The Greater Coronado Neighborhood...

is unique. Paint a picture, a positive visualization. We are unique in our location within the larger Phoenix metropolitan area. The Greater Coronado Neighborhood does not have natural barriers that define it, nor is it a gated-guarded, planned community but rather an open community. It is fortunate to have strong, significant man made vehicular arteries like McDowell Road running east and west and 16th Street along with 12th street running north and south through it. The life bloodlines of the residential areas beyond these arteries we call home. It is also very fortunate to have on its outermost boundaries Interstate 10 to the south, and State Route 51 to the East. On its northern boundary, Thomas Road and the lovely upscale homes of the Phoenix Country Club, with its beautiful open green space golf course. The Phoenix Country Club cuts many of the north-south through streets and funnels them out to the main arteries of 7th Street and 16th Street. The outer boundary to the west is 7th Street, a very nice and friendly business oriented boundary with beautiful Historic upscale homes and businesses between 7th and Central. These man-made vehicular barriers provide an effect that reduce the amount of cut through traffic that would normally occur in a north-south and east- west directions if these were not in place, it is important to recognize them as a positive influence in the community. While not being natural they are effective and in the case of the Country Club and west of 7th St. are contributing factors to our historic identity. Being man-made makes them easier to design and change to be most beneficial for the community they surround. This is good and is important because it gives us as a community a defined area in which to concentrate efforts.

Look at a few of the other very positive factors that provide for an exciting stability opportunity for the Coronado area. As strong influential anchor points in the upper northeast corner are Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Arizona Heart Hospital. Both these facilities provide clean, round-the-clock, high income and moderate income stable employment. This is great for both homeownership and rental opportunities and businesses as well as all the retail business that comes along with that. Phoenix Children’s Hospital is presently developing a large expansion that will explode the aforementioned benefits for the area. David Cottle recently said at a Coronado General meeting that the expansion will most likely add 200 Jobs over the next four years. APS is building a substation in the same vicinity and both have worked closely with the neighborhood and the Tri-network Fight Back Association to facilitate major traffic improvements surrounding the hospital and the substation. The Greater Coronado Neighborhood has a mirror image effect in the opposite southwest corner with the large Banner Samaritan Hospital Medical center, and all of the independent supporting medical facilities surrounding that location. Again, a great anchor point for employment, sustainability and long term neighborhood stability. All are generous contributors to the neighborhood, and should be looked upon as partners for resources and be a major part of any co-coordinated stakeholder effort for improvement.

Looking west we have a major grocery store within a gas-free walk or short drive. Closer to Central Avenue the new light rail system that will open up large stretches of the valley, from Tempe to north Phoenix within a walk and train commute. Along Central we have access to many cultural venues such as the Phoenix Art Museum and the Burton Barr Library. For the sports minded, all of the venues downtown and Tempe alike will be accessible from the light rail system, free from car and parking hassles. The greater Coronado Neighborhood is located close to Margaret Hance Park, and has within our own boundaries at its heart, the Historic Coronado Park, due for a 1.5 million dollar renovation in the coming years with the 2006 Bond election money. The City of Phoenix urban form project, downtown redevelopment, First Fridays, newly proposed high-rises will bring new neighbors and residential retail. The Coronado Neighborhood enjoys a close physical location and spiritual relationship with our sister Historic Neighborhoods. This is something that should be expanded, exploited and developed as a source of shared resources and ideas. Coronado has cause to announce in these difficult economic times “here comes the neighborhood”.

WHAT DO WE DO???????

“Don't buy the house, buy the neighborhood”
  Old Russian Proverb

Who (What) is Coronado?
by Michelle Steinberg
We live in a neighborhood of beautiful tree-lined streets, dotted with the loveliest bungalows, one with an unparalleled history, true diversity in every sense of the word and STYLE.  Yes, we have STYLE.  If you walk down the street, you see one home after another, each one distinctive in style. There will be a territorial-style one next to a Tudor one next to a pueblo-style one, and so on. All of these houses were built around 1925, when Phoenix was expanding. Mine is an Arts and Crafts bungalow and I'm slowly renovating it, trying to rescue its original charm. This is the first house I've worked on. In fact, I think you could say I'm becoming addicted to my house. Something about renewing the spirit of a house renews the spirit in me.

The truth is, I love small houses and I suspect I always will. There's this thing in this country, people are convinced that bigger is better. There's so much anxiety about not having enough closet space or not enough bedrooms. But what's that all about, really?  I believe in living economically and ecologically. I have a kitchen that's suitable and a pretty dining room. I can have friends for dinner, something I really enjoy, and a guest overnight in the extra bedroom. Not only that, I can do all of this and still enjoy doing what I love most: turning something old and forgotten into something special again.

Coronado is far from being forgotten though, it is a thriving, vibrant neighborhood filled with people like me, people who love and appreciate the treasures that are our homes.

 “I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?”
   Mother Teresa of Calcutta

“Love thy neighbor--and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier.”
  Mae West

“Nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor's noisy party than being there.”
   Franklin P. Jones

“A neighbor is a person who can get to your house in less than a minute and takes two hours to go back home.”
   O. A. Battista

“My neighbor asked if he could use my lawnmower and I told him of course he could, so long as he didn't take it out of my garden.”
  Eric Morecambe

The origins of the Coronado Neighborhood
 In 1908 Dwight B. Heard, president of the Suburban Real Estate Company, petitioned to subdivide a section of property bounded by 7th Street, 12th Street, McDowell Road and the Crosscut Canal. This area would later be known as the Coronado neighborhood. The original intent was to build a prestigious city suburb, such as Roosevelt or Encanto-Palmcroft. But, with land values based on the development's proximity to Central Avenue (and Coronado's comparable distance from Central Avenue), a more modest plan was adopted. At that time, restrictions that regulated the minimum cost of houses built on a particular lot were the common means of determining the range of house size in a development. As a result, the Coronado area evolved into a more modest working-class neighborhood than the original investors had envisioned.

 The Growth Years

The prosperity in Phoenix after World War I brought hundreds of the Valley's new residents; mostly middle class, white and blue collar workers, into the subdivisions in the Coronado area. In 1920 alone, over 800 building permits were issued by the City of Phoenix, with contractors purchasing whole blocks and building several "spec" houses at a time. Building homes on speculation, without any financial commitment from a buyer, was a relatively progressive idea for its day. As residential construction in central Phoenix boomed, Coronado emerged as a desirable and affordable area. The average price of a residence was $1,973 in 1920. Lots were provided with city water and sewer connections, electricity and graveled streets.

Other facilities in and around the Coronado area influenced its growth. The Brill Street trolley car line was extended north of McDowell Road to 10th Street and Sheridan in 1914. A small commercial node developed at that corner; the New Deal Grocery (ca. 1934), still stands to reflect the commercial activity. Good Samaritan Hospital, originally called Deaconess Hospital, was built in 1917.

Coronado Neighborhood

One of the first subdivisions in the Coronado neighborhood, "Ranchitos Bonitos." (literally translated in English as "pretty little ranches") describes the charm of this architecturally diverse neighborhood built from the early 1900's to the 1930s. Because of its relative proximity to Central Avenue, Coronado was not one of the "streetcar neighborhoods," but provided modest working-class homes for Phoenicians.

The construction of Emerson School in 1921 and the location of Coronado Park encouraged young families to move into the area. Most residents were hard working, service industry workers. Workingwomen were salesclerks or clerical office workers. Men's occupations covered the spectrum of employment available in the early part of the century: firemen, policemen, bank tellers, railroad engineers, and other types of service sector employees.

Decline and Recovery of Coronado

As in the rest of the community, the Great Depression significantly slowed development in Coronado. Many homeowners were forced to sell, while others converted their backyard garages into living quarters and rented out the main house. Although done out of necessity, this practice turned out to be a very positive economic strategy. Many residents were able to move back into their homes and retain the converted living quarters as rental property. The first city zoning code enacted in 1930 reflected the widespread application of this practice and it is still evident in Coronado today.

As the economy began to turn itself around, Coronado became the site of the first planned, mass-produced subdivision in Phoenix. Andy Womack, who would become a prominent developer in Phoenix, built the Womack Subdivision in 1939 in the area bordered by Monte Vista, 14th Street, Palm Lane and 13th Street. Womack took the idea of 46 spec" homes one step further, by building homes on the lots, constructing what would become a tract home development. With the success of the Womack Subdivision, various developers quickly subdivided the remaining tracts in the portions of the Coronado Neighborhood east of 12th Street.

Coronado's Significance in Phoenix

The Coronado Neighborhood is both typical of the early sub-urbanization of Phoenix and reflective of trends that shaped the city's neighborhoods as they developed between the two World Wars. A large portion of the Coronado district still retains much of the character of a modest streetcar suburb of the 1920s and remains as a viable middle-class neighborhood.

Coronado's architectural significance comes from its diverse collection of residential styles, predominantly Bungalow, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Tudor Revival that dominated Phoenix neighborhoods from the 1910s through 1930s.

"Coronado began as a working-class outpost. Following the First World War, it was populated by the city's meat cutters, bank tellers, police officers, firemen and sales clerks."

"The Old Neighborhoods"
by Melissa Morrison,
Phoenix Magazine, May 2000, page 61.

image More to come