factors in the early history of Phoenix account for the
development of the area now known as the
From its founding in 1867, Phoenix experienced slow, but
steady outward growth. The completion of a
connection to the transcontinental railroad in 1884
brought hundreds of new residents and visitors to the
Valley. Construction materials such as wood, glass,
stone and prefabricated components became available to
local builders who soon began to discard the use of
adobe and other native materials in an effort to create
a city that resembled the rest of the country.
many prominent residents constructed houses in the
southern and eastern portions of the original Phoenix
town site. However, severe flooding of the Salt River in
1890 and 1891 caused the more wealthy residents to move
north to higher ground along Center Street (now Central
Avenue), west along Washington Street and adjacent to
the Grand Avenue diagonal. This northward movement
altered the growth pattern of Phoenix and accounts for
the development of the Roosevelt Neighborhood.
the city into the
District spans the years 1893 to 1930.
The neighborhood developed through the
construction of nine distinct additions. Kenilworth and
Bennett Place each contained well over 200 lots; Planks
Addition had just ten; McDowell Place, fourteen; and the
other five (Simms Addition, Bennett and Plank's
Addition, Chester Place, Chelsea Place and the Blount
Addition to Chelsea Place) ranged from 26 to 134 lots.
Many of the city's elite, the pioneers who helped shape
Phoenix during its infancy, made their homes in this
J.T. Simms came to Arizona in 1881 as a contractor with
the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company. After
building the Arizona Canal with W.J. Murphy between 1883
and 1884, Simms retired to run his ranch and manage his
interests. Several years later, some land Simms owned
was surveyed and on June 26, 1893, a plat was filed for
the area bounded by Central Avenue, Roosevelt,
Third Avenue, and Moreland. Simms himself later lived in
the area at 1008 North Central. He left Phoenix in 1896
after a sordid divorce and died in Chicago in 1898.
Despite the rampant land speculation in Phoenix at the
turn-of-the-century, building in the Simms Addition
Avenue, then known as Center Street, was the
primary thoroughfare to the business district, and lots
along this street were deemed prime residential
locations. By 1901, residences fronting Central
Avenue had been constructed on all but two lots.
Here, in addition to Simms and Melczer, resided the
upper crust of Phoenix' early citizens: Charles H.
Akers, Secretary of the Territory of Arizona; C.M.
Frazier, a prominent attorney who would go on to become
Attorney General; Frank R. Cleary, Chairman of the
Arizona Water Company; Lloyd B. Christy, Chairman of the
Valley Bank of Phoenix; and Ezra W. Thayer, owner of
Thayer's Hardware Store.
annexation and the elite status of the area, growth in
the balance of the Simms Addition averaged only one home
per year until 1920. Then, during the booming twenties,
all remaining lots but one were developed. The number of
prominent businessmen, lawyers, doctors and city
officials making their homes in the addition continued
to increase. Among them was Richard E. Sloan, Governor
of the Territory of Arizona from 1909 to 1912.
was a cattle dealer and real estate speculator
who moved to Phoenix from Missouri in about 1884. The
area known as Bennett Place, bounded roughly by
West Roosevelt and West Fillmore on the north and south,
and by Central and Fifth Avenues on the east and
west, was platted by Guy and Sadie Bennett in December
geographically the largest of the Roosevelt
Neighborhood's nine additions, Bennett Place
had the greatest number of lots, 276. Development in
Bennett Place was slow, but steady. During the 1890's,
the city council embarked on a campaign to annex the
area's increasingly populated northern additions. The
residents of Bennett Place were resistant. They felt
that additional city taxes would be put to use in other
areas of the city, rather than benefiting their
council was forced to take a series of court actions
against the neighborhood. In 1901, the District Court
ruled that Bennett Place would be annexed, but would be
exempt from city taxes for a period of two years. In
turn, however, the city was relieved of any obligation
to extend municipal services to the area during that
Simms Addition, the lots along Central and First Avenues
attracted the elite of the city, including Carl Hayden,
Arizona's first U.S. Congressman; and Baron M.
Goldwater, Manager of Goldwater's Mercantile and father
of future Senator Barry Goldwater.
growth within the Addition slowed considerably. During
the 1920's, developers constructed a number of duplexes
and apartments in the area hoping to attract a portion
of Phoenix's large number of winter visitors and booming
tourist trade. Instead, seizing their chance to live in
a more affluent area, an increasing number of
blue-collar and middle-class workers made their homes in
these new rental properties.
platted by Levi L. Plank in 1901, this small addition
consisted of only ten lots along West McKinley
between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. No development
occurred in Plank's Addition until the 1910 extension of
the streetcar line along Fifth Avenue. Still, it wasn't
until 1929 that all ten lots were finally developed. The
residents were entirely blue-collar workers who lived in
bungalows or duplexes.
Bennett and Plank's Addition
Fillmore Streets bound this plat, originally part of the
two earlier additions, on the north and south, and by
Sixth and Seventh Avenues on the east and west. This
land was purchased by four families (the Bennetts' the
Shoffs' the Peters, and Margaret B. Barringer) who
jointly had the area replatted and recorded in November
1910. As late as 1930, less than half of the 34 lots
were developed. Most residents of Bennett and Plank's
Addition were blue-collar workers who rented, rather
than owned, their homes.
area bounded by West McDowell, Third Avenue, West
Roosevelt and Seventh Avenue, was known as the
Hubbard Tract until February 1910, when A.G. Hubbard
sold the land to developer H.I. Latham. Two weeks later,
Latham sold the property to the Hartranft-Tweed Real
Estate Company, which filed the plat for the Addition in
December. In February 1911, Kenilworth was annexed into
the City of Phoenix.
developed into an exclusive residential area due to
three major influences: the extension of the Phoenix
Railway streetcar line north along Fifth Avenue through
the Addition; a vigorous advertising campaign, which
went so far as to state that "the air is better in
Kenilworth"; and the construction of Kenilworth School
in 1920. The streetcar made the area very accessible and
initial development in Kenilworth was concentrated along
the Fifth Avenue streetcar extension. Palm trees were
planted along the streets, which were graded, lined with
caliche and featured cement sidewalks. Many prominent
residents, such as Supreme Court Justice Donald L.
Cunningham, Phoenix National Bank President M.C.
McDougall, and J.A.R. Irvine, member of the first State
Legislature, made their homes in the area.
restrictions during WWI slowed growth in the addition
between 1916 and 1920. During the decade that followed,
the opening of Kenilworth School and a new concept of
low down payments and low monthly installments offered
by Home Builders, the primary developer, attracted young
families to the area. Rapid growth ensued and the
Addition's 228 lots were completely built up by 1938.
Burroughs filed the plat for the area encompassing the
south side of West McDowell between Central and Third
Avenues on January 31, 1910. Despite the small size of
the area (which contained just fourteen lots), it was
not completely developed until 1930. Its most
spectacular residence was an English Cottage Revival
built for Helen Anderson, widow of insurance company
organizer Carl H. Anderson, at 149 West McDowell Road.
In 1923, the Arizona Republican described the house as
one of the city's most beautiful homes. Fortunately,
this house remains intact at its original address, while
most of the other original buildings in McDowell Place
have been altered as they have been converted for
1909 by the Elliot Evans Company, Chester Place
consists of 52 lots on two blocks bounded by West
Roosevelt and West McKinley on the north and south, and
by Fifth and Seventh Avenues on the east and west.
Development of this Addition proceeded somewhat more
rapidly than the others in the
Roosevelt Neighborhood, being completed by 1930.
Chester Place was a very affluent area whose
residents included doctors, lawyers and businessmen.
relatively small parcel, spanning
and West Willetta between
Central and Third Avenues, was annexed to the
city in 1913. H.F. Latham, a Phoenix Promoter and owner
of a real estate firm, purchased the land from the
estate of William E. Thorne on May 20, 1907, and filed a
plat the following July. Eight lots known as Latham
Place, between Central and Third Avenues, sold
within two days without any advertisement whatsoever.
The remainder of the tract was resurveyed into 84 lots
and development began in 1912.
Place was hailed by the Arizona Republican as
"the most expensive and artistic development yet
attempted in Phoenix." To enhance its aura of
exclusiveness, elaborate street entrances patterned
after Los Angeles' exclusive Lafayette Square were
constructed. Made of cast concrete to simulate dressed
sandstone, these gateways unfortunately no longer exist.
Chelsea Place was promoted as a showplace residential
development and attracted many affluent residents.
However, Home Builders, the primary developer, sold
homes on an installment plan with a low down payment,
bringing home ownership within reach of the less
affluent as well.
March 1919, by Frank J. Blount and W.C. Ellis as the
Blount Addition to
Chelsea Place, the Addition spans both sides of
West Culver Street between Central and Third Avenues.
Frank Blount was a rancher who had lived on the property
facing Central Avenue since 1908. William Ellis was a
successful physician and surgeon who founded Deaconess
Hospital (later to be renamed Good Samaritan Hospital)
and served one term as City Commissioner from 1920-1921.
His house is at 1242 North Central.
in the Addition proceeded slowly, with eight of the 40
lots still unoccupied by 1930. Its residents were mostly
white-collar professionals, although the area was not
known for the elitism of Chelsea Place or
typical of a "streetcar' I suburb, most of
are narrow and deep, minimizing the distance residents
must walk to reach transportation. In contrast to the
monotony of modern tract neighborhoods, the diversity of
housing styles in Phoenix' historic districts gives each
a distinctive flavor. Architecturally, the Roosevelt
Neighborhood has some of the finest examples of
early twentieth century residential architecture in
Phoenix. The most common building type in the area is
California Bungalow, which dominates most of the
district's streetscape. Among these relatively plain
homes also are found many finely detailed Craftsman
Bungalows and Period Revival houses. A
Bungalow is typically a one-story house with a simple,
functional floor plan and one or more broadly pitched
roof gables with deep overhangs. Broad front porches
with massive square porch columns are an essential
are the most common type of Craftsman influenced
architecture. The Craftsman movement, a popular building
philosophy of the early twentieth century, used natural
and rustic materials. It stressed comfort, utility and
convenience as well as high quality workmanship in
design and construction. So-called Craftsman
were usually covered with natural wood shingles and had
foundations, porch columns and chimneys of stone,
rough-faced brick or textured concrete.
Neighborhood also includes outstanding
examples of public buildings: The Trinity Cathedral,
Kenilworth School, and the Westward Ho Hotel.
To serve the winter visitors, developers built the Gold
Spot Marketing Center, one of the first shopping centers
built for a specific residential area. The construction
marked the beginning of a trend toward small
neighborhood centers away from the original central
Phoenix commercial district.
Roosevelt Neighborhood's Significance to Phoenix
As with the
districts in the City, the development of
provides physical expression of the early growth of
Phoenix. Within it are buildings, which are both
historically and architecturally important because they
represent many important milestones in the evolution of
our present community. From its rise as an affluent
"streetcar suburb," to its development associated with
early tourism, to its designation as the
first historic district
in Phoenix, the Roosevelt Neighborhood
continues to play a significant role in the history of
Phoenix. As an intact collection of early twentieth
century architecture, it contributes to the visual
diversity and character of the historic heart of
Information, maps and photographs provided courtesy:
Historic Preservation Office of the City of Phoenix
Neighborhood Services Department
200 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85003
Roosevelt Row is a dynamic, walk-able urban
mixed-use area with a significant concentration of
artists and other creative professionals. With
increasing density, this is an area that is becoming
more pedestrian-friendly and supportive of small local
independent businesses that give downtown Phoenix
character. Roosevelt Street is an east-west corridor
that connects the historic neighborhoods between Grand
Avenue and 16th Street. The corridor also connects
Copper Square, Chase Field, U.S. Airways Center, major
cultural institutions, the new downtown ASU campus and
the biomedical campus.
Roosevelt Row is also home to artist live and
work spaces, gallery spaces and studio spaces. Roosevelt
Row is a pedestrian friendly street that connects the
Phoenix historic neighborhoods including
Garfield Historic District, Evans Churchill,
Story Historical District,
Historic District, the Roosevelt Action
Association and Grand Avenue.
A SHORT BIT OF HISTORY
Roosevelt Row has been a vital mixed use area from the
earliest days of the establishment of Phoenix. Many of
the historic concrete sidewalks in the corridor were
poured 1909, three years before Arizona officially
became the 48th State. In the early 1940's, when there
were approximately 30,000 people living in Phoenix
numerous businesses were established along Roosevelt
Street. The flower shop at Fifth Street and Roosevelt
has been in continuous operation since 1948.
In the 1970's, parts of the area were re-zoned as a
high-rise incentive district leading to land speculation
and a decline of the neighborhood that lasted until the
The blighted area was attractive to artists because the
boarded-up buildings and former crack houses were
affordable for studio and gallery space. The arts were a
major factor in the revitalization of the area resulting
in significant decreases in crime as more people began
to venture into the area to experience the cultural
The corridor is re-emerging as one of the more vital
areas of downtown Phoenix and a significant cultural
resource in the metropolitan region and the state.
is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
established to further the unique character and assets
of the area, to advocate for the continuing role of the
arts in the revitalization of downtown Phoenix, and to
foster a dense, diverse and walk-able urban environment.
Information courtesy of The Roosevelt Row Community
Historic District Homes For Sale Search Phoenix, AZ
Wise Choice Properties
2323 N. 3rd St. #200
Phoenix, AZ 85004