Monday, August 20, 2007

2007 Most Endangered Historic Places announced by Arizona Preservation Foundation

The Arizona Preservation Foundation has released its 2007 list of Arizona’s most endangered historic places. Compiled by preservation professionals and historians, the list identifies critically endangered cultural resources of major historical significance to the state. “Each of the sites we have named are important historic landmarks in Arizona, but unfortunately are in grave danger of collapse, demolition, or destruction,” said Vince Murray, APF Board President. “It is critical that residents and government officials act now to save these elements of their cultural heritage before it’s too late.”

If you are interested in ensuring a listing’s preservation, please send us an e-mail. We appreciate any and all feedback.

The 2007 list adds to APF's 2006 Most Endangered Places List. Click here to view updates on progress made or not made to the twelve properties listed last year.

APF is Arizona’s only nonprofit statewide historic preservation organization. Founded in 1979, APF is dedicated to preserving Arizona's historical, archaeological, architectural, and cultural resources. APF offers a variety of services and programs, including: Governor’s Heritage Preservation Awards; conferences and workshops on topics such as heritage tourism, adobe conservation, maintenance of historic properties, and government ordinances' impact on local preservation; speaker’s bureau for groups and classes; and Arizona’s Most Endangered Places List.

October 2007 Update:

Arizona State University Historic Properties

Arizona State University was established in 1885 as a teachers college on twenty acres of a former cow pasture donated by local residences. It became Arizona State College in 1945 and Arizona State University in 1958. Throughout the twentieth century, the university’s life was symbiotic to the history of Tempe and the State of Arizona. This legacy is reflected in the varying styles of architecture located on and around the Tempe campus.

In 2003, Ryden Architects conducted a study of historic preservation policy and procedures on ASU-owned historic properties. The Ryden report states that ASU is in disagreement with the Tempe Historic Preservation Commission and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) as to the National Register of Historic Places eligibility of over a dozen historic buildings in their possession. Four of the buildings mentioned in the report have already been demolished.

With the precedence set for demolition of historic structures that the university does not see as historic, whether lawfully or otherwise, the following properties on or adjacent to the Tempe campus are at risk (National Register properties astericked): Harrington/Birchett House (1895); Industrial Arts/Anthropology Building (1914)*; Matthews Hall (1925)*; Men's Gymnasium (1927); and Matthews Library (1930); B.B. Moeur Activity Building (1939)*; Center for Family Studies (1939); Irish Hall (1940); Lyceum Theater (1940); West Hall (1940); Dixie Gammage Hall (1941); Science/Agriculture Building (1948).

[For more information, contact Joe Nucci, historic preservation officer, City of Tempe, at 480-350-8870 or e-mail. Photo source of West Hall: Vince Murray.]

February 2008 Update:

Buckhorn Baths

In 1939 Ted and Alice Sliger established the baths unknowing that their efforts to make a living of the natural mineral waters would help to establish the East Salt River Valley as a mecca for spring training. In 1947, the New York Giants made the Buckhorn Baths their spring training home and continued to do so for over twenty-five years. Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Gaylord Perry, Leo Durocher and others were regulars at the Baths. The Sligers established a post office, bus stop, water hole, museum, and motel, which they operated for over sixty-five years.

Also known as the Buckhorn Mineral Wells and Wildlife Museum, the latter moniker due to an immense taxidermy collection, the baths have been closed for years. Ted has passed away and Alice is a century old. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the location of the Buckhorn Baths makes it a prime target for development, and speculation is rampant that this part of Mesa and Arizona’s early history will soon be replaced by a Wal-Mart.

[For more information, contact Ronald L. Peters, Mesa Historic Preservation Commission, at 480-833-6066 or e-mail.]

September 2007 Update:

Camp Naco

This adobe compound was constructed by the U.S. military between 1919 and 1923, as part of the War Department's Mexican Border Defense construction project -- a plan to build a 1,200-mile barrier along the border. After the camp closed, the Civilian Conservation Corps used the complex in the 1930s for staging projects in southeast Arizona. Over the next several decades, the property owners used the structures as rental housing. In 1990, VisionQuest purchased the property for a rehabilitation camp for wayward youth. The rezoning was denied and the camp has remained vacant ever since.

VisionQuest donated the property to the Town of Huachuca City in 2006. By that time, the property had been heavily degraded due to neglect. Many of the adobe structures are eroded from exposure to the elements. The roof of one of the barracks has caved in, and other buildings merely ruins. In May 2006, arson destroyed four of the non-commissioned officer buildings and damaged the roof of a fifth. Presently, unchecked vegetation is threatening the foundation of buildings and increasing the danger of fire.

[For more information, contact J.C. Mutchler, chair, Camp Naco Arizona Preservation Committee, at 520-458-8278, ext. 2186 or e-mail.]

November 2007 Update:

Empire Ranch

Located in the 42,000-acre Las Cienegas National Conservation Area and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Empire Ranch traces its history to the 1870s, when a 160-acre quarter section homestead was purchased by Walter Vail and Herbert Hilsop. At the time, the ranch house was a four-room adobe, with a zaguan (breezeway) that passed between the rooms into the corral. By the turn of the century, the ranch covered almost a million acres and the house had grown to twenty-two rooms. The Vail family lived in the home through the 1920s. In 1928, Boice, Gates & Johnson, a large ranching enterprise, purchased several ranches including the Empire Ranch, where the Frank Boice family lived and became sole owners in 1951. The Boices ranched the property until the 1970s, though it was sold for development in the late 1960s. In 1988, the Bureau of Land Management acquired the property through a public-private land swap and designated the ranch lands as a natural conservation area, which it remains today.

The Empire Ranch Foundation has worked for over a decade to preserve the ranch house and outbuildings, including emergency repairs and stabilization. This work was performed in expectation of BLM funds that were anticipated for the preservation, but have since become highly limited. Currently, there are a number of structural problems with the site: a wall of the ranch house (1871-1878) is in danger of collapse due to a sagging foundation; the foundation, flooring, and walls of the children's addition (1886) are unstable; the south lintel of the zaguan is sagging due to water damage; concrete is trapping moisture in the adobe walls and needs to be replaced with lime and plaster.

[For more information, contact Christine Auerbach, administrator, Empire Ranch Foundation, at 520-370-6055 or e-mail.]

Glendale Tract Community Center

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and built in 1937 to function as a social hall, the Glendale Tract Community Center is a 1,900 square foot adobe structure located at 5027 West Waite Place in Glendale. The social hall (pictured at left) was built to serve the surrounding neighborhood -- a residential subdivision developed by the Resettlement Administration, a New Deal Agency. During the Great Depression, the Roosevelt Administration created the 24-home Glendale Tract subdivision as part of a plan to relocate displaced farmers and unemployed urban workers to planned, part-time subsistence farm projects where they could help themselves by growing their own crops. The current nationally recognized historic district consists of 13 of the original houses and the community center, all of which are a rare example of New Deal programs in Arizona, specifically in Glendale.

The current owners want to redevelop the parcel, demolishing the community center and constructing eight-residential units. While the City of Glendale has rejected the initial plans for the site, it's only because the city will not allow more than five residential structures to be built. The owner needs eight residences to make their project viable, however, if they can make due with a smaller number of residences, there is little to stop the destruction of this rare, New Deal building.

[For more information, contact Ron Short, historic preservation officer, City of Glendale, at 623-930-2592 or e-mail.]

Havasu Hotel

Built in 1913, the Havasu Hotel is one of three remaining Fred Harvey hotels built in Arizona along the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad (now the Burlington Northern Santa Fe). La Posada in Winslow and the Fray Marcos in Williams have been restored, but the Havasu, located in the unincorporated town of Seligman, has remained long abandoned. While locals would like to see the hotel restored to its former glory, they've been unable to raise the necessary funds. Now the owners have decided to demolish this rare remnant of an earlier transportation era.

[Photo source: Dan Lutzick, who is currently working to restore the El Garces Hotel in Needles, CA.]

December 2007 Update:

Kerr Cultural Center

The center was built by Louise Lincoln Kerr, the "Grand Lady of Arizona Music," in the 1950s as a home and studio. Kerr was instrumental in the development of a myriad of cultural organizations in Flagstaff and the Phoenix area and built the center from adobe dug at the site. The daughter of John C. Lincoln, who financed the Camelback Inn and the hospital that bears his name, Kerr bequeathed her home and the studio, which is a theatre that seats 250, as well as her manuscripts to Arizona State University.

Once located out in the desert north of Scottsdale, the urban area surrounding the Kerr Cultural Center and adjacent properties has been developed into condominiums. This development has drastically driven up property values and recently there have been fewer acts booked at the center. A local grassroots organization, the Concerned Citizens for the Kerr Cultural Center, fears that the owners, ASU, may be approached to sell the property to developers.

[For more information, contact Patricia Myers, Concerned Citizens for the Kerr Cultural Center, c/o P.O. Box 4201, Scottsdale, AZ 85261-4201.]

January 2008 Update:

Kingman Multiple Resources

In 1986, the citizens of Kingman celebrated the announcement of a multitude of historic properties being added to the National Register of Historic Places. However, since that time, some of these properties have been subjected to abuses and neglect less than deserving of nationally recognized historic treasures.

The local parish owns both the J. B. Wright House (1900) and the historic St. Mary's Church (1906), pictured at left. The former was listed on the Most Endangered Places List in 2005, but removed in 2006 when parish leadership assured APF that they intended to preserve the building. However, APF recently learned that church Pastor James Alling has changed his mind and decided that the site would be more beneficial to the church as a parking lot. Both buildings have a long, incredible association with the history of Kingman that the parish has now decided to turn its back to.

A third property in the Kingman MRA is also slated for the wrecking ball. The Mohave County Hospital was built in 1922. At the time of its National Register nomination, it was no longer a hospital, but instead was the county sheriff's annex. When the sheriff's office moved out, the property became derelict. Both the county and the city now want to tear down the building, though the city would like to salvage the facade. Neither is acceptable.

[For more information on the J.B. Wright House and St. Mary's Church, contact St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church at 928-753-6989. For information on the Mohave County Hospital, contact the County Manager’s Office at 928-753-0729 or Bill Shilling, historic preservation officer, City of Kingman, at 928-753-8159 or e-mail. Photo source: Vince Murray.]

May 2008 Update

  • Pastor James Alling has been replaced by Father Matthew Krempel. St. Mary's has no plans to demolish the 1906 Church. The Church is currently in use as a perpetual adoration chapel.

September 2007 Update

Maple Ash Neighborhood

Tempe's Maple Ash Neighborhood consists of three subdivisions in proximity to Arizona State University. In this area is the largest concentration of historic resources in the city. The Gage Addition, Park Tract, and College View subdivisions are significant as one of the oldest surviving neighborhoods in Tempe. The area is adjacent to downtown Tempe, Arizona State University, and Tempe St. Luke's Hospital, each of which have exerted pressure on the neighborhood at various times in the past.

While the city historic preservation office and a majority of the homeowners in the neighborhood would like to have a historic district zoning overlay placed on the neighborhood, the property is zoned multi-family and many of the owners would prefer to develop their properties. Without some kind of control, local preservation advocates see the historic character of the neighborhood, and with it any potential National Register of Historic Places designation, in jeopardy. According to one homeowner, "In five years, there will be very little left."

[For more information, contact Joe Nucci, historic preservation officer, City of Tempe, at 480-350-8870 or e-mail. Photo source: Durrant Williams.]

September 2007 Update:

Marist College

The Marist College is a three-story structure built in 1915 by Manual Flores, a Tucson contractor. A component of the downtown precinct of the Diocese of Tucson, the school provided a Catholic education for boys from elementary school to high school sophomore year. It was an educational facility until 1968, when it became office space for the Diocese of Tucson. It has been vacant since 2002.

The Marist College is threatened by structural destabilization caused by the collapse of two corners and the cracking of a third. Deterioration is due to water penetration that comes from leaks in the roof and from the scupper and downspout drainage system. A replastering three decades ago with a plasticized composite stucco (Tuff-Tex) has cracked and spalled, allowing water to penetrate the walls but preventing the adobe from drying. Emergency bracing has temporarily stabilized the building, but there is a clear and present danger of collapse if a permanent solution is not implemented.

[For more information, contact Teresita Majewski, chair of the Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission, by e-mail. Photo source: Peg Price.]

September 2007 Update:

Old U.S. 80 Bridge (Gillespie Dam Bridge)

Located on the Gila River below the community of Arlington and adjacent to the Gillespie Dam, the bridge, though obsolete, has been in continuous use for eighty years. The bridge went into service in 1927 as an all-weather crossing of the Gila River. As part of U.S. 80, the bridge was a component in the early transcontinental highway system. Listed on the National Register, the bridge possesses a high degree of integrity and provides a local transportation corridor for daily travel and during times of high water on the Gila River. It’s also the only suspension bridge in Maricopa County and one of very few in Arizona.

The bridge is in danger of failure and catastrophic loss due to bent steel truss compression members, deficient roller bearings that distribute weight and adjust thermal stresses, and the potential of washout during a significant flood event. Action is needed to repair and restore the structure so it can continue to be used and appreciated for the future.

[For more information, contact the Maricopa County Department of Transportation at 602-506-8600.]

Sage Memorial Hospital School of Nursing

The Ganado Mission was established in 1901 by the Presbytery of Arizona through the Board of Home Missions. A decade later, the board approved a 12-bed hospital at Ganado. This was the first non-governmental funded hospital on an Indian reservation in the U.S. Approximately 60 buildings were built before 1957, including: first manse, the first building on the site (1903) used as a residence, church, and school; Adobe West (1911), a dormitory built to accommodate boys and girls, a teacher's residence, a kitchen, pantry, and dining room; Dining Hall (1920) one of the oldest and largest two-story adobe structures in the U.S., and the largest adobe structure in Arizona; and Almira College (1929), the first public school in Apache County. The Sage Memorial Hospital School of Nursing was the nation's first accredited nursing training program for Native American women.

Over the last three decades, drainage issues have detrimentally affected the foundations of some of the structures due to uncontrolled runoff and soil expansion. Unabated, the differential settlement may cause the foundations to shift and the structures to fail. The wiring in the buildings is outdated, and in some cases a hundred years old, creating potential fire hazards, and a water storage reservoir does not hold enough water for fire protection.

[For more information, contact Reverend Kenneth Moe at 602-468-3820 or e-mail.]

San Ysidro Ranch Ruins

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975, the San Ysidro Hacienda was the home of Jose Maria Redondo, an early Arizona pioneer. The ranch once contained over 2,000 acres, but subsequent to the death of Redondo in 1878, his family could not make a claim to more than 160 under American homestead laws; not enough land to support the hacienda's extensive agricultural operations and it quickly fell into ruin.

The site once contained the adobe ruins of the main ranch house, a two-story mill, and rubble mounds; the original headquarters included a cane mill, numerous storehouses, workhouses, stables, carriage house, and harness house; and houses for approximately a hundred laborers' families built outside walled the headquarters. Named for the patron saint of agriculture, it was the first large non-Indian irrigated farm in Arizona with twenty-seven miles of canals and ditches bringing water from Gila River. While the National Register nomination kept the location of the ruins secret, recent urban development has encroached on the site and the ruins are now at risk. The property is currently owned by the Archaeological Conservancy, who are powerless to protect it.

September 2007 Update:

[For more information, contact the Archaeological Conservancy at 505-266-540. Photo source: Lorraine LeRoy Merkel.]

Second Pinal County Courthouse

On March 1, 1890, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors hired architect J.M. Creighton to design a second county courthouse that would represent their belief in future prosperity of the county through mining and agriculture. The following February, the courthouse was completed. Built in American-Victorian architecture and totaling 15,000 square feet the building housed the offices of the Board of Supervisors, the Recorder, the Treasurer, and the Assessor. The Sheriff’s Office and jail occupied the back end of the first floor. The clock tower was constructed, but there was not enough money to finance the installation of working clocks. So, clock facings were added, with the time set at 11:44.

A new county structure was built in 1961 and many of the county offices moved into it. Later abandoned, the 1891 courthouse fell into disrepair. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the structure is desperate need of stabilization and repair. The roof leaks to the point of needing a water collection system on the second floor. Water damage is destroying the masonry, and millions of dollars will be necessary to bring the courthouse back to its former glory. However, the county does not have near the amount of money necessary to perform the work.

[For more information, contact Ernie Feliz, grants coordinator, Pinal County, at 520-866-6409 or e-mail.]

September 2007 Update:

Valley National Bank, 44th Street & Camelback Road

Built in 1968, this unique structure and its park-like surroundings are situated in a high-profile, and therefore high-dollar location. One of bank CEO Walter Bimson's commissioned structures, the 44th Street and Camelback Road branch is a rare artistic, architectural form. The current owner, Chase Bank, and its developer, Opus West, have offered to preserve the bank structure while developing the rest of the property.

The local neighborhood association and others are vehemently opposed to this idea. The latter contingent state that original owner, Valley National Bank, made promises to preserve the park-like setting around the bank and they will settle for no less. While this bank, and the few remaining that were commissioned by Bimson, qualifies for the National Register of Historic Places, it does not have a historic designation by the city and therefore the owner may decide to demolish it and develop the entire property.

[For more information, contact Joanna Peters, president, Arcadia Camelback Mountain Neighborhood Association, at 602-770-8215 or e-mail. Photo source: Ron Passarelli.]

September 2007 Update:

White Gates House

Perhaps the first design by architect Al Beadle, the White Gates House was probably influenced by the Farnsworth House, which was built by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1951. Previous owners gutted the interior and scraped the landscape from the property. Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, the house now sits vacant and neighbors are complaining about the blight it is creating for the area. The homes in the neighborhood sell in the seven figures and the property is valuable for redevelopment. If action is not taken soon, the owner may be required by the city to demolish the house and sell the property.

February 2008 Update:

  • From Alison King, Modern Phoenix Neighborhood Network: "The owner of the White Gates home (family home of Al Beadle), who was THIS CLOSE to leveling the place two years ago to rebuild on the site, went to court to fight the two blight charges on her property, and has now officially transformed into a Beadlemaniac. The owner wrote, 'We got a remodeling permit and are ready to submit a set of plans for a full restoration of the property.' Story starts here, or click on the 8th page to read the latest updates."

[For more information, contact Lynda Maze, owner, at 602-703-2333.]