Sunday, July 30, 2006

Historic Signs Unveiled at Pierson Place

Historic Signs Unveiled at Pierson Place

Angela Cara Pancrazio The Arizona Republic
May. 8, 2006


Because of its proximity to light rail, developers were pressuring homeowners to sell their homes in the Phoenix Historic Pierson Place neighborhood.

The neighborhood faced a now-or-never decision on a historic designation for their central Phoenix enclave.

"We had to fast forward, whole blocks were getting offers from developers," said Barbara Stocklin, historic preservation officer.

"We moved it forward," Stocklin said, "ahead of other designations."

Pierson Place is bordered by Camelback Road, Central Avenue, the Grand Canal and Seventh Avenue.

The historic neighborhood is considered an "early residential suburb" built by mom and pop builders. The first subdivision within the neighborhood dates to 1924, when it was outside the Phoenix city limits but within a 10-minute drive to downtown Phoenix.

Newspaper advertisements from 1926 announced half-acre lots for "$400 and up, city conveniences and no city taxes."

Since the neighborhood was built out in fits and starts, the homes are an eclectic mix of styles that represent eras from the 1920's, 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. Those styles include a number of adobe houses - which are rare - as well as Art Moderne and the ranch house, the emblem of Phoenix postwar construction.

In 1928 the opening of nearby Brophy College and Prepatory School was a selling point, but in the 1930's construction waned during the Great Depression. Construction started up again in the late 1930's and the neighborhood was built out by the mid-1950's.

When the neighborhood found out that they were eligible for historic designation, they contacted the city's historic preservation office.

"They wanted it desperately," Stocklin said.

Being so close to light rail meant a lot of good development opportunity, and with all the high-rise zoning on the edge of the neighborhood, Stocklin said, some property owners were hoping to expand high-rise zoning.

"It was a tricky designation."

"Our policy is to have at least two-thirds of the neighborhood sign a petition for historic designation, we had three-fourths within a week," Stocklin said.

So in honor of Pierson Place becoming an official Central Phoenix historic district, the blue and white historic district sign was unveiled, which also coincided with National Historic Preservation Month.

To get more information about this quaint historic Phoenix neighborhood or the historic homes, call Laura Boyajian, aka, Laura B. directly at 602.400.0008.

You may also visit her website and search for historic Phoenix homes with each historic Phoenix district categorized at:

http://www.historiccentralphoenix.com

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