Wright-Designed Phoenix House Now for Sale

Courtesy of the David and Gladys Wright House

Plans to donate a Phoenix home designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright have fallen through, and the property is now for sale for nearly $13 million, according to media reports.

As The New York Times and other outlets reported earlier this month, the David and Gladys Wright House was set to be donated to the School of Architecture at Taliesin, located at Wright's former headquarters of Taliesin West in Scottsdale. That agreement was forged last summer, but fundraising concerns led to the agreement being dissolved this past June.

The plan under the agreement was for the school to use the site for education and events. Now, though, it's going on the market instead, the Times reported.

The David and Gladys Wright House dates to the early 1950s, when Wright designed it for his son and daughter-in-law. Zach Rawling, the current owner of the house, bought it for $2.3 million in 2012 to save it from demolition. Arizona Highways readers might remember the house from Quite Wright, a Matt Jaffe story in our February 2016 issue.

0 Comments Add Comment

Scottsdale's History on Display at Exhibition

A golfer at Scottsdale's Ingleside Inn in the 1910s. | Courtesy of Scottsdale Public Art

An exhibition opening today in Scottsdale features photos of life in the city's early days.

Historic Scottsdale: Live, Work and Play in the Early 20th Century runs through October 31 at the Gallery @ Appaloosa Library, located at 7377 E. Silverstone Drive. The exhibition, according to a news release, is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the opening of Scottsdale City Hall and the Civic Center Library in October 1968.

Visitors to the library exhibition will see dozens of historic photographs from 50 to 100 years ago, organizers said. The collection was curated by Wendy Raisanen, curator of collections and exhibitions for Scottsdale Public Art. Subjects include people shopping for groceries, building canals, hunting and riding in early automobiles, according to the news release.

"It's a perfect time to reflect on the history of every corner of Scottsdale and the men and women who comprise our history," community historian Joan Fudala said.

The library is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. For more information, visit www.scottsdalepublicart.org or call 480-874-4645.

0 Comments Add Comment

Reflections of Frank Lloyd Wright's Youngest Apprentice

Vernon Swaback became Frank Lloyd Wright's apprentice when he was just 17. | Emily Balli

In early May, I took a tour of Taliesin West, architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and architecture school in Scottsdale. Like anyone who has the opportunity to visit, I was in awe of the architecture, beauty and history of the building. During the tour, the guide mentioned that there are only a handful of Wright’s apprentices still living. His youngest apprentice, Vernon Swaback, who worked aside Wright at just 17 years old, is one of them. He’s now in his late 70s and resides in Scottsdale, where he owns his own architecture and planning firm, Swaback Partners.

I got in touch with him and asked if he’d be interested talking about his experiences at Taliesin West. He graciously agreed, and before hanging up the phone, he mentioned that years back, he had written an article for Arizona Highways. I searched the archives and found his November 1988 article, Frank Lloyd Wright: A Personal Perspective. In the piece, he wrote eloquently about his experiences with, and observations of, his beloved mentor, a pioneer and innovator who is often named one of the greatest American architects.

Today, Swaback’s memories of Wright haven’t faded. When asked his experiences as a student at Taliesin West, Swaback lights up and speaks as if it were just yesterday that he was sitting at the drafting table with Wright.

Swaback grew up near Oak Park, Illinois, where Wright also lived for a time. Since high school, he says, he dreamt of one day working with Wright. Having visited and seen many of his buildings in Chicago, Swaback admired his work before he even knew his name. In October 1956, Wright unveiled his rendering of his famous (but never built) Mile High Illinois skyscraper in Chicago. Although Swaback didn’t truly meet Wright at that time, he did get a photo taken with him and the mayor of Chicago.

It was during the unveiling that Swaback had the chance to meet some of Wright’s apprentices. He knew he wanted to become one, and he wrote a letter to Wright, hoping to catch the attention of his architecture hero. Just months later, 17-year-old Swaback interviewed to be Wright’s apprentice at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. His parents drove him to Wisconsin for his interview, and upon their arrival, they were ushered into Wright’s private studio.

“When [Wright] came in, it was like … I can’t explain it,” Swaback says. “It was just like, How in the world did an Earthling like me get to be in the same room as this person? I had pretty much assured my parents that I thought there was no way I would ever be selected. That’s not what I was thinking or hoping, but it helped them.”

At the time, he was studying architecture at the University of Illinois, and when Wright asked him why he wanted to leave the university, he answered the question in a way he never had before. “Because they’re beginning to teach preconceived ideas,” Swaback replied. He says Wright looked at his mother, and then at his father, and simply asked, “Where does he get it? From you … or from you?” Swaback says he knew then that he was in.

Later on that day, Wright, Swaback and his parents were outside and Wright stared up at the sky. “I was sure that my father expected him to say something like "e=mc2,” Swaback says, laughing. “And instead he said, ‘I’ve been watching that little cloud. Isn’t that wonderful?’ That was Frank Lloyd Wright. He was the simplest of men … not complicated, but brilliantly connected to the workings of nature, the aspirations of people and the difference between the space within or what something looks like.”

During his first two and a half years studying at Taliesin West, he worked directly with Wright on a number of projects. He slept in a tent outside and worked outdoors constantly. Swaback says every moment of every day with Wright was a lesson. It wasn’t just lessons in architecture. It was about how fragile beauty is, and about the importance of detail.

“From morning until night, it was just filled with meaning,” Swaback says. “There wasn’t anything we did that wasn’t purpose-centered. For example, when I slept in a tent, I would get more of an understanding of the cycles of nature, the climate, the movement of the sun. Walking from there and to breakfast, I would see the incredible creativity of the Sonoran Desert.”

He also says he appreciated how every apprentice at Taliesin West was treated as an equal, no matter where they came from.

“There were people here when I was here that were of royal birth and had a palace back in Italy,” Swaback says. “Others were the decedents of captains of industry and were multimillionaires, and I had nothing like that. The difference between that and a society elsewhere is that no one would know the difference between who was a millionaire and who had nothing. Because the having of things in this atmosphere wasn’t something you owned or were given. It was all about who you were as a human being.”

In 1959, Swaback says, he and his fellow apprentices were shocked to hear that Wright had passed away at age 91.

“I was working directly with him on a watercolor rendering of the plan of Monona Terrace,” Swaback recalls. “He went to the doctor for something that we thought was routine. Because he was lively as a teenager when he left. And he never came back. I am certain that is the way he wanted to leave this world.”

After Wright’s passing, Swaback stayed at Taliesin West for 21 years and eventually became the director of planning there. He left in 1978, at age 38, and started his firm. He’s written several books about Wright and other topics. He says there’s no question that Wright’s work will continue to inspire architects for years to come. However, he hopes to see architecture and the world move in the direction of building communities like the one that existed at Taliesin West back in the 1950s.

“If humanity is to have a future, the lessons reside in the history of this place,” Swaback said. “History is not made by the creation of technology that has the power to remove us from the face of the Earth. There is no history when that happens. For the rest of my life, for as long as I’m able to keep going, I’m far more interested in the architecture of life than the architecture of a building. That, to me, is the greatest lesson to be learned from that man.”

To learn more about Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright or Vernon Swaback, visit www.franklloydwright.org or www.swaback.com.

 — Emily Balli

0 Comments Add Comment

Group Seeks Historic Trail Designation for Route 66

Mindy Montoya | Historic Route 66

A national nonprofit group is traveling the country this summer to bring attention to its goal: having America's most famous highway designated a National Historic Trail.

Historic Route 66, which passes through Arizona and seven other states on its way from Chicago to Los Angeles, is the focus of the trip by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, KTAR radio in Phoenix reported. 

The tour is scheduled to be in Arizona July 26-31, although details of the stop had not been worked out. You can visit the National Trust's website for updated information.

It's up to Congress to decide whether something should get the designation. Currently, there are 19 designated National Historic Trails, including the Lewis and Clark route and Alabama's Selma to Montgomery march, KTAR reported.

There's plenty to celebrate about Route 66 in Arizona, as we noted in the May 2015 issue of Arizona Highways. The Grand Canyon State has several surviving segments of the trail that are in use today, including the route from Seligman to Kingman and the drive from Kingman to the Colorado River (via Oatman). Additionally, Petrified Forest National Park is the only National Park Service site that includes a portion of the Mother Road.

0 Comments Add Comment

Krazy for Arizona: George Herriman and Monument Valley

Krazy Kat and friends discuss a Monument Valley landscape. | Illustration by George Herriman | Courtesy of Museum of Modern Art

Monument Valley: the setting for epic films, the subject of breathtaking photographs, the cover of our December 2017 issue ... and the inspiration for a laugh?

Yes, for cartoonist George Herriman, the valley's landscape served as both background and comic fodder for his series Krazy Kat. Herriman drew and authored newspaper funnies from roughly 1901 to 1944, but he's best remembered for Krazy Kat, a strip that starred its carefree namesake feline and Ignatz, an angry mouse prone to hurling projectiles at Krazy Kat’s head. Publishing giant William Randolph Hearst was so enamored of the comic, he provided Herriman a handsome lifetime salary to draw the strip for his newspapers.

In 1905, after paying his dues in New York City, Herriman settled in Southern California. From there, he became a frequent visitor to Arizona, especially Northern Arizona and Monument Valley. The trips soon influenced Krazy Kat, and the strip became populated with towering rock spires, Navajo symbols, the word "Coconino" and long, vanishing horizon lines.

While in Arizona, Herriman often lodged with Louisa and John Wetherill in Kayenta. He joined an impressive list of other well-known guests, such as Zane Grey, Maynard Dixon and Dorothea Lange, who had stayed there. During one visit, Herriman embellished the Wetherills' guest registry with a drawing of Krazy Kat and a caricature of (presumably) John Wetherill. The text read, in a typical Krazy Kat mash-up of syntax and spelling: "Back again, Hey? Sure, I are, ain't that a hebit among us 'kets.'”

Herriman enjoyed meeting Navajo families and become closely attached to their communities, generously funding the installation of a movie theater for tuberculosis patients in a Kayenta hospital. In return for his companionship and charity, Herriman received a handmade book of photographs by Josef Muench, one of Arizona Highways' earliest contributors, and a rug with “GEO. HERRIMAN” woven in a newspaper's colors of gray, black and white.

Herriman drew Krazy Kat almost to the end of his life. The last strip was published June 25, 1944, only two months after his death. Foreshadowing his passing, the final comic depicts Krazy after being plucked from a lake, either dead or unconscious. With a wink, no doubt, Herriman added a very narrow panel at the bottom with Krazy floating away. Not wanting to be too far from his beloved creation, Herriman requested in his will that his ashes be spread around Monument Valley.

Unlike some strips that outlived their creators, Krazy Kat ceased after Herriman’s death. Hearst felt no one else could continue the series, which was cited as an influence by cartooning legends such as Peanuts creator Charles Schulz and Calvin and Hobbes’ Bill Watterson. Fellow mouse cartoonist Walt Disney also acknowledged Herriman’s contribution to the field.

The appeal of Krazy Kat, for those who can decipher the topsy-turvy language, is the cat’s often innocent but astute observations of life. Herriman, when interviewed, said the Arizona landscape was very important to the strip. Sure, he would occasionally go for the sight gag, like Monument Valley’s Mittens clapping, but spend some time savoring the irreverent depictions of mesas and mountains, and you’ll get more than a chuckle out of the strip.

For a quick overview of Herriman’s life, check out the YouTube video on author Michael Tisserand’s website. His book on Herriman, Krazy, was published in 2016.

— Keith Whitney, Art Director

0 Comments Add Comment

Nine Decades of History at the Circle Z Ranch

Horseback riding is the focus of the Circle Z Ranch near Patagonia. | Mark Lipczynski

A stay at the Circle Z Ranch, on State Route 82 southwest of Patagonia, lasts only a week but stays with you for a lifetime. Lucia Nash is proof.

In the 1930s, the Nash family traveled from Ohio to visit the dude ranch, and Lucia, then a child, rode horses there. Later, she returned with her own children, and in the 1970s, when she heard the property might be sold to a developer, she and her husband bought it.

The family has kept the Circle Z running ever since — it's the oldest continually operating dude ranch in Arizona, and last year, it marked its 90th anniversary. Lucia's son, Rick, and daughter-in-law, Diana, run the ranch now, and they spend most of the Circle Z's season, late October to early May, at the ranch.

"We've always been centered on riding," Diana says. And it's easy to see why: With access to hundreds of miles of trails, there's always something new to see. And the Circle Z has long been known for its horses, which are bred, raised and trained on the ranch. And in 2013, the Circle Z parterned with the Arizona Land and Water Trust to create a 3,265-acre conservation easement to permanently protect the ranch's open space.

The dude ranch is only the most recent part of the property's history. It began as a sheep ranch in the late 1800s, then was purchased by the Zinsmeister family of Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1920s. They built the ranch's cottages, and while some have burned down, the others are still in use today (the family's home is now the ranch lodge). The property then changed hands several times before the Nashes bought it.

Over its history, the Circle Z has hosted several Hollywood productions, including Spencer Tracy's Broken Lance and Lee Marvin's Monte Walsh. But the focus has always been on the guests. A weeklong stay (Sunday to Sunday) includes numerous opportunities to get on horseback and explore the landscape, along with hiking and birding. The ranch also hosts nature walks, astronomy nights and plenty of delicious food. Shorter stays (Sunday to Thursday) are available, but the ranch's managers note that most people who book those stays end up wishing they'd sprung for a longer one.

With 91 years of happy guests in the books, the ranch clearly has a winning formula — one that's brought the Circle Z a lot of repeat customers, including former guests visiting with their kids, as Lucia Nash did. When they arrive, they find not much has changed — and that's by design.

"We're going to keep doing what we're doing," Diana Nash says. "We have a traditional, laid-back feel to our place, and that's the way we're going to keep it."

— Noah Austin, Associate Editor

The Circle Z Ranch is located on State Route 82 southwest of Patagonia. For more information, call 520-394-2525 or visit www.circlez.com.

One Comment Add Comment

From Our Archives: A War Story

Arizona Highways Archives

Veterans Day is tomorrow, November 11. In that spirit, we'd like to share this letter and photo. They appeared in the June 1966 issue of Arizona Highways, during the Vietnam War.

As if you didn't know, your magnificent magazine gets around, although even you must be surprised now and again by the latest evidence of its universality.

The other day, while hitching a hop and passing the inevitable extra hour in the quonset hut terminal of the Cam Ranh Bay airfield, I came upon the scene preserved in the enclosed negatives.

Outside the F-4's were screaming in and out, to and from strikes both north and south of the dividing line of the tortured little country of Vietnam. The room was filled with 101st Airborne vets, all reading paperback novels bearing bosomy blondes on their slick covers, and over to one end of the rows of wooden benches, a dozen Korean marines in camouflage fatigues sat chattering and perspiring. Everyone was miserable in the close, humid airless tropical heat. All — save one.

He was Capt. Yong Il Shin, medical doctor for the Republic of Korea Marines. Dr. Shin was cool and preoccupied, lost in a land 8,000 miles away, where pyracanthia berries glisten in the tinselled night, and snow flocks the firs of the peaceful days. Dr. Shin was reading your Christmas edition of Arizona Highways, a copy of which somehow had found its way halfway around the world to exactly an opposite climate.

Congratulations to you and Highways, the only thing in history to make the Vietnam climate bearable!

Don Dedera
Saigon, South Vietnam

(At the time, Don Dedera was a columnist covering the conflict for The Arizona Republic. He later served as editor of Arizona Highways.)

0 Comments Add Comment

Prescott's Hotel Vendome Celebrates 100th Birthday

Courtesy of Hotel Vendome

A historic hotel located in the heart of downtown Prescott is celebrating its centennial this year.

Hotel Vendome got its start in 1917, when rancher J.B. Jones bought a plot of land in Prescott and built a two-story, red-brick hotel there. As Arizona Highways reported a few years back, the hotel has been through a dozen owners since then, and for a while, it was even considered a flophouse — "the kind of place people crossed the street to avoid."

Now, though, the hotel is a sought-after lodging destination and point of pride in Prescott. It's also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

To celebrate its 100th birthday, the hotel is hosting an open house Sunday, November 5, from 1 to 5 p.m. The event includes a tour of the historic hotel's rooms and bar, along with a reception featuring light refreshments, drinks and live entertainment. A food drive at the event will benefit the Salvation Army.

To learn more, visit www.vendomehotel.com/100years.

0 Comments Add Comment

The Southwestern Legacy of Sara Lemmon

Sara Plummer in 1865, before her marriage to John Lemmon. | Wynne Brown/Original at the University and Jepson Herbaria Archives, University of California, Berkeley

By Wynne Brown

As Sara Allen Plummer waved goodbye to her family from a wooden sidewheel steamer, she wondered what lay ahead for her. It was 1869, she was 33 years old, and she was hoping to save her own life by moving — alone — from New York to California.

She probably never imagined that she would one day be hailed as “one of the most accurate painters of nature in the state.” Or that Mount Lemmon, the highest peak in Southern Arizona’s Santa Catalina Mountains, would be named for her.

How did a young woman born in Maine leave such a long-lasting legacy in the Southwest?

Sara’s early education was as a teacher in Worcester, Massachusetts. She then moved to New York City to become certified in chemistry and physics while supporting herself by teaching calisthenics (gym) and giving art lessons.

In her spare time, she nursed wounded Civil War soldiers. Ironically, her own health was terrible, and after barely surviving pneumonia, she realized her life depended on escaping the bitter Northeastern winters.

After moving across the continent, she settled in Santa Barbara, where she became intrigued by Western plants. It wasn’t uncommon for 19th century women to be knowledgeable botanists, and Sara, a skilled observer and gifted illustrator, soon was among them. She also started Santa Barbara’s first library and established a lecture series, which attracted a certain Civil War veteran in 1876.

John Gill Lemmon, born in Michigan in 1832, was a teacher and school superintendent before he enlisted in 1862. Thirty-six military engagements later, he was captured and sent to Georgia’s infamous Andersonville Prison. After the war, he was released — emaciated and traumatized — and moved to Northern California to recuperate. He had always liked natural history and collected a few odd-looking plants that turned out to be new species.

By the time John met Sara, he was considered an important Western field botanist. They soon became “botanical comrades,” fell in love and married on Thanksgiving Day, 1880.

Where would two frail botanists spend their honeymoon? Sara wrote her family March 20, 1881:

Tomorrow at 4 p.m. Lemmonia and I start for Arizona and New Mexico on a botanic exploring expedition. …  I have long desired to see the far-off land of the Apaches and then to go with Mr. Lemmon exploring, and gathering the rare and perhaps new species of flora will be sufficient delight to more than balance the fatigues consequent upon such a trip.

These two were definitely not armchair botanists:

I wish you could see our rough outfit of two gray/rubber blankets — old flannel vests and drawers, old boots and hats, a big lunch basket — filled with corned beef, crackers, cheese and three or four jars of nice currant jelly, brought in by good, thoughtful friends. We have a little alcohol lamp to make tea and cocoa over a wash dish, soap and towels. An umbrella tent, a lot of botanical books and traps. The whole outfit and occasion brimful of interest and enthusiasm if you will allow the expression.

She also brought her watercolor supplies.

After three attempts to scrabble up the Catalinas’ south-facing side, the Lemmons were introduced to Emerson Oliver Stratton, who owned the Pandora Ranch on the range’s north side. Stratton knew a better route: “We went to the highest peak of the Santa Catalinas,” he wrote later, “and christened it Mount Lemmon in honor of Mrs. Lemmon, who was the first white woman up there.”

From Tucson, the couple took the train to the Chiricahua Mountains, staying at Fort Bowie until the June heat drove them away. Two months later, they returned, and Sara wrote her family from Teviston (now Bowie) on August 24, 1881:

On Sunday at 8:30 a.m. went on to Tucson about 250 miles farther, a tedious trip, hot, dusty in some places the roadbed washed all out. Spent one night there and at noon the next day started for Bowie Station, 100+ more miles out. This place was reached between 9 and 10 p.m. The inhabitants of about a half dozen houses in bed — a saloon was open. Four or five men came to our rescue, as we were landed by the side of the track, all dark except when the lightning flashes revealed the distant mountains across the wide open plains. It was a desolate scene to us tired mortals.

Four days later, she wrote from Fort Bowie:

This morning at 5 o'clock as the first sounds of the horn are heard, we rose and with botanic press started for the ravine and the site of the Indian scouts who were encamped last season at the Fort. … Just beyond this place is the graveyard in which are buried about 60 people, most of them bearing this touching notice on the wooden headboard: “Killed by the Apaches,” “Killed by the Indians” — “Unknown,” or “Supposed to be.”

One of the many plants they collected was a new genus, and Harvard’s Dr. Asa Gray named the plant Plummera floribunda, honoring Sara’s scientific work — and her maiden name.

A week later, still at Fort Bowie, she described the Apaches:

We have been deeply anxious here for the past week owing to the Indian troubles. Of course with you the news from so great a distance sounds like a myth, but with the dwellers in the midst, it is a solemn reality. Nothing that prowls over the earth is probably more to be dreaded than the Apache Indians. They are sly, treacherous, revengeful, cruel and love to shed the blood of the white man as much as we take pleasure in killing rattlesnakes.

On September 19, 1881, the Lemmons were finally allowed to go to Fort Rucker, a closed post 40 miles away. They camped in a primitive cabin belonging to Dr. Robert Monroe, the “Hermit of the Chiricahuas,” who was convivial — at first. He even trusted them to show off the tunnel he’d hand-dug behind his cabin. The passage zigzagged through the ridge for about 125 feet, with a central room, 8 by 6 by 4 feet, especially “for occupation when Apaches were expected.”

The pièce de résistance was a fuse leading to a hidden half-keg of gunpowder. John reported:

The eyes of the inventor gleamed wickedly … as he disclosed this device and declared that by the simple possession of one match he “could blow the whole Apache Nation into shoe-strings and jumbled bones!”

Privately, John and Sara laughed about the “demented” miner and his ridiculous plan. The hermit grew increasingly moody until, one evening, he suddenly threatened the Lemmons with a rifle, accusing them of intending to rob him. John faced him down by pretending he, too, had a gun, and the hermit subsided into his customary good nature.

One day, as Sara was alone in camp, working on plant illustrations, Fort Bowie’s commander sent word that the Apache leader Juh had escaped from the San Carlos reservation — and was headed their way. 

Suddenly, the refuge tunnel no longer seemed ridiculous, and Sara quickly moved all their supplies into its central room. John wrote:

How glad were we now, that we knew of its existence! How ashamed that we had ever spoken of it, slightingly, to each other, or doubted the sanity of the miner who excavated the long channel.

Their enthusiasm for the cramped, dank refuge wore off until, 11 days later, the cavalry rode to their rescue.

Yet, even with all the excitement, the couple discovered dozens of new species, including a fern named Woodsia plummerae, again in Sara’s honor.

Despite the scares they’d experienced, the Lemmons returned to Southern Arizona the following year. This time, they camped at Fort Huachuca, because Apaches were still a worry. The Huachucas turned out to be a botanical heaven, with 40 species new to science. At least a dozen of Sara’s exquisite paintings from that 1882 trip have survived.

In 1884, they traveled to Northern Arizona, and in 1892, they returned to the Chiricahuas. When revisiting the Rucker Canyon tunnel, Sara commented, “How did we live in here so long — 11 days! I couldn’t stay an hour now!”

In June 1905, they returned to Tucson, and, reunited with Stratton, they retraced their route up Mount Lemmon to mark their 25th anniversary. Sara was 70, John 74.

When not collecting plants from Alaska to Mexico, the Lemmons lived in their Berkeley-based herbarium, eking out a living by selling specimens to collectors and producing several books, all illustrated by Sara.

From 1888 to 1892, John was the state botanist for the California Board of Forestry, and Sara shared his salary as official artist. She also held positions in the Women’s Federated Clubs, the California Press Women and the local Red Cross chapters. As an early activist, she gave talks around the West on the importance of forest conservation.

Californians might claim Sara’s most lasting legacy was her successful effort to make the California poppy the state flower in 1903. However, Arizonans could contest that claim: The Lemmons discovered, described and named 110 species, or 3 percent of the state’s vascular plants.

John died of pneumonia in 1908, and Sara had a nervous breakdown in 1913. She moved into the Stockton State Hospital, dying in 1923.

How fitting that the two of them are buried together. Their gravestone reads: “Partners in Botany.”


EDITOR'S NOTE: Wynne Brown traveled three times to the University and Jepson Herbaria Archives at the University of California, Berkeley, to photograph all 1,200 pages of Sara Lemmon's letters with her iPhone. She’s now in the process of transcribing Lemmon’s letters from 1856 to 1908, and she’s done enough of them, she says, “that I walk around contemporary Tucson with her voice in my ear.” She hopes to turn Lemmon’s story into a book, and her proposal is making the rounds with publishers and agents. To learn more, visit www.wynnebrown.com.

13 Comments Add Comment

On the Market: Once a Train Depot, Now a Hilltop Home

This house on a Phoenix hilltop has a colorful history that includes Arizona Highways. | Courtesy of HomeSmart

A Phoenix home that used to be a railroad depot — and was repurposed by a former Arizona Highways editor — is now on the market for just north of $1 million.

In 1962, as The Arizona Republic reported recently, author and editor Don Dedera purchased a shuttered train depot, built in 1898, in Mayer, located north of Phoenix and just southeast of Prescott. He then had the 750-square-foot depot trucked down the freeway — a trip that included getting permission to haul it across a Deer Valley Airport runway to avoid telephone lines.

Two huge cranes then hauled the depot up a mountain near State Route 51 and Northern Avenue, near what today is the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. It became the centerpiece of a nearly 2,700-square-foot house, designed by architect Fred Guirey in 1963, that has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a rock-wall fireplace and other amenities.

The home was renovated in 2010 and 2011 but still includes fir hardwood and other materials from the depot, The Republic reported. It's been put on the market for $1.05 million. To see the listing and more photos, visit this link.

Dedera was Arizona Highways' editor from 1983 to 1985. He's written more than 20 books on a variety of topics, plus thousands of journal and newspaper articles. To learn more about Dedera, click here.

0 Comments Add Comment