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.