The Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods Coalition recently released its 2011 Most enDangered Dozen Historic Places list. The coalition, made up of Phoenicians in the historic scene, was asked what they would consider the most at-risk structures, says "Lost Phoenix" blogger and local local historian Marshall Shore who has been a part of the committee for the past two years.
The committee's response, as a whole, added three new at-risk areas to a list of already-in-peril buildings that have appeared on previous enDangered lists.
This year, an emphasis was put on improving the conditions of two Downtown hotels (St. James and Madison), citywide vintage neon signs, and alerting the public of the Arcadia 'teardown syndrome" (a late-'90s trend in the Arcadia community when investors and house-flippers scoured for cheap older houses to tear down and built anew).
The Arcadia teardowns category was added after a house from the previous year's list was demolished. "As of last week, we found out about a Frank Lloyd Wright house that was being remodeled," Shore says, disappointed. "It'll look nice ... it just won't be a Wright house anymore."
Shore also says the addition of a broad category for all vintage signs in Phoenix is important because their role in local heritage. He hopes the catchall category will start a trend of sign remodeling.
"Like the sign at My Florist -- people used that as a defining part of a community," he says. "And now it's endangered."
Shore says new plans released by Lawrence and Geyser
don't leave space for the beacon-like sign that once used for the now-closed My Florist Cafe.
In a press release, coalition board president Steve Procaccini writes that all Phoenicians "need to understand our heritage is still threatened by collapse, demolition, or destruction."
The list is meant to heighten awareness of what's going on and for people to start talking about these things, Shore says. See the complete list of structures (and now, vintage signs) on the coalition website