Idylwilde Park Historic District

(added 1998 – Maricopa County – #98000054)
Roughly bounded by 11th and 12th Sts., Weldon, and Fairmont Aves., Phoenix
(111 acres, 34 buildings, 2 structures)

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Historic Significance:
Architect, builder, or engineer:
Architectural Style:
Area of Significance:
Period of Significance:
Historic Function:
Historic Sub-function:
Current Function:

Current Sub-function:

Event, Architecture/Engineering
Stephenson, C.W., Webster, Earl W.
Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals
Architecture, Community Planning And Development
Domestic, Recreation And Culture
Outdoor Recreation, Single Dwelling, Sport Facility
Domestic, Recreation And Culture
Outdoor Recreation, Single Dwelling, Sport Facility

In March 1928, developers Earl E. Webster and C.W. Stephenson platted the Idylwilde Park Subdivision, one of the first subdivisions platted north of Osborn Road. The developers sought a means by which their subdivision could stand out from all others in Phoenix, thereby making the lots more attractive. As a selling point, and in response to the concerns of city planners and other civic leaders, Webster and Stephenson incorporated a three-acre park into the layout of their one square block subdivision. Instead of placing the park at the corner or along the street, the park was situated in the center of the block. Residential lots were arranged in a loop along the outer perimeter of the park. Individual lot dimensions were reduced, but in return lot owners in the subdivision were granted not only use of the park but also a share in its ownership. Homes in the subdivision face the street, while the rears of the homes are oriented toward the park. This distinguishes Idylwilde Park from other European or eastern United States precedents, where the main facades and entrances of the residences face an open green space. Idylwilde houses were placed in a manner that removed the park from public view, there-by ensuring the park’s safety, security, value and appearance.

From the beginning, the shared ownership of the park created strong community ties in the Idylwilde Park subdivision. The park has created a sense of camaraderie that has rubbed off on the entire community. The informal ties among the subdivision’s residents were formalized in 1950, when the Idylwilde Park Club was officially incorporated. This organization remains a strong voice in the neighborhood. The swimming pool is still a vibrant gathering place for residents, and a new gazebo within the landscaped park is the focus of social life in the Idylwilde Park Community.

Information courtesy of Historic Preservation Office, City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department

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