59th Avenue Historic District
The rise of Arizona and 59th Ave historic district run within the same train station but on different tracks. The rise and stumbles of both state and street can be better looked at through a timeline rather than a picture. The homes built within the soil of the state hold with them the highs of a new state and the struggles of becoming a new state. The homes did not only hold a place for families and communities to grow, but the history of what the state went through to become what it is today.
The ground broke for 59th Ave in 1898, before Arizona was a state, and the J.W. Murphy knew he had something. Much like 59th Ave, Arizona had help in its infancy to allow people to settle here. The Hohokam people used a vast number of complex water canals that birthed life into the valley. This would be the ground work that was needed to allow people to settle within the desert. How the canals were important to Arizona’s future, they also played an integral part of 59th Ave history. Without the water south side of the valley would have a tremendously difficult time getting a reliable source of water.
The water that breathed life into the future of the state allowed for a rich soil to be used be cotton famers that would first occupy the land that would become 59th Ave. It was through the homes they built that would give birth to the timeline of the history of the state. From the first Bungalow influence built in 1923 to the last Ranch style home built in the 50’s, the homes told a story that reflected what Arizona went through to become what it is today. The early years of the state was relied upon by cotton and cattle farming, so much so that at one-point Arizona was home to the largest cattle purchase the West Coast had seen, to drive most of the economic demand (The Copper Era. Page 1 Volume 9).
This would be the enticed aspect early on for the farmers that settled on Lot 16 which would later become 59th Ave. It would be short lived as the Great Depression would hit once settlers started to build homes so the growth in population slid off during the late 20’s early 30’s. This would be the rise of the Bungalow style home within those properties that in a way represent what lives the people lived. Bungalow style homes hit their peak in the late 1910’s with then dying out in style by the end of the 1919’s. The odd part is how many were built within Arizona in the 1920’s. Bungalow style was clean and simple, a turn away from the Victorian style in the late 1890’s, that reflected the people and the young state. Life in Arizona for cotton and cattle farmers at the time was simple until the depression. The other style at the time was the Revile Homes that popped up during the mid-1920’s. This reflected a scar that was left by WWI and the influences that Europe brought over.
Once the dust the settled the next boom in both state population and 59th Ave population was in the 1950’s. At this point two major army bases have been placed within ten miles of the resident’s homes. The Ranch style home would represent the start of decline in home individuality and with that the individuality of Arizona went with it. Ranch style homes were the first step in what would lead to the cookie cutter homes and it represented a time with Arizona jumping into the major city ranks. The layouts of the surrounding neighborhoods changed from there on out. The times reflected periods in Arizona that shaped both community and state. The last thing I wanted to touch on was the palm trees planted. In a way the palm trees are Arizona in that they were there before the people and cars and homes. The trees were planted in 1892 and with all the change that had happened around them, they still hold roots in what 59th Ave and Arizona were in the beginning but still are the defining factor in the face of the future.