Survey Number: HPS-205
Year Built: 1890 / 1912 / 1997
Architectural Style: Sonoran / Vernacular Adobe

This building is associated with the context of Community Planning and Development. It falls under the theme of housing - custom house.

The original one-room portion of this 4-room house was built in the Sonoran style. The original flat roof of dirt over vigas was covered with the present steeply pitched hipped roof in 1912. Other modifications to the house include replacement of windows, the addition of a front porch, and replacement of wood floor with concrete. Despite these changes, the integrity of the house is high and the house is worthy of preservation as one of the oldest remaining adobe houses in Tempe. On-going rehab of the property continues by the City of Tempe.

The Elias-Rodriguez House is a single-story adobe building with a steeply pitched, hipped roof which was added over the original flat dirt-over-vigas roof in 1912. The hipped-roof front porch was added at the same time. Later modifications include replacement of all windows with large, multi-paned steel casement windows and a bay window in the east facade. The house is covered with stucco and patched with concrete. The roof is covered with rolled roofing. By the 1980s, portions of the original porch roof were exposed and rotting. The east and west facades each now have two large windows. The front entry is offset to the east. Original interior wood floors have been replaced with concrete. Interior walls are of adobe and are in good condition. An addition is at the rear of the house.

The Elias-Rodriguez House, built about 1882, is noteworthy as one of the earliest remaining houses to be built in the area along East 8th Street, later platted as the Sotelo Addition in 1890. Although Vincent Elias is not recorded in the assessor’s rolls until 1891, the family asserts the house was built in 1882 or 1883. Elias, a farm laborer from Tucson, built the house one room at a time for his family. In 1927, his daughter, Irene, married Ray B. Rodriguez and they moved into the house; in the early 1980s, Mrs. Rodriguez still occupied the house. Interior stencilling was done by an itinerant artist who did the work in exchange for room and board.

Despite some physical changes, the house retained much of its architectural integrity over the years. The house has been purchased by the City of Tempe, and it is now being rehabilitated. It is worthy of preservation as one of the oldest remaining adobe houses in Tempe. The building will eventually house a museum of local Mexican American history.

More information on this building is available at the Tempe Historical Museum Research Library. See the File Contents for HPS-205.


Interview: Irene Rodriguez 10/15/81, 2/16/83; Tempe City Directories 1892 - 1932; Maricopa County Assessor's Records; Historic Building Assessment by Ryden Architects, 1992

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