Category Archives: Mesa

Historic Mesa houses still draw buyer interest

[Source: Misty Williams, Tribune] — When Terri Stewart and her husband first saw the 1920s-era house in downtown Mesa (pictured), the couple fell instantly in love and never looked back. “It’s got a lot of character,” Stewart said of the more than 1,800-square-foot house on Grand Street. Nearly 26 years later, the homeowners hope to find a buyer who appreciates the house as much as they do. Historic houses in downtown Mesa like the Stewarts’ are still garnering buyer interest amid today’s bleak real estate market.

Like most East Valley neighborhoods, Mesa’s historic areas have felt the impact of slumping prices, said real estate agent Maggie Turner, who represents the Stewarts. “But I don’t think we’re seeing it to the same degree as we have in new development,” she said. Asking prices for historic houses for sale downtown range from $174,900 for a 1,198-square-foot home on Morris to $1.25 million for a 4,520-square-foot home on Macdonald, according to information compiled by the agent. Turner said she’s seen significantly more buyer interest in the Stewarts’ home than the majority of her properties. Historic houses differ greatly from those in other developments because they’re unique and limited in nature, she said.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Tribune. ]

Mesa cashing in on museums’ success

[Source: Lindsay Butler, East Valley Tribune] — Mesa’s two museums have earned far above what they expected this year, and plan to have a large enough surplus next year to return more than $60,000 to city coffers. Mesa Arts and Culture director Johann Zietsman attributed the success at the Arizona Museum of Natural History (pictured) and the Arizona Museum for Youth to creative tactics and innovative people. “This is a huge achievement,” Zietsman told the City Council during a budget presentation Thursday. The Arizona Museum of Natural History budgeted $325,000 in revenue this year, but expects to earn $400,000.

Next year’s revenue was budgeted at $344,000 but is expected to total $430,000, allowing the museum to give $43,000 back to the city. Meanwhile, the Arizona Museum for Youth budgeted $162,000 this year but will reach more than $216,000. Next year the museum expects a $38,000 surplus and will send $19,000 back to the city. Vice Mayor Claudia Walters applauded the efforts of the Arts and Culture Department. “I am so impressed,” she said. “I just don’t think we can overstate the changes taking place with the perception and community buy-in.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Mesa furniture store set for transformation

[Source: David Woodfill, Tribune] — Brian Thune’s view on downtown Mesa is similar to his perspective on his 88-year-old building housing his furniture store – all it needs is a vision and hard work to reach its true potential. Thune, who owns the historic Drew Building at 37 W. Main St., with his wife, Cheri, is taking the two-story structure in a new direction starting with the closure of his 10-year-old furniture business on the bottom floor. In its place could potentially be an 8,000-square-foot restaurant with a 2,000-square-foot kitchen, as well as nine modern-looking extended-stay hotel units ranging in price from $95 to $150 a night on the second floor. The Thunes are working to place the two-story structure on the National Register of Historic Places. Thune said the units will provide comfortable lodgings for traveling business professionals, including baseball players here for spring training. In the long term, he said he hopes they will appeal to tourists visiting downtown Mesa. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

8th annual Mesa historic home tour coming up Jan. 26

[Source:] — Mesa’s 8th Annual Historic Home Tour will be held Saturday, January 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tour will include visits to eight homes in the West Second Street Historic District in addition to a variety of historic buildings, such as the 1896 Sirrine House Museum (pictured at left), Irving School, Queen of Peace Church, and the Womens Club of Mesa. “The home tour highlights Mesa’s historic roots and the importance of preserving our heritage,” Mesa Historical Museum President and CEO Lisa Anderson said. The eight homes in the West Second Street Historic District are outstanding examples of restored historic homes of various architectural types, including Mission Revival, Tudor Revival, and Spanish Colonial.

Mesa High School students are helping by researching the buildings on the tour, drawing architectural diagrams, and building scale models of the houses, which will be presented to the homeowners. The students are part of an architecture class under the direction of Bob Chambers, Industrial Technology Teacher at Mesa High School. Tickets for the home tour cost $25. They include visits to more than a dozen historic buildings, complimentary lunch at RigaTony’s, a visit to the Mesa Historical Museum, dessert at the museum, and a souvenir book and map to locations. Tickets are available online at and at Mesa Historical Museum (480-835-7358), RigaTony’s in Mesa (480- 649-3333), Domestic Bliss (480-733-0552), and Antique Wedding House (480-649-1934). All proceeds benefit the Mesa Historical Museum. The City of Mesa Office of Historic Preservation, RigaTony’s, The Arizona Republic, and Americopy are sponsoring the home tour.

Mesa history documented in new book

Did you know Mesa was home to a thriving wine industry in the late 1800s? Or, that Mesa’s livestock industry once included ostriches? Mesa’s fascinating history, along with more than 200 vintage photographs, can be found in a new book “Mesa” which is now on sale. Arcadia Publishing is releasing the book in their “Images of America” series.

Two of the authors are City of Mesa employees: Tom Wilson, Director of the Arizona Museum of Natural History, and Alice Jung, Educational Services Coordinator of the Arizona Museum of Natural History. The other authors are Lisa Anderson, President and CEO of the Mesa Historical Museum, and Jared Smith, Collections Manager of the Mesa Historical Museum.

The authors have researched the history of Mesa from its pioneer beginnings in 1877 to its resilient agricultural community to its transformation into a tourism and manufacturing destination. The book also captures the everyday life of Mesa residents over the years. The photographs are primarily from the collections of the Arizona Museum of Natural History and Mesa Historical Museum. Some of the photographs have never been published before.

Copies of “Mesa” are on sale at the Mesa Historical Museum, the Arizona Museum of Natural History and at bookstores throughout the area. The book, which retails for $19.99, can also be purchased online at or Copies of the book will also be sold Saturday January 26 at Mesa’s 8th Annual Historic Home Tour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both museums will benefit from the sales.

Architect, historian look at old-time Mesa

[Source: Mesa Republic] — Who says history can’t be fun — and funny? Architect Ron Peters and historian Vic Linoff, both past-chairs of Mesa’s Historic Preservation Committee, look back to a time when downtown Mesa was bustling with shoppers and tall buildings. Then they’ll talk about why it’s not quite like that anymore. “Mesa’s Lost Architecture – A Disappearance Tale,” a free lecture, will be presented Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Mesa Historical Museum’s auditorium, 2345 N. Horne, north of McKellips Road. The entertaining presentation will include photographs and address other questions about early Mesa. The auditorium is south of the museum. [Photo: Chandler Court building on Main Street in Mesa, circa 1920s.]

Buckhorn Baths

In 1939 Ted and Alice Sliger established the baths unknowing that their efforts to make a living of the natural mineral waters would help to establish the East Salt River Valley as a mecca for spring training. In 1947, the New York Giants made the Buckhorn Baths their spring training home and continued to do so for over twenty-five years. Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Gaylord Perry, Leo Durocher and others were regulars at the Baths. The Sligers established a post office, bus stop, water hole, museum, and motel, which they operated for over sixty-five years.

Also known as the Buckhorn Mineral Wells and Wildlife Museum, the latter moniker due to an immense taxidermy collection, the baths have been closed for years. Ted has passed away and Alice is a century old. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the location of the Buckhorn Baths makes it a prime target for development, and speculation is rampant that this part of Mesa and Arizona’s early history will soon be replaced by a Wal-Mart.

[For more information, contact Ronald L. Peters, Mesa Historic Preservation Commission, at 480-833-6066 or e-mail.]

September 2007 Update:

Mesa Grande Ruins

A sister mound to Pueblo Grande on the north side of the river, Mesa Grande is one of only two remaining Hohokam mounds in metro Phoenix. Just a little larger than a football field in both length and width and 27 feet tall at its highest point, the mound remains intact with very few excavations that have impacted its integrity. By putting the site into public ownership in the mid-1980s, Mesa was able to “preserve” the site, but the City has not funded any public facilities or property upgrades, with the exception of a new fence. Minor vandalism has occurred. (Photo source: Tom Jonas.)

October 2007 Update: “Grant comes through for Mesa Grande Ruins,” Arizona Republic, October 9, 2007.