Friday, June 30, 2006

Windsor Square Historic District ~ Phoenix, AZ

Windsor Square Historic District Phoenix
7th St., Camelback Rd., Central St., and Oregon Ave. Phoenix

Developmental History of Winsor Square

In the early 1920's, the parcel, which later became Historic Phoenix Windsor Square, was a tract of nearly vacant agricultural land owned by the Barringer family. Only a few homes appear to have existed in the area prior to the subdivision, including two modest Bungalows in the Lamson subdivision on Colter Street.

The formal origins of Windsor Square can be traced to the announcement on February 5, 1929 that the Barringer property at Central and Camelback was purchased by the Owens-Dinmore Company. Typical of the era, the company proposed to build a prestigious suburban development. The historic subdivision was to feature a creative curvilinear street layout. The Phoenix firm of Holmquist and Maddock, along with W. Lee Woollett from Albany, New York, were retained to design the street plan. Also retained, as a consultant was John R. Case, a planner from Los Angeles who specialized in subdivisions. The developers intended to create a "state-of-the-art" residential neighborhood with curbs, sidewalks, ornamental lights, landscaping, and a water system.

Despite its promotion and high expectations, sales did not meet the anticipated level. The neighborhood quickly fell victim to the onset of the Depression and its developer, Owens-Dinmore filed for bankruptcy.

Windsor Square would experience its major growth period in the 1940s, during which time most of the available lots were developed. William Rasmussen would ultimately build the majority of homes in Windsor Square. In 1944, he created the Cuesta Vista Subdivision, which forms the northern portion of the district.

Significance of Windsor Square

Windsor Square is significant as a neighborhood that provides evidence of the northern limits of the speculative land development patterns occurring in Phoenix during the late 1920s. The district contains several excellent examples of Period Revival style architecture and has unique architectural merit due to the concentration of homes built after 1939 and through World War II. The emergence of custom-designed Ranch Houses is particularly notable in Windsor Square.

Information, maps provided courtesy:Historic Preservation Office of the City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department 200 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85003

For more information or to search Historic Phoenix Homes, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. directly at 602-400-0008, or visit her websites at:

Willo Historic District Phoenix

Willo District History
Willo Historic District Phoenix
Central Ave., McDowell Rd., 7th Ave. and Thomas Rd. Phoenix

Nestled in the very heart of urban Phoenix, Willo was once the epitome of suburbia - a collection of subdivisions on the outskirts of the small, but thriving metropolis of Phoenix. The Willo neighborhood between 7th and Central Avenues can be divided into two sections. J. P. Holcomb used a Homestead Patent in 1878 to acquire and settle the southern portion of Willo between Encanto Blvd. and McDowell. Mr. Holcomb acquired the northern portion, between Thomas Rd. and Encanto Blvd. in 1886 through a Timber Culture Land Patent.

For the next 20 years or so, the land was primarily for agricultural purposes and lay on the outskirts of town. In the early 1900's, four subdivisions were platted, containing home sites with long narrow lots. In the early 1920s, Home Builders, a residential construction firm, built 41 homes in the Bungalow style. During the mid to late 1920s Phoenix, like the rest of the West, experienced tremendous growth and a building boom.

Standards were set for residential construction, and "exhibition houses" (now called model homes) were developed to market the new construction. Most of the building activity in Willo during this period occurred in the N. Kenilworth and Broadmoor subdivisions, and included a "Spanish Rancho Home" exhibition house.

During the 1930's the Period Revival movement brought tremendous variety in architectural styles, including Tudor Revival, Greek Revival, American Colonial Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival and Pueblo Revival. However, the Depression brought construction to a near standstill. The mid to late 1930s and the development of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) brought construction back to Willo. Construction from this period and later years often featured French Provincial and Monterey styles, with an architectural design that would eventually become what we know today as the Ranch Style house. Construction was also more standardized due to the influence of the FHA and other government-imposed standards. Most of these newer homes are found in the northern section of Willo.

In all, 22 separate subdivisions were platted and developed in Willo by various entrepreneurs from the turn of the century up to the beginning of WWII. Eventually, with the growth of Phoenix over the last century, the individual subdivisions platted by early developers were forgotten and the area blended into one cohesive whole. Unfortunately, the amazing growth of the city resulted in the encroachment of commercial development on what were once quiet suburbs. In the 1980s, residents of Willo successfully lobbied for status as a special conservation district, achieving historic status and assuring that this beautiful part of Phoenix history will be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.

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Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District Phoenix

Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District Phoenix
N. 7th and 15th Aves., McDowell and Thomas Rd. Phoenix

The "City Beautiful" Movement and Other Influences

Like the rest of the country, Phoenix was "booming" in the Twenties, its population soaring from a few thousand at the turn-of-the-century to over 29,000 in 1920. By this time, Phoenix had become the largest city between El Paso and Los Angeles, and was transformed from an agricultural area into a thriving retail, professional and governmental center. Suburban areas built during this period were
inhabited by a population newly made mobile by the automobile, the desired mode of transportation
for the average American family by the mid- 1920's. The Palmcroft and Encanto Subdivisions not only reflect this trend toward suburbs planned for an automobile oriented population, but they also incorporate a number of design influences which distinguish American communities developed between the two world wars.

More than simply mass-planned subdivisions, Palmcroft and Encanto are illustrative of the City Beautiful or Garden City designs, a fully realized comprehensive approach to suburban planning which includes a unification of architecture, community planning and landscape design. This approach has its roots in the 19th century's picturesque, romantic suburbs. These movements called for innovative street plans, street landscaping, ornamental light fixtures and parks integrated into the housing areas.

There had been earlier attempts to develop attractive suburbs in Phoenix, but it was only when the Dwight B. Heard Investment Company undertook the planning and construction of Palmcroft that a sophisticated garden suburb was successfully realized. Encanto surpassed Palmcroft in its ambitions, successfully integrating Encanto Park into the neighborhood designed

Palmcroft Subdivision
Dwight B. Heard, a New Englander who had moved to Chicago and then to Phoenix in the late 1890s, was a central force in the development of Phoenix in the early 20th century. A publisher, developer, and political activist, Heard was a friend of Theodore Roosevelt and was instrumental in the creation of the Roosevelt Dam. The Dwight B. Heard Investment Company purchased 80 acres,
north of McDowell bounded by 7th and 15th Avenues on the east and west, from the half-section estate of James W. Dorris in 1926. This parcel was split into two equal plats and the 40 acres east of 11th Avenue were developed first. Heard's associate in the Palmcroft development was William G.Hartranft, developer of the Kenilworth subdivision, pioneer advocate of city planning in Phoenix, and father of the city's park system. Together with surveyor Harry E. Jones, they devised a plan for a highly ordered scheme of curving streets contained in I/ I 6-section grids. A plat was filed on April 27, 1927 and by the end of the summer, streets had been graded and the first two model homes completed.

The brochure for the subdivision asked, "Why is Palmcroft the ideal?" and answered with descriptions of "contemplated palm bordered winding drives," and its "quiet and clean" location 11 only five minutes by auto from downtown." Sewer, gas, water, sidewalks, ornamental lights and palm trees were included with the price of a lot, which ran from $850 to $2000. Deed restrictions ran from $5000 for houses built on North 11th Avenue and West Palm Lane, to $6500 on all other streets except West McDowell, which was zoned for apartments and duplexes. Palmcroft proved to be an immediate success and a year later Heard set out to repeat it. A second Palmcroft, identical in planning and building restrictions, was laid out west of the original Palmcroft on the second parcel of 40 acres between North 11th Avenue and North 15th Avenue. The new Palmcroft formally opened early in 1929.

Three of the most significant homes in Palmcroft should be noted for their influence over the entire area. The one -story brick structure at 1609 Palmcroft Drive SE was the first model home in Palmcroft. Built in 1927 on speculation by Heard and Hartranft, the Arizona Republic said "...considerable time and study has been spent on the planning of the first two houses which will be built by the Heard Company as it is its intention to set a high standard for the homes to be erected in the new subdivision."

The second model home, also built in 1927, at 1808 Palmcroft Drive NW was designed by Phoenix
architect H.H. Green. The thick walls, entry porch and its arched window evoke the aura of Old Spain. Its imagery proved persuasive, for most of the houses subsequently built in the two Palmcrofts were designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style. The oldest house in the second Palmcroft, 1615 Palmcroft Way SW, is a Spanish Colonial Revival completed in 1928. It was built on speculation by the Dwight B. Heard Investment Company to promote sales in the second Palmcroft.

Encanto Subdivision
Encanto was the first major undertaking of Phoenix businessmen Lloyd C. Lakin and George T. Peter, who had sold their interest in the Arizona Grocery Company and the Pay, N Takit grocery chain to enter into real estate development. They developed a plot plan, recorded on October 2, 1928, with the same civil engineer, Harry E. Jones, who had surveyed the Palmcroft subdivision. Located north of Palm Lane, Encanto developed simultaneously with the new Palmcroft.

By the time of the formal opening on January 27, 1929, all public utilities had been installed; streets
graded, and most curbs, gutters and sidewalks installed along with a unique underground irrigation system. Palms were planted along Palm Lane to match those on the Palmcroft side of the street.

Although the Encanto Subdivision originally was intended to cover 80 acres bounded by 7th Avenue to 15th Avenue, Palm Lane to Encanto Boulevard, only the 40 acres west of 7th Avenue were developed initially. The Great Depression delayed the West Encanto Circle, originally designed to be identical to the East Circle. Except for a few significant homes along Palm Lane west of 11th Avenue and two on 11th Avenue, built in 1932-33, these subdivisions experienced severe slow-downs in development. Housing starts ground to a halt.

As in the rest of the country, the federal government played a central role in reviving Phoenix' economy. Programs of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) were first introduced to Phoenix in October 1934.

In that same significant year, West Encanto was replatted and a number of acres were sold to the City of Phoenix for parkland-hence the designation West Encanto Amended for the area north of Palm Lane and west of 11th Avenue.

Many of the houses in the Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District were built in the years following using FHA-insured loans. The architectural style of Encanto's model homes was distinctly 11 Southwestern," in contrast to the Period Revival styles being built in Palmcroft. The building restrictions of Encanto went far beyond those of Palmcroft. The minimum cost restrictions for residences ran from $10,000 to 12,000 and only single-family dwellings were permitted throughout the subdivision. Detailed instructions for building lines were also enforced in order to maintain consistent angled setbacks, which followed the line of the streets. The house at 745 West Monte Vista is notable because George T. Peter, one of the two developers of Encanto, lived in this home, on site, for several years. Built in 1928 as one of the model homes, the unusual entry tower and its prominent location distinguish this Monterey style dwelling. At 1102 and 1106 West Palm Lane are the first two homes constructed in that section of Encanto while it was still part of the overall scheme to fill the second Encanto Circle with houses.

The West Encanto Circle was originally conceived to be the mirror image of Encanto Drive, as Palmcroft Way is the mirror image of Palmcroft Drive. The Great Depression hit Phoenix with full force in 1932, the year these two homes were completed, and all building stopped.

For the most part, the residents of Encanto and Palmcroft were well to-do rather than wealthy. The very rich were still living in older mansions closer to downtown, in established subdivisions like Los Olivos, and on "Millionaires Row" along Central Avenue. Among the prominent Phoenicians living in Encanto-Palmcroft were Nathan Diamond, co-founder of Diamond's department store; O.D. Miller, produce magnate, state senator, and gubernatorial candidate; Lynn M. Laney, attorney and Board of Regents member; and automobile dealers Shadwell H. Bowyer and W. Claude Quebedeaux.

Encanto Park
Inspired by Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and Balboa Park in San Diego, Encanto Park was modeled after the English Garden Parks, which were fashionable during the Twenties and Thirties in urban planning and landscape architecture. Winding roads, serpentine lakes and
picturesque tree groves all contribute to the expression of a naturalistic romantic park. Encanto Park utilizes these elements in its lagoon system and plantings of exotic trees. Land acquisition for the park began in 1934 following the creation of the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board in

Aided by a grant from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a total of 222 acres were purchased from the adjacent Dorris and Norton properties and Lakin & Peter Investments. The WPA supervised the planning and construction of the park, which proceeded over three years and was completed in 1938. The overall design of the park is probably attributable to William G. Hartranft, the first Parks & Recreation Board President, but the WPA very likely had a hand in it as well.

Another popular feature of Encanto Park was "Kiddieland," an outgrowth of the children's play- ground in the original park. Believed to be the oldest carousel in Arizona, the carousel in Kiddieland was moved to the park from California in 1934.

Significance of Encanto-Palmcroft
Today the Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District is significant for its excellent representation of an early design philosophy, which successfully integrated landscape and building. Architecturally, the district is one of the most important because it is an intact collection of the finest historic homes in the city. Well appointed, designed by prominent early architects, built of high quality materials and distinguished by detailing and craftsmanship of a bygone era, the harmonious mix of diverse architectural styles in Encanto-Palmcroft create one of the most distinctive neighborhoods in Phoenix.

Architectural Styles
The homes in the Encanto-PaImcroft Historic District share a common theme, tending toward the picturesque. Mass, materials, texture and color were manipulated in a conscious attempt to emulate the asymmetry and sensuousness of nature. The result is both dramatic and understated. Many of the houses here were constructed in traditional styles. Others were designed to invoke the romantic notions of past architectural periods. A number of Phoenix based architects contributed to the district.

Orville Bell and H.H. Green were among the most prolific. Additionally, the prominent firm of Lescher and Mahoney designed the original buildings for Encanto Park. Regional expression was also in vogue at this time. Not surprisingly, a wide range of styles is found in the district.

The styles of particular note are those influenced by southwestern traditions. Spanish Colonial Revival and Mediterranean are the most predominant, although excellent examples of Pueblo Revival and Monterey Revival styles can also be found. Spanish Colonial Revival stylistic elements include low-pitched roofs with little or no overhang, red tile roofs prominent arches over doors and windows and porches, and an asymmetrical facade covered with stucco. A large, formal example of this style is the Nathan Diamond house, located at 2220 North 9th Avenue. Very similar are the Mediterranean or Neo Mediterranean homes, which usually have stucco walls, round arched windows and doorways and tile roofs. Pueblo style dwellings were normally built of adobe or of brick stuccoed to resemble adobe. Like the Native American building traditions from which they are named, these homes featured flat roofs with the characteristic timber vigas and rainspouts. The vigas, protruding timber ends that originally were part of the structural support of buildings of this style, were often only ornamental by this period. Low-pitched roofs with red tile also were used in conjunction with this style as it developed. Two fine examples of the Pueblo Revival Style in the district are located at 2040 Encanto Drive Southeast and 702 West Monte Vista Road. Monterey Revival is essentially a fusion of Spanish Colonial and American building styles, which developed in Monterrey, California. A generally symmetrical, two - story, rectangular building and full projecting porches at the second story, characterizes it. The Pafford house, located at 1021 West Encanto Boulevard, is a good example of this style.

Information, maps provided courtesy:Historic Preservation Office of the City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department 200 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85003

Coronado Historic District Phoenix

Coronado Historic District Phoenix
Virginia Ave., Fourteenth St., McDowell Rd., and Seventh St. Phoenix

Developers and Speculators
While initial settlement of Phoenix originated along the bank of the Salt River in the 1870s, the residential expansion and rapid growth of the city is a story of investment and land development in the twentieth century. In 1903 prominent leaders and investors began negotiation with the federal government to control the flow of the Salt River in order to resolve concerns of seasonal flooding and to provide a source of water for the city. Prominent businessmen, including Benjamin A. Fowler, Patrick Hurley, E.J. Bennett and Dwight B. Heard, induced the federal government to begin development of the Theodore Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River. The prospect of a consistent supply of water assured the prosperity of Phoenix and the Valley. A real estate speculation boom ensued which led to the development of several residential areas around the Phoenix town site over the next few decades.

On March 9, 1908, Dwight B. Heard, President of the Suburban Realty Company, petitioned for the subdivision of a quarter section of property bounded by 7th Street, McDowell Road, 12thStreet and the canal that, at the time, ran down Oak Street. This was the first subdivision of property in what would become known as the Coronado Neighborhood. Between the years 1906 and 1908, thirty subdivision plats were filed with the Maricopa County Recorder's office, three of those being in the Coronado district: Homewood Tract, Syndicate Place, and Rancheros Bonitos. These three new subdivisions on the northern edge of Phoenix would, by 1935, comprise part of the largest residential section of the city.

The initial intent of the speculators was to build a prestigious "streetcar suburb" such as the Encanto-Palmcroft and Roosevelt Neighborhoods which were established during the same period. However, land values at the time were determined by a home site's proximity to Central Avenue. Coronado's comparative distance to the east of Central Avenue and downtown resulted in more modest building restrictions than in other neighborhoods of the city. At that time, restrictions that regulated the minimum cost of houses built on a particular lot were the common means of determining the range of house size in a development. As a result, the Coronado area evolved into a more modest working-class neighborhood than the original investors had envisioned.

Growth Years
The prosperity in Phoenix after World War I brought hundreds of the Valley's new residents; mostly middle class, white and blue collar workers, into the subdivisions in the Coronado area. In 1920 alone, over 800 building permits were issued by the City of Phoenix, with contractors purchasing whole blocks and building several "spec" houses at a time. Building homes on speculation, without any financial commitment from a buyer, was a relatively progressive idea for its day. As residential construction in central Phoenix boomed, Coronado emerged as a desirable and affordable area. The average price of a residence was $1,973 in 1920. Lots were provided with city water and sewer connections, electricity and graveled streets. Other facilities in and around the Coronado area influenced its growth. The Brill Street trolley car line was extended north of McDowell Road to 10th Street and Sheridan in 1914. A small commercial node developed at that corner; the New Deal Grocery (ca. 1934), still stands to reflect the commercial activity. Good Samaritan Hospital, originally called Deaconess Hospital, was built in 1917.

The construction of Emerson School in 1921 and the location of Coronado Park encouraged young families to move into the area. Most residents were hard working, service industry workers. Workingwomen were salesclerks or clerical office workers. Men's occupations covered the spectrum of employment available in the early part of the century: firemen, policemen, bank tellers, railroad engineers, and other types of service sector employees.

Decline and Recovery
As in the rest of the community, the Great Depression significantly slowed development in Coronado. Many homeowners were forced to sell, while others converted their backyard garages into living quarters and rented out the main house. Although done out of necessity, this practice turned out to be a very positive economic strategy. Many residents were able to move back into their homes and retain the converted living quarters as rental property. The first city zoning code enacted in 1930 reflected the widespread application of this practice and it is still evident in Coronado today. As the economy began to turn itself around, Coronado became the site of the first planned, mass-produced subdivision in Phoenix. Andy Womack, who would become a prominent developer in Phoenix, built the Womack Subdivision in 1939 in the area bordered by Monte Vista, 14th Street, Palm Lane and 13th Street. Womack took the idea of 46 spec" homes one step further, by building homes on the lots, constructing what would become a tract home development. With the success of the Womack Subdivision, various developers quickly subdivided the remaining tracts in the portions of the Coronado Neighborhood east of 12th Street.

Architectural Perspective
The impact of the Depression significantly influenced the architecture of Coronado because it slowed the development. By the time construction activity resumed, architectural styles had shifted. As a result, there are two distinct areas within the district. The area between 7th and 12th Streets dates back to the 1920s, while the remainder of the district dates to the late 30s and 40s. Approximately 600 buildings in the district date between 1920 and 1930. The predominant building style seen in the western portion of Coronado is the Bungalow which is a one-story house with a simple, functional floor plan, also characterized by broadly pitched overhanging roof gables and broad front porches with stone or brick piers. So 'me Period Revival Styles, most notably those of the Spanish Colonial traditions, can also be found scattered throughout the district. In the eastern portion of the neighborhood, there are also numerous examples of the English Cottage and Tudor Revival Styles. Garages are typically found in the rear of the lot and usually incorporate some architectural details of the main house.

A Coronado's Significance in Phoenix
The Coronado Neighborhood is both typical of the early sub urbanization of Phoenix and reflective of trends that shaped the city's neighborhoods as they developed between the two World Wars. A large portion of the Coronado district still retains much of the character of a modest streetcar suburb of the 1920s and remains as a viable middle-class neighborhood. Coronado's architectural significance comes from its diverse collection of residential styles, predominantly Bungalow, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Tudor Revival that dominated Phoenix neighborhoods from the 1910s through 1930s.

Information, maps and photographs provided courtesy:
Historic Preservation Office of the City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department
200 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85003
(602) 261-8600

Cheery Lynn Historic District Phoenix

Cheery Lynn Historic District Phoenix
16th St. to Randolph Rd. and Earll Dr. to Flower St. Phoenix

"You will find the tract on the west side of Sixteenth Street one and one-quarter miles north of McDowell Road. Just three miles north of the post office, in walking distance from golf links and Country club. There are two model homes on the tract, awaiting your inspection beautiful homes. There is an abundance of good water. The lots have a 60-foot frontage and can be bought for easy terms. Watch for the opening announcement!

And drive they did- in Studebakers, Packard's, and Nash's. The year was 1928, Hoover won the White House, Earhart flew across the Atlantic, and Phoenix was in the midst of a building boom. The Cheery Lynn subdivision was one of several new neighborhoods brought to market. Its call to buyers drive out today heralded a new phase in the physical expansion of the growing city.

Laying the foundation
Two generation earlier, in 1867, Phoenix was born as a dusty supply outpost serving Camp McDowell to the northeast. Inspired by the traces of ancient Hohokam canals, speculators sensed
the potential for a fertile Salt River Valley. The canals were reconstructed, irrigation spawned agriculture, and settlers began to arrive. By 1870, a township had been planned and platted in square mile grids just north of the Salt River flood plain.

As the population grew, the lands to the south were devoted to agriculture, and the town expanded
north toward its only natural boundary, the Cave Creek ash. Selected as the territorial capital in 1889, the city added the business of government to its economic mix. By the turn of the century, Phoenix had developed into a small but flourishing urban center. The production of cotton and citrus fueled growth in the commerce of marketing and distribution. The majority of Phoenix land now was controlled by a small number of speculators anticipating agricultural and residential development.

Though the rejuvenated canals brought life giving water to the Valley, stable growth required more
than the seasonal flows the Salt River could provide. Landowners pressed for governmental action on water control projects of a massive scale. Their efforts were rewarded with the passage of the National Reclamation Act of 1902. The Act enabled legislation that led to construction of Roosevelt Dam in 1911, ensuing a stable supply of water for the Valley.

With the granting of statehood in 1912, the elements were now in place for an explosion of growth.
The population of Phoenix doubled during each of the first three decades of the 20th century. In 1923, construction of the Cave Creek Dam stemmed persistent floods of water, spawning new construction along the city's north-west side. The northward march continued, and growth and technology soon would couple to change the face of Phoenix

On the road to the Biltmore
From its origins in 1887, the Phoenix Street Railway Company was the main transportation system
for the city, early track lines radiated from downtown north to the Phoenix Indian School and north west to the State Fairgrounds. Subsequent lines paralleled Central Avenue north along second and Fifth avenues, providing transportation to the emerging "suburbs. "The correlation of streetcar lines and subdivisions was not a chance occurrence. The proximity of transportation was key to the promotion of residential developments. Eager to enhance their property values, real estate owners and investors financed the construction of extensions to the major lines. By the late 20s, however, the automobile was beginning to influence the location of new neighborhoods.The dependence on the streetcar was over.

Information, maps and photographs provided courtesy:
Historic Preservation Office of the City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department
200 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85003
(602) 261-8600

Alvarado Historic District Phoenix

Alvarado Historic District Phoenix
Central Ave., Oak St., 3rd St. and Palm Ln. Phoenix

Pioneering Stock
In 1623, the sailing ship ANNE left England, bound for colonial America. Among the passengers landing in New England was William Heard, whose family settled in Massachusetts and played an active role in forging the new American democracy.

Some three centuries and seven generations later, the pioneering legacy of the Heard family continued to exert itself, this time in the distant desert climes of Arizona. On the eve of the 20th century, in the territorial capital of Arizona, William's descendant, Dwight B. Heard, would become a major force in the life of the new-born community. His accomplishments form a chronicle of the early history of Phoenix, the Valley, and the State of Arizona. One chapter of this record reveals, in microcosm, the breadth of Heard's dramatic influence upon the shape of this emerging region, as his efforts in politics, business, and the arts converged. It lead to the creation of one of the most distinctive collections of residential architecture in the city of Phoenix - Alvarado.

An Ancient Source Of Life
The life of present-day Phoenix commenced in 1867, when Civil War soldier, prospector, promoter, and speculator John William, known as Jack Swilling, began to irrigate and cultivate land along the northern bank of the Salt River. Inspired by the remnants of ancient Hohokam canals, Swilling established a company to supply the U.S. Army troops at Camp McDowell, twenty miles to the northeast. His activities attracted additional settlers, and by 1870, the community boasted a population of 235 with 1,500 acres of land under cultivation. In that same year, the terrain was surveyed and laid out in a square-mile grid pattern. With the reservation of a central townsite, Phoenix was born.

Because the arid climate required extensive irrigation to support crops and sustain the population, Phoenix did not become an instant boomtown. Rather, the town experienced steady growth as a supply center for military, government, and mining operations. Weathering the economic depression of the mid-1870s, Phoenix began to flourish at the end of the decade as rising agricultural prices led to prosperity.

Patterns of development emerged with the growth of thriving commercial and residential districts along the major north-south thoroughfare, Center Street, now Central Avenue. Roughly bounded by Central Avenue, Third Street, Oak Street and Palm Lane, the future site of Alvarado was two miles north of the city's center, and still just vacant desert. But rapid growth soon would propel development northward. In 1879, the Southern Pacific Rail line made Phoenix more accessible with the extension of its line to within thirty miles south of town. With incorporation of the city in 1881, the stage was set for a dramatic new era.

In 1885, completion of the Arizona Canal provided the Valley with 41 additional miles of irrigation, opening up 100,000 acres of desert land to agricultural development. The economic impact of the Canal and the promotional efforts of its builder, W. J. Murphy, brought a period of rapid growth and "boosterism" to Phoenix and the Sale River Valley. Phoenix was selected as the Territorial Capital in 1889. A flurry of municipal activity established water, sewer, gas, and electric utility franchises. The city's population tripled between 1885 and 1890.

Visions In The Desert
Arriving in Phoenix in 1895, Dwight B. Heard quickly assessed the Valley's great potential and grasped the limitations imposed by the cycle of floods and drought which plagued the Valley. Motivated by investments in land and agriculture, he became an active force in efforts to promote federal projects that would harness the Valley's water. With successful passage in 1902 of the National Reclamation Act, Heard applied his efforts locally where he served as a county water commissioner, helping to lay the groundwork that led to construction of the Roosevelt Dam. Completed in 1911, the dam tamed the waters of the Salt River, transforming the Valley by providing both stable irrigation and protection from inundating floods.

In 1903, Heard and his wife Marie constructed a 6,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial Revival mansion they named "Casa Blanca." Located at the corner of Monte Vista and Central, the home was the cornerstone of future Alvarado and was a frequent stop for visitors and dignitaries from throughout the nation. Sensing the promise this north central location held, Heard purchased the entire quarter section of land on which his estate was located. In 1909, he subdivided the 160 acres, which ranged from Central Ave to Seventh Street and McDowell Road to Oak Street, in to 32 parcels of five acres each. Intended for upscale, estate size homes, the project, named Los Olivos, was the most prestigious of the early suburban homesite subdivisions with the largest lots available. Preparing the project for sale, Heard provided numerous plantings throughout the subdivision, including hundreds of palm trees.

Information, maps and photographs provided courtesy:
Historic Preservation Office of the City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department
200 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85003
(602) 261-8600

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Phoenix market expected to return to normal after a robust 2005

New-home sales rise despite falling prices
Phoenix market expected to return to normal after a robust 2005
New-home sales soared in March but prices declined in a national new-home market that is expected to cool this year as interest rates rise.

In metropolitan Phoenix, demand for new homes is expected to continue to slow from last year's record pace as builders sell through "spec" or speculative-home inventories caused by buyers backing out of deals. Analysts say the local housing market is returning to a more normal pace after last year's frenzy.

Nationally, the Commerce Department reported that sales of new single-family homes rose 13.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 1.213 million units. The increase represented a recovery from a 10.9 percent plunge in sales in February.

The Valley's new-home market has slowed as prices and mortgage rates rise. Builders have been offering incentives to unload spec homes. Many of those homes were under contract to be sold but buyers backed out when they couldn't sell existing homes in a resale market suddenly flooded with listings.

Valley new-home permits fell more than 20 percent in February, according to housing analyst RL Brown. He said it was a reflection of buyers hitting a "price wall" and canceling sales contracts. Brown says the median new-home price in the Valley rose from $262,759 in January to $268,232 in February.

Nationally, the median price of homes sold in March dropped to $224,200, down 2.2 percent from what homes were selling for in March 2005. It marked the first time home prices dropped over a 12-month period since December 2003. In metropolitan Phoenix, the median price of a new home in February was $268,232, up a bit from January.

Home prices last year were soaring as eager buyers bid more to get into a sizzling home market. However, analysts believe that sales, which set records for five straight years, will decline in 2006 as the housing boom cools under the impact of rising mortgage rates.

Brown and the Commerce Department use different criteria to measure demand in the new-home market.
Glen Creno
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 27, 2006 12:00 AM

Phoenix Arizona Tackles Cooling Market

Valley tackles cooling market

Metropolitan Phoenix's housing market started 2005 with a bang but ended it amid concerns of a price bubble. Home values soared and houses sold within days in most neighborhoods during the first six months of the year. But then investors began to bail, listings climbed and asking prices stared surpassing home appraisals.

By September, the market was showing signs of cooling. In October, home prices slipped slightly.

The Arizona Republic's Valley Home Values analysis of housing prices and sales by postal ZIP codes that shows all neighborhoods racked up big gains early in 2005. Increases from 30 to 50 percent were common as metropolitan Phoenix led the country in percentage gain of housing price. But prices began to level or dip during the last three months of the year.

The slowing has continued this year with metropolitan Phoenix's overall median existing home prices inching down again. Resale listings exceeded 30,000 in January, nearly nine times the level of the same month of last year, says the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service. Selling time increased from about 5 1/2 days to 49. Sellers are frustrated because they are getting few offers, and many are cutting prices. Buyers seeing the slowing have become much more cautious.

Neil Brooks, a Century 21 agent in northeast Phoenix, said shoppers are trying lowball offers of $30,000 to $50,000 less than asking prices as a starting spot in negotiations.

"Last year, it was the sellers who were being very aggressive, and now it's the buyers," he said. "There's so much inventory, they can sit back and spend their time looking at bazillions of homes."

Most real estate market watchers say the Valley's housing market is only reverting to a stable one after last year's frenzy. Metropolitan Phoenix led the nation for home price increases with an almost 50 percent run-up during 2005. And that price includes a few dips late in the year.

Now sellers need to be more realistic and realize their homes aren't going to be sold in just a few days, or a couple of hours, for thousands more than they are worth.

"The market has done a complete about-face," said Barbara Sage, a northwest Valley and Sun City specialist at ERA Encore Realty. "Last year, 14 offers for a home would come across at once, clogging up the fax machine."

Now, she said, after showing a property the seller's agent will call and tell her the "owner is anxious to sell." She tells them with a "yawn" that her buyer has a few more properties to look at.

"The days of multiple offers made on sight-unseen properties and offers well above list price are gone for now," said Cecil Duarte of Serving Valleywide Realty. "The market has softened. Inventory ballooned, and the days are here again for buyers to negotiate on price, terms and even seller contributions toward closing costs."

"Homes lasting on the market longer will affect prices," he said. "If we get that speculated 'dump and run' by investors, I expect to see prices to get competitive, and sellers offering incentives like they did in the early 1990s."

The slowdown has hit the new-home market as well. Builders that were overwhelmed with demand a year ago now are offering such freebies as thousands off spec homes, free pools or price cuts on upgrades to bring back the buyers. Top players and industry analysts disagree about the prospects for this year after a record 2005 when 63,570 new homes were permitted in the Valley.

Some look for a performance similar to last year as population gains and new jobs keep buyers coming. Others look for a steeper decline. The new-home median price increased nearly $100,000 to $299,000 last year, said analyst RL Brown, publisher of the Phoenix Housing Market Letter. And there is worry across the board that even with demand softening, higher costs for land and for materials, labor and city-approvals are pushing new-home prices beyond the comfort level of the mass-market buyer that volume builders rely on. High prices also remove a key incentive for people to move to Arizona.
Healthy slowdown
"Those kind of price increases cannot be sustained," said Brown, who sees a slowing market as a positive change and predicts a 4 percent price increase for new homes this year.

Doug Fulton, of Tempe-based Fulton Homes, said the slowdown was obvious to him on a recent flying tour of Pinal County. He said the number of new-house slabs in Maricopa was down by a third or more compared with six months ago

Fulton, of Tempe-based Fulton Homes, said executives of public builders are under pressure from Wall Street to duplicate last year's results in the Phoenix market this year. He said that would be difficult and said he would be happy with the 10 to 15 percent price increases he expects this year.

"It's no longer 'build it and they will come.' That's not what will happen in '06," Fulton said. "It will be a battle. Corporate expectations are very high, but we are coming back to a more normal market."

Investors made up at least a quarter of Valley resale home purchases last year but market professionals say that group of buyers is leaving.

John Foltz, president of Phoenix-based Realty Executives, said the experienced speculators are pretty much out of the market, leaving newbies who could get hurt by the slowdown.

He said the worst-case scenario for the resale market this year would be flat prices.

"We haven't seen a decline in home prices in years, and I don't think we will this year," Foltz said. "For resale prices to decline, we would have to experience interest rates in excess of 10 percent and a job reduction of 40,000. Both are very, very unlikely."
Buyer-seller standoff
Jay Butler, head of the Arizona Real Estate Center at Arizona State University Polytechnic, said the housing market needs to "cool down to sustain the appreciation it gained last year. I wouldn't be surprised to see prices fall this year" as the market recovers from the investor buying binge.

"Investors played a key role in turning the Valley's housing market upside down," Butler said.

Pete Kanton of Arizona Realty Advisors is trying to sell several of his own Valley residential properties as well as some for clients.

"All are priced competitively, at or below what other homes of similar size and amenities have sold for in the areas," he said. "All have been marketed on MLS, signs, classified ads and mailing to the neighborhood. But none have sold."

"In addition to the normal drop in activity, the first quarter of the year the market appears to be in a 'holding' pattern," Kanton said. "Buyers are anxiously waiting to see if sellers will begin those price reductions many have speculated about, and sellers are looking at comps their agent puts in front of them from middle to late summer and into last fall when the market peaked and not willing to lower their list price because others got that price."

Timmy Carter is glad the housing market is slowing. Last spring, he looked for a home for weeks before finding a "doll house" near Central and Missouri avenues in Phoenix.

He made a full price offer. Later that day, he was told another buyer had made an offer for more. After a two-day bidding war, he got the house for $25,000 above the listed price. But then a week before closing, his "stomach was in knots" and he decided to go with a gut feeling and not close on the home.

He checked property records later and saw the house sold for the original price.

'I was being shanked the whole time and my gut feeling proved me correct," Carter said. "The market last year duped quite a few buyers. I am glad it's over."

Terry Mindham spent most of 2005 in Iraq training Iraqi police cadets so he missed out on most of the big runs up in the Valley's housing market.

He now wants to move to Virginia, tired of the desert after his time in Iraq, and knows his 1,700-square-foot home in Surprise won't sell fast or for the prices buyers in his neighborhood say they sold for last summer. So he has decided to sell it on his own "for sale by owner" to try to save money on commission.

"I plan to try selling myself for a while, pricing it so that the buyer actually gains a large part of what a Realtor would have added to the cost," he said.

But Mindham said he would pay real agent agents 3 percent if they bring him a buyer.

"I am not pressured to sell so it's worth my time to see if I can make a sale happen on my own," he said.
A definite cooling
"Home prices in metro Phoenix are down or flat now," said John Burns, a national real estate consultant. "Investors are selling. Listings are up. The market definitely is cooling."

He thinks prices may fall slightly more in some outlying areas of the Valley but that prices in Scottsdale, Tempe and most of Phoenix will hold up.

Eric Brown, a veteran Valley home builder who heads Artisan Homes, said last summer when he predicted housing appreciation in 2006 would be half of what it was in 2005, he was "overly positive."

Shannon Osborn put her home in the 85254 ZIP code in north Scottsdale on the market last December. She has lowered her price twice so it's $25,000 less than where she started. Her real estate agent is running several ads, but so far the only potential buyers who have come to see it want to "flip the house" so they don't even come close to the asking price.

"With what I owe and what I have put into it, I am not going to give it away," she said. "My home is beautiful and all the new interior remodel is beautiful. So I am at a loss on ideas."

Margie O'Campo de Castillo, past president Hispanic Association of Real Estate Professionals and head of Arizona Dream Realty, said the housing market still is strong.

"But homes won't appreciate like last year," she said. "Sellers can't over inflate their prices anymore. If you don't think the market is slowing, just look at all the open houses."
Catherine Reagor, Glen Creno, & Ryan Konig
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 5, 2006 12:00 AM

Phoenix Arizona - Condos Springing Up

Condos Springing Up By Glen Creno The Arizona Republic

Condominium developers are betting millions of dollars that plenty of buyers are willing to spend big money to live the luxury urban lifestyle in metropolitan Phoenix .At least 25 of these projects, offering everything from condos to lofts to brownstone-style residences, are being built or planned across the region.

With prices running from the hundreds of thousands to $1 million or more, they are chasing an unproven market in an area where new housing is dominated by tract homes on the edges of the city.

It is likely that some of the projects either will not be built or will not sell as well as their promoters hoped. That will depend on their location, demand, interest rates and competition - and whether luxury condo living in Phoenix turns out to be more than a fad. "I can't say across the board that every building will be successful just because a developer puts up a building on a piece of land," said David Hovey, founder of Optima, the Chicago-area company developing condo projects in the Biltmore area of Phoenix and near downtown Scottsdale. "Buyers are very astute."Buyers include young professionals, empty nesters looking to downsize, executives, singles, winter visitors and athletes. They come from across the state and the country.

Developers and brokers also say Europeans looking to take advantage of their strong currency have been buying.

Another trend: business executives and professionals who live in places like Paradise Valley and north Scottsdale buying lofts or condos as pied-a-terre, second homes that let them stay in the city when they work late or entertain. About half of the projects are in some phase of construction."The jury is still out on how hot the condo market is," said RL Brown, publisher of the Phoenix Housing Market Letter. "We have had a lot of noise but very little dirt being moved. Some of these will turn into live projects, but they are not here yet."New homes permitted in metro Phoenix in 2004 numbered 60,872, and analysts expect a similar performance this year. Of that number, 5.9 percent were condos, Brown said. This year to date, 5.1 percent of permits have been condos.

Many developers and brokers say the number of condos and lofts is much too small a portion, and they point to long waiting lists at new projects as evidence.

One of the most talked about is the condominium-hotel proposed by celebrity developer Donald Trump and the Bayrock Group. The developers are trying to re-tool the plan to make it agreeable to neighbors who don't want it to break height restrictions in the Biltmore area of Phoenix ."Demand for luxury condos is far from saturated," said Beau Woodring, Bayrock's managing director. "If anything, it is quite the opposite. . . . What does exist represents a remarkably small fraction of overall new housing supply. "When you see teardown homes selling for $700,000 in Arcadia , for example, it suggests a vibrant market. We believe that will continue to be the case." A big-city thing.

A growing population, new jobs, low interest rates and investors have been driving the single-family home market to records in metro Phoenix , which now has surpassed Atlanta as the country's top new-home market.

Those forces, along with the lifestyle choice of turnkey urban living, also are creating demand for condos."These are not single-family buyers," said Kim Baker, president of National Developers, which is planning a 74-unit loft building in downtown Phoenix . "They are just different animals."

Ultimately, no one knows how many buyers there are for expensive condos in a metro area less known for "condos" than for another six-letter word, sprawl. The area has lagged other cities where high-rise living is a tradition.

Phoenix is playing catch-up, developers say.

According to the U.S. Census' 2002 American Housing Survey, Phoenix had 89,300 condos, San Diego had 140,600, the Anaheim-Santa Ana area had 169,700 and the Miami , Fla. , area had 402,500."It is a phenomenon that will happen in any city that grows to a certain size. I think Phoenix has reached that size," said Jeremy Hall, a vice president of Patrinely Group, a Houston developer putting up the Residences at 2211 Camelback. The project sold out its 90 units at an average price of $1 million."I don't know how much deeper the market is," Hall said. "I do think there are projects in locations that are rather challenging."

Condo cores are emerging on Central Avenue and in the Camelback Corridor in Phoenix and in the city's downtown. New projects are on the way in Scottsdale 's downtown and in the Kierland area as well as in Tempe 's downtown and Town Lake neighborhoods.

Esplanade Place, the pricey Phoenix condo tower that opened in 2003, helped kick off the craze. A sampling of its residents: a top banker, the heads of a couple of local companies and at least three pro athletes. Keith Mishkin, a broker for Cambridge Properties, said the building contains a "who's who of Arizona business."Prices may seem excessive, especially to people who think of Phoenix as the place where, traditionally, plenty of houses were selling for less than $200,000. The price profile of the area, though, is changing. ."You have a tremendous amount of money in this Valley," Mishkin said. "Who do you think is buying all of these luxury homes?"

Nearby attractions vital Hovey, the Chicago-area developer, believes that the market will be strong for the next 10 years as long as the projects are built in neighborhoods with good restaurants, shopping or cultural attractions.

His Optima Biltmore Towers , under construction near 24th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix , sold out at prices ranging from $350,000 to $1.75 million.

Debbie Nute of Phoenix was one of the buyers. The single mother and owner of a collection agency is selling her 3,800-square-foot house near Piestewa Peak . She will combine two Optima condos to create a 2,400-square-foot unit that will be near restaurants, movie theaters, shopping, coffee shops and other attractions. "There so many things I want to do other than manage my home," she said.

Jay Butler, head of the Arizona Real Estate Center at Arizona State University 's Polytechnic campus, wondered about the strategy of putting cheaper condos in the same building as the most expensive units. Hovey said that creates vitality in a project. Butler suggested that picky wealthy buyers may not agree."Would you build a $300,000 home next to a million-dollar home?" he asked. "Single-family builders wouldn't do that."

A certain lifestyle

Bob Normile is sales manager for the condos at Hayden Ferry Lakeside in Tempe , where four luxury buildings are planned. The first, called Edgewater, opens in March. Its prices average $800,000.Investor buying is capped at 30 percent in the first two Lakeside buildings. Other developers have placed restrictions on buying by speculators who want to sell quickly and reap the appreciation in price.Normile's buyers are doctors, airline pilots, ASU professors, mortgage brokers and engineers. He said about 85 percent are from Arizona with the rest from other states, mainly California . Also, demand from Canadian buyers is increasing."No one is moving here to retire," he said. "They are moving here for the lifestyle."

Phoenix Real Estate Boom or Bust

Boom may roll, but bubble won't burst By Judy Stark St. Petersburg Times

It's everybody's favorite topic these days: What did you pay for your house a few years ago? What did you just sell it for? Nobody's shy about giving real numbers. Everybody wants bragging rights to the killing they're making in real estate.The big questions on everyone's mind: How long can the market go on like this? When will the bubble burst?

In the interest of making you sound smart at your next cocktail party, or as you wait for the opening kickoff, here's how David Lereah (say "le-ray"), Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors, reads the tea leaves these days. Lereah, who scoffs at the notion of bursting bubbles, was in town last week to talk to the Pinellas Realtor Organization.

What's driving the white-hot housing market?

It's not just low mortgage interest rates, and it's not just people looking for somewhere other than the stock market to park their money. It's demographics, Lereah said, specifically these segments of the population:


The oldest of the 76-million baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are entering their peak earning years and represent "the greatest economic expansion ever."


Thanks to good health care, older people live an average of five years longer. That means they stay in their homes five years longer, which creates a lean supply of homes for sale, hence higher prices.


It takes about a generation for immigrants to fully participate in the economy, and after record immigration in the last 15 years or so, those immigrants are now ready and able to become homeowners.

Boomer kids

They're the second-largest demographic group, and they're becoming first-time buyers. Is this irrational exuberance? "There's no irrational exuberance in buying a large, awkward, fixed asset," i.e., a home, Lereah said. Some of the speculators in the market may be irrationally exuberant (we'll deal with them in a minute). Some people say, "Oh, remember what happened to tech stocks a few years back, the bubble burst." Comparing a stock collapse with what some people predict is the bursting of the housing bubble "is apples and oranges," he said.

He contrasted tech stocks' overhyped rise and ignominious crash with the "healthy, prolonged expansion" of the housing market, starting with the refi boom of 1992 (when mortgages dropped to the single digit of 9 percent), followed by another refi boom the next year; the run-up in mortgage originations from $400-billion in 1991 to $4-trillion last year; and the increase in sales from 3-million in sales in 1991 to 8-million last year.

The U.S. housing market has survived mighty blows with a 2x4 in the last 10 years but has kept on ticking, indeed roaring. He enumerated the blows:

• 2001: Recession.
• Rising 30-year fixed mortgage rates, from an average 6.8 percent in 1998 to 8.3 percent in 2000. (They've dropped, of course, since then.)
• Loss of 3-million jobs from 2002 to 2003."The stars are aligned," Lereah said. "There's nothing irrational about it. People buy real estate because they have to. It won't end any time soon.

What fuels housing is demographics and household formation.

"Anything else nudging the market along? Sure. Technology: online real estate listings and processes that reduce the search costs. Lending technology that reduces the loan application time and has reduced the cost of loan processing by $2,200 in the last few years. Smart-growth legislation that has restricted supply.So is the bubble going to burst?No, Lereah said. "The air might come out of the balloon, but it won't pop." He thinks price increases have been healthy, driven by demand that exceeds supply.What else do you see out there?

Here's a wonderful term to drop around the office water cooler: "The rolling boom."

When one market starts to get overheated, people shop elsewhere nearby. Lereah offered this example: Las Vegas experienced price appreciation of 52 percent from 2003 to 2004. That priced it out of the reach of many buyers, who instead went to less-expensive Reno , where prices have now increased 32 percent, while Las Vegas has backed off to an appreciation of only 12 percent this year. Similar rolling booms occurred when Boston got too expensive, so people drove an hour south to Providence ; or West Palm Beach to Miami .

If the air starts to leak out of the balloon in the Fort Myers-Naples-Cape Coral area (where the median home price in the second quarter was $266,800, an increase of 45.2 percent over last year, second highest in the nation), the boom could roll to the Tampa Bay area, Lereah said.Now, what about those speculators? They bid prices up but they're the first ones out, Lereah said. He cited figures from Miami : 18 months ago there were 15,000 condos under construction; today, there are 75,000. "Generally housing markets are very, very healthy," Lereah said. "For specific local markets where there is lots of speculation and questionable loans," bubbles may burst.

Those questionable loans include interest-only mortgages, negative-amortization loans, low-documentation loans and option ARMs. "First-time investors are boarding this train, and they're making mistakes," he said.

So what can we expect in the next few months?

A soft landing is what you want, Lereah said. If the Fed raises interest rates slightly, that helps to gently slow a market. What keeps a boom alive is high prices, "and you want it to slow down. If we take our medicine now we'll be better off later."What's your take on Florida? Florida isn't San Francisco , where the median home price is $728,000, or Orange County , Calif. , where it's $600,000. (The median home price in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area is $195,000, an increase of 23.3 percent over last year.)"By 2040, Florida will double in population. It's the equivalent of the population of Pennsylvania and Maryland moving here," Lereah said. All those new residents will bring "trillions of dollars of wealth with them. It's a seismic shift." Florida will be a great market in the next 20 years. When I look at Florida , I see Las Vegas . I don't see the boom ending in Florida any time soon."