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Van Buren’s Mahoney Building Receives Restoration Grant

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Pen and ink drawing of the 1912 Mahoney Administration Building, Phoenix, AZ by architect Don Ryden.

[Source: Claire Lawton, PNT’s Jackalope Ranch]
​Large blue bins are making their way to and from the Mahoney Building at 2500 E. Van Buren St. in Downtown Phoenix.

They’re a sign of change, and a much-needed face-lift funded in part by arecent $5,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The 100-year-old building’s located at the Arizona State Hospital, originally known as the Insane Asylum of Arizona, and is the last of the Hospital’s structures that predates statehood.

Spearheading the preservation and renovation efforts is Susan Girard, a former Arizona Department of Health Services Directer and legislature, who says the goal is “to create a living museum to tell the stories about the progression of mental heath care in Arizona” in a release sent by the Mahoney Building Committee in March.

Girard spoke with New Times‘ writer and Surreal Estate columnist Robrt Pela in November 2010, when the building’s future was still uncertain. Then, she had hopes of a multipurpose Mahoney Building, with a mental health museum showcasing the old (and rudimentary) medical equipment, and a gallery where mentally ill people could exhibit the work they create in art therapy programs.

While the specifics of the renovation are yet to be released, the building has been designated as an Arizona Centennial Legacy Project and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, check out the Save the Mahoney Building page and read more about the Mahoney Building’s history in [New Times’]  Surreal Estate.

Help Save the Mahoney Building

The 1912 Mahoney Administration Building is one of the few remaining government buildings in the Valley that dates to the year of Arizona’s statehood. Identified by Phoenix Magazine as one of the city’s “hidden gems;” the building represents the first institutional commission for the architectural engineering firm of Lescher & Kibbery (later Lescher & Mahoney).

The building housed executive office and living quarters for the hospital superintendent’s family. It is the oldest remaining structure on the Arizona State Hospital campus and one of the earliest remaining examples of Mission Revival-style architecture in Phoenix.

Today, the Mahoney Building stands vacant and in a state of disrepair. The building’s exterior retains much of its historic character, despite some weather deterioration. Although nearly 100 years old, the building is structurally sound because it was constructed with the most advanced technology of the period. The Arizona Historical Advisory Commission (AHAC) has recognized the Mahoney Building’s historical significance by designating it as one of the Arizona Centennial’s state Legacy Projects.

A dedicated group of volunteers led by Susan Gerard, a former state health director and health leader at the Legislature, is working hard to restore this historical treasure. With Arizona’s Centennial fast approaching, plans to restore the building hinge on finding funds and community support.

For more information, please contact Arizona State Hospital CEO John Cooper at (602) 244-1331 or
john.cooper@azdhs.gov.

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