Survey Number: HPS-165
Location: 850 S. Ash
Year Built: 1910
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival, with Victorian details
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 Richard Bank. 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/district is a restaurant. The property/district is currently zoned C-2, General Commercial District, and is identified as "Retail" in General Plan 2020. This property/district is also identified as "Mixed Use" in the Northwest Tempe Neighborhoods Strategic Area Plan.
The W. A. Moeur house was built in 1910 on lots 1, 2 & 3 of block 19 of the Gage Addition. The house served as the residence for William A. Moeur until 1929. W. A. Moeur was the brother of Benjamin B. Moeur and a prominent Tempe citizen in his own right. He assisted in organizing the Tempe School system and was a member of the first Tempe school board. He was the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors from 1912 to 1915 when he was appointed as the first land Commissioner until 1921. W. A. Moeur lived in the house until his death in 1929. The house was rehabilitated in 1973 and has since been occupied by various restaurant uses. The current business (Casey Moore's) was displaced to the W. A. Moeur House from the corner of 7th St. and Maple when that site was redeveloped as part the Center Point Development.
The house design is a variant of Western Colonial style with a roof form reminiscent of the Victorian Style. The Victorian style is exemplified in the pedimented front gable, the gabled roof intersecting the central hipped roof, the gable dormer, the gable vents and a bellcast copper roof. The Western Colonial characteristics include the square floor plan, the columned porch, the central hipped roof and the dormers. One of the most outstanding features on the house is the quoins outlining all corners and edges of the house and the bellcast copper roof. The house is a two story primarily brick structure with a projecting wing at the north end of the front facade. The gable end over the front wing is pedimented with a short roof overhang and round ventilator. A sun room at the south end of the house has been enclosed and has a hipped roof. All windows in the house have been replaced but the original segmentally arched openings were retained. A band of decorative concrete brick surrounds the house at the height of the window arches. The building now consists of 4,061 S.F., on a site of 0.78 acres.
The subject property is located within the Maple/Ash neighborhood. The site is located one block south of University Drive and two blocks west of Mill Avenue. It is surrounded by single-family residences to the east and to the south and a small multi-family complex to the west. A modest commercial retail center is located north of the W. A. Moeur House. In general, the immediate surroundings retain much of the single-family residential character typical during the structure's period of significance (1910~1929). The property is currently zoned C-2 and identified as retail on the General Plan 2020.
The only potential change to the current use is the future designation to mixed use as identified in the strategic area plan for the Northwest Tempe Neighborhoods.
There have been several changes to the exterior of the house, yet it remains as a good example of styling transitional between Victorian and the classic box. The most outstanding features of the house, the copper bell cast roof and all exterior brickwork, have been preserved and are in good condition. In 1973, the property evolved from a residential use to a restaurant. This change in use was the catalyst for site and building changes that could be considered noncontributing elements. These include addition, and subsequent enclosure in 1986, of a covered patio at the structure's northeast corner, addition of another covered patio along the north facade, enclosure of an early sunroom addition at the south facade, addition of a fire escape staircase at the west facade and incorporation of stained art glass in several window panes. The site modifications include subdivision of the parcel, followed by construction of a small apartment building to the west in 1961, which is no longer a part of the subject property. Other areas to the north and west of the house were paved in 1973 to provide parking for the restaurant. Other site modifications include the addition of brick pavers in the front and north side yards, fencing and signage at the street sides. The 1997 Tempe Multiple Resource Area Update classifies the integrity as "fair".
The house is important for the unique combination of architectural styling and its past ties to a prominent member of the community. The classic box or Western Colonial characteristics and Victorian roof forms have remained substantially intact except for the patio enclosures and site modifications. The house was initially used as a residence for W. A. Moeur from (1910 to 1929), the residential use of the property ceased in 1973, when the interior was refurbished to accommodate a restaurant. The past restaurant uses have been "9th and Ash" (1973•1986) and "Casey Moore's Oyster House" (1986 to present). Although the uses and tenants have changed over the years, the house has maintained the original detailing and stylistic features, such as the concrete brick quoins and bellcast roof. The windows, patio enclosures and site modifications are considered noncontributing and do not impact the significance of the site. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 7 May 1984.
The subject property appears to meet the following criteria for designation, as found in Sec. 14A-4(a) of the Tempe City Code:
1. It meets the criteria for 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 the house is older than 50 years
• It is reflective of the city's cultural, social, political or economic pasts and is associated with a person or event significant in local, state or national history.
Although late additions and site modification have compromised the integrity of the property, a substantial number of character defining elements remain sufficiently visible and well preserved to warrant designation consideration. Therefore, the Historic Preservation staff recommends that the HPC approve the nomination and recommend to the Planning and Zoning commission and City Council that the property be designated as a Tempe Historic Property, identifying the noncontributing elements.
Per Chapter 14A of the Tempe City Code, the application, if approved by HPC, will be forwarded to the Planning and Zoning Commission for public hearing and action. Historic Designation does not change the underlying zoning of a property; however, it does result in the application of Historic "H" overlay zoning and the associated requirements of chapter 14A of the City Code.
Staff Report to the Historic Preservation Commission December 2, 1991 continued to January 6, 2001 W.A. Moeur House Historic Property Designation
State Historic Preservation Office/National Register listing
City of Tempe Building Safety Property Record Card