1938 WPA Administration Building Update

WPA.Red.WEBHistoric preservation anchors the past in the present and says, “We didn’t just show up here yesterday. We’ve been forging the future on the strengths and ingenuity of a long tradition.” We need these anchors from our history, especially those that honor critical turning points, such as the time when people began getting back to work after the Great Depression of the 1930s, and a time when so many Phoenix landmarks were built.

One significant anchor is in danger of disappearing forever, and we have only a short time left to save it. We’re speaking of Phoenix’s original WPA (Works Progress Administration) Building. It has existed here since 1938, on the property of the Arizona State Fair, at 1826 W. McDowell Road.

WPASome months ago, just one day before its quietly scheduled destruction, we found out that this once-beautiful Art Deco building was to be bulldozed to make… empty space. Perhaps you saw the dramatic newspaper articles or TV news coverage, where concerned citizens stepped up to speak up for our city’s heritage, almost literally stopping the bulldozers in their tracks, though only temporarily.

Since then, other concerned citizens have been negotiating with Fairgrounds management to convince them to save and preserve this distinct, structurally sound, and historically noteworthy building. Understandably, management is concerned about the cost of saving and maintaining this structure. They want us to provide funds needed for restoration, and therefore they require us to deposit $120,000 in cash to a special account by April 14, 2016 to prove that we are serious and prepared. Although we have raised $20,000 in cash and $201,000 in in-kind contributions, the clock is already ticking on raising the remaining $100,000 in liquid cash to meet the requirement.

DoorIf we do not meet this goal by Thursday, April 14, 2016, no further appeals are possible and sadly, Fairgrounds management will demolish this National Register-eligible building.

We ask for your help in the form of a contribution in any amount, please, and as soon as possible. The recipient and holder of the funds, the Arizona Preservation Foundation, is a 501-c-3 civic organization.

Because we are working under an extremely tight deadline, there is a possibility we may not meet our goal. Should we not succeed in raising the necessary liquidity, we will return the full amount of your donation to you.

We cannot go forward without your help. You may contribute online at Arizona Preservation Foundation’s website or Razoo fund-raising webpage (marked WPA Building),  or send your check to Arizona Preservation Foundation, Attention: WPA Building Fund, P.O. Box 13492, Phoenix, AZ 85002. If your employer matches your contributions, please inform them.

Thank you for your consideration.