Historic buildings and places are the foundation of any city. They fill them with history and culture. In Downtown Phoenix, they celebrate the city’s history and unique characters by preserving old buildings in an effort to remember the heritage and the diversity that has existed there for more than a century.
Phoenix is a rather young city, but there are several buildings that have such a rich history, they take us back to old tales from the past. Preserving such buildings are an important aspect of keeping Phoenix’s culture and character alive and well for the years to come. Arizona Preservation Foundation, Preserve Phoenix and Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods Coalition are just a few organizations dedicated to saving the history of the buildings so future citizens can experience it.
- The Maricopa Security Building is one of the few building that has been standing tall since the early 1900’s. The eight-story historical site was built in 1928 by Dwight Heard and was the tallest building in Arizona at the time. In 2005, Maricopa County purchased the building and decided to renovate it, keeping all of its historical features. The security building currently serves as offices for Maricopa County.
- The Steinegger Lodging House was built in 1889 and was formerly a two-story hotel. You may have heard this landmark referred to by some of its aliases like Alamo Hotel, St. Francis Hotel or Golden West Hotel. The exterior has a different aesthetic today as the building originally possessed a Victorian-style façade. This façade was modified in 1935. It is currently being renovated by a real estate developer called CSM and it is listed in the Phoenix Historic Register and the National Register of Historic Places.
- Swindall Tourist Inn is the only historic inn left in Phoenix that formerly served as public housing for African Americans during the segregation era in Arizona. It was built in 1913 and owned by the Steyaert family. Today, the historic home is used as professional offices.
- Many companies like the Phoenix digital marketing agency, Ivio Agency, have taken to giving new life to historic building like the McKinley Club, built in the 1800’s. The historic brick building is now home to many companies and businesses.
- One of the greatest examples of historic architecture in Downtown Phoenix is the Luhrs Building and Luhrs Tower. The Luhrs Building opened in 1924 and cost $553,000 to build. Luhrs Tower is a 14-story Art Deco building that was built in 1929, just five short years later. The building has since been renovated, but it’s unique historical characteristics have been preserved.
- The Westward Ho is an iconic building that was built in 1928 as a hotel. Today, the building serves as subsidized housing for the elderly and mobility impaired people. Before its closure in 1980, it became a high-class hotel that several famous movies stars and politicians visited, including Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor and John F. Kennedy. Arizona State University recently announced it will be moving into the ground floor for Applied Behavioral Health Policy. The university plans to open a Community Education and Health Center.
- Many companies have aided in the restoration of Downtown Phoenix warehouses, turning them into trendy office spaces. The Warehouse District has attracted eclectic collection of office spaces, restaurants, galleries, and one-of-a-kind venues for music and events. The Warehouse District is a more laid back side of Phoenix but still comes with breathtaking views of the downtown skyscrapers. Many believe it is the most up-and-coming area in Downtown Phoenix.
Whether you’re looking to enrich yourself in history or visit trendy restoration, Downtown Phoenix has a bit of everything.