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Tovrea Castle Available For Public View (Sort of)

Tovrea Castle, the iconic what-the-hell-is-that Valley landmark at Van Buren and 52nd streets that's viewable from Loop 202, may not be available for public tours quite yet, but it has been immortalized in print.

Arcadia Publishing recently released its ode to the wedding cake/medieval castle-style building constructed between 1929 and 1931 by Italian immigrant Alessio Carraro, who wanted to turn the joint into a desert resort. (E.A. Tovrea later bought the building for his wife, Della Tovrea, who would live at the castle until her death in 1969.) The volume compiles dozens of vintage images as well as modern shots by local photographer/film programmer Steve Weiss.

Though the outdoor Carraro Cactus Gardens opened for sporadic public tours a few years ago, hardly anybody has seen the joint's inside. That nearly changed last year when, after renovation work was completed in June 2009, the City of Phoenix planned to open the structure for public tours.

But the estimated $1.4 million that's needed to install visitor facilities hasn't come through for the hurting-for-money city, and the proposed 2010 opening date won't be happening.

For more about the Images of America book, check out the Arcadia Publishing website.

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