From the Arizona Room is a weekly column examining the historic, reuse and infill structures in Downtown Phoenix. The inspiration for this column stems from the ever-expanding resources in Burton Barr Central Library’s Arizona Room (located on the fourth floor*). For further information on this and other historic structures in the area, visit the Arizona Room during normal library hours.

541 W. Monte Vista Rd. in Willo

Nearly hidden by vegetation from Monte Vista Road, the Alberta Apartments

As illustrated in last week’s post on the El Conquistador Apartments, by the beginning of the 1930s, the Willo neighborhood had enacted a zoning ordinance that prevented multifamily housing within its borders. Luckily, the Albert Apartments were built in 1929.

Well aware that a zoning change was on the horizon, builder E.S. Matlock drew up a small, multi-resident Pueblo Revival building for a lot on the corner of Monte Vista Road and 7th Avenue. More than 80 years later, it sits relatively inconspicuous, blending into the fabric of the neighborhood with relative ease.

The Alberta Apartments, as viewed from 7th Avenue.

Brick with a concrete foundation and stucco sheathing, the style is not unlike many of its neighbors. However, its parapet eaves and recessed wood entry would make it distinguishable, if it weren’t nearly hidden by mature vegetation in the front yard. The front veranda, arched proudly and flanked by brick piers, remains in excellent condition.

Air conditioning was installed in 1936, and remains one of the biggest changes, save for some cosmetic improvements over the years. Today it remains a symbol as one of the last “uncontrolled” developments in the neighborhood

Source: Willo-Alvarado Multiple Property Area Historic Resources Survey, 1989.


Is there a historic property in Downtown Phoenix you’d like to see in From the Arizona Room? Email me at with the address and a brief description.

*NOTE: The Arizona Room will temporarily close from July 18 to August 12, as it is relocating to the second floor of the Burton Barr Central Library.