Thursday, June 26, 2008

Design manual to guide builders in Tucson historic areas

[Source: Tom Beal, Daily Star] -- Diana Lett doesn't believe students could or should be excluded from her neighborhood just north of the University of Arizona. She was a graduate student herself when she moved into her Craftsman bungalow a couple of blocks from campus 22 years ago. But she didn't move in with five other students and six cars.

Feldman's Neighborhood (pictured), slated to be the first university neighborhood to prepare a design manual to guide development under the Neighborhood Preservation Zone ordinance adopted by the Tucson City Council last week, would like to limit the impact of student housing in the area. The area has always welcomed students. Many of the homes have additional exterior doors for ease of renting out rooms, and many of the homes have guesthouses in the backyards, Lett said. There are motor courts and apartment buildings, but there are also streets of venerable single-family homes, some dating to 1900, that are part of Tucson's historic fabric.

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

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Winners of the Arizona Governor's Preservation Honor Awards named

[Source: Eric Vondy, State Historic Preservation Office] -- The Arizona Preservation Foundation and the State Historic Preservation Office, in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, announced the winners of the 2008 Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Awards at a luncheon ceremony at the Sixth Annual Statewide Historic Preservation Partnership Conference, “Preservation on the Line.” Each year, 10 awards are given to individuals, businesses, organizations and projects in recognition of outstanding achievements in preserving Arizona’s prehistoric and historic patrimony. This year’s Honor Award winners are:

  • The Brunenkant Bakery Building, Florence

  • The Central Commercial Company Building, Kingman

  • The Curley School, Ajo (pictured)

  • The Franklin Police and Fire High School, Phoenix

  • The James A. Walsh Federal Building, Tucson

  • The McCullough-Price House Restoration, Chandler

  • Noel Stowe, Arizona State University

  • City of Glendale’s Department of Planning

  • The Santa Cruz County Courthouse, Nogales

  • The Tohono O’odham Nation Cultural Affairs Office

A panel of judges representing the fields of archaeology, architecture, history, and preservation, as well as a representative from the Governor’s Office, selected the winners from nominations submitted from across the state. In addition, the grand award winner was announced: The Curley School. The economic development project involved renovating the old seven-acre campus, with buildings dating back to 1919, into artisan lofts, providing 30 new live-work spaces for artists from around the country. The campus also includes an indoor-outdoor community space in the old school auditorium, and a computer lab and classroom space for an arts-based GED program. For more information about the project, click here.

“The purpose of these awards is to promote public awareness of historic preservation in Arizona,” said Greg Michael, president of the Arizona Preservation Foundation. “It is a pleasure to be able to recognize the contributions of those who work to promote historic preservation and who demonstrate excellence in design, execution and a devotion to community.” To view past Honor Award recipients, click here. For more information about the conference, Award Winners, the Arizona Preservation Foundation and its mission, click here. [Photo source of Curley School: International Sonoran Desert Alliance.]

Tucson's Rio Nuevo delays frustrating, but starting to yield results (op-ed)

[Source: Nina Trasoff] -- Rio Nuevo has experienced some growing pains. Nobody would deny this. We've had to modify some early plans, rethink our approach to mapping out what will be the major features in a revitalized city center, and face the reality of a listless economy along the way. These actions reflect good stewardship of a very large, complex project that is moving from concept to reality. It is only appropriate that there will be modifications along the way. The Legislature granted us a golden opportunity to create a city center that is a source of pride and economic prosperity by approving the Tax-Increment Financing District. We can't afford to squander that opportunity by choosing the wrong path for the sake of expediency. The delays have been frustrating for everyone who wants to enjoy a vibrant and exciting downtown, including the mayor and City Council. But over the past two years, we have taken concrete steps that should assure our community that Rio Nuevo is happening.

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

Friday, June 20, 2008

ASU professor receives Governor's Heritage Preservation Honor Award

[Source: Erica Velasco, ASU News] -- Professor Noel Stowe is being honored for his outstanding achievements in preserving Arizona’s historic resources through the public history program he guides at Arizona State University. He received the 2008 Governor's Heritage Preservation Honor Award and was recognized June 13 at the Arizona Statewide Historic Preservation Partnership Conference.

“Noel Stowe has worked tirelessly as a public historian to preserve historic documents, archives and monuments. His knowledge and commitment have helped Arizona preserve its heritage,” says Deborah Losse, dean of humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “The award is a well-deserved recognition of his contributions.” Stowe was nominated for the honor by William Collins, deputy state historic preservation officer. Collins, an ASU alumnus, earned a bachelor’s degree in history and economics in 1986, a master’s degree in economics in 1990 and a doctorate in history in 1999.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Tom Story, ASU News.]

Historic motel conversion, condo plan in Tucson dealt setbacks

[Source: Christie Smythe, Daily Star] -- Development plans for the historic Ghost Ranch Lodge and the condominium complex One West failed to win federal low-income-housing tax credits, possibly killing one project and putting the other on hold. Mark Breen, a developer who planned to turn the Miracle Mile motel Ghost Ranch Lodge (pictured) into senior housing, said in an e-mail Thursday that without the credits, "I intend to demolish the buildings and put (a) used car lot on the property."

"Shame on the state, for they knew my alternative plan," he wrote. He did not return calls or e-mails seeking clarification on that statement. One West, a condo project planned for West Speedway and North Stone Avenue, will have to be pushed back another year, said Dave Ollanik, one of the development partners. The tax credit — worth $1 million each year for the next 10 years — would have been the single largest source of funding for the $31 million project, Ollanik said. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Florence homes receive historic markers

[Source: Daniel Dullum, Florence Reminder] -- Six more homes in the Florence Historic District have received their own commemorative markers as part of an ongoing project of the Historic District Advisory Commission. "We really appreciate the town supporting getting more markers," H. Christine Reid of the Pinal County Historic Museum said, "because when there's more markers, it helps everyone realize the historic value of these buildings. They have a story behind them, not just a blank facade.

"People lived in them, they contributed to this area's history." Special markers were erected to honor the historic homes of prominent early Florence residents Elmer Coker, John Keating, William Jennings, George Brockway, John Zellweger and Dr. William Harvey. Reid explained that the Historic District Advisory Commission started the annual home tour originally to raise funds to purchase the markers. "Since then, the home tour has been delegated to other entities, so we've had to get funding from the town," Reid said. "It takes about a year to get all the information gathered. At the museum, we use our archives and files to help document the information."

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Daniel Dullum, Florence Reminder. Pictured: The historic Elmer Coker House.]

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Scottsdale's Kerr Center easement urged

[Source: Lesley Wright, Arizona Republic] -- The Scottsdale Historical Preservation Commission plans to tell the City Council that a conservation easement is the best preservation the Kerr Cultural Center can expect to get. Commission Chairman George Hartz said he wants to describe the hundreds of letters and hours of emotional testimony that led the commission unanimously to recommend the city accept the easement from Arizona State University.

The Kerr Cultural Center at 6110 N. Scottsdale Road consists of the home and studio-performance hall of composer and philanthropist Louise Lincoln Kerr, who donated the site to ASU in 1977. Scottsdale had discussed putting historic zoning over the site, but ASU said the city has no authority to zone state-owned land. The university suggested that the conservation easement would reach the same goals. Hundreds of musicians and residents have pleaded with the commission and the university to protect the adjacent parking lot so the center can continue to be viable as a performance hall.

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

Archive collection internship at Phoenix's Deer Valley Rock Art Center

[Source: Friends of Arizona Archives] -- The American Rock Art Research Association's (ARARA) archive collection is housed at the Deer Valley Rock Art Center (DVRAC). This extensive collection includes photographic prints, slides and printed materials. The DVRAC is currently seeking an energetic intern that will help ensure the long-term preservation of the collection and make it an accessible and useful resource for the researchers. DVRAC is run by ASU's School of Human Evolution and Social Change. It includes a visitor center with exhibits and research facilities on a 47-acre nature preserve protecting more than 1,500 petroglyphs that range from 5,000 to 800 years old. This is the largest concentration of ancient rock carvings in the region!

Duties: Assess, organize, catalog, and digitize the ARARA archive collection and determine the most effective way to input data and make it accessible and useful for users-both on-site and on the Internet.

Qualifications: Background in Library and Archives. Technologically savvy.

Commitment: Hours are flexible but we prefer that the intern work at least 20 hours per week for a minimum of fifteen weeks.

Benefits: An $800 stipend for this internship will be granted. In addition, interns will receive 10% off on merchandise in the Glyph Shop and free passes to special events and programs at the Center.

How to Apply: The application deadline for this internship is August 1, 2008. To apply, please send a resume, a one-page personal statement describing your reasons for seeking the internship and contact information for two references to Kim Arth at or to: Deer Valley Rock Art Center. 3711 W. Deer Valley Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85308. (623) 582-8007.

Sedona's Homolovi Ruins State Park celebrates Suvoyuki Day

[Source: Ellen Bilbrey, Gateway to Sedona] -- "Suvoyuki" translated in the Hopi language means to accomplish work through at "joint effort." "Suvoyuki Day" is an open house day at Homolovi Ruins State Park that celebrates the partners who have helped to protect and save Homolovi area archaeological and cultural sites from destruction. The event begins on Friday, July 11, at 7 p.m., with a talk about the Hopi culture.

On Saturday, July 12, the day begins at 6 a.m., with a traditional Hopi morning run (4 and 6.5 miles) with all participants invited. Following the run, the Hopi corn roasting pit will be opened and all will get a taste of freshly roasted sweet corn. Throughout the day, there will be Hopi artist demonstrations, traditional food demonstrations and lectures. Archaeologists will also be there to interpret the sites. Parking will be available on the northeast corner of Interstate 40 and State Route 87. Shuttle service will then be available from there to the park. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Historic Mesa houses still draw buyer interest

[Source: Misty Williams, Tribune] -- When Terri Stewart and her husband first saw the 1920s-era house in downtown Mesa (pictured), the couple fell instantly in love and never looked back. "It's got a lot of character," Stewart said of the more than 1,800-square-foot house on Grand Street. Nearly 26 years later, the homeowners hope to find a buyer who appreciates the house as much as they do. Historic houses in downtown Mesa like the Stewarts' are still garnering buyer interest amid today's bleak real estate market.

Like most East Valley neighborhoods, Mesa's historic areas have felt the impact of slumping prices, said real estate agent Maggie Turner, who represents the Stewarts. "But I don't think we're seeing it to the same degree as we have in new development," she said. Asking prices for historic houses for sale downtown range from $174,900 for a 1,198-square-foot home on Morris to $1.25 million for a 4,520-square-foot home on Macdonald, according to information compiled by the agent. Turner said she's seen significantly more buyer interest in the Stewarts' home than the majority of her properties. Historic houses differ greatly from those in other developments because they're unique and limited in nature, she said.

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

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Arizona tourism groups promote Grand Canyon state parks and trails

[Source: Lynn Ducey, Phoenix Business Journal] -- The Arizona Office of Tourism, Arizona State Parks and the Arizona Trail Association are joining forces to promote parks and trails across the Grand Canyon state. Called the Arizona Passages, the campaign uses the theme Just Feet Away to show that residents and tourists don't have to travel far to have fun. The campaign is designed to showcase outdoor recreation opportunities and highlight outings that focus on nature, history and culture available to people regardless of their fitness levels.

The program touts activities at 27 state parks and along the 800-mile Arizona Trail. The campaign also features a strong web component with interactive content and information about off-the-beaten path spots across the state. In addition, Web visitors can register for prizes and giveaways including a houseboat adventure on Lake Powell. The site incorporates third-party content from sites like TripAdvisor, Google Maps, MeetUp and Flickr, and allows visitors to submit their own travel stories and experiences. For more information, click here.

Wickenburg’s Vulture Mine may be bulldozed for new development

According to Earl Runte, President of Gunsight Development Corp. and a member of numerous heritage related organizations, Wickenburg’s Vulture Mine is up for sale (details at The owner has held an option on the mine for a number of years, but is now considering developing the site rather than preserving it. Mr. Runte recently learned that the owner’s option expires in several weeks. The owner may be negotiating with a development group out of Florida to bulldoze the site for new residential development.

What you can do. Contact Mr. Runte and ask him to convey to the owner your support or ideas for the preservation of Vulture Mine. Earl can be reached at 623-594-8227 or

Vulture Mine History

The Vulture Gold Mine was discovered in 1863 by Henry Wickenburg. Henry sold the mine after a few years, but the Vulture went on to become the most productive gold mine in our state’s history. Vulture City grew to a population of almost 5,000, and the mine helped spark the development of Arizona and the city of Phoenix.

The Vulture Mine produced gold worth more than $200 million; the exact amount is unknown. Some say that nearly half of the Vulture’s gold was stolen. "High-grading" or theft of high grade ore was common at the Vulture. At least 18 men were hung on the Vulture City’s hanging tree, nearly all for high-grading.

When U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt closed the mine in 1942, people left believing they would return in six months. The mine never reopened. Almost overnight a once thriving community became a ghost town.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Kerr easement proposal to go before Scottsdale City Council, June 17

[Source: Patricia Myers, Concerned Citizens for the Kerr Cultural Center] -- The Kerr Cultural Center conservation easement will be voted on by the Scottsdale City Council at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 17, at Scottsdale City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd. (south of Indian School Road between Scottsdale Road and Miller Road). This agreement between the City and Arizona State University (via the Arizona Board of Regents) will protect the two adobe buildings and surrounding landscape, Resolution 7615 on the Consent Agenda, which predicts its passage. A Scottsdale Historic Preservation commissioner will speak in favor, as will Patricia Myers, representing nearly 1,000 signers of our support letter.

If you wish to attend, fill out a Comment Card (for Request to Speak, or use the card to log your support). That will demonstrate ongoing support, as at the three previous Historic Preservation Commission meetings, where more than 150 supporters attended and nearly 50 spoke. CCKCC also suggests going to, click on City Council agenda. It's easy to submit a comment of support for Item 23 (unless the Item numbers have changed), which is forwarded to mayor and council members.

The Kerr Conservation Easement protects the two adobe buildings and 0.459 acres on which they sit. It does not include the parking lot, interior aspects or usage, despite those elements specifically advocated by HP Commissioners at previous public hearings. The HP Commission had asked that negotiations between the city and ASU include all aspects of the Kerr center's physical state and function as a cultural venue, the stated intention when Louise Lincoln Kerr willed the two buildings and 1.65 acres to ASU in 1977. Despite the city's request, ASU would not agree to the inclusion of the entire 1.65-acre property. CCKCC continues to emphasize that the value of the Kerr Center to the community lies in its function as a cultural venue, not just two old adobe buildings that will be nice to look at.

At the Council meeting, CCKCC will acknowledge the importance of the easement to protect the two buildings from destruction, but also express disappointment that the easement does not honor Mrs. Kerr's stated intention in her will, since it does not specify the usage and essential parking lot.

Monday, June 09, 2008

West Desert Preserve supporters make case for Trust land reform

[Source: Tim Hull, Green Valley News] -- For many years, conservation groups and citizen coalitions have been trying to amend the state constitution to allow a small portion of Trust land to be permanently removed from the auction block and preserved as open space, which is a concept that didn't really exist at statehood, when all that wild open space in Arizona was, understandably, something to be bridged and filled rather than celebrated and saved.

The Adamsons (pictured) are on the front lines of this effort, which has found a new and optimistic life in the form an initiative for which supporters are now gathering signatures in hopes of a statewide vote in November. Bill believes that to have usable open space within walking or biking distance of his home is essential to the good life, and it is this belief that has immersed the former aerospace engineer and marketing executive in the murky, often disappointing world of State Trust land reform for the last several years.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Tim Hull, Green Valley News.]

Hotel Jerome apartment project still possible

[Source: Philip Wright, Verde Valley News] -- The idea of turning the old Hotel Jerome into modern, affordable-housing apartments is still alive. That is primarily through the efforts of Town Manager Brenda Man-Fletcher and a small cadre of Jerome residents who believe in the project. Man-Fletcher held a public information meeting Wednesday night in Town Hall. Her presentation was both to let people know what has been done and what might lie ahead. It's all conceptual at this point. And Man-Fletcher isn't making any promises.

She's just trying to help the town figure out if the idea is viable or not. "We have a beautiful building," Man-Fletcher said. "Right now it houses two art galleries. We have two floors that are completely unfinished." She said when anyone tours those upper floors, flashlights must be used because there isn't any electrical service. The building is home to the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery, founded more than a decade ago to showcase the work of area artists. One of the subbasements is used each summer for the Jerome Kids Art Workshop.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Philip Wright, Verde Valley News.]

Friday, June 06, 2008

Cochise Hotel: A brief history

[Source: W. Lane Rogers, Range News] -- Cochise was a watering stop for Southern Pacific steam locomotives and the junction point for the Eastern Arizona Railroad to Douglas. It was established in 1880 when a work force, composed largely of Chinese laborers, laid track from Tucson to the New Mexico border. Construction of the hotel (pictured), a rambling structure with sixteen-inch walls and a false front, was completed in 1882. It was built by Southern Pacific telegrapher John Rath as a boarding house for railroad workers. During its early days, it doubled as the local Wells Fargo office and, after 1897, served for a time as the Cochise post office. Legend has it that Big Nose Kate, mistress to Doc Holliday, worked for Rath between 1899 and 1900, prior to moving to Dos Cabezas where she lived out her life. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Town of Superior moves into historic Belmont Hotel

[Source: Miner-Sun-Basin News] -- The Town of Superior administrative offices recently completed their long-awaited move to the newly renovated and historic Belmont Hotel Building on Main Street but the sign officially proclaiming the building as ‘Superior Town Hall’ took a while longer to arrive, but arrive it did and in huge letters it advises residents and visitors alike that this is the place to come to conduct town hall business. The town has also created a Community Development Office across the street at 230 W. Main Street jointly with the Superior Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Superior Planning Office. The Superior Police Department remains in the former town hall building and conducts its operation from that facility. [Photo source: Cindy Tracy.]

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Downtown Tucson redevelopment is progressing (op-ed)

[Source: Daily Star] -- It seems as if Rio Nuevo, the city's ambitious redevelopment plan, takes two steps back for each step forward. But that's not so. There is steady progress being made, though perhaps not as quickly or as gracefully as we all wish. The most recent apparent setback is that City Manager Mike Hein has postponed the groundbreaking on the West Side site for a Tucson Origins Heritage Park (pictured) and decided not to build the Origins Center, a structure that would have served as a entry point where visitors could orient themselves to the park.

Visitors also would have been charged admission to the park, which will house a reconstructed Mission San Augustín and Convento and museums, including the University Science Center, the Arizona State Museum and the Arizona Historical Society Museum. The Origins Center "wasn't needed and I think the City Council has been clear that they didn't want admissions charged," Hein told us on Wednesday. "That's the only thing we've scrapped." He said the Historical Society Museum will instead likely serve as a "portal" to the park.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Artist's rendering, Burns Wald-Hopkins Architects.]

Monday, June 02, 2008

Homolovi state park: Hopi history on display in Winslow

[Source: Mary Beth Faller, Arizona Republic] -- In the visitor center, a feathered paho is attached high on a stone wall, protecting non-Hopis from the forces unleashed by the opening of the ancient villages buried here. "There are powerful forces associated with archaeological sites," says park manager Karen Berggren. "They're not evil, but the power released is like a flash flood." Hopis made the paho icon out of raptor feathers to protect visitors to the park, which is part of the Hopis' homeland. Homolovi, a recreational area for visitors, is a sacred site for the Indians, who nonetheless are happy to share their culture.

The endless views of the stark plateaus and mesas enhance the sense that visitors are setting foot on holy ground. The park, just off Interstate 40 north of Winslow, was created in 1993 at the urging of the Hopis, who were desperate to save their ancient villages from thieves and vandals. The ruins of villages from the 1200s to the late 1300s were filled with thousands of pots, luring unscrupulous collectors. "In the 1960s, a guy came in here with a backhoe," Berggren says. The thieves stole the pots and destroyed much of the surrounding village structures, all of which are sacred to the Hopis. It would be like tourists chipping off pieces of the Sistine Chapel ceiling when they visited. "We estimate we've lost 95 percent of the pots," Berggren says.

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