No matter how many times we bike through the quaint little neighborhood nestled between Thomas and McDowell Roads from 1st to 7th Avenues, its dreamlike setting never ceases to amaze. Indeed, the Willo Historic District has weathered its fair share of architectural movements over the years; it feels magical.
But since its initial acquisition by J. P. Holcomb in the late 1800s, the transformation of Willo into the celebrated blend of structural expression we know today has not come easy. Having sustained the Great Depression, it has taken the support of both local and national real estate developers, community residents, prominent civic leaders, and even the Federal government to continue to help shape and preserve its visual and social characteristics. Fortunately, Willo’s tradition of resiliency was recognized in the late 1980s through its designation as a conservation district, securing its place in the vault of Phoenix history.
Now with over 900 homes, Willo remains one of the largest, most beautiful and oldest historic neighborhoods in the city. For those of us clamoring to get a peek under the hood, on February 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the 2017 Willo Historic District Home Tour and Street Fair is offering a look inside a selection of these charming homes. At least a dozen homes will be open to the public for viewing, dating from the 1920’s through the 1940’s and featuring a variety of architectural styles including English Tudor, Greek Revival, American Colonial Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Pueblo Revival. Visitors can hop on a trolley and be carried throughout the neighborhood or stroll Willo’s iconic tree-lined streets on the way to each home.
A few of the must-sees are:
326 W. Granada | The Edward Sweeney House
517 W. Wilshire | The David Jones House
26 W. Vernon | The Glen H. Foster House
The tour is being put on by volunteers who live in the area, is self-guided and presents a rare opportunity to visit some of the most architecturally significant and finely decorated homes our city has to offer. Your participation provides direct support for future Willo events, neighborhood programs and maintenance efforts.
The streets will be lined with vendors selling handcrafted goods, jewelry, antiques, and local artwork. And the ever-popular Wine and Beer Garden will be there to help lighten the load as you round out your passage through Arizona history. Food vendors will be on site throughout the day should you elect to wander the classic car show right there on Holly at Third Ave.
If You Go
Where: Willo Historic District, Third Avenue and W. Monte Vista Road, Phoenix, AZ 85003.
When: Sunday, February 12, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Travel: Parking is available at the parking garage located at 1st Avenue and Holly, or at any accessible location within the neighborhood. Trolleys will be continually running throughout the day and you are welcome to hop on and off at your convenience.
Cost: Presale tickets are $15 and can be purchased online here. Tickets can be purchased the day of the event at the neighborhood park at 3rd Avenue and Holly. Tickets are $18 the day of the tour.
Photos courtesy of Diana Herman, Willo