The Roosevelt Historic District is the one that started it all. Roosevelt was one of the first Phoenix real estate neighborhoods (the first house was built in 1895), and was also the very first official Phoenix historic district in Phoenix — that was in 1986.
The Roosevelt Historic District grew to its current boundaries, McDowell to Van Buren and Central to 7th Avenue, as a “streetcar neighborhood” during its golden age from 1895 to 1930. (This explains the narrow-but-deep shape to the lots — fewer steps from stoop to stop.) During that time, it was home to Carl Hayden (1877-1972; Arizona’s first Congressional representative, and, incidentally, the record holder for longest service in the U.S. Congress), and Baron Goldwater (1866-1929; father of five-term U.S. Senator and 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, and founder of Goldwater’s Department Store, which became Robinson’s May in 1989).
Though the Roosevelt Historic neighborhood suffered a decline from the 1960s through the early ’80s, a renewed interest in the quaint early twentieth-century architecture, as well as in anti-suburban, close-to-it-all, downtown living brought this portion of Phoenix real estate back to life; not just for residents but those with a passion for making their home a heaven on earth. The renovation of more than 200 buildings, a thriving First Fridays Artwalk, and the nearby ASU downtown campus gave the owners of Roosevelt homes plenty to work with. The Roosevelt Historic District is now a thriving, eclectic mix of vintage homes, sophisticated lofts and clean, new office buildings. With the light rail set to run along its entire eastern edge on Central, the Roosevelt has come full circle as a Phoenix real estate neighborhood that is stylish, convenient, and definitely well connected.
As in most historic districts, you won’t find two homes for sale that look alike in the Roosevelt neighborhood. What you will find in the Roosevelt Historic neighborhood is quite a few California and Craftsman bungalows as well as homes for sale that are anywhere from mini mansions to two-bedrooms just perfect for a couple or a small family. You’ll find stately two-level homes for sale with tall front steps and wraparound porches or wide porches with large square columns, casement windows with stained-glass embellishments, hardwood floors and exposed brick, fireplaces and stone chimneys, gabled rooftops and arched doorways.
Several buildings in the Roosevelt Historic District serve as centers of community enrichment, such as:
Trinity Cathedral. The beautiful territorial/Spanish Colonial buildings that make up Trinity Cathedral at 100 West Roosevelt were built between 1915 and 1931. The many gorgeous stained-glass windows — more than a dozen — are worth a visit, as are the more than 80 annual performances given by various choral groups and produced by the Cathedral Center for the Arts, a not-for-profit organization housed at the cathedral.
Kenilworth School. Kenilworth Elementary, of Phoenix School District 1, opened in 1920 and stands today at 1210 North 5th Avenue as not only an “A+” academic institution but as a visual gem — a stunning example of Greek Revival architecture with an imposing pediment gable and six enormous Ionic-style columns. It is the oldest continuously operating school in Maricopa County, and the only school in Phoenix with its own museum (exhibiting the history of the school).
Westward Ho Hotel. This 15-story, 400-room Art Deco hotel was the tallest structure in the area when it opened in 1928. The tower was added in the 1940s to launch KPHO, the first radio station in Phoenix. It suffered a decline with the rest of the neighborhood beginning in the 1960s, but an $8 million remodel completed in 2004 transformed it into quite livable senior housing. Famous visitors include Jack Benny, who stayed at the hotel while performing radio shows during World War II, and Elizabeth Taylor, who kept a suite there. It was the setting for Paul Newman’s 1972 film Pocket Money and it makes a cameo appearance in the opening sequence of the 1998 remake of Psycho.
To learn more about Phoenix homes for sale and Phoenix real estate in the Roosevelt Historic District, call me at 602.620.6267 or email me.
Joe Janus, real estate agent and Realtor® specializing in Homes with Exceptional Style in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, Arizona