[Source: Cynthia Benin, Arizona Republic] — Construction on the historic Ware Building in downtown Buckeye is nearing conclusion, and the new exterior looks – well, old. Building owner Jean Faraj and his partner on the project, Buckeye Realtor Karla Walters, have been working since May to restore the structure to its former appearance. The $100,000-plus project is expected to be completed by the end of this week. The oldest portion of the building dates o the early 1910s, when it originated as Buckeye Valley Bank at Monroe and Fourth streets.
Several years later, a man named George Ware added the western section of the building along Monroe, and eventually the spaces were combined to become collectively known as the Ware Building. In its tenure, the space has served as a boot and saddle repair shop, bakery, grocery store, an office for the Buckeye Valley News and, most recently, Fernando’s Barbershop. With every business change came more modifications to the original red-brick walls and full windows that had given the space its trademark open, welcoming feel. By the time Faraj took control of the building about six years ago, the brick had been completely covered by drywall and stucco and coated in paint that had long since begun to peel. No business has occupied the space since the barbershop closed four years ago after nearly 60 years.
[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Karla Walters.]
[Source: Rebekah L. Sanders, Arizona Republic] — The Nels Benson/Raney House, built by one of Buckeye’s first residents in the 1890s, has been the center of preservation efforts for years, but a wrecking crew will tear down the farmhouse by April if no bidders buy it at auction. The Town Council’s decision represents a blow to residents in Buckeye and throughout the Valley who are trying to save buildings with ties to Arizona’s past. Musicians, professors, and arts lovers have been pushing to designate Arizona State University’s adobe Kerr Cultural Center, built in 1948 by Mexican artisans, as a historic property. And last year, a Phoenix man paid more than $150,000 to move a rare, 98-year-old brick home less than a mile in downtown Phoenix rather than see it demolished. But the Nels Benson/Raney House, estimated to be about 115 years old, may not be around much longer. “I’m not willing to put another penny into it,” Buckeye Mayor Bobby Bryant said.
The town paid about $40,000 in 2006 to move the home to downtown Buckeye, saving it from a developer’s bulldozer. But construction on a $13 million, three-story town-office building is scheduled to start in less than three months on the home’s 46-acre, town-owned lot. The price tag to refurbish and transport the home again, plus buy land to keep it on, is about $1.8 million. The home has deteriorated from sitting on beams too long and would need a new foundation and roof after losing shingles and becoming a pigeon magnet, said Chris Williams, manager of contracting and purchasing for the town. To meet disability requirements, the town also would have to install an elevator, he said. The home lost its historical value with the move and previous renovations such as aluminum siding, Williams said. “I’ve been having a hard time finding people wanting to see it saved,” Bryant said. “The reaction I get in general is people don’t want to spend any money on it.”
But some contend the house’s deterioration and the cost to restore it were exaggerated. “There wouldn’t be a problem with moving it. The doors still work and it’s still solid,” said Roy Dean, owner of A-Arid State House Movers and Enterprises, which initially moved the home. “It’s just a matter of taking the bull by the horns and getting it done.” [Note: To read the full article, click here. Arizona Republic photo of Buckeye resident Lee Hunter watching the Raney House being moved from Irwin Avenue to the south side of downtown Buckeye in 2006. ]