Tag Archives: Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods

A History of a Historic Preservation Advocate

G.G. George, the Phoenix author of the new book, “The Arizona State Fair,” has a history of preservation activism dating back to the 1960’s and remains an active voice in the historic community today for Historic Phoenix Districts.

districts,historic,phoenix,real estate,G.G. George,neighborhood,encanto palmcroft,encanto park,neighborhood,“G.G. George is the Energizer Bunny of historic preservation,” said Kathryn Leonard, the Arizona State Historic Preservation Officer.

Most recent, the Norton House and all of Encanto Park were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This completed a project led by George, the president and founder of the Encanto Citizens Association, and the president of the Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods Coalition, to put the entire Encanto Neighborhood on the National Register, which was started in the 1970’s.

And these are only a few of her accomplishments.

“G.G. has always been an extremely valuable voice in the historic preservation movement in Phoenix and it dates back to when all of our historic districts downtown were considered blighted, and nobody wanted to live in them,” said Leonard.

Papago Freeway

George began her work back in 1969 when she heard the plan to construct the I-10 Papago Freeway was displacing residents from their homes. These homes were in the area known as the Moreland Corridor, located between McDowell and Roosevelt Streets and Central and 19th Avenue.

At the time, the Arizona Highway Department, now known as the Arizona Department of Transportation, was offering homeowners less than what their houses were worth so that they could begin construction on the freeway, according to George.

“The freeway fight spurred preservation awareness,” said George. “The homes they were tearing down in the Moreland Corridor were just as nice as this house, just as old and even older,” said George, referring to her home in the Encanto-Palmcroft neighborhood.

George was invited to a meeting by a group known as Citizens for Mass Transit Against Freeways which included a group of concerned neighbors who wanted to make a difference. George attended the meetings, heard the stories from the people who lost their homes, and wanted to help in some way.

“She really was instrumental in saying ‘Hey, these houses have value,’” said Leonard.

According to George, the people in this neighborhood had no idea there was anything they could do to stop the construction of the freeway until a few activists organized the neighborhood. Nearly 2,000 neighbors came together to express their dissent against the construction.

In 1973, a vote appeared on the ballot which determined the fate of the freeway. The Citizens for Mass Transit Against Freeways and preservation advocates won their first battle when construction of the freeway was voted down.

The Department of Transportation had to scrap their original plan for the Papago Freeway, which led to the development of a new plan of an I-10 tunnel under Margaret T. Hance Park.

Arizona State Fairgrounds

Over the years, George has worked on countless other efforts to preserve historic buildings. Most recent, when the Works Progress Administration (WPA) building, located on the Arizona State Fairgrounds near Fairview Place Historic District, was threatened with demolition, George supported the effort to save it.

George wrote “The Arizona State Fair,” a book that chronicles the history of the fairgrounds from its formation in 1905 through the Great Depression when the WPA building was built. George wrote the book “to stimulate interest in the preservation of the buildings and the grounds.” According to George, the profit from the books goes toward historic preservation efforts.

“I devote all my time, research, and writing ability to the [Encanto] citizens association who gets the profits from these books to carry on our work,” said George.

According to Jim McPherson, president of the board of directors for the Arizona Preservation Foundation, George was very supportive of this effort from both a preservation and neighborhood standpoint.

“We have been really appreciative of G.G. in undertaking that major project,” said McPherson regarding George’s book.

Moving forward, George said that she will continue to fight to preserve the integrity of historic districts.

“If we don’t understand the past we can’t even plan for the future,” said George.

Historic Roosevelt Home 2017 Tour Explores Phoenix’s Rich History

The annual Historic Roosevelt Neighborhood Home Tour will be taking place Sunday, November 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Presented by the Roosevelt Action Association, this tour will feature many historic properties in Phoenix’s “first suburb.”

Craftsman Bungalow,Historic,Phoenix,Roosevelt,neighborhood,District,real estate

A perfect example of an early twentieth century home in Roosevelt Historic District

The tour will take you through neighborhoods built in the late 19th century to the 1930s, from McDowell to Van Buren, and Central to 7th Avenue. This tour will explore the history of the featured homes as well as the turn of the century architecture, including bungalows, Neoclassical, Tudor, Period Revival and Southwest Vernacular homes.

The Roosevelt Neighborhood was the first neighborhood in Phoenix to receive historic designation, one of 35 historic neighborhoods in Phoenix. It is considered the city’s first suburb, and was the home to several prominent early Phoenicians.

Learn about the residents, the historic architecture, and so much more as you walk down the 100-year old streets alongside towering, century-old palm trees and explore the rich history of Phoenix.

The Roosevelt Action Association holds this informative historic home tour every year to promote the understanding of Phoenix’s past, and to foster neighborhood pride. There will also be food trucks and a craft fair, making this a perfect family event.

The self-guided tour tickets are $13 through Nov. 18 and $16 day of event. Guests can buy tickets to tour guided by “hip historian” Marshall Shore for $22 through Nov. 18 and $25 day of event.

If you go:

What: The Historic Home Tour
When: Sunday, November 19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where:  Between McDowell and Van Buren, from 7th to Central Avenues.
Tickets: Buy online through Nov. 18 or at the event on Nov. 19. Visit rooseveltneighborhood.org

The Historic Roosevelt Neighborhood is a modern name for a series of historic neighborhoods that grew North of the city between 1893 and 1930 and it spans from McDowell to Van Buren and from Central Ave to 7th Avenue. Every year, The Roosevelt Action Association hosts a family friendly and informative historical home tour where you can explore turn-of-the-century architecture (Bungalows, Neoclassical, Tudor, Period Revival and Southwest Vernacular Homes).

Metro Phoenix’s Hottest Intersections to Live, Work and Play

Metro Phoenix’s Hottest Intersections to Live, Work and Play

Uptown Phoenix was a hot spot for restaurants, shops and clubs in the 1970’s and ’80’s.

Then the cachet fizzled a bit as the Valley’s suburbs boomed.

But Camelback Road and Central Avenue, the heart of Phoenix’s uptown area, as well as Phoenix’s Midtown area, are back as a thriving hub for popular restaurants, cool boutiques, office space, light rail and historic neighborhoods and their homes.

Downtown Phoenix, AZ Historic District

Central Avenue Corridor

It’s now the Valley’s most popular intersection, according to a new poll among real-estate and growth experts.

Urban Land Institute Arizona members recently voted the central Phoenix spot the “hottest intersection” in metro Phoenix. It beat out Phoenix’s Camelback and 24th Street, an area that garnered the title the last time the group voted a decade ago.

“Camelback and Central has old buildings with great design, diversity and very supportive neighbors,” said Craig DeMarco, restaurateur and a founder of Upward Projects, at the Urban Land contest last week. “It’s the only intersection in the entire Valley with four historic neighborhoods surrounding it.”

Camelback and Central didn’t even make Urban Land’s top 10 list for hottest intersections in 2007.

A lot has changed since then. A boom and bust, light rail and a move toward an urban lifestyle by more Valley residents have shifted our growth.

Plus, DeMarco’s group has opened five restaurants, including a Postino, Windsor and Federal Pizza, around Camelback and Central over the past decade.

Other rankings on Urban Land’s top 10 list:

  • Downtown Tempe’s Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway was voted No. 2 in the hot-intersection contest. The popular urban hub moved from third a decade ago. Matt Mooney, managing director of Cousins Properties, pointed out that Tempe led the nation for filling existing office space with tech firms from 2014-16.
  • Scottsdale and Camelback roads came in at No. 3, after hitting No. 2 the last time. Real-estate attorney Jordan Rose, who has an office at this Scottsdale intersection, said people can shop, eat, work, vacation, get their hair done and even buy a Tesla at Camelback and Scottsdale.
  • Chandler’s bustling Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard tied for fourth. Danny Plapp of LGE Design Build pitched the area for its $70,000 median household income, office space, new apartments and jobs. “A younger, richer and hipper generation wants to live in new suburbs like Chandler,” he told the crowd. “Just look at San Tan Brewery’s sales at this intersection.”
  • Phoenix’s 24th Street and Camelback intersection and the Camelback Corridor tied for fourth. The area is still a hot spot of offices, hotels, shopping and eateries but has a lot more competition now.
  • At No. 5 is the Scottsdale Road and Greenway Hayden Loop area, near the city’s popular airport. Danielle Casey, Scottsdale economic-development director, said there are often “celebrity sightings” at the airport and in the area. The intersection didn’t make the list the last time.
  • Downtown Phoenix’s Central Avenue and Roosevelt near Roosevelt Historic District ranked No. 6 after not making the list a decade ago. The area, known as Roosevelt Row, has recently emerged as a hub for new apartments, condos, cool restaurants, historic renovations and light rail.
  • Washington Street and Central Avenue in the heart of downtown Phoenix ranked No. 7, down from No. 5. The city’s many new high-rises are attracting more residents and offices. ASU’s downtown Phoenix expansion near Garfield Historic District is helping.
  • Gilbert Road and Vaughn Avenue in restaurant-rich downtown Gilbert came in at No. 8. The Gilbert intersection didn’t make the previous list.
  • Phoenix’s 44th Street and Camelback in Arcadia’s prime intersection made the list at No. 9, another new Valley area for the ranking.

Because of the tie, there was no No. 10.

Four intersections that made the top 10 in 2007 didn’t make the new ranking: Scottsdale Road and Mayo Boulevard; 95th and Glendale avenues; 99th Avenue and McDowell Road; and Price and Willis roads.

I thought DeMarco summed up the test for ranking metro Phoenix hot spots really well.

“We have restaurants around most of the intersections on this list,” he said.

“I don’t look at numbers. I just drive around looking for the coolest neighborhoods.”

To buy or sell a historic Phoenix Home, contact Historic Homes Specialist, Laura B. today at 602-400-0008. Read about Laura B. here from her client testimonials.

Vintage Culture Expanding In Downtown Phoenix

May 2, 2016, 6:00pm MST

Anyone who has driven through downtown Phoenix recently has seen the construction on every corner and dozens of new restaurants and coffee shops.

Contrastingly, if they drive four miles north of downtown along 7th Avenue, they’ll encounter a neighborhood with rich history and 20-year-old small businesses surrounded by historic districts like Woodlea and Pierson Place.

Melrose on 7th,Phoenix,Downtown,Central

The Melrose District In Downtown Phoenix, AZ

The Melrose District, nestled between Camelback and Indian School roads, is a place to shop for vintage clothing and antiques, eat at locally-owned restaurants and service your car at an old-school auto body shop. It might stick out like a sore thumb in comparison to the new developments downtown, but that’s exactly what has made the district so successful over the years.

Melrose prides itself on being “a shining star in the Metro Phoenix area,” but what really shines is the rich vintage culture there. What makes vintage work so well in the Valley? Some store owners in the district say it’s because of Phoenix’s unique history, the supportive community and being able to adapt to change.

Phoenix’s unique history

More people are buying and selling vintage artifacts than ever before, according to a study by The Association of Resale Professionals. In fact, the U.S. resale industry has seen an average growth of 7 percent each year since 2012. Many cities have hopped on the vintage trend, and Phoenix in particular has become a destination for some of the best quality vintage at a cheap price.

Arizona’s southwestern roots make it a prime location to find vintage vests, cowboy boots and denim. Phoenix specifically is well-known for its mid-century modern architecture, which makes vintage furniture highly sought after too.

Retro Ranch owner Indigo Hunter said customers often come through her store looking for 50’s, 60’s and 70’s pieces.

“A lot of people have ranch-style homes, and the furniture works in it because it’s scaled properly,” she said.

Sarah Bingham, co-owner of Antique Sugar, said high rates of retirement and the ideal climate in Arizona also benefit the vintage culture.

“People come here to retire from all over the country, and then when they get here they have all their fabulous clothes,” she said.

Due to the abundance of vintage clothing in Arizona, Bingham said store owners can afford to sell their merchandise for cheaper prices than you’d find in Los Angeles or New York.

“And the climate’s really good…we don’t lose a lot of our stuff to rot because it’s dry here,” she said.

The district’s supportive community

The tight-knit community within the Melrose District is another reason vintage culture has lasted in the Valley. The majority of the district is made up of passionate small business owners as opposed to “big boxes,” as Hunter calls them.

“A lot of those are vintage and antique shops, and you kind of feel like that’s our tribe,” she said.

Bingham said she’s been to other towns where the resale industry is cutthroat, but that’s not the case in the district.

“We actually go out for cocktails with all the shop owners often,” she said.

Jeanne Wiesley, the owner of Pearly Mae’s, agreed that the Melrose community is uniquely friendly. Wiesley moved her store to the district in 2014 and said she was instantly welcomed with support.

“Everybody encourages everyone else’s success,” she said.

For instance, if she doesn’t have an item that a customer is looking for, Wiesley said she will happily send them to another store in the area because they would do the same.

Michael Hardesty said he experienced a similar camaraderie when he bought one of the largest vintage stores in the district, Zinnias at Melrose, in 2009. Hardesty even received advice from some of the shop owners on the ins and outs of the neighborhood and how to make his business last.

Adapting to a changing environment

Despite the district’s overall success over the past two decades, not all businesses have stood the test of time.

“Stores are going to come and go, and that’s not necessarily a red flag,” Hardesty said. “It’s just life.”

“Everything’s changing all the time,” Hunter said. “You pretty much always have to stay on your toes and be aware of what’s going on.”

One way Hunter and the other store owners have kept their businesses alive is by going online to cater to a younger demographic. For some of the owners, the prospect of going online is intimidating initially, given their longtime comfort with in-person interactions. Even so, having a digital presence has helped financially.

Wiesley said she recently started selling more of her inventory through Ebay and Etsy accounts during the summer.

“It’s a new world for me, but if it pays the bills we’re going to do it,” she said.

Another way vintage stores in the district have adapted is by pushing heavily on social media. In lieu of print advertising, Hardesty said he advertises aggressively on social media and through email campaigns.

Social media has helped a lot and really developed our brand,” he said.

For stores that make a living off of vintage artifacts, developing a strong brand is particularly important with all of the new development downtown. Fortunately, the vintage store owners see more opportunities from Phoenix’s development than threats.

Bingham, who recently relocated her store from the district to a new downtown building, said business is better than ever. In fact, she credits the changing environment to some of the store’s recent success.

“I say the more people the better,” Bingham said.

Wiesley moved to Phoenix in 1979, when she said people hardly ever went downtown. With the recent revitalization taking place, she’s shocked to see so many people walking around.

“I would rather have a high-rise there and show growth and potential in what our city can be to young and old,” she said.

Hunter is also in support of the developing culture, but cautions against too much change.

“I know that they’re building up downtown, but we still have to take care of the culture and the small business and not make it too corporate,” Hardesty said. “People are in business to make money, so it’s tough.”

Phoenix’s recent cultivation coupled with the need to grow digitally to continue making profits presents new-age opportunity to an old-age culture. But with a supportive community and unique history to back it up, the owners believe Phoenix’s vintage culture will continue to prosper.

“I think there’s always going to be a place for vintage,” Wiesley said.