Tempe Directory of Historic Buildings 

Tempe has more than 200 historic buildings. Enjoy this searchable directory of information and photos.  For more information on any of these properties or to learn how your property can be listed, please contact Tempe Historic Preservation Officer John_Southard@tempe.gov 

Many of the properties on the Tempe Historic Register, the National Register of Historic Places or the list of historic eligible properties are privately owned and not open to the public. Please respect the privacy of those who may be living in these houses. 

Historic Eligible is a formal classification of parcels which contain buildings, structures, or sites which meet the criteria for designation as a Tempe Historic Property, but which have not been formally designated as "Historic." 

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You may search this directory by the categories of Tempe Historic Register, National Historic Register and Historic Eligible Properties. Simply click the down arrow on the All Categories box below and select the one you would like to see. All the properties in that category will appear.  

Year Built: 1938
Architectural Style: Pueblo Revival


BACKGROUND + STATUS:

The Lindstrom (Nucci) House was constructed by Albert and Ada Lindstrom in the Park Tract subdivision in mid-to-late 1938. Park Tract is an early suburban residential subdivision platted by Hugh Laird and Fred J. Joyce on April 10, 1924, on behalf of the Park Tract Trust and in response to a housing shortage in the City. Designed to provide comfortable and modern family houses, Park Tract appealed to some of Tempe’s most prominent citizens, many of whom purchased lots on which they then built homes. Development of the subdivision began in earnest in the late 1920s and early 1930s and involved 100 lots in the area roughly bound by 10th Street, Mill Avenue, 13th Street, and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. A second boom of activity occurred in the late 1930s, with the neighborhood almost fully built out shortly after World War II. Today, Park Tract and the neighboring Gage Addition (1909), Park Tract, and College View (1945) subdivisions comprise the Maple-Ash neighborhood.

The Lindstroms purchased the then-undeveloped property on March 12, 1938. The couple closed on a Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgage issued by the First National Bank of Arizona on June 24, 1938 and applied for and received a building permit on June 27, 1938. The home’s date of completion has not been ascertained and is unlikely to be definitively determined. The Lindstroms sold the home shortly after it was constructed, conveying the property to Jake and Ruth West on February 7, 1939. Barbara Bowman inherited the home from the estate of Ruth West on April 30, 1979 and sold the home to the present owners on January 13, 1986.

CONDITION

With the exception of a backyard concrete barbeque structure dating to 1990, there have not been any known alterations or additions to the subject property. The vigas protruding from the front wall are tilted slightly as though falling out, the stucco on the lower portion of the front elevation is somewhat discolored, and there is limited peeling of paint on the garage door. Overall, however, the house appears to be in very good condition

AGE

Built in 1938, the Lindstrom (Nucci) House is in the upper ninety-ninth percentile of Tempe properties in terms of age, thus serving as a rare surviving example of a once common building type; pre-1941 Residential Architecture in Tempe, Arizona.

SIGNIFICANCE

The general consensus among Arizona historians is that the Great Depression which began with the stock market crash in October of 1929 left the Salt River Valley relatively unscathed. This judgement is drawn primarily from the work of Jay Niebur who studied the effects of the Depression in Phoenix. Niebur concluded that the diversified economy of the Salt River Valley, based on agriculture with a strong underpinning of transportation-related activities and other commercial endeavors, enabled residents of the Salt River Valley to avoid the worst effects of the Depression.

While this conclusion seems to be supported by the case of Tempe, the Depression did curtail residential construction in the city. Prior to the economic downturn, many property owners had built residences on speculation with the hope that the house could be rented or easily sold when completed. With many out of work during the depression, the market for speculative housing diminished. Property owners were content to let lots sit vacant. Families that needed additional room because of the arrival of extended families added on to existing structures for additional space rather than construct new buildings.

Following the 1933 inauguration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Federal government embarked on a series of actions designed to alleviate unemployment and otherwise stimulate the economy. By 1937, government-sponsored public works programs began to have an effect in many parts of the nation, including Tempe. The projects increased the amount of money in local circulation by providing work to residents and thereby expanding the customer base of merchants. In Tempe, 1937 was a year of renewed residential construction. In May, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Birchett announced that they would build a duplex on the lot east of their East 7th Street residence as a speculative investment, noting that it would be of the “attractive Monterey type." Later that month, the Tempe City Council adopted an ordinance regulating the parking of trailers within city limits. The renewed economy in Tempe had led to an influx of population into the city, many of whom lived in trailers on any available vacant lot. Henceforth, the city council declared, the trailers could only be parked in licensed camps.

The building boom continued in June of 1937, when Niels Stolberg announced that he would complete “another modern cottage” on West 4th Street. When he was finished, he would then start construction of another on the south side of the street between Maple and Ash avenues. A reporter for the Tempe News observed:

Houses are going up on every hand and they are being rented as fast as they are completed. Lots can be had at very low rates, so that in no time in Tempe's history has investment in real estate been so certain of profitable returns. There are few any vacant houses in Tempe.

The renewed building activity caused additional concerns at Tempe city hall, beyond the regulation of trailer parking. Tempe city officials began to explore ways to regulate the growth of residential construction in the city. In March of 1938, the Tempe city council tentatively adopted a zoning ordinance to regulate construction in the city. The council scheduled a meeting with property owners in May to revise the ordinance. On April 14, 1938, the Tempe city council officially adopted Ordinance No. 177, which created several building zones in the city. Called districts, these zones included: a business district on Mill Avenue between Eighth and Third Streets; a business and apartment house district behind the Mill Avenue storefronts and along parts of Eighth Street near the College and high school; districts for auto courts, auto tourist camps, and auto trailer courts north of Third Street east of the railroad tracks and north of first Street west of the railroad tracks; and an industrial area along both sides of the railroad tracks from Third Street to Ninth Street and on the west and east sides of Tempe Butte. A residential district covered the remaining portion of the city.

The stated purposes of the zoning ordinance included lessening congestion on the streets, prevent overcrowding of land, avoiding an undue concentration of population, and facilitating the adequate provision of transportation, sewers, schools, and parks. In addition to single-family dwellings, boarders, professional occupations, home occupations, educational, and recreational uses were allowed in the residential district. The ordinance did not place any limit on the size of buildings in the residential district.

The building boom continued through the last two years of the thirties. In October of 1938, the construction situation for housing was so striking that first grade students took a tour of houses being built in Tempe, making special note of materials and styles. For those lots that did not have signs of construction activity, the Tempe Garden Club sponsored a beautification contest by giving a $5 prize to the neatest lot in Tempe.

The building boom in Tempe is associated with a Valleywide expansion of residential construction during the second half of the thirties, sparked in part by New Deal recovery programs. In later years, the economic expansion fueled by the gathering war clouds in Europe generated new home construction. Crucial to the increase in home building was the National Housing Act of 1934 that created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). This Federal agency insured private lenders against loss on new mortgage loans. FHA also encouraged better construction standards along with easier financing. The result was an upswing of residential construction nationwide. Residents of the Salt River Valley had the additional advantage of an ardent local supporter of the FHA program. Brothers Walter and Carl Bimson of Valley Bank and Trust (later Valley National Bank) quickly saw that the Federal program was a means to increase the business of his institution. The Bimsons actively boosted the FHA program in Tempe and spurred lending and home construction in the Valley.

Restrictions on building construction and materials availability due to World War II led to a drastic reduction in residential home building in Tempe. Government housing was an exception of course, but the construction of private residential homes came to a near halt. For example, the prominent Phoenix architectural firm of Lescher and Mahoney had seven residential commissions in 1940; in 1941 the firm had nine commissions, and in 1942 just one.
For the remaining years of the war, little residential home construction took place in Tempe. The war effort curtailed activities at the College, where both students and teachers left textbooks to take up arms or bandages. These were good years for agriculture, but the prosperity of the farming community generated little impact in the residential sections of Tempe.

The end of World War II in 1945 ushered in a new era of prosperity for Tempe. Discharged soldiers and war workers with accumulated savings arrived in Tempe and began to construct homes. Arizona as a whole experienced a post-war population boom. Those who had worked in the state during the war decided to stay and made Arizona their new home. Between 1945 and 1960, the population of Arizona more than doubled. The post-war boom resulted in an increase in home construction in Tempe.

The Tempe subdivision of Victory Acres is perhaps the best example of the post-war boom in home construction. In 1942, George and Mary Tibshraeny purchased a quarter-section of land between Apache Boulevard and University Drive (then Eighth Street and Transmission Road), and between Price Road and the Tempe Canal. First thinking that they would use the property for a dairy, Mr. and Mrs. Tibshraeny faced war-time restrictions of labor and materials which made the venture difficult. The couple soon decided that they might make a better return on their investment if they subdivided the property into lots for sale. In 1945, the couple subdivided the western eighty acres of the property, followed by the eastern eighty acres one year later. Original lots in the subdivision were long and deep, in order to allow space for victory gardens. In later years, the rural character of the area attracted many Mexican-American buyers who wished to pursue gardening and animal husbandry.

Victory Acres is just one example of the seven subdivisions that were platted in 1945. Eight more areas of Tempe were subdivided in 1946. The years following the war were dramatically different for Tempe. The tremendous growth and expansion of residential construction in Tempe, spurred by an increasing number of students at the college, sets the earlier period apart as a distinct historic era.

The Lindstrom (Nucci) House’s Pueblo design warrants specific mention as the home survives as a significant representative of the Pueblo Revival-style residential architecture. This house is a good example of the Pueblo Revival style due to its “box-like massing, flat roof and parapets, stucco walls, and exposed wood vigas. The corner steel casement window is a product of the era of construction as Ranch-era housing commonly contained this type of window.” [iii]

Pueblo Revival style residences rose in popularity throughout the American Southwest in the early 1920s through the 1930s. At present, only two Pueblo Revival-style buildings are listed in the Tempe Historic Property Register; the 1930 Rose Eisendrath House and the 1937 Wilkie (Braun-Gutierres) House.[iv] [v] Whereas similar buildings surrounding the subject property feature a combination of architectural styles such as Pueblo Revival, Spanish Colonial, and Mission Revival, the Lindstrom (Nucci) House is a relatively pure example of the Pueblo Revival style. The home’s portico, vigas, uneven roofline, parapet walls, and textured stucco exterior all display a high degree of integrity and are hallmarks of a style somewhat uncommon in Tempe during the period of construction. Therefore, the Lindstrom (Nucci) House is significant as one of the few surviving Pueblo Revival-style houses in Tempe.

Residential Flood Irrigation: Tempe 1909~1958

During the initial period of Tempe’s residential development it appeared that flood irrigation would always be regarded as an essential city service. Irrigation had been a part of Tempe’s culture and landscape since the town’s founding. When the earliest subdivisions were carved out of farms, developers simply dug more ditches to bring irrigation water to individual lots. The open ditches were gradually replaced by buried pipes beginning in the 1930s, but otherwise, the practice of irrigating residential lots continued virtually unchanged.

After construction, residential flood irrigation systems were turned over to the city, which operated them on behalf of the residents. Initially this extension of the municipal irrigation service was challenged by Salt River Project, which allowed the city to deliver irrigation water but only within the original incorporated area. Outside the one square mile area which included Gage Addition and Park Tract, the Project wanted to supply irrigation water directly to property owners. Its primary concern appears to have been the assessments it collected from landowners. If Tempe residents no longer received their water directly from the Project, they might fall behind in the annual assessments that every Project customer was required to pay in order to continue receiving water.[vi]

Eventually, Project objections were overcome and SRP and the city signed a new water contract in 1948. As long as property owners in a neighborhood paid their past-due assessments and brought their accounts up to date, the Project allowed them to receive water from the city, which would then pay future annual assessments to the Project when it purchased water for distribution in the Tempe residential flood irrigation program. For the next decade, every new subdivision in Tempe was developed with an underground irrigation system.[vii][viii]

As a strategy for beautifying the city, the residential irrigation network was a success, because it allowed Tempe’s new neighborhoods to quickly acquire lawns and much needed shade trees. However, as a self-supporting utility service, it was a failure. Irrigation customers paid very nominal fees, only $6 per year in 1946, yet the service was expensive to operate. Unlike the potable water service which was self-supporting, the irrigation service operated with deficits that had to be covered by the city’s general fund. As the size of the irrigation system continued to expand, so did the deficits.

In 1958, after learning that the deficit was then $11,000, the city council tried to increase the irrigation fee, which was then $15 per year. This produced uproar among longtime residents who had grown accustomed to the low-cost service, and the council retreated. Explaining their refusal to raise rates, several council members argued that residential flood irrigation contributed enough to the charm of the neighborhoods and to the character of Tempe to justify using money from the general fund to help pay for this beautification service. In the end, the city halted expansion of its residential flood irrigation service simply because it was a messy chore for homeowners and an expensive program for the city to operate.

The Tempe historic context “Residential Flood Irrigation: Tempe 1909-1958” begins with the premise that historic sites include historic landscape features as integral parts of their identity. This context recognizes that preservation of the perceived and actual integrity of flood irrigated neighborhoods requires protection of historically-accurate landscapes and the landscape elements contained therein. The study of these historic landscapes and their elements provides an understanding of the cultural and social significance of other common visible features in these neighborhoods. [ix]

Community Planning & Development in Tempe 1924~1958 (Park Tract)

The Park Tract subdivision is a collection of cultural resources which are directly associated with the early growth and development of Tempe and the Salt River Valley. Tempe’s story of community development holds national, state, and local significance for its important role in the development of the Salt River Valley as a center of commerce and education, as a critical link in the transportation networks during the settlement of the Arizona Territory, and for its associations with important political figures. Tempe’s unique heritage is exemplified in its significant residential architecture and the infrastructure that supports those properties. This setting exists today in the Park Tract Subdivision as a manifestation of the Arizona pioneers who transformed the desert environment of the Salt River Valley into a community of enduring consequence and unequalled character unique in Arizona.[x]

Park Tract is an early suburban residential subdivision platted on April 10, 1924 by Hugh Laird and Fred J. Joyce on behalf of the Park Tract Trust. The subdivision was designed to provide comfortable and modern family houses. Subsequently, some of Tempe’s most prominent citizens chose to purchase lots and build homes in the neighborhood. Development of the subdivision began on 100 lots in the area roughly bound by 10th Street, Mill Avenue, 13th Street, and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. Park Tract experienced peak construction in 1925, when 13 homes were built, in 1935 with 15 homes constructed, and 1940, with 20 homes built. Curiously, intervening years saw no more than 5 and as few as no homes completed in Park Tract.[xi]

Hugh Laird came to Tempe with his family in 1888 at the age of 5 and remained 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 the Laird and Dines Drug Store, twelve years as Tempe postmaster, 32 years of service on the Tempe City Council, including 14 years as Mayor, and two terms as a state legislator. During the 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. Park Tract, platted in 1924, has a high degree of overall integrity and represents an early suburban subdivision.[xii]

INTEGRITY

The Lindstrom (Nucci) House remains at its original location and retains a high degree of integrity as relates to design, materials, landscaping, and setting

 

RESOURCES 
Letter Receipt of Nomination : : 02/13/2015 HPO to Applicant  

Research Report to Historic Preservation Commission : : 04/09/2015 Neighborhood Meeting at HPC 

Staff Summary Report to Historic Preservation Commission : : Public Hearing at HPC

Staff Report to Development Review Commission : : Public Hearing at DRC

Staff Report to City Council : : Public Hearing at CC

Staff Report to City Council : : Public Hearing at CC 

ORDINANCE NO. 2015.33

ENDNOTES 

[iii] Janus Associates, Inc., and the Tempe Historical Society, 1983 Tempe Historic Property Survey.

[iv] Tempe Preservation Office, “Wilkie (Braun-Gutierres) House,” http://www.tempe.gov/city-hall/community-development/historic-preservation/tempe-historic-property-register/wilkie-braun-gutierres-house.

[v] Tempe Preservation Office, “Rose Eisendrath House,” http://www.tempe.gov/city-hall/community-development/historic-preservation/tempe-historic-property-register/rose-eisendrath-house.

[vi]   Pry, Mark E., Oasis in the Valley: The Story of Water in Tempe (Tempe: Tempe History Museum & Tempe Water Utilities Department, 2003) (KARL: 2004.0000.0040)

[vii]   Tempe Public Works, 1948; Improvement District Map Collection (KARL 2005.0000.0045) College View & University Park Irrigation System Additions, Improvement District Number 36, November 8, 1948 [Tempe Public Works Engineering map collection]

[viii]   City of Tempe (Scott Solliday) 2001, Post World War II Subdivisions, Tempe, Arizona: 1945-1960 Historic Preservation Office.

[ix] Hansen, Eric M, “F. Q. Story Neighborhood: An Historic Landscape Threatened,” Arizona State University, College of Planning and Landscape Architecture, 1999. (KARL: 2004.0000.0206)

[x]  Tempe Historic Preservation Office, "Preliminary Determination of Eligibility Attachment to Staff Summary Report Gage Addition Park Tract College View Subdivisions,” Thursday, Oct. 12, 2006 http://www.tempe.gov/historicpres/docs/MAHD-SSR101206%20PDE%20version100306.pdf

[xi]   City of Tempe, Tempe Historic Preservation Office data

ParkTract

[xii] Tempe History Museum, Tempe Historic Property Survey: Survey Number HPS-222 (Hugh Laird House), http://www.tempe.gov/museum/hps222.htm [Site includes link to Excerpts from Newspaper Articles and Documents about Hugh Laird]

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