Hugh Laird House

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Location:  821 S. Farmer Avenue 
Survey Number: HPS-222
Year Built: 1908
Architectural Style: Neo-Colonial

The Hugh Laird House is significant for its association with the Farmer’s Addition, one of Tempe’s first subdivisions; with Hugh Laird one of Tempe's most outstanding citizens, and as one of the best-preserved remaining frame dwellings dating from the 1900s.

Platted in 1886, the Farmer’s Addition is one of Tempe’s first subdivisions and is significant for its association with Hiram Bradford Farmer, the first principal (1886-1888) and the one-man faculty of the Arizona Territorial Normal School. When the railroad reached Tempe in 1887, Farmer developed a portion of his 160 acre homestead into one of the town’s earliest subdivisions.

The Hugh Laird House was built about 1908 and was continuously occupied by Laird for almost 30 years. One of Tempe's most outstanding citizens, Hugh Laird came to Tempe with his family in 1888 at the age of 5 years. His residency in Tempe continued until his death in 1970. During that time his business and public service career included 60 years as a registered pharmacist, 66 years as owner of Laird and Dines Drug Store (T-196), 12 years as Tempe postmaster and two terms as a representative in the state legislature. Perhaps most outstanding contribution to local politics was his 32-year consecutive seat on the Tempe City Council, 14 of those years as Mayor. During that period, from 1930 to 1962, Tempe’s population rose from 2,500 to 25,000 and the town saw substantial growth far beyond its anticipated boundaries, especially after the close of World War II. Policies generated during Laird’s lengthy tenure on the City Council did much to shape the present environment and image of modern Tempe.

The Hugh Laird House is noteworthy as one of the best-preserved remaining frame dwellings dating from the 1900s. Designed in a subtle Neo-Colonial format, the house, with its boxlike massing, hipped roof, clapboard siding and modest exterior detailing, provides a good example of the pre-bungalow style in local residential construction. It is composed of two parts, both constructed during the same time period. The major portion of the house is rectangular in plan, 25 ft. deep by 30 ft. wide, and covered with a hipped roof. A 10-foot by 15-foot extension to the north is constructed of matching clapboard siding and supports its own scrimped gable, hipped roof. Enclosed eave and plain board facia detailing is the same on both elements, as are the door and double-hung sash windows. An original pitched-roof screen porch extends the length of the front of the house, and access is through a central entry. The house shows the influence of the Neo-Colonial style in its very modest symmetrical plan, hipped roof, simple eave detail, s and clapboard siding which are all character defining features of this popular residential style during the turn of the century. The house still conveys its association with a particular epoch of Tempe’s architectural development

National Register Nomination, 1984