Ashland Place Historic District

(added 1994 – Maricopa County – #94001486)
Also known as Ashland Place Subdivision
Roughly bounded by Central Ave., Vernon Ave., 3rd St. and Oak St., Phoenix
(150 acres, 57 buildings)

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Historic Significance:
Architectural Style:
Area of Significance:
Period of Significance:
Historic Function:
Historic Sub-function:
Current Function:
Current Sub-function:
Event, Architecture/Engineering
Kelley, C. Lewis, Home Builders Inc.
Bungalow/Craftsman, Mission/Spanish Revival, Tudor Revival
Architecture, Community Planning And Development
Multiple Dwelling, Single Dwelling
Domestic, Health Care
Medical Business/Office, Single Dwelling

Ashland Place Historic District was designated a Maricopa County Phoenix historic district in May of 1992. Its period of significance is 1920-1904. Generally located along Hoover, Vernon and Ashland Avenues between Central Avenue and Third Street. It is also known as Ashland Place Subdivision and is approximately 150 acres in size.

Ashland Place was built as a subdivision of Dwight B. Heard’s “Los Olivios” subdivision. Homes in this area consist of Bungalow and Period Revival built in the 1920′s.

After World War I, Phoenix weathered an economic slump as cotton prices plummeted and agricultural products lost value. As the economy stabilized, Phoenix evolved into the major distribution center of the Southwest. By the Roaring ’20s, Phoenix had transformed from a small agricultural town into a major metropolitan city. It was during this period that Phoenix enjoyed new construction as the city expanded. Ashland Place is an excellent example of those influences at work during the boom years prior to the Great Depression.

Ashland Place was one of the earliest and largest subdivisions built during this period of expansion. Developed by Home Builders Inc., the homes in Ashland Place were compact and affordable to construct. The original Ashland Place building plat was recorded in 1920 and contained 76 lots—including eight on Central Avenue. These original Central Avenue lots are not a part of the Ashland Place historic neighborhood today because they no longer contain historic structures.

Forty-seven homes were built on a speculative basis by mid-1926, and by 1931 only four lots remained vacant. This was all part of the spirit of the 1920s—buying what was out of reach. For the first time in history, customers used affordable payment plans to purchase the homes instead of paying upfront. This was a new concept at the time and brought national exposure to Home Builders Inc., which primarily offered affordable, bungalow-style homes.

The neighborhood was one of the most successful of the subdivisions built during the period. While multiple developers, contractors or private investors built other Phoenix-area districts, Ashland Place was almost completely the product of Home Builders Inc. The company was one of the most prolific residential development companies in Phoenix at the time; it was responsible for the construction of more than 800 homes in central and north central Phoenix before its liquidation in 1939.

In 1924, the company hired C. Lewis Kelley, a Hollywood architect. Under Kelley’s leadership, construction began to diversify into other architectural styles. Fourteen homes were added to the subdivision from 1924 to 1926. They included beautiful Tudor Revival and Spanish Eclectic cottages—styles Kelley popularized. Home Builders Inc. advertised its designs as “specialty of building for folks of moderate means.” The early residents of Ashland Place were primarily middle-class people of modest means like teachers, bank tellers, pharmacists, tailors and engineers.

Ashland Place was designated a Phoenix Historic District in May of 1992; it originally included 58 properties along both sides of East Vernon Avenue and East Hoover Street, between Central Avenue and Third Street. The original district boundaries coincided with the original Ashland Place subdivision plot. The historic neighborhood boundaries were expanded in 2003 to include Ashland Street. Today, Ashland Place is a charming neighborhood lined with mature ash trees and charming streetlights—mere steps from the new light rail.

Information courtesy of  Phoenix Historic Preservation Office and AZ Central

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