Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Up-and-Coming Phoenix, Glendale, Scottsdale and Mesa Historical Districts

Up-and-Coming Phoenix Historical Districts
Affordable newer districts offer own charms of yesteryear

by Sue Doerfler
The Arizona Republic ~Sept. 23, 2006


Pierson Place Historic District
Location: Bounded by Central and Seventh avenues, Camelback Road and the Grand Canal, Phoenix.

Homes: Built during the 1920's through 1950's. Include period revival-style, with some constructed of adobe; modest ranch; and small multifamily.

Why: "Anything along light rail and close to downtown will be big," Stocklin said.

Pierson Place fits both. Four miles from downtown, it has light rail along two sides.

In fact, light rail has helped already by raising awareness of the neighborhood, Graham said.

"What's nice about that area is the lots are irrigated," said Realtor Betty Rimsza, of Rimsza Realty, Phoenix, who has listed a home for sale in Pierson Place. Homes in the neighborhood are still relatively affordable. Rimsza's client's home is listed for $225,000.

Another plus: Many of the homes are fix-ups, fueling America's penchant for remodeling and reselling the homes at a profit, according to Richard Larsen, Realtor with Re/Max Achievers.

Fraser Fields
Location: Roughly bounded by Main Street, University Drive, Horne and Fraser Drive, Mesa.

Homes: Construction started in the late 1940s. Ranch homes on large lots.

Why: Well-preserved example of custom ranch-style homes. Homes were built with craftsmanship and quality in mind. This historic district, designated in 2003, is reflective of the national trend of middle- and upper-class people moving away from city centers.

Garfield Historic District
Location: Roughly bounded by Seventh, 16th, Van Buren and Roosevelt streets, Phoenix.

Homes: Constructed from the 1890s through 1931. Include bungalows, Craftsman, period revivals and other types of architecture.

Why: Renovation, affordability and strong neighborhood organization, said Bob Graham. He specializes in historic preservation planning and design.

The district, established in 1989 and expanded since then, is changing: Homes are being built on empty lots, old homes are being rehabilitated, and there is interest from investors, said Phoenix historic preservation officer Barbara Stocklin. Its affordability - you can find homes for sale for $200,000 - and proximity to downtown Phoenix are strong points.

Floralcroft
Location: Bounded by 59th to 61st avenues, from State to Myrtle avenues, Glendale.

Homes: Built from the 1920's through 1950's. Mostly ranch-style, and some bungalow and Spanish Colonial Revival.

Why: Proximity to Glendale's Historic downtown, antiques district and already established Catlin Court District, said Ron Short, Glendale's deputy director of long-range planning.

Floralcroft, which is west of Catlin Court, was subdivided in 1928, but most homes were built in the 1940s and 1950s. The area previously wasn't considered historic because of its housing diversity, said architect Bob Graham.

Glendale Tract
Location: Southeastern corner of 51st and Northern Avenues, Glendale.

Homes: Built in 1933. Adobe with metal roofs.

Why: Although an indigenous building method, adobe homes are uncommon in the Valley.

These historic district homes, designed for displaced farmers, were subsidized by the federal government under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal program, Short said.

The homes, which had only 650 square feet, were built on large lots so farmers, hit hard during the Depression, could ease into normal life. Homes were sold to the general public beginning in 1948.

Haver Homes
Location: Haver and Haver-inspired homes throughout the Valley, including two Phoenix neighborhoods, not yet designated historic. One is roughly bounded by 37th and 40th streets, Palm Lane and Monte Vista Road; and the other, the Canal North residential area, 12th Street south of Highland Avenue. Also, one Scottsdale neighborhood, the Town and Country Historic District, bounded by Oak Street, Monte Vista Road, 74th Street and 72nd Place.

Homes: Built during the 1940's and '50s. Masonry ranch homes.

Why: Architectural cachet and growing interest in midcentury modern styling. Scottsdale has designated a district. Phoenix hasn't but is in the second year of a three-year study of postwar housing.

These one-story homes were designed by prominent Phoenix architect Ralph Haver. Characteristic styling includes clean lines, rectangular forms, exposed masonry walls and carports.

"What Ralph Haver did was take (ranch-house styling) to the next level," said Alison King, whose www.modern phoenix.net Web site is devoted to modern-style homes. She lives in a Phoenix Haver house.
Other '50s neighborhoods
Location: Throughout the Valley.

Homes: Ranch homes.

Why: "This is really 'the' period in Phoenix," said Debbie Abele, a Scottsdale historic preservation officer. "We pioneered practices here that made the ranch-house show up in Trenton, New Jersey. We were doing some of the best stuff in the nation."

One builder who merits a look is John Hall, whose company was Hallcraft Homes. In the '50's, the company built ranch-style houses in many Valley locales.

"He was ahead of his time," Abele said. Scottsdale is looking into designating a Hallcraft historic district, she added.

Search for homes in all of Phoenix Historical Districts

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