Gilbert Follows Scottsdale to the Junkheap of History

An AZCentral article this morning [paywall] documents the destruction of the oldest building in the far Southeast Valley. The former Higley Stop-and-Shop and former post office was over a century old, and one of Arizona’s few remaining examples of two-story adobe construction.

The building was taken through imminent domain by the Town of Gilbert in order to modernize the intersection, of all things. Demolition of history to accommodate more traffic. Go figure.

The article quotes historian, preservationist, and Arizona State Parks historic preservation advisory commissioner Victor Linoff:

It’s just hard to know where to go when you don’t know where you’ve been.

Maybe that’s one reason we are having such a hard time with these issues in Scottsdale.

UPDATE: Less than 24 hours after this article posted, the Republic documented the demolition of two historic hotels in downtown Phoenix by the corporation that owns the Phoenix Suns. The Madison Hotel and most of the Hotel St. James are being razed to make way for parking. There were a couple 0f noteworthy quotes in the article, the first from Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton:

This instance highlights a larger policy issue our city faces. The city’s current investment in historic structures is inadequate, and if we really want to be serious about preserving historic buildings in the future, we need to find better financial solutions.

And the second from Jim McPherson, of the Arizona Preservation Foundation:

“Here it is, our centennial year, and the fight to preserve our history, our culture, our legacy, is going down right before us.”

There’s a part of the article that makes me think the efforts to preserve the David Wright house in Arcadia [Do the Wright Thing] will follow the same downward spiral:

Attempts by the city to give the hotels a historic-zoning overlay failed. The previous property owner opposed the designation in 2000.

Ironically, successful historic preservation must be forward-looking…in more ways than one.

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