Pedro Escalante House (DEMOLISHED)

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Survey Number: HPS-475
Year Built: 1940
Architectural Style: Southwest Vernacular - Adobe

An application (see attached) for the designation of the above-referenced property as a Tempe Historic Property (and listing on the Tempe Historic Property Register) was submitted by Akram Rosheidat, AIA, on behalf of the property owner Gary Gilbar. The application has been reviewed by the Historic Preservation Officer and all requirements for notification, posting and advertisement, as set forth in Chapter 14A “Historic Preservation” of the Tempe City Code, have been met and a public hearing set. The present function of the property is a vacant residential. The property is currently zoned R-4, Residential, and is identified as “Commercial / Retail ” in General Plan 2020. Future plans for Old Eighth Street call for a Mexican-American character heritage area that includes the rehabilitated Elias-Rodriguez House (927 E. Eighth Street), an adjacent Mexican-American interpretive center, and a pedestrian / bike path along the abandoned Creamery Railroad line (north side of Eighth Street) extending through the historic Barrio de la Cremeria past the Borden Creamery (1300-1360 E. Eighth Street). This area is also part of the Apache Boulevard Redevelopment Area identified as a Special Planning Area.

The Pedro Escalante House was constructed by 1940 as part of the Sotelo Addition Plat. The Sotelo Addition was one of the first subdivisions of Tempe, platted in 1890 by Manuela Sotelo. The Soleto family was prominent in early Tempe history. The Sotelo Addition was one of several area in Tempe that were predominantly Hispanic in character. Many lots had remained vacant from this original subdivision plat, and subsequently built upon during periods of upswings in the economy. The result was a mix of older and newer homes in close proximity to one another, with similar characteristics, construction methods, and building materials. The Pedro Escalante House is associated with the context of early Mexican-American Tempe history and is typical of residential structures seen throughout the American Southwest in the early to mid-1900s.

This one-story residence represents an example of a modest Southwest style vernacular house. It reflects the character of the neighborhood primarily of Hispanic occupants in this historic period. The adobe structural walls are clad in stucco, which support a flat roof with parapets. The double-hung windows are made of wood. There is a small wood-frame entry porch to the north.

The site also contains mature landscape elements including large shade trees in the front yard. These trees include one 24' canopy Mulberry tree (see site plan) which add to the property's ability to convey its historic context and integrity. The irrigation lateral (see site plan), like the house, is representative of the earlier character of the neighborhood.

Most of the original fabric remains intact and thus this building provides a positive contribution to the character of this early Tempe neighborhood. The building has maintained structurally sound while retaining its modest original features. There is a major, early addition to the rear of the residence that is not visible from the public realm. The landscape and use of this site is indicative of the Hispanic culture shared by its occupants and neighbors. It appears that the rehabilitation plans call for substantial structural modifications. However, sufficient integrity will remain to warrant designation.

This property is both architecturally and historically significant. The Pedro Escalante House represents one of a very few remaining examples of a once common type of vernacular residential structures. Due to the few remaining resources in this character area, it is very important to preserve and protect the resources that do remain.

The subject property appears to meet the following criteria for designation, as found in section 14A-4 (a) of the Tempe City Code.

1. It meets the criteria listing on the Arizona or National Register of Historic Places;

2a. It is found to be of exceptional significance and expresses a distinctive character, resulting from:

A significant portion of it is at least 50 years old

It is reflective of the city’s cultural, social, political or event significant in local, state or national history.