Category Archives: Paradise Valley
[Source: Kathy Shayna Shocket, Republic] — The 50-year-old adobe home where Sandra Day O’Connor often turned heated state politics into decisions over chalupas and tortillas will reign supreme once more as an arena for civic discourse. Rather than watching the adobe tucked away on a Paradise Valley cul-de-sac fall to a bulldozer, O’Connor and her friends are saving the home where she and husband John raised their three sons, Scott, Brian and Jay. “My husband John and I first bought over an acre of land for a grand sum of $4,000,” the first female U.S. Supreme Court justice said during a nostalgic visit just before workers began dismantling the home for its move to Tempe.
The home will be moved next to the Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park and renamed the O’Connor House and Center for Civic Discourse. On her recent visit to the Denton Lane house, O’Connor slid her hand along an adobe wall as if it were one of the living desert creatures she adores. “John and I hand-scraped every one of these indentations in the adobe ourselves with an electric conduit, because the builder wasn’t prepared to do that,” she said. The O’Connors lived there from 1958 to 1981.
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[Source: Eric Wills, Preservation Magazine] — For more than 50 years Helen Harold has lived in Paradise Valley, Ariz., in a concrete-block house designed by Blaine Drake, an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright. So it’s no surprise that she has strong opinions about how development is threatening the character and modernist architecture of her town. “The feel of openness and open vistas is vanishing,” Harold says. “People’s views from their homes are being destroyed.”
Paradise Valley, about 15 miles from downtown Phoenix, is known for its low-density one-acre lots and views of Camelback (pictured) and Mummy mountains—assets threatened by the proliferation of McMansions, according to Harold and other residents. Houses used to be built so the desert dominated, Harold is fond of saying, and now the houses are dominating the desert. Harold, 83, is a member of the Citizens Forum, a nonprofit group in Paradise Valley that recently sent out a survey to residents, asking their opinions about construction. Responses included, “Who needs 49,000-square-foot homes” and “STOP all this ridiculous building!! You’ve destroyed enough of this town.” The way to rein in the construction, says Harold, “is to elect a town council that will be responsible for preserving the desert feel of the community.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]