The Historic Preservation Commission has been working with City staff to identify the best examples of 1950s neighborhoods that can tell the story of postwar (World War II) subdivisions in Scottsdale. The Commission is charged by City Council with identifying and protecting significant historic resources in Scottsdale.
Reports and Maps
The process used by the Commission to evaluate neighborhoods is illustrated in the Summary of the Process Used for Postwar Neighborhood Survey (pdf/31 KB/1 p). In 2004 the Historic Preservation Commission and its Historic Register Committee surveyed all 37 neighborhoods built in Scottsdale in the 1950s. The Committee narrowed down the potential candidates for further study from the initial 37 neighborhoods to the top 20. For a map of the top twenty neighborhoods considered eligible for potential historic districts see Scottsdale's 1950s subdivisions, for further consideration as HP Districts. The Historic Preservation Commission and City staff hosted two open houses in September 2004 to describe the process being used to select neighborhoods. Over one hundred interested citizens attended the open houses. The public process to go from surveying neighborhoods to an area being designated by City Council as a Historic District and placed on the Scottsdale Historic Register is lengthy and includes several steps. The complete process is shown in Steps to Zone Property HP and Place on Register (pdf/18 KB/1 p).
Neighborhoods are not just being considered for placement on the historic register because they are old. They are also linked to a time and a place, to historical events and to the accomplishments of prominent people. The "Historic Context" for postwar subdivisions describes the links to the past between neighborhoods today and the people and events that shaped residential developments in Scottsdale in the 1950s and 1960s. Scottsdale was fortunate in having a graduate student at ASU complete her thesis on postwar Scottsdale subdivisions in August 2002. The report is long but you can read it here: Postwar Modern Housing and a Geographic Information System Study of Scottsdale Subdivisions (pdf/5.7 MB/115 pp), by Elizabeth Wilson.
The broad Historic Context for postwar subdivisions can also be broken down further into five more specific themes. Two themes for postwar subdivisions relate to specific events and three themes relate to design and construction methods. The five themes are:
- Event Theme: Growth of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area 1947-1960;
- Event Theme: Residential Subdivision Practices in Scottsdale 1947-1960;
- Design Theme: Residential Subdivision Design Evolution 1947-1960;
- Design Theme: Post WWII Housing design 1946-1960; and
- Design Theme: Single Family Home Architectural Styles 1946-1960.
Some of the prominent single-family ranch styles found in Scottsdale include Simple Ranch, Cowboy Ranch, California Ranch, Swiss Chalet Character Ranch, and Contemporary Style. A presentation illustrating the different architectural styles for ranch houses, including photos of these styles, can be found at Introduction to Postwar Modern Housing.