Willo Historic District

General Boundary: 1st Ave to 7th Ave (E/W) and Thomas to McDowell (N/S)

Homes For Sale

The Willo Historic District is perhaps the darling child of Phoenix’s 36 historic districts. It is also one of the largest with approximately 902 homes residing within the district. The district hosts an annual home tour in the spring of each year. It is a great opportunity to view not just the exterior architectural details of these beautiful homes, but also the interiors. On the inside, you will have the chance to see a range of historically preserved homes with original kitchens intact to completey gut renovated homes that nod to the historical aspects of the times.

Historic and contemporary development trends in Phoenix have always focused on Central Avenue, which is the major north-south roadway through the heart of Central Phoenix. It is lined with skyscrapers and commercial developments. Directly to the west lies the Willo Historic District. The district encompasses several historic residential subdivisions that are integral with one another, giving the image of a unified historic neighborhood. These subdivisions are now collectively known as The Willo Historic District. The neighborhood is characterized by low, one-story, mostly moderate sized historic houses, mature landscaping, and tree lined streets. The buildings within The Willo Historic District retain a high degree of architectural integrity, particularly in terms of design, setting, materials and workmanship. The styles of the houses are almost equally divided between the late nineteenth and twentieth century Revivals, and the Modern Movement’s Minimal Traditional variations, including the Ranch Styles, California Styles (Monterey) and European Provincial. The streetscapes in the district help convey the historic character of the subdivisions and retain integrity of landscaping, roadway widths, street lighting, and the continuity of historic houses.

Much of the neighborhood was erected during The Reclamation Years (1905 to 1918) and the Post World War Years (1919 to 1930). The Reclamation Years were monumental in Phoenix’s history as this is when the completion of the Roosevelt Dam, Arizona statehood, and municipal governmental changes took place. The Roosevelt Dam helped form the Salt River Project, bringing water to the region allowing for agricultural and economic expansion. During the Post War Years, the economy further expanded pushing Phoenix into the national limelight as a major southwestern distribution center. It is during this time that major housing booms occurred and subdivisions like Willo began to take shape.

The dominant themes related to the period of significance include trends and patterns in subdivision development, the influence of public planning and housing policy on residential construction, and the evolution of architectural styles in Phoenix from 1910 through 1941. Prior to The Great Depression, the common architectural styles included Craftsman Bungalows, an output of the Arts & Crafts movement, and Period Revivals, such as Tudor, Spanish Colonial, and Mediterranean styles. These interpretations were designed to evoke a picturesque image of traditions, and they were most popular during the 1920s and 1930s.

The change in architectural styles and building methods is noticeable in the post-depression and pre-war era (1931 to 1942), particularly during the age of The New Deal, which brought many changes to the way land development and real estate zoning was handled at federal, state, and municipal levels.

The Monterrey (California Style), French Provincial, and other Moderne Arte styles seen throughout the neighborhood came about during this period. These styles were minimal compared to the ornate styles prior to 1930, many being built with modern building components such as painted bricks rather than plaster. These homes also began to incorporate more modern aspects of the time including porte-cocheres and garages for automobiles. The New Deal brought a housing boom to Phoenix in the late 1930s, which expended the historical relevance of the neighborhood well into the 1940s.

Living in The Willo Historic District provides a private and exclusive feeling. Since Phoenix is such a new city with urban developments stretching 50+ miles in every direction, those lucky enough to live within the Willo Historic District hold a piece of Arizona history dear to them.

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Willo Historic District Stats

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Willo Historic District Homes For Sale

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