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Monday, September 13, 2010

Enchanting Encanto-Palmcroft

Palm Lane in the heart of Encanto Palmcroft.

Spanish for the word “charm,” Encanto indeed lives up to its name.

I’ve always been drawn to historic homes. I’m intrigued with preservation and architecture. I love the unique attributes of these homes - the plaster walls, the front porches, the tile work and wooden floors. To me, it is such a refreshing escape from our stucco suburbia. Ah, at last, in these historic neighborhoods, no two homes are alike.

Perhaps my passion for historic homes stems from my upbringing. I grew in a turn of the century French Colonial in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton. It was grand and stately with its mansard roof and shuttered windows. I remember playing as a kid in the damp coal room and getting covered in black dust. It had catwalks and balconies and secret rooms. Mostly original, it had those rounded doorway arches and deep ebony wood work. It was truly one-of-kind.

And, my grandparents lived in ‘20’s –built enormous Tudor in Dayton, Ohio. It could have been from a movie with its huge sweeping circular staircase, grand entry and even servant quarters. It had an Olympic-sized pool with high dive, a pool house and even separate locker rooms for men and women. I spent hours at a time in the glass greenhouse digging in the dirt on the wooden tables my Grandmother would use for her geraniums. I so looked forward to visiting my grandparents. Some of my fondest childhood memories were from times I spent in old, historic homes filled with character.

Phoenix has a number of historic districts, each boasting their own unique charm and character. According to the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission, there are 35 historic districts currently registered, each boasting their own unique charm, characteristics and vibrancy. These very special historic neighborhoods continue to make central Phoenix the topic of conversation among preservationists both locally and across the country. But, hands down, one of my most favorite historic neighborhoods has got to be the Encanto-Palmcroft Historic district, with the seemingly endless Palm-lined streets and meticulously manicured lawns.

The Encanto-Palmcroft neighborhood is boasting with character. Located just west of Central Avenue this historic district is between 7th Avenue on the east and 15th Avenue on the west. It sits between McDowell Rd to the south and Encanto Blvd to the north. The community boasts a terrific park as well – Encanto Park, located in the northwest corner of the community. This park has been named one of the America’s best city parks by Forbes Magazine. The 220 acre park was created in 1934 and features picnic areas, pool, a lake with boat rentals, fishing, golf, nature trails and even an amusement Park named Enchanted Island complete with games and rides.

Homes in the Encanto-Palmcroft community began to be constructed between 1927 and the mid-1930’s with the park being the focal point of the community, a model adapted from 18th century England. Early construction came to a halt in the ‘30’s, and then picked back up again in response to the FHA-insured loans and for the most part, the neighborhood was completed in the 40’s. Roughly 330 homes make up the historic district. Architectural styles tend to be varied and include Spanish and Colonial revival, French cottage, pueblo, Mediterranean and Tudor.

Every two years, the Encanto-Palmcroft Historic Preservation Association hosts a Home Tour. Planning is underway for the next home tour slated for March 2011. The Encanto-Palmcroft Historic Preservation can provide more details when they become available. 

Many Phoenix area homeowners living in the district are carefully updating and restoring these grand dames of Phoenix.  They range in size from about 1,500 square feet to some, well over 6,000.  View a sampling of the homes listed for sale in the area by clicking here.

There are a number of resources available for buffs of Phoenix historic homes.  Check out Phoenix Historic Preservation, view a map of the Phoenix Historic Districts, and learn about the Arizona Preservation Foundation. 
2011 marks our 100th year of statehood.  As we prepare for the centennial celebration of our great state, perhaps you too will become enchanted with some the historic neighborhoods of Phoenix area homes.
©2010 Tom Weiskopf, PLLC. Tom Weiskopf, PLLC is an AZ licensed real estate agent with John Hall & Associates serving the Phoenix area. For more information, Tom can be reached at (602) 953-4000 or via e-mail at

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