds of advocates were expected to converge on the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Thursday for a meeting on a proposed "conservation easement." Arizona State University, which was deeded the historic performance hall in 1977, had proposed the easement in place of historic zoning. The commission delayed the vote last month, saying the easement did not protect enough of the property. Scottsdale officials said the city and ASU still are negotiating terms. The next meeting of the commission is May 8 at an as-yet undetermined time and place.

National Register workshop in Chandler April 24th

There will be a National Register workshop before the Arizona History Conference on April 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the San Marcos Resort & Conference Center. One San Marcos Place, Chandler, AZ 85225. Sponsored by Arizona Historical Research and Ryden Architects, this workshop will focus on how to nominate a property to the National Register of Historic Places. Using a case study, professionals from the public and private sectors will disseminate information on: researching a historic property and creating a context; describing architectural styles and features; selecting criteria for eligibility, identifying significance, and evaluating integrity; the local, regional, and national designation process, working with consultants, and preservation resources.

The workshop leaders are: Vince Murray, historian, Arizona Historical Research; Don Ryden, architect, Ryden Architects; and Kathryn Leonard, National Register coordinator, Arizona State Historic Preservation Office. Registration fee: $50.00 (meal not included). Registration deadline: April 14. Make checks payable and mail to: Arizona Historical Research, 5025 N. Central Ave., Suite 575, Phoenix, AZ 85012. For more information, contact Vince Murray at 480-829-0267 or

Flagstaff debutes new Landmarks Design Review Overlay District

[Source: Karl Eberhard, Flagstaff Historic Preservation Officer] -- A new ordinance has recently gone into effect, creating a new historic district in Flagstaff, known as the Landmarks Design Review Overlay District. This district is a floating overlay zone for individual structures and sites that could be located anywhere within the City limits. Applying the Landmarks Design Review Overlay District zoning designation to specific parcels would have the effect of making the design standards and guidelines applicable to such properties. The district is constructed for the preservation of a wide range of heritage resources including objects, structures, natural features, sites, places, or areas.

The design standards and guidelines introduce to Flagstaff "Thresholds of Significance", for both heritage resources and impacts, and "Mitigation Measures". The thresholds in the guidelines encompass a wide range of significance indicators. Though "generic" to serve many resources, the guidelines accomplish two basic but significant preservation and design goals. First, like many historic districts, they reference Federal standards for archeological and architectural resources. Second, they introduce "basic design compatibility" to the development review culture of the City.

As a tool, this action by the Council significantly simplifies the process for preservation efforts in Flagstaff by providing a "ready and waiting" zoning district and guidelines, eliminating six Council actions from the process. One landmark, the Ashurst House, located directly behind the more well know Pelota Court, has already been designated to this new district. The home was constructed in 1888 as the home of William Henry Ashurst, an Arizona Territorial Legislator and Flagstaff civic leader, and was the childhood home of Henry F. Ashurst. It is a good example of an early Vernacular Style house and an excellent example of the initial development of the Brannen Addition subdivision. It is independently eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and is a contributing structure within the pending Southside Historic District. The City owns several historic properties and expects to apply the Landmarks Design Review Overlay District zoning designation to these properties this year. Several private property owners are expressing interest in designation as well.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sedona visitors enjoy archaeology along the Colorado River exhibit

[Source: Gateway to Sedona] -- A new exhibit by Flagstaff adventure photographer Dawn Kish, Grand Archaeology: New Excavations along the Colorado River, will be featured during Archaeology Awareness Month, at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. The exhibit, which will run through July 13, documents recent archaeological excavation and research in Grand Canyon National Park, conducted by MNA in partnership with GCNP. The exhibit is made possible through the generous support of the Grand Canyon Association. "The Grand Canyon archaeological project between the Grand Canyon National Park and MNA is the first major archaeological project within Grand Canyon National Park in a generation and provides a unique opportunity to study sites along the Colorado River corridor. It is hoped that this project will provide new information about the lifeways of the people who lived in the Grand Canyon in the past," said MNA Director Robert Breunig.

The exhibit's featured excavation is part of a project focused on nine archaeological sites. The project began in 2005 and will continue through 2011, with excavations being led by MNA Archaeologist and Principal Investigator Ted Neff and Grand Canyon National Park River Corridor Archaeologist Lisa Leap. In the mid-1980s, Grand Canyon National Park archaeologists noted an increase of erosion at a number of sites along the Colorado River due to natural deterioration, visitor impact, and overall sediment depletion caused by the operation of Glen Canyon Dam. These excavation and research efforts will, therefore, collect valuable information about past life ways in Grand Canyon before it is lost forever.

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

Preservation work at Tucson's San Xavier Mission reveals hidden artwork

[Source: Stephanie Innes, Daily Star] -- A local historian likes to imagine that angels carried Mission San Xavier del Bac - a beautiful white apparition itself - through the sky and plopped it in the Sonoran Desert. If so, we now know there was one extra angel to help them: a "new" one just discovered in the 211-year-old church. Restorationists Tim Lewis and Matilde Rubio uncovered the painted angel this month on the north wall of the mission's tall, narrow baptistry, which is under the west tower. The angel, draped in a red cloak, had been hidden for years — perhaps a century or more.

It was covered with dirt and a thin coating of plaster that was likely applied by well-intentioned construction workers. "It's always exciting to see something that has been there for a couple of hundred years and no one in the recent century has noted it. Then all of a sudden, there it is," said Bernard L. "Bunny" Fontana, an ethnohistorian who lives near the mission and has made a lifelong study of its art. He's working on a book about the mission's art with photographer Edward McCain. Its title is "A Gift of Angels." Fontana has always talked about the mission's 182 angels. Now he's altering that to 183. The angel is part of a wall painting of John the Baptist baptizing Christ. Prior to the restoration, the entire design looked like a rough sketch, not quite complete or colored in. John the Baptist appeared ghostly. Christ's face was barely discernible. The top part was hidden under a hard coating. And the faded, dusty mural appeared to have one angel in it.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: A.E. Araiza, Daily Star.]

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Phoenix's Grace Court developer to unveil public arts projects

[Source: Downtown Phoenix Journal] -- Broadreach Capital Partners will unveil two important public art projects in downtown Phoenix on Friday, April 4, as well as celebrate the grand opening of the Phoenix Madison Square Garden Museum at the dedication ceremony of its Grace Court project, a recently completed 300,000-square-foot office complex. The Phoenix Madison Square Garden Museum, which is located within the Grace Court project (pictured), was created by Broadreach to commemorate the famed arena. The museum pays homage to Phoenix Madison Square Garden's pugilistic and entertainment history through interpretive displays illustrating key events, activities and personalities, according to historian Vincent Murray.

Built in 1929 for professional boxing and wrestling matches and named after the famous venue in New York City, the largest indoor arena in Phoenix at the time soon became an established venue for many local entertainment acts, including Wayne Newton, Marty Robbins and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Duane Eddy who made his debut at Phoenix Madison Square Garden. These and other activities are memorialized on the bronze plaques mounted on a simulated boxing ring. Visible steel trusses from the original building as well as salvaged plaster ornaments are also incorporated into the museum's design. Two nine-foot abstracted bronze figures titled The Opponents sculpted by artist Rebecca Thompson are located at the front of the Museum on Seventh Street and serve as guardians of the site, according to the artist. Also being unveiled is Thompson's The Phoenix, a sustainable 28-foot rammed earth monument that was designed as a gateway feature to the western entrance to downtown.

"The Phoenix myth is primarily about transformation and renewal, and I designed 'The Phoenix' sculpture to embody a metaphorical balance of the elements, earth, water, wind and fire," says Thompson. The extremely labor-intensive sculpture made of 80 tons of local soils, sand, clay and cement, reveals fish and other aquatic life forms modeled in bronze plates that wrap around the monument like a river. "The Phoenix is the first and largest of its kind in Arizona," says Thompson. The unveiling of the art projects and the opening of the museum will take part in conjunction with First Friday Art Walk, a free self guided tour of galleries, studios and art spaces that runs from 6 to 8 p.m. April 4. Grace Court is a recently completed 300,000-square-foot office complex in downtown Phoenix. It includes the renovated historic Grace Court School, three new office buildings, and an 800-car garage. [Photo source: Arizona Republic.]

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Tempe's Hayden Flour Mill restoration taking another step forward

[Source: Jan Buchholz, Phoenix Business Journal] -- Restoration and remodeling of the historic Hayden Flour Mill in Tempe into a modern mixed-use project will move another step forward Tuesday when the developer submits final plans to the city at an on-site ceremony. Details of the plans by Tempe-based Avenue Communities will be unveiled at a press conference Tuesday morning at the mill on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway, according to Chris Baxter, Tempe community development and marketing specialist. Phase I, which will take place this summer, includes cleaning and refurbishing the mill in preparation for reconstruction and new construction. The mill was opened in 1874 and operated until the late 1990s.

Mesa cashing in on museums’ success

[Source: Lindsay Butler, East Valley Tribune] -- Mesa’s two museums have earned far above what they expected this year, and plan to have a large enough surplus next year to return more than $60,000 to city coffers. Mesa Arts and Culture director Johann Zietsman attributed the success at the Arizona Museum of Natural History (pictured) and the Arizona Museum for Youth to creative tactics and innovative people. “This is a huge achievement,” Zietsman told the City Council during a budget presentation Thursday. The Arizona Museum of Natural History budgeted $325,000 in revenue this year, but expects to earn $400,000.

Next year’s revenue was budgeted at $344,000 but is expected to total $430,000, allowing the museum to give $43,000 back to the city. Meanwhile, the Arizona Museum for Youth budgeted $162,000 this year but will reach more than $216,000. Next year the museum expects a $38,000 surplus and will send $19,000 back to the city. Vice Mayor Claudia Walters applauded the efforts of the Arts and Culture Department. “I am so impressed,” she said. “I just don’t think we can overstate the changes taking place with the perception and community buy-in.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]