6 Downtown Phoenix Buildings to Celebrate During Historic Preservation Month
May 26, 2017 by Lauren Potter
In a city that’s booming with new developments, the historic places and spaces that are dotted throughout our streets can elicit a sense of mystery, awe and curiosity about days gone by.
Downtown Phoenix may be considered a young city, but it’s also home to a number of historic buildings that add character to our streets, and give a glimpse into what life was like for the founders and original urbanists of the area.
And since May is national Historic Preservation Month, we decided to celebrate with six historic buildings that have stood the test of time, and call Downtown Phoenix home.
Dud R. Day Motor Company / Phoenix Motor Company — 401 W. Van Buren Street
Constructed in the 1930s, this building — like many others in Downtown Phoenix — was originally built to house a car dealership. Over the years, it has undergone extensive modifications; however, original wood trusses, steel window frames and other original details are still in tact. These features ultimately led to the building’s Historic Preservation overlay approval in March 2017. The building is currently undergoing a complete renovation to convert the space into an 1,800-seat music venue called The Van Buren. The latest project by Charlie Levy, whose other projects include Crescent Ballroom and Valley Bar, The Van Buren will open its doors this August.
New Windsor Hotel — 546 W. Adams Street
Originally called the 6th Avenue Hotel, this structure is one of the only hotels that remains from Phoenix’s original townsite. Built in 1893, the building has undergone a couple name changes and an addition over the years. In 1925 it was renamed to Windsor Hotel, and later, after an addition was added, renamed one last time to the New Windsor Hotel. Its rare style of architecture captures the transition between Victorian style and 1930s Art Deco style.
Welnick Bros. Marketplace — 345 W. Van Buren Street
Built in 1927, the historic Welnick Bros. Marketplace has seen a number of uses. Over the years, the space has operated as a well-equipped grocery store, a print shop, and soon it will be converted into State 48 Brewery‘s first Downtown Phoenix location. The building’s architecture is one of Phoenix’s best examples of a commercial building designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. Historic restoration specialists, Motley Design Group, were hired to peel back the layers of time and restore much of the original design work. With the combination of historic preservation funds and private investment, this structure, and the adjacent Liefgreen Seeds building, have been restored and renovated for public use.
Fry Building — 24 N. Second Street
If there’s one structure in Downtown Phoenix that’s seen it all, that would be the Fry Building. Standing strong at 132-years young, the Fry Building is located on the northwest corner of Second and Washington streets and is one of the city’s oldest surviving buildings. Built in 1885, the two-story building once housed a drug store, meat market and the Plaza Boardinghouse on the upper level. Owned by Phoenix Suns legend Dan Majerle, the building has operated as Majerle’s Sports Grill for over 25 years.
Sing High Chop Suey House — 27 W. Madison Street
Built in 1928 this Cantonese restaurant is one of the last remaining relics of once-thriving Chinatown, which spanned from First to Third avenues and Madison to Jefferson streets during the 1920s. Sing High originally was located in a building two blocks away from its current location.
First Baptist Church — 302 W. Monroe Street
Originally built in 1929, the First Baptist Church was gutted by fire in 1982. Avid preservationist and longtime politician, former Attorney General Terry Goddard, purchased the property and saved it from the wrecking ball. Goddard had the remains of the structure placed on the historic register. Now, only the stunning — and roofless — shell remains and has since undergone extensive rehab and stabilization by Patry Building Company to help get it ready for tenancy. Today, the Italian Gothic-style building is known as Monroe Abbey and features beautiful motifs, stone columns and three-point arch doorways.