Blog Archives

Midcentury Marvels Brown Bag Lunch in downtown Phoenix on Jan 21

[Source: City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office and ModernPhoenix.net]

Why just eat lunch at noontime? Why not go on a cultural journey guaranteed to open your eyes, expand your mind and stir your spirit? The “Faces of Diversity” Brown Bag Series features dynamic people telling their stories about diversity in our community — race, ethnicity, gender issues, disability awareness, religion, etc.

After several years of intensive effort (and with several grants), the City Historic Preservation Office is finally releasing its publication “Midcentury Marvels: Commercial  Architecture of Phoenix: 1945-1975.”   This is a glossy hard-back 250+ page publication with over 300 current and historic photographs telling the story of Phoenix’s post World War II rise and the commercial architectural wonders that sprung up on the Phoenix landscape during this era.   Impeccably researched, Don Ryden’s narrative squarely places our local culture in context with the global and national Modernism movements.

The book will be released for the first time at a Brown Bag Lunch and  Book Signing at 12 noon on Friday Jan. 21. A limited edition of the first printing is available for purchase for $20. First come first serve!

By the end of January 2011, the book will be available for sale online at phoenix.gov/historic where you can purchase it for $20 plus $4.99 shipping.  The book will also be available for sale at the $20 price at the Historic Preservation Office during regular business hours, 3rd floor, Phoenix City Hall starting January 24, 2011. All proceeds from the book sales will go to the Historic Preservation Bond Fund.

Event Details

MIDCENTURY MARVELS: Commercial Architecture of Phoenix 1945-1975

Noon to 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21 Phoenix City Council Chambers 200 W. Jefferson St.

Don W. Ryden, AIA Barbara Stocklin, city of Phoenix historic preservation officer

The traditional styles that characterized Phoenix architecture during the early 20th century gave way to a bold new design aesthetic known as Modernism. Many of Phoenix’s most recognized buildings were constructed during this era. Don W. Ryden, AIA, and Barbara Stocklin will tell the story of the remarkable post-World War II era in Phoenix history and discuss the importance of preserving historical buildings that still remain.

This series, sponsored by the Phoenix Human Relations Commission and the city’s Equal Opportunity Department, promotes the value of cultural diversity and creates opportunities for positive exchange among diverse groups. For more information, visit phoenix.gov/EOD/bbag.html.

To request disability accommodations, call the Phoenix Equal Opportunity Department at 602-495-0358/voice or 602-534-1557/TTY

Park at 305 W. Washington and bring your ticket for validation and parking discount. The Light Rail stop is just steps away!

We hope to see you there with all the other Usual Suspects who are fighting hard on behalf of our city’s midcentury heritage!

Advertisements

Viewpoint: Keep Phoenix’s Historic Preservation Program autonomous and strong

[Source: Arizona Preservation Foundation] — The Arizona Preservation Foundation Board of Directors urges the continuation of an autonomous, community-focused Historic Preservation Program for the City of Phoenix. Without such a strong program and city commitment to preservation, the landmarks pictured in the slide show above would have been demolished or severely compromised.

In addition, Phoenix’s 35 residential historic districts would NOT have historic preservation protection nor would be revitalized and active to the extent they are today. Without the stability of these urban neighborhoods, Phoenix’s central city revitalization would be severely deterred.

Phoenix voters would NOT have invested over $25 million in the city’s unique Historic Preservation Bond Program which has rehabilitated literally hundreds of historic buildings and sites in central Phoenix.

The nationally-acclaimed ethnic heritage surveys of Phoenix’s Asian, Black, and Latino communities would NOT have been completed.

When all is said and done, historic preservation is sustainable “green” development, and development without a historic preservation element is not sustainable.

Preserving history in downtown Phoenix

IMG_1624-450x600

Downtown Phoenix's Civic Space Park (Photo: Tony Arranaga)

[Source: Tony Arranaga, Light Rail Blogger] — Downtown Phoenix reminds me of a puzzle.  Over the last several weeks, and in various parts of the city, I’ve noticed a new piece being added to the bigger picture of a vibrant urban core.  I told you about the Phoenix Public Market opening soon, and earlier tonight there was a dedication of the A.E. England Building at the Civic Space Park.  Si Robins gave us a preview of the festivities in the Downtown Phoenix Journal.  The building has an interesting past as Seth Anderson, an Arizona native, points out in his blog:

The building was built in 1926 in the Spanish Renaissance Revival style and was used as a Hudson and Essex auto dealership.  The large windows displayed the cars and it became Phoenix’s first “auto row.”  In the 1930s the building was sold to the Electrical Equipment Company.  They sold radios, batteries, and refrigerators up until the 1950s.  It changed hands numerous times and fell into disrepair and abuse until 2005 when it was purchased by the City of Phoenix to be integrated into the new Civic Space Park.

Tonight was the first chance the public had to see the inside of the England building – which has Central Station as its neighbor on the south and ASU’s Cronkite building to the east.  I pass the old brick landmark during my carfree travels on the lightrail, but this is the first time I’ve seen the inside.

The city of Phoenix did a great job restoring the building and making it functional for public use.  A window encased mezzanine wraps around a huge conference hall at the center of the building.  Outside the building there’s the Civic Space Park stage and grass area and of course the public art display “Her Secret is Patience.”  Did I mention the England has a basement which contains the second location for local coffee house Fair Trade Cafe?  I unlocked my bike to go home and noticed all the people enjoying the weather at the park.  Phoenix has a centerpiece and I love it!  [Note: Read more of Tony’s light rail blog entries here.]

Prop. 207 making it tougher for Phoenix to save this historic house

Jessie Trujillo's home was built in 1901 and placed on the Phoenix historic register in 2007. (Photo credit: Bill Coates)

[Source: Bill Coates, Arizona Capitol Times] — This William Grier House, built in 1901, could be among the last of its kind in Phoenix – a “unique example of colonial-revival style,” according the Phoenix Historic Preservation Office.  It could be the last of its kind in another way as well. It was placed on the city’s register of historic properties in November 2007.  No homes have been listed since.

It comes down to 2006’s Prop. 207, officials say.  “Right now, with Prop. 207, our whole approach has been to do nothing,” says Kevin Weight, a city historic preservation planner.

The voter-approved initiative bars state and local governments from classifying or rezoning property in a way that would decrease its value – without compensation.  An historic designation can be a roadblock to development plans..  Eighty-one-year-old Jessie Trujillo, though, wants to spare her own home from future development and preserve it for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  She moved into the Grier House near the Capitol on West Adams Street in 1967, more than six decades after it was built.  “I guess I always loved old houses,” Trujillo said one morning while seated in her living room on an antique-looking couch that’s well-suited for a 108-year-old house.[Note: To read the full article, visit Prop. 207 making it tougher for Phoenix to save this histoic house.]

Fair Trade Cafe opens up second downtown Phoenix spot, Aug. 21

[Source: Downtown Phoenix Journal] — On Friday, August 21, Fair Trade Café will open its second location in downtown Phoenix, and the video above gives you a sneak peak on last minute construction work.  Their grand opening coincides with the public open house of the restored 1926 A.E. England Motor Car Company building at the Downtown Phoenix Civic Space Park.  All are welcome to attend the festivities, hosted by the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office, from 6 to 9 p.m.  Highlights include live music, building tours, vintage cars, and (of course) coffee and other menu items.

The building’s restoration and overall park development were funded, in part, by the 2006 City of Phoenix Bond Program, overwhelmingly approved by Phoenix voters.

Phoenix expo to aid vintage/historic homeowners

[Source: City of Phoenix] — A free Historic Homeowners’ Expo will be offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 20, at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix, 122 N. Second St. as part of the statewide Historic Preservation Partnership Conference in Phoenix from June 18 to 20.  The expo will offer educational workshops of interest to owners of designated historic homes such as improving energy efficiency; researching an historic home; grants and tax incentives; and how to hire a contractor.

A special demonstration will be given by Continental Steel Windows of Tucson on how to repair steel casement windows.  More than a dozen vendors who provide services to historic homeowners, including craftsmen, contractors, realtors, architects and window providers, will participate in a vendor’s fair.  Attendees will be eligible for raffles and prizes and refreshments will be provided.

For more information and to register, click here or call the city’s Historic Preservation Office at 602-261-8699.

Another feature of downtown Phoenix’s Civic Space is historic A.E. England Building

While much of the hubbub of downtown Phoenix’s Civic Space focused on Janet Echelman’s public art piece, “Her Secret is Patience,” another important feature of the park is the historic A.E. England Building.   Thanks to the 2006 Historic Preservation Bond Committee, Phoenix residents who voted for the 2006 Bond Program, local preservation advocates, the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office and Commission, and Mayor Gordon and City Council, the building was spared from the wrecking ball (yes, it was threatened at one point).

The interior renovation is not quite done.  While you’re waiting for it to be completed and the “grand opening” later this spring, sit back and read about its history, courtesy of the staff at the Historic Preservation Office:

Locally prominent builder Clinton Campbell constructed the A.E. England Motors, Inc./Electrical Equipment Co. building in 1926.   The Spanish Renaissance Revival style building features three large storefront windows with ornate cast concrete window surrounds and decorative course molding along the roof parapet.  Six original bow-string wood trusses, sandwiched between new laminated beams, support the roof structure.

Originally an automotive dealership, A.E. England sold autos from the Hudson Motor Car Co. (1909-1954) and its less expensive Essex brand.   Cars were featured prominently in the building’s large display windows.   Central Avenue north of Van Buren Street became Phoenix’s first “auto row,” lined with Cadillac, Studebaker, Ford, and DeSoto dealerships well into the 1960s.

England left the auto sales business sometime in the early 1930s.   The Electrical Equipment Co., purveyors of radios, batteries, and Kelvinator refrigerators, occupied the building for the next twenty-five years.   The company’s “Gold Room,” decorated with gold drapes, gold walls and gold wicker furniture, provided an optimal radio listening experience for prospective buyers.  Five Atwater-Kent cabinet radios were on display, ready for demonstration by company salesmen.

The Electrical Equipment Co., along with The Arizona Republican (now The Arizona Republic) newspaper, owned the KTAR radio station.   Initially called KFAD and founded in 1922, KTAR was the first radio station in Arizona.   The Electrical Equipment Co. provided the equipment for the radio station which was originally located in the Heard Building at 112 N. Central Avenue.

In its later years, the A.E. England Motors Co., Inc./Electrical Equipment Co. building hosted a stationery store and an art gallery.   The building’s north wall, which was originally a party wall with another building, now consists largely of glass storefront panels in-filled between the original concrete columns.  The building was listed on the Phoenix Historic Property Register in 2006 and rehabilitated by the City of Phoenix in 2008-2009 as part of the downtown Phoenix Civic Space.

Historic Homeowner Expo planned, June 20, downtown Phoenix

[Source: Barbara Stocklin, City of Phoenix] — The Historic Preservation Office (HPO) is a sponsor of this year’s Arizona Statewide Historic Preservation Partnership Conference at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix in downtown Phoenix, June 18-20.   The conference will include a free Historic Homeowners’ Expo on Saturday June 20, from 9 a.m. t0 1 p.m.  Four hours of educational sessions on topics of special interest to owners of historic homes, such as improving energy efficiency, researching an historic home, green living, and a mini historic preservation grant workshop.  Also included will be a hall of vendors, where trades specific to historic preservation will be available to discuss their work with homeowners.  For complete details, click here.

Phoenix “mid-century marvels” mapped

Phoenix experienced unprecedented growth just after the Second World War.  With this growth came new architecture in the form of offices, banks, stores and government buildings, to name a few.  These buildings are disappearing from the landscape.  

The Phoenix Historic Preservation Office is embarking on a survey and designation project of postwar architecture.  The project will document the best examples of the period and bring attention to their significance.

Eligible buildings will be placed on the Phoenix Historic Property Register and the National Register of Historic Places.  The Historic Buildings Photography Project, completed by Phoenix Office of Arts & Culture in cooperation with the Phoenix Historic Preservation Office, presents a selection of 25 buildings and sites that represent Phoenix’s postwar architectural heritage.  To download the Mid-Century Marvel brochure, click here.

1902 Dining Hall next rehab project at Steele Indian School Park

Dining Hall, Steele Indian School Park (photo: phxpma)

[Source: Barbara Stocklin, City of Phoenix] — Exterior abatement work is currently underway on the 1902 Dining Hall at Steele Indian School Park.  Lead paint from the exterior brick and wood surfaces are currently being removed using hand tools (to ensure that the soft historic brick is not damaged).  The exterior rehabilitation project includes roof repair and replacement, exterior brick repairs, window and door restoration, and other miscellaneous exterior work items.  Additional funds are needed to address the interiors and for the building to accommodate a new use.

The exterior rehabilitation project, funded with 2006 Historic Preservation Bond funds and Native American gaming monies, is slated to be completed in late spring 2009. Brycon, the contractor for Dining Hall, is also set to begin work within the next few weeks on the exterior rehabilitation of the adjacent 1932 Grammar School/Band Building.  [Note: For more information about the city’s historic preservation program, click here.]