Garfield and North Garfield Historic District: Brill’s Addition
The history in Garfield and North Garfield Historic Districts is rich and runs deep. Due to its long history, stretching over the period from outlying ranch land to central city neighborhood, the North Garfield Historic District relates to several developmental contexts for residential architecture in Phoenix. As one of the city’s first suburban additions, its early growth relates to the context, Residential/Architectural Development of Outlying Areas of Phoenix 1876-1912.
Most of its growth and development occurred in the years following the completion of Roosevelt Dam (1911) through the early postwar years ending in 1960. As a result, its resources can best be understood in the contexts of the Multiple Property Listing Historic Residential Subdivisions and Architecture in Central Phoenix, 1912-1963, which discusses trends and patterns of residential subdivisions (1912-1963), the progression of residential architectural styles (1912-1963), and the influence of government housing policies on Phoenix’s domestic architecture and subdivisions (1934-1963).
The origins of the North Garfield Historic District can be found in the irrigation-related development of the Salt River Valley during the last quarter of the 19th century. In the early 1880’s, German immigrant Frederick L. Brill bought several ranches on the outskirts of Phoenix and, as population increased in the Phoenix area, he platted the Brill Addition out of his ranch near the northeastern corner of the city’s original townsite. He was one of many large land owners who transformed their agricultural property into residential subdivisions as Phoenix expanded beyond its original townsite limits.
Brill was one of the areas earliest settlers, coming to the Arizona Territory in 1865 to supply beef to the army post at Fort McDowell. A year later, he established a ranch on the Hassayampa River about three miles below present Wickenburg. There he planted the first peach and apple orchards in the territory. Brill saw that irrigation was proving successful in the Salt River Valley and in 1882 he began buying land in the Valley. Within a few years, he owned three ranches with 960 acres of irrigated land where he engaged in general farming and stock raising. Although he maintained his residence in Wickenburg, Brill built a fine home on his property on McDowell Road in 1884. A man of vision, Brill realized that successful irrigation in the Phoenix area would bring more people to the Valley, all of whom would need housing. Eager to capitalize on the city’s expansion, he platted a quarter section of his land close to the city limits as the Brill Addition in 1887.
Brill’s Addition is located between present 7th Street, on the west, and 12th Street on the east, Roosevelt on the south, and McDowell Road on the north. He carved most of the blocks into building lots but left several large blocks between 11th and 12th streets undivided. The Dennis Addition, platted by John T. Dennis in 1883, lay to the south. These adjacent additions were among the city of Phoenix’s first subdivisions but they saw little to no growth until the last years of the 19th century. By 1893, no streets other than Ash (Roosevelt) in Brill’s Addition were depicted in Sanborn fire insurance maps (Sanborn Fire Insurance Co., 1893).
Determined to promote his land, Brill joined with Dennis to invest in an extension of the Phoenix Street Railway to provide access to both their additions in 1895. It was officially designated the Brill Line for the subdivision it served (Phoenix City Railway Company map, 1895). The streetcar ran along Pierce Street to 10th Street, in the Dennis Addition. There it turned north along 10th Street, passing through the Dennis and Brill additions to its terminus at McDowell Road. That same year, Brill amended his plat to conform to the city’s grid (Amended Plat of Brill’s Addition, 1895). He configured his blocks along 10th Street so that their lots fronted directly onto the streetcar line. Long blocks between 7th and 9th streets were divided so that most of the lots fronted onto the named streets (Roosevelt Street, Portland Street, Moreland Street, etc.), while a row of lots fronting onto 7th Street, a major north-south arterial. It is apparent from his plat that Brill understood the importance of direct transportation.
Still, only a few houses were built between the extension of streetcar line and 1911, when Roosevelt Dam was completed (Sanborn Fire Insurance Co., 1901, 1911). Only four extant houses appear to pre-date the dam construction in the district. One substantial resource is the George Hidden House (Listed in the National Register in January 1995). The house was built in 1896 and features Victorian detailing (763 E. Moreland Street). Although George Hidden was the original owner, E. W. Akers, a librarian, owned it for many years. Two houses built ca. 1900 (1131 E. Moreland Street) and ca. 1902 (724 E. Portland Street) are vernacular houses with little or no stylistic embellishment. The fourth, a ca. 1905 dwelling (1101 N. 10th Street) features Classical Revival ornamentation. H. J. Plummer, an auctioneer, was an early resident of the house in 1918 but the original resident/owner is unknown. There may have been other houses built during this period but they are no longer extant. After 25 years, very little development had occurred in Brill’s Addition.
About 1909, Brill began selling parts of his undivided blocks between 11th and 12th streets to individuals who re-subdivided them for development. The subdivided parcels typically ranged from about three to six acres; some consisted of only three or four lots. Among the more noteworthy were Diamond Heights (1909), bounded by Roosevelt on the south, Portland on the north, and 11th and 12th streets. The subdivision included both sides of a new street in the district, Diamond Place. Another early subdivision was Douglas Place (1909) which consisted of the north side of E. Moreland Street between 11th and 12th streets. Several other new subdivisions (Vista, Mountain View, and La Grande) were carved from blocks in the northern part of Brill’s Addition by 1910. These lie outside the boundaries of the North Garfield Historic District.
All of these new subdivisions were configured so that the lots faced east-west streets. Notably, the La Grande and Vista subdivisions rearranged Brill’s original orientation, possibly to obtain more building lots. Later subdivisions in the addition tended to follow suit. In virtually all cases, re-subdivision resulted in more building lots. For instance, Stoner’s Subdivision (1912) turned two and a half lots into eight small ones. Likewise, Reser’s subdivision (1920) cut two lots into five.
The proliferation of subdivisions by 1909 indicated that development was imminent in the neighborhood and in 1910 the city of Phoenix annexed all of Brill’s Addition into the city limits.
Roosevelt Dam and Subsequent Development
The 1911 Sanborn Fire Insurance maps show Brill’s street and block configuration but did not detail any individual properties within the addition. The addition probably had a few scattered dwellings but their small numbers did not warrant full documentation by the company. That would change dramatically within a few years. The completion of Roosevelt Dam in 1911 improved mans ability to control the waters of the Salt River and establish more comprehensive and reliable irrigation for farming. The event promised an agricultural bonanza for the Valley and the impact on Phoenix’s population and development was immediate and intense. Hundreds of new families moved to the Valley; some moved to the new suburban additions to be closer to their irrigated fields. Still others made their living selling groceries, supplies, and contracting services to the new families. They, too, built houses in the new subdivisions which were close to the city center and accessible by streetcar line.
By 1915, four years after the dam’s completion, Sanborn maps show about 180 new houses in Brill’s Addition, 101 of which lay in the southern streets of the addition which are now included in the present North Garfield Historic District. Virtually all of the houses built between 1912 and 1915 were the then-popular Classical Revival and Craftsman bungalows which filled the 700-1100 blocks of Roosevelt, Portland, Moreland, and the 1000-1200 blocks of 9th and 10th streets in the district. City directories and other sources indicate that more houses were built by the end of 1915. Within the North Garfield segment of Brill’s Addition, approximately 29 new houses were built in 1915 alone.
Following great activity between 1912 and 1915, development in the district slowed a bit, possibly due to domestic building restrictions related to World War I. While 29 new houses were completed in 1915, only two were built in 1916 and one in 1917, at the height of the war. Residential growth rebounded in 1918 when 21 new houses were built. Only one house has been dated to 1919 in this survey. In all, at least 55 single family homes built in the North Garfield Historic District between 1912 and 1919 survive to the present. Again, these were largely Craftsman influenced bungalows in the western half of the present North Garfield Historic District.
Post-World War I Development
War restrictions were lifted and development started anew in the district by 1920. In that year alone, at least 39 single family houses and duplexes were built in North Garfield. Although more were undoubtedly built, at least 84 resources in the North Garfield Historic District survive from the period 1920-1929. The great majority, including the duplex, were Craftsman inspired bungalows. Some displayed no discernable style. The Pieri-Elliot House at 767 E. Moreland, is a rare Prairie School style dwelling in the district. Designed by A. J. Knapp and built in 1922, the house is listed in the Phoenix Historic Property Register and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in December 1983. One of the neighborhood’s first court’s appeared at 1116-1118 E. Portland in the 1920’s; it consisted of several identical apartments designed in the Southwest Style. Such courts would later become more common in both the Garfield and North Garfield Historic Districts. Other new property types in the district include the ca. 1925 1-part Commercial building at 1151 E. Moreland Street, which served as a neighborhood store, and a Mission Revival style church at 1013 N. 13th Street.
During the post-World War I building boom, much of the original Brill’s Addition was built to completion and development necessarily began moving toward the eastern half of the present North Garfield Historic District. Until 1920, residential development in the area was almost entirely limited to the western portion of the district, in the southern half of Brill’s Addition, possibly due to reliance on the streetcar which passed through the district along 10th Street. By 1920, however, automobiles were becoming more common and streetcar transportation no longer dictated where you lived.
In the early 1920’s, as Phoenix’s population grew, the eastern section of the district opened to intensive development when large blocks were re-subdivided for individual housing lots and new subdivisions were platted beyond 12th Street to the east. Some of the plats contained only a handful of lots. One of the first of the postwar additions was Albright Subdivision, which was a re-plat of lots 11 and 12 of the original Brill’s Addition Block 12. It contained only five lots; four fronted onto Moreland Street and the last fronted onto 11th Street. The following year, property owners in Block 9 of Brill’s Addition re-platted their tracts to form seven residential lots, six of which fronted onto Moreland Street. One of the larger projects at that time involved the owners of Block 19 of Brill’s Addition who platted the block into 32 lots (A Subdivision of Block 19 Brill Addition, 1920). They established eight lots each fronting onto Moreland Street, Portland Street, 11th Street and 12th Street.
With the exception of Block 19, most of the new plats were laid out with their lots fronting onto the east-west streets of Moreland Street, Portland Street, Diamond Street, and Roosevelt Street. The Belvedere Amended plat, filed in 1920, carved the 1200 block of Moreland into 24 lots, all fronting onto the east-west street (Belvedere Amended, 1920). The 1922 Sasse Addition extended eastward from Brill’s Addition. It established 24 lots on both sides of Moreland between 14th and 15th Streets. Another 12 lots were set along Belleview, to the north (now part of Interstate 10).
The Belvedere addition, in particular, experienced sustained development in the early 1920’s. Between 1920 and 1925, 18 houses were built in the 1200-1300 blocks of E. Moreland Street, east of Brill’s Addition. Their proximity to one another, their close completion dates, and the fact that they all follow the Craftsman style, indicates that it was a planned development on a scale rarely seen in the area to that date.
In the latter years of the 1920’s, Craftsman houses remained popular but Period Revival styles ascended in the neighborhood. In 1928, a Spanish Colonial Revival house was built at 1406 E. Moreland Street. Others followed in the early 1930’s when Tudor Revival, Southwest, and English Cottage styles began to outnumber the formerly dominant Craftsman styles. Another style that emerged in the neighborhood beginning in 1930 was the Early Ranch.
The neighborhood was eclectic in its mix of residents. A snapshot of the demographic composition in 1929 shows a number of salesmen such as E. H. Swant (1023 N. 11th Street) and D. E. Welch (1106 N. 14th Street), clerks including A. G. Alvarado (1317 E. Diamond Street), and accountants such as H. F. Nelson (1005 E. Moreland Street). Some were occupied in building trades such as plumber Leo Francis (1109 E. Diamond Street). A number of mechanics, including auto mechanic H. B. Grevillius (726 E. Portland, rear) and W. N. Ryker (1334 E. Roosevelt Street) lived in the district. Jack Reid was the grocer for the store at 1151 E. Moreland. Few professionals lived in the neighborhood but several public servants including police officer B. E. Smith (1116 E. Diamond Street) and the Deputy County Treasurer, Anna Hertz (1131 E. Moreland Street) made their homes in the district. Overall, the neighborhood appeared to be a mix of predominantly Anglo middle- and working-class families.
Development Continues in the Great Depression
By the 1930’s, the western half of the North Garfield Historic District was filled with single family houses, the majority of which exhibited Craftsman influenced ornament. With the exception of the 1300 block of Moreland, however, whole blocks in the eastern half of the district lay undeveloped. In the early 1930’s, Early Ranch, Southwest Style, Spanish Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival and English Cottage style houses began to appear in the 1300-1400 blocks of Diamond Street, Portland Street, and Moreland Street. Only 16 houses were built in the district between 1930 and 1934 and, while it is lower than earlier construction rates, it was probably more successful than other areas of the city during the Depression.
Beginning in the mid-1930’s, home buyers were offered federally insured loans that guaranteed mortgages to lenders. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans provided the necessary leverage for many home buyers to afford to build houses during the Depression. While there was a marked slowdown in house construction from 1931-1934, beginning in 1935, the district saw resurgence in home building. Eight new houses, sporting a variety of designs from Craftsman Bungalows, Early Ranch, and Southwest and Spanish Colonial Revival styles were built primarily on Moreland Street and Diamond Street in 1935.
One of the great success stories of the depression occurred in La Tourette Place, in the eastern part of the Garfield district. Platted in 1931, the subdivision was stymied by the poor economy and lay undeveloped for the next seven years. By the mid 1930’s, however, federally insured loans through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) were made available to qualified home buyers, opening a new market for residential construction.
These loans provided the necessary insurance to encourage builders to construct homes on a speculative basis in the latter years of the Great Depression. It was in this context that contractor Wright Davis and the A. B. Angle Lumber Company combined their efforts to build homes in the 1400-1500 blocks of Diamond Street in La Tourette Place. Between 1838 and 1940, Wright oversaw the completion of 34 homes in the 1400-1500 blocks of Diamond Street. All but one of the houses used FHA financing. Ultimately, 44 homes were completed in the 1400 and 1500 blocks of Diamond Street.
FHA loans may have been responsible for much of the other construction that took place in the eastern half of the North Garfield district, as well. Between 1938 and 1942, at least 66 new single family homes were built in North Garfield, primarily in the easternmost blocks of Moreland Street, Portland Street, and Diamond Street. However, La Tourette Place is the only significant area of the North Garfield Historic District that was promoted and developed under the federal mortgage insurance program. This represents a major building effort during the Great Depression and the first years of World War II.
By 1939, the country had suffered a decade of financial depression. Nevertheless, city directories showed that many families in the North Garfield Historic District managed to keep their homes. A random sampling of 34 addresses showed that about 40% of occupants throughout the district owned their own homes. They included A. L. Nesbit, manager of Arizona Dental (1022 N. 10th Street), C. N. Burlingham, a clerk for a power company (1109 N. 13th Street), E. L. Springer, a furrier (1122 N. 13th Place), J. B. Everett of Home Service Laundry (1414 E. Diamond Street), and salesman G. H. Blackford (1425 E. Portland Street).
Again, a variety of occupations were represented in the district. Many were in building trades or clerical positions. Plumber F. E. Castle (724 E. Portland Street) and cement plasterer David Hamilton (1429 E. Diamond Street) owned their own homes. Numerous bookkeepers (A. C. Long at 1018 N. 9th Street), accountants (J. H. Fraker at 1030 N. 9th Street), and clerks, including E. A. Hill (1118 N. 12th Street), who worked for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), lived in the district. As in 1929, few professionals lived in the district but a number of teachers and ministers resided there. Among them were Rev. R. B. Scott (1017 N. 13th Street), pastor of the Garfield Methodist Church and teachers J. M. Smelser, who owned his home at 1410 E. Moreland Street, and Lynnie Lackey (715 E. Portland Street).
Post World War II Development
In the postwar period, many new subdivisions opened in the Phoenix area but numerous vacancies remained in the North Garfield Historic District. Close to the downtown area, many people continued to build in the district, particularly in the eastern portion that had not been entirely finished by the outbreak of the war. As was true throughout Phoenix and, indeed, much of the country the Ranch Style dominated new construction design in the postwar period. In North Garfield, Ranch variations included Early or Transitional Ranch, French Provincial, and, simply, Ranch styles. An International Style duplex and a Southwest Style house were built in 1945, but the great majority of houses built in the area between 1945 and 1955 displayed some type of Ranch Style attributes.
By 1955, the Garfield neighborhood was largely built out and many homes were owner-occupied. Of a random sampling of 47 addresses, nearly 60% (28) were owner-occupied. The district remained eclectic but solidly middle- and working-class in its demographics. Many building contractors and mechanics lived in the district as did clerks, accountants, teachers and nurses. More single women were heads of household including Harriet Kosinski, a hospital aide who owned her duplex at 1114 N. 10th Street, Roberta Brogdon, a pianist and piano teacher who owned her house at 1441 E. Diamond Street, Anna Marty who owned her duplex at 1119 E. Moreland Street, and Flora Gossard who owned her house at 1109 E. Diamond Street. The district remained largely Anglo, though some Hispanic surnames could be found in city directories.
Although some single family houses were built in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s, a number of lots were developed or redeveloped as apartment buildings. By 2000, a new wave of single family construction occurred in the neighborhood. Some of the older houses were torn down and replaced with new houses, many of which adopted bungalow characteristics in size and style. Numerous side-gabled bungalows with shed-roofed dormers were built in the neighborhood, especially on Moreland Street, between 2000 and 2008.
More disruptive to the neighborhood than scattered new construction and redevelopment was the construction of Interstate 10 through the northern part of the Brill Addition and adjacent subdivisions. Planned and laid out in the mid-1950’s, and revised in 1960, the freeway was hotly contested, more for its gargantuan design than for its destruction of hundreds of buildings in its path. In the North Garfield area additions, the freeway construction that took place over several decades eradicated entire blocks north of Moreland Street disrupting the building fabric and tranquility of the remaining neighborhood. Today, a noise-dampening concrete wall defines the northern edge of North Garfield, separating the neighborhood from the massive interstate highway.
Architectural History In Garfield Historic District
Although Brill’s Addition was platted in 1887 and the streetcar line came through the addition by 1895, only one house in the North Garfield Historic District appears to date from the late 19th century. Built in 1896, the house at 763 E. Moreland Street is an example of late Victorian design, of which very few are still standing in Phoenix. Notably, the house was built the year after the streetcar line was established along 10th Street, only a few blocks away. A few other houses in the neighborhood date from about 1900 to about 1905. The ca. 1900 house at 1131 E. Moreland Street is another Victorian style house with a projecting ell and bay window. Houses from this period were either on the streetcar line or only a few blocks from it.
The completion of Roosevelt Dam in 1911 incited growth throughout In the Valley but several years passed before the building boom reached the North Garfield Historic District. A few pyramidal roofed cottages with half-facade inset porches supported by Classical order columns were built in the district about 1912. An example is the house at 1027 N. 9th Street, which has an overarching pyramidal roof, a hipped dormer, and half-facade inset porch supported by square Doric columns.
By 1915, however, Phoenix’s growth finally spread to Brill’s Addition. Sanborn Fire Insurance maps show numerous houses in the blocks of Portland and Moreland closest to the streetcar line along 10th. Tenth Street received significant growth, as did 9th Street, one block away. A time of tremendous growth, the district filled with Craftsman-influenced bungalows, a style that gained widespread popularity throughout the country. Most bungalows were rectangular in plan and featured two adjacent rows of rooms, one relegated for private use (bedrooms, bathrooms), and the other for public use (living room, dining room, kitchen). Hallmarks of the Craftsman bungalow are exposed structural members such as rafter ends, purlins, and knee braces. Porches were typically supported by tapered wood posts set on brick piers.
The bungalow enjoyed a long period of favor with the American people and that is clearly reflected in the North Garfield Historic District. Of 116 extant buildings constructed in the North Garfield Historic District between 1915 and 1925, 98 exhibit predominantly Craftsman characteristics. Of the remaining number, 15 have no particular style, one house can be classified as Prairie Style, and one is a Southwest style residential court. The final property from that time period is a commercial building. These figures show the overwhelming popularity of the Craftsman bungalow in North Garfield during its first period of substantial growth. Good examples include the house at 1026 N. 10th Street, 1022 N. 9th Street, 1005 E. Moreland Street, 1033 E. Moreland Street, and 720-722 E. Portland Street.
The Bungalow remained popular through the 1920’s though other styles made inroads in the district. By the last years of the 1920’s, Period Revivals including Spanish and Tudor Revival styles gained favor. In 1926, a Mission Revival church was built at 1013 N. 13th Street. Small Southwest style apartment courts appeared in the district. Among them are those at 1132-1134 E. Portland Street and 1136-1138 E. Portland Street. Construction in the district continued throughout the Great Depression, particularly in the eastern section. Widespread automobile use reduced the necessity for building on or near the streetcar line and new houses, many with garages, began to appear in the 1400-1500 blocks of E. Moreland Street, E. Portland Street, and E. Diamond Street. Period Revivals remained in vogue but Early Ranch style houses began appearing in the eastern half of the district.
Between 1938 and 1942, a major housing development occurred on Diamond Street, aided by government backed mortgages made possible by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). This section of the North Garfield Historic District possesses a wide variety of residential architectural styles from the period. Although Southwest, Spanish Colonial, and Tudor Revival houses were built in the 1400-1500 blocks of E. Diamond Street, Early Ranch homes and French Provincial Ranch houses appeared, as well. Several International Style and Moderne houses were also built in the district.
After World War II, different varieties of Ranch Style houses filled in the gaps throughout the district which was almost completely built up by 1955. By the mid-1960’s, parts of the district suffered redevelopment with apartment complexes replacing single family houses, particularly in older parts of the neighborhood. More recently, new bungalows have replaced older ones in the district, especially on Moreland Street.
Source: Garfield Organization and;
Historical Information provided courtesy:
Historic Preservation Office of the City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department
200 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85003
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