Saturday, June 23, 2007

Historic Downtown Central Phoenix - Real Estate & Historic Buildings

Historic Downtown Phoenix A 1.5 mile self-guided walking tour
Barbara Yost The Arizona Republic

The Rossen House

In 1867, the U.S. General Land Office began surveying Arizona and the Salt River Valley into townships, and by 1870 the location of Phoenix was selected and named.

Early Phoenix desert was surrounded by irrigated farmland, which used a canal system (similar to prehistoric Hohokam canals) built between 1867-1885.

This canal system allowed homesteaders, businessmen, investors and promoters to reclaim the desert and transformed it into fields of alfalfa, grains, vegetables and, eventually, citrus and cotton. Because the water supply was unpredictable in 1911, Roosevelt Dam was built to ensure a consistent supply.

By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, Historic Phoenix had railroad connections to two transcontinental lines and had become a major distribution center, not only for agriculture but for mining and manufacturing, too.

Downtown Phoenix kept its 1920's identity well into the late 1960's, when the face of the city changed with the construction of office towers in the central core. Fortunately, many of the key commercial and civic buildings from the 1920's remain.

Other attractions in the area:

1. Fry Building, northwest corner of Second and Washington streets - is the earliest known intact commercial building in Phoenix. This two-story building was built in 1885. In 1904, the north addition of the Fry Building was erected and the storefronts were remodeled in 1950.

2. Hanny's Building, 44 N. First St. - was built in 1947 by Vic Hanny, a local businessman. This store brought the International/Moderate Style influence to Phoenix and sparked a major face lift in the downtown area.

3. Professional Building, 137 N. Central Ave. - provided centrally located medical offices for the first time in Phoenix. It was built in 1931. This is the largest limestone-sheathed building in Arizona and is an Art Deco/Moderne Style skyscraper. The top story was added in 1958.

The San Carlos Hotel

4. San Carlos Hotel, 202 N. Central Ave. - inspired by the rapid growth of tourism in Phoenix, was completed in 1928. The hotel was a gathering place for residents and Hollywood movie stars. This Renaissance Revival building was one of the first hotels to have steam heat, elevators and air-cooling.

5. The Security Building, 234 N. Central Ave. - with a Renaissance Revival design , this was built in 1928.

6. Title and Trust Building, 114 W. Adams St. - when constructed in 1931, it was the largest office building in Arizona. It was designed by prominent local architects Lescher and Mahoney. The building is a Moderne style featuring travertine and marble floors and etched glass.

7. The Orpheum Theater, 203 W. Adams St. - was built by Henry Nace who arrived in Phoenix in 1910 as an acrobat with a circus. This theater is Phoenix's most architecturally intact and largest remaining theater. It is a unique example of Spanish Colonial revival architecture. It underwent a majr restoration in 1997.

8. Walker Building/Central Arizona Light and Power, 302 W. Washington St. - was constructed in 1920. Built of concrete and hollow tile; an example of Neo-Classic Revival Style. J.C. Penney's was the tenant until 1926, then it housed the offices of Central Arizona Light and Power Company until the 1940's.

9. Historic City Hall/Maricopa County Courthouse, 125 W. Washington St. - was completed in 1928. The courthouse has a combination of Art Deco, Moderne, Spanish Colonial Revival and Renaissance motifs.

The Luhrs Tower

10. Luhrs Tower, 45 W. Jefferson St. - At the time of its construction, the tower and Luhrs Building were the tallest buildings in Arizona. The buildings stand on their original site and are unaltered.

11. Luhrs Building, 13 W. Jefferson St. - was built in 1923-24 (and Luhrs Tower in 1929) by George Luhrs, a prominent Phoenix businessman. This building is an example of Second Renaissance Revival style.

12. The Rosson House/Historic Heritage Square, 115 N. Sixth St. - Designed in 1894 by Phoenix Architect A.P. Petit, this house is a Victorian style. The house, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is part of Heritage Square, which is a downtown display of homes from the original townsite of Phoenix.

13. New Phoenix City Hall, 200 W. Washington St. - This 20-story structure was completed in 1993. It is built of colored, cast-in-place concrete, with tinted double-pane windows.

For Historic Phoenix Homes in the Downtown Phoenix area, contact Laura B. at DPR Realty, LLC for information on buying a historic home.

Historic Phoenix Homes and free MLS Searches. Historic Central Phoenix Homes. Historic Phoenix Properties. All just a mouse click away.