Threatened Places: Glendale Area Included On Most Endangered Historic Places List

October 11, 2013

It is time to hit the road and visit another of the Valley’s threatened places as determined by the Arizona Preservation Foundation’s Most Endangered Historic Places list.

Glendale The Glendale Tract Community Center. (Photo by Mark Brodie-KJZZ)

Today, we head west and back almost 80 years. Our tour guide today is...

 "I’m Ron Short. I’m president of the Glendale Arizona Historical Society," Short shared.

Short Ron Short in the Glendale Tract Historic District. (Photo by Mark Brodie-KJZZ)

He has also served as Glendale’s historic preservation officer. He has met me on a windy afternoon near 51st Avenue and Northern Avenue in a little neighborhood tucked away. We were standing outside the Glendale Tract Community Center.

In fact, I drove past it at first. Short and other preservationists are worried about the centerpiece of this development.

"Well we're looking at an area in the Glendale Tract Historic District, and we are looking at the community center. The Glendale Tract Historic District was done as a tract in 1933 by the resettlement commission in the New Deal of Roosevelt," said Short. "They were trying to find a way of helping displaced farmers and unemployed urban workers, factory workers. They built 99 communities throughout America and three in the Valley, and in 1933 and 1936 and 1937 they subdivided 11 acres of it into 25 lots and built little 650 foot adobe houses and one very large, very nice community center."

"What would happen here?" I asked.

"The community center, they had dances and meetings and dinners, they had a victory garden in the back there, it's one and a half acre lot. The other lots were a lot smaller, about a quarter size, and they rented the houses for about $10 a month, and this went on from 1936 to 1947, and 1947 things got better so they sold all the houses off," Short explained. "Interesting enough, not one of the people who are renting here bought one of the houses."

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