Advocate for Arizona!
The Arizona Preservation Foundation partners with numerous local, state, and national preservation organizations, agencies, and advocates to keep tabs on key issues and threatened properties throughout the state. We're always looking for support for all preservation-minded Arizonans. If you wish to bring something to our attention, advocate for a particular issue or threatened property, or volunteer, contact us!
Superior (Pinal County)
Protected in the past by Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, the Oak Flat contains many cultural resources including archaeological sites, historical sites, and artifacts, as well as many areas eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Oak Flat is a sacred site to the San Carlos Apache and several other Native American tribes.
Oak Flat is currently threatened by copper mining. A land exchange included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 would open the site up to mining. The National Trust and partners including the San Carlos Apache encourage members of Congress to reconsider this land exchange as any mining activity at Oak Flat would severely threaten this sacred place.
Per the National Trust for Historic Preservation, "We hope this designation increases national awareness of Oak Flat and its profound importance to Native American tribes. The tribes who regard Oak Flat as a sacred place were not adequately consulted before this land exchange took place. Before any potentially harmful mining activity takes place at Oak Flat, we need to make sure the tribes and others who care about this important place have a voice in shaping its future.”
Mountain View Officers' Club
Fort Huachuca, Sierra Vista (Cochise Co.)
The Mountain View Officers' Club was constructed in 1942 by Del Webb and remains one of the most significant examples of a World War II-era military service club in the United States for African-American officers.
From 1892 to 1946, Fort Huachuca claimed the highest number of African-American soldiers at a military installation in the United States. To mobilize for World War II, the military began a large-scale building effort at Fort Huachuca, specifically to house the “all-black” infantry divisions, and built barracks, hospitals, maintenance structures, offices, warehouses and recreational facilities, all of which were segregated and, in many cases, built in duplicate.
Over 1,400 temporary buildings were constructed in a 75,000-acre area known as the New Cantonment Area. Few of these buildings remain today, and the Mountain View Officers’ Club is the only remaining recreational facility left at Fort Huachuca from this period.
Vacant since 1998, the U.S. Army Garrison is proposing to demolish the Mountain View Officers’ Club, claiming that it no longer has a need or funding to support the maintenance of this building. The National Trust and our partners believe viable reuse options exist. The Mountain View Officers’ Club was listed as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2013.
Great Bend of the Gila
Maricopa and Yuma Counties
The Great Bend of the Gila National Monument proposal in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert is 84,000 acres of what the National Trust for Historic Preservation believes is one of the Bureau of Land Management’s most important cultural sites in the Southwest. The Bureau of Land Management has recognized the importance of the area’s cultural and historical resources in an administrative designation, but these highly significant resources need a higher level of protection, management, and funding.
The Great Bend of the Gila has been an important crossroads where the history of many people, cultures, and ways of life have been written on the land. Archaeological remains of ancestral Hohokam and Patayan cultures run along what was the life-giving Gila River in Hohokam villages and ball courts. The oldest traces of human presence in the Gila date back to 3,000 BC. Summit trails and geoglyphs (large patterns of stone laid out on the earth in geometric or human and animal shapes) mark important ceremonial sites for these ancient cultures. Rock art panels run throughout the corridor of the Gila River valley, culminating in the rock art of Sears Point in the western portion of the proposal. Archaeologists working in the area consider Sears Point one of the most significant rock art sites in the Southwest. Many Arizona tribes hold these lands sacred.
The historical resources in the proposal are significant as well. No fewer than three historic trails run through the proposal area: the Juan Bautista de Anza, the Butterfield Stagecoach, and the Mormon Battalion. The National Park Service has already recognized the significance of the Juan Bautista de Anza and designated it a National Historic Trail (or NHT), and is currently conducting a special resources study for designation of the Butterfield Stagecoach Trail as a NHT. The Mormon Battalion Trail is highly significant to the Mormon community, among others, marking the brave struggles of those who traveled west on a military expedition and created a trail into the frontier that would be used for years to come. The western boundary of the national monument would protect the site of the western-most skirmish of the Civil War. And throughout the proposal are remnants of historic homesteading, mining, and ranching.
Designating the Great Bend of the Gila as a national monument and increasing the public's awareness of the need for better funding and management of cultural resources on our public lands will permanently protect this nationally significant landscape, that helps tell the full American story.
Phoenix (Maricopa Co.)
Will Duke Photography at the southwest corner of 7th Avenue and Thomas really fall to a Raising Canes restaurant? Preserve Phoenix and neighborhood advocates fervently hope that even in Phoenix, a historic building at the perimeter of three historic districts (Willo, Encanto Vista, and Encanto) will survive the onslaught of this fast food assault. The building is eligible for listing on the Phoenix Historic Property Register for its long time occupancy by Duke Photography.
The building was purchased last November by a local developer who came forward with the Raising Canes proposal. But, they need several use permits (outdoor dining, a drive through facility, and reduction in setbacks from the south and west sides. They "need" to demolish the building and remove the trees on the site in order to accommodate the serpentine drive through required to serve chicken in a bag.
They claim the restaurant will be "designed to showcase an architectural design that compliments the surrounding Willo and Encanto neighborhoods." Of course, the design "will uphold and improve the aesthetics of the community." That's a stretch for a Raising Canes restaurant. The neighborhoods are mobilizing to oppose both the demolition and use permit. The use permit application will be heard by a Zoning Hearing Officer on August 26, 2021 at 1:30 PM at a virtual hearing. This issue will need letters in opposition to the Planning Department, Councilwoman Laura Pastor, and Mayor Kate Gallego.
City Center Motel, Phoenix
Phoenix (Maricopa Co.)
After some relatively quiet months on the Phoenix preservation front, at least in regard to demolition threats, the end of the year brings something that requires prompt action. A developer has filed an application to demolish what was originally the City Center Motel -built in 1959 at 600 West Van Buren.
Perhaps the BEST of the surviving Googie architecture in Downtown Phoenix, the building clearly illustrates the intent to attract tourists to the facility. It is surprisingly intact today. But now there are plans to demolish and replace it with "a hotel."
The building is eligible for listing on the Phoenix Historic Property Register. The potential demolition is on the agenda of the Historic Preservation Commission on Monday, December 20, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.
The HP Commission can still intercede, but public comment is essential. Emails can be sent to Michelle Dodds, City Historic Preservation Officer, at the link below. Without action by the HP Commission the building could be gone by January 10, 2022.
Mesa (Maricopa County)
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.
Illinois to California
While it’s not the oldest automobile highway in the United States, Route 66 – a National Treasure of the National Trust – is likely the most enduring highway in America’s public consciousness. “The Mother Road,” as it’s often called, represents a significant moment in history that continues to define the nation’s identity: the rise of the automobile and its implications of freedom, mobility, and a uniquely American story.
Eventually, the growth of interstate traffic and development of larger, newer highways made Route 66 obsolete, and many of the towns and cities that lined the historic road fell into economic decline. Route 66 was officially decommissioned in 1985 when I-40 bypassed the last section of the road. However, business owners and passionate Route 66 supporters, along with nonprofits and state and federal agencies who understood the value of Route 66’s impact on American identity, lobbied to commemorate and invigorate this piece of Americana.
In 1999, Congress created the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. Originally set to terminate in 2009, it was reauthorized through 2019 so it could continue providing financial and technical assistance to facilitate the preservation of Route 66.
In 2015, a number of Route 66 entities came together to create the Road Ahead Partnership to revitalize and sustain Route 66 as a national icon and international destination, for the benefit of all Route 66 communities, travelers, and businesses. Representatives from all eight states along the route work on a broad range of issues from preservation and economic sustainability to promotion, research, and education.
With the impending sunset of the Corridor Preservation Program in 2019, the Road Ahead Partnership, as well as the National Trust and other state and local partners, are seeking a National Historic Trail designation for Route 66. National Historic Trails are nationally significant historical travel routes designated by Congress. There are now 19 National Historic Trails, including the Santa Fe and Lewis & Clark Trails. This permanent designation, which would not increase regulations or restrictions for Route 66, will bring greater public interest and investment to the communities along this iconic highway and encourage their economic revitalization. Most importantly, it will help preserve Route 66 as a vital, iconic, and evolving piece of Americana for generations to come.
To raise awareness about this important historic resource, the National Trust traveled Route 66 from July 2 to August 3, 2018. The trip was documented across the country from an Airstream trailer, and the crew of Roadies helped uncover new stories and meet the diverse people living along the historic route. Their goal: to capture the spirit of Route 66 and share it with travelers old and new, real and virtual – anyone who dreams of the open road.
Huachuca City (Cochise County)
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.
State Parks Heritage Fund
Senate Bill 1270 (state parks; lottery; heritage fund) to fund the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund through its original Arizona Lottery source is moving its way through the Legislature.
If you have communicated your support for SB1270, you do not need to register your support again on the legislature's Request to Speak (RTS) system. If you have NOT communicated your position through the RTS system, you still can. (Note: just because the term "Request to Speak" includes the word "Speak," you can still register your aye, nay, or neutral position without speaking!)
The importance of Arizona’s local, regional, and state parks; trails; and open spaces has become even more evident as we work to overcome the social and economic hardships caused by the pandemic. Our public parks and open spaces provide Arizonans the space for socially distanced recreation and respite during these challenging times. Increased usage and foot traffic warrants increased maintenance and upkeep to meet the demand.
Demand has demonstrated that investing in our parks, trails, historic sites, and open spaces – which contribute billions of dollars each year to our state’s economy – is key to the economic recovery of our urban and rural economies. It is imperative that we look for a funding mechanism such as the Heritage Fund to invest in the physical, social, and civic resources that many of our communities, especially in rural and tribal areas, depend upon for generating tourism-related economic activities that in turn create jobs and support local business.
Grand Canyon (Coconino County)
One of the most awe-inspiring and celebrated landscapes worldwide, the Grand Canyon has a record of human occupation stretching back thousands of years. Eleven Native American Indian tribes have known ties to the canyon and it is a place that is essential to their continuing cultural traditions.
In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt stood at the Grand Canyon and gave a speech, urging Americans to “do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness.” More than a century later, development pressures threaten to forever alter the character of this unparalleled landscape.
In addition to being one of the world’s most iconic natural wonders, the Grand Canyon has a rich human history. Archaeologists have found evidence of human use of the Grand Canyon dating back 12,000 years. There has been continuous use and occupation of the region since that time. Many contemporary tribes, including the Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Navajo, Southern Paiute and Zuni, have cultural links to the Grand Canyon, and view protection of archeological and sacred sites as essential for the preservation of their heritage.
The Grand Canyon’s unique cultural heritage faces multiple threats, including uranium mining and large resort development. One proposal includes a gondola tramway that would shuttle up to 10,000 visitors per day to the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers. Numerous tribes have expressed concern that this will cause irreparable harm to a sacred site.
The National Trust is working to save the Grand Canyon and to assure that the United States Government fulfills its responsibility to all Americans and as a signatory to the World Heritage Convention to “do all it can” to ensure the protection of the Grand Canyon. We are working to enforce legal protections while encouraging sustainable development models that support the canyon’s cultural heritage.
The south rim of Grand Canyon National Park is home to the striking Desert View Watchtower with expansive views of one of the country’s most iconic vistas. The Watchtower, an exposition of the prehistoric Indian towers found throughout the Southwest, features internationally significant American Indian murals. A $250,000 grant from Partners in Preservation: National Parks will conserve the tower’s historic murals so they can continue to tell the lesser-known story of the canyon’s tribes.
American Legion Post #1
Phoenix (Maricopa Co.)
From the 1950s through at least the 1980s, Phoenix government was notorious for its disregard of the city’s history. Things seemed to improve in recent decades, but here we are in 2021, once again moving toward civic destruction of one of our few remaining downtown historic buildings. The threat today is to American Legion Post No. 1 – one of the first three (and possibly the first!) American Legion posts in the United States.
The City’s 99-year sweetheart lease of the property to the Legion expired two years ago. Instead of renewing the lease for a new term, the City elected to find a developer to buy the property, potentially leaving Post No. 1 homeless. The Legion was given a measure of hope when the City Council required that the Post be provided a place in the redevelopment. The disposition of the historic building was not clear, but the fact that the Legion would be given a home there led many to believe that the building, too, would be preserved.
In May, 2021, the City announced the selection of a developer and rolled out a draft redevelopment plan for the property. At this point, it’s not clear if, or how much of, the Post building might be saved as the property is redeveloped. But early indications are not good: the plan on the table shows two-thirds of the building being demolished, and what’s left being surrounded by four stories of apartments. The facilities needed by Post No. 1 for its normal operations are just not there.
What’s so aggravating about this state of affairs is that it’s a totally avoidable, self-inflicted wound. There are choices being made by city staff that are prioritizing one set of narrow economic interests over all other community interests. This could easily be the type of project that does it all … redevelop the property to provide much needed affordable housing downtown, preserve an important historic building, and revitalize a key organization serving our veterans. But instead, we get one of three.
Meetings have been held with city officials, Legion representatives, the community/ neighborhood stakeholder group invited by the Legion to participate, and the developer. Hopefully, a positive outcome will prevail for all involved parties.
Tucson (Pima County)
Broadway was born modern. The boulevard expressed the new American optimism and post-war economic boom. Like many cities, Tucson was growing rapidly. In 1940, the population was 35,000; by 1960 it soared to 212,000. As an important suburban corridor, modern structures were built along its edge to support new neighborhoods with their curved streets and rambling ranch houses. Broadway was a reflection of the American Dream. The Regional Transportation Authority funding, approved by Pima County voters on May 16, 2006, included plans for significant expansion of Tucson's mid-century modern Broadway Boulevard. The scope expands the road from four to eight lanes and threatens 127 significant and National Register eligible properties and the small businesses they house.
Sierra Vista (Cochise County)
After significant public outcry and removal in 2020, only one Confederate monument remains on Arizona public property at the state-owned Southern Arizona Veterans' Cemetery in Sierra Vista. Gone are the:
Monument to Arizona Confederate Troops, Wesley Bolin Plaza, Phoenix
Jefferson Davis monument highway marker, U.S. Route 60, east of Phoenix
Battle of Picacho Pass monument, Picacho Peak State Park, Pinal County
Removing these monuments has not changed or erased history. What changes is what Arizona decides is worthy of civic honor and recognition. As Arizonans and Americans, we are obligated to confront the complex and often difficult stories of our past. We fully recognize the many ways that our understanding and characterization of our shared story continues to shape our collective future.
Arizona's four monuments were installed long after the Civil War ended. As noted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation: "Advocates of the Lost Cause erected these monuments all over the country to vindicate the Confederacy at the bar of history, erase the central issues of slavery and emancipation from our understanding of the war, and reaffirm a system of state-sanctioned white supremacy. Put simply, the erection of these Confederate monuments and enforcement of Jim Crow went hand-in-hand. They were intended as a celebration of white supremacy when they were constructed [and] they are still being used as symbols and rallying points for such hate today.”
It's time for the State of Arizona to act and remove this last remaining memorial to the Confederacy.