The small castle on the hill off Van Buren and 52nd streets that's viewable from Loop 202 is now open for tours and looking for a few smart volunteers to help direct traffic.
Tovrea Castle was built in 1929 by an Italian immigrant and sold in the 30s to cattle baron, E.A. Tovrea for his wife, Della. The estate was passed down through the Tovrea family, wrapped up in one of Arizona's most sensational murder trials.
The building sat empty for years, and in 2010, plans to reopen the building to the public were put on hold because of budget cuts. A small group of community members joined forces, formed the Tovrea Carraro Society, and were able to register as an official non-profit corporation. And now, they need your help.
The society, which is now responsible for the building's upkeep, fundraising efforts, special event bookings, and public events, is looking for volunteers to register for docent classes, which will train individuals on how to give tours of Tovrea Castle to the public throughout the year.
Tours include a video presentation of the history of the building, a drive around the gardens, and a walk through of the basement and first floor of building (because of CIty of Phoenix code, the top floors are still off-limits).
The first docent classes are on September 15 and 22 (more classes will be available in October and November, according to the society's website). Society members say tours are sold out through the end of the year, but with help from volunteer docents, they can open the building up to more tours and opportunities for community members to walk around the grounds and learn more about the landmark's history.
For more information, and docent training registration, see the Tovrea Castle website.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.