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 second floor). For further information on this and other historic structures in the area, visit the Arizona Room during normal library hours.

916 E. McKinley St. — Garfield Historic District

The Cisney House, currently receiving a bit of TLC, with the McKinley Historic Church in the background

In early posts about the Garfield Historic District I have discussed how 10th Street became a viable lifeline through the neighborhood during the boom of the early 1900s. One house that was established well before the growth spurt east of 7th Street was the George E. Cisney House, located near the intersection of 10th and McKinley streets.

A brightly colored Neo-Colonial Revival built in 1897, Cisney’s solid stone foundation and brick exterior has held up through a remarkable 11 decades.

The home’s craftsmanship, all created by Cisney by hand, includes intricate dentils around the roof eave. The hipped roof is a common sight in these parts, but even the second-story dormer provokes a wave of elegance. Perhaps most notable is the sweeping wraparound veranda, one of the earliest examples of such in Phoenix. Simply put, Cisney built one of Garfield’s most stunning pieces of architecture.

Cisney was one of Phoenix’s preeminent builders of the late 1800s and early 1900s, and he constructed the house on McKinley as his own private residence. Today, it is a rare local example of classic Neo-Colonial style.

The home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. Currently, it is one of a handful of pre-1900 houses left in the Dennis Addition, which spans Roosevelt to Van Buren streets and 7th to 12th streets. The others include 1138 E. Taylor St., 1001 E. Fillmore St., the Skinner House at 917 E. Roosevelt St., 920 E. McKinley St. and 747 E. Pierce St.

Sources: Phoenix: 19th Century Architecture, City of Phoenix, June 1991; National Register of Historic Places

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.