Central Phoenix Rich in History

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Central Phoenix Rich in History

Phoenix was founded by an interesting character and Civil War Vet, Jack Swilling in 1867 as a speculative agriculture venture.  By May of 1871, Maricopa County was split from Yavapai and Phoenix Township became the county seat. The first parcels of land sold were sold for around $48.00, and by 1873 Phoenix Township had a value of $550.00. The average price of a lot along Central Avenue was then between $7.00 and $11.00 per lot. In May of 1881, Phoenix was incorporated and had a population of approximately 2,500. My how the times have changed, Phoenix now has a population of over 1.4 million and still growing.

Now in the 21st century, central Phoenix is home to a wide array of architectural styles and as a result of its adoption of the “City Beautiful” planning and development style it has a very romantic and nostalgic feel.  The “City Beautiful” planning style that blossomed beginning in the late ‘20’s was a planning approach wherein the neighborhood and city park development were designed with a sense of oneness creating the neighborhood/community-feel that has become synonymous with today’s master-planned communities. The Phoenix Planning Commission actually made the inclusion of a park or children’s play area a requirement for all new subdivisions beginning in 1927. There are more than 30 neighborhoods built from the turn of the twentieth century through approximately the early 50’s that are designated as historic neighborhoods in central Phoenix. However the majority began in the 1920’s and grew out of that concept. Each has its own uniqueness and history, and yet they weave seamlessly together and have created a small town charm in the urban heart of the country’s 5th largest city.

In those neighborhoods you can find a very diverse array of architectural styles that provide the Urban Core of Phoenix is character. The Craftsman Bungalow homes with their inviting front porches, open floor plans, built-in cabinets, and fireplaces built in the early part of the twentieth century can be found in neighborhoods such as the Coronado, Roosevelt, and Willo Historic Neighborhoods.


English Cottage Revival homes were very popular in the early part of the twentieth century in Phoenix with their more dramatic roof lines, front porches, and set back on neatly manicured lawns. Lovely examples of these homes built in the 30’s can be found in the Del Norte Historic neighborhood along with early ranch homes. The Phoenix New Times voted Del Norte the best historic neighborhood in 2009 for its peaceful small town feel.


You can find a bit of the French Country side in Central Phoenix as well. Cheery Lynn Historic District has lovely French provincial style homes built after the close of WWII. Most are modest 2 bedrooms homes of about 1000 square feet of living area. The neighborhood its self actually began in 1928 and the earliest homes were Tudor, Spanish Colonial and English Cottage Style homes but the due the economic toll of the Great Depression, it like many other subdivisions would not be completed until after WWII.

Pueblo Revival

Pueblo Revival homes are a southwest staple and are considered by many to be the symbol of true Arizona architecture. The Pueblo Revival style introduced in the early part of the twentieth century to the Phoenix landscape were drawn from the Pueblo structures found primarily in Arizona and New Mexico and were designed with a casual feel to meet the desires of the fledgling cities residents and more importantly to meet the environmental demands of living in the desert, i.e. high heat in the summer and cold temperatures in the winter. They can be found in many of the Central Phoenix Historic neighborhoods such as the Coronado Historic District and the La Hacienda Historic District. It should be noted that this style has never really fallen out of favor here in the southwest and continues in its various forms right through the present time.


The Ranch home in the central Phoenix Historic districts was a popular style of home that began in the 1930s and was an outgrowth of the single story homes traditionally one room deep found on ranches in the west. However, it was not until after the Great Depression their prominence as the preferred building style for speculators rose dramatically and like the Pueblo Revival homes has never fallen out of favor here in the valley of the sun.

spanish revival

Spanish Colonial Revival sometimes referred to as Mediterranean Revival homes began to be built as early as 1890 and those early examples were situated on larger lots with lush irrigated landscaping in the Central Corridor for the City’s more elite. The extension of the “inside” living space to their central courtyards provided a wonderful place for entertaining during the moderate winters here in the valley of the sun. In the 1920’s the very first spec home in East Alvarado was a small Spanish Colonial Revival, however again due to the Great Depression the subdivision would sit idle for several years and once building began again, the ranch house was the choice of the speculators.


Last but certainly not least we come to the steep-roofed Tudor homes with their gables and decorative trim. They are perhaps the most recognizable of building styles found in historic neighbors across America and the historic neighborhoods in Central Phoenix are certainly no exception. Unlike the Pueblo, Ranch and Spanish Colonial the Tudor is all about inside living. They are symbolized by prominently placed fireplaces in the family room, hardwood floors, stained glass accent windows, and a cozy feel. They can be found in many of the historic neighborhoods in Central Phoenix such as FQ Story District and the Coronado Historic District to name a few.

If you are seeking a neighborhood with a unique sense of style and character, contact Roberta Candelaria of Phoenix Urban spaces and see what Central Phoenix has to offer. Central Phoenix really is home to the Coolest Condos and the Hottest Homes and everything under the sun!