Phoenix, AZ – March 20, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — Arizona is celebrating its 100th year of statehood in 2012. Centennial events and activities have been selected to showcase the diverse nature of the State: its people, entrepreneurial spirit, unique destinations and educational opportunities.
The Centennial goal is to have all 22 tribes, 15 counties and 120 cities and towns represented with at least one officially designated Arizona Centennial event and/or Legacy project that are unique and meaningful to its community. In the City of Phoenix, Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights has been designated as one of the Centennial Legacy Projects.
In partnership with the non-profit Tovrea Carraro Society, the City of Phoenix has taken under its wing the resuscitation of a unique architectural and real estate investment dating back to the 1920s.
It’s a testament to the existence and reality of the American dream, an evolutionary documentation of Phoenix’s history, an example of budding environmental awareness by the original developer in the 1920s, and an example of the model of public/private partnerships in contemporary business development.
Phoenix, Arizona is one of the principal cities in the American Southwest. It was also the dream of Italian immigrant, Alessio Carraro, to build a “resort” in a magnificent desert terrain of the 52nd and Van Buren section of Phoenix, today a quick turnoff from the 202 Freeway.
Carraro had emigrated to San Francisco from Italy, specializing in sheet metal work. His success in this field created a financial portfolio sufficient for him to realize his own personal dream. He personally designed a magnificent “wedding cake” tiered structure built atop a knoll which he planned as a resort, taking care to install authentic desert landscaping in cactus gardens around the estate.
“Location, location, location” has always been the mantra of real estate barons. Carraro now envisioned himself in the category of real estate investor and took pride in having singled out the prime land, which even today in 2012, is a truly “pristine location”.
Two events interrupted the continue of Carraro’s dream: the depression and its accompanying financial distress and the purchase of adjacent property by a
buyer who planned to use his acreage for animal pens for their meat packing plant. The summary history of the two families can be referenced on the web.
Needless to say, Carraro abandoned his Phoenix project believing the “resort dream” could not be realized with the new investor’s land development plans. Carraro sold his land to an unidentified buyer, which turned out to be the meat packer plant family of Tovrea.
Disheartened but not disillusioned, Carraro left Phoenix and chose to center his interest in another part of Arizona: Yarnell and its natural unusual rock formations which suggested animal forms of all kinds. Carraro thought this, too, could become a tourist attraction and spent the rest of his days working on this plan for what has come to be called Carraro’s Grotto.
Arizona’s Centennial Year has coincided with renewed interest by citizens and the City of Phoenix to revive the memory of what is now known as Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights.
Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights is one of 79 properties that received a special commemorative plaque from the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission in February 2012 during a ceremony at Phoenix City Hall. All selected properties had to meet one of four criteria:
Be located within the downtown district, which is between Jackson Street and McDowell Road, and Seventh Street and Seventh Avenue.
Be a tourist site, whether significant in the past, an attraction or potentially an attraction.
Be a city-owned property.
Be a property that has received a city of Phoenix historical-preservation grant, which pays for 50 percent of rehabilitation costs.
The unique landmark is visible from a distance to residents and visitors passing through the City of Phoenix in the areas by the Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Gardens and Sky Harbor Airport. Endless people have wondered about its history and wanted to have tours. In the spring of 2010, all plans to open the Castle to the public had to be put on hold. That same year, a small group of community volunteers recognized the need to make this landmark available to the public and formed the Tovrea Carraro Society, a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation in September of 2010. The Society was granted 501(c)(3) non-profit status by the IRS in May of 2011.
The Society’s Mission Statement is to partner with the City of Phoenix to preserve, maintain and restore the historic structures, gardens and grounds comprising Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights and to provide access to visitors.
On November 17, 2011, the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board approved a five year Operating Agreement with the Tovrea Carraro Society to operate the Castle on behalf of the City. The Society is responsible for handling all aspects of the daily operation of the Castle including all fundraising efforts, docent volunteer recruitment, public tour schedule, special event bookings, sales/marketing efforts and community outreach programs.
It’s the combined effects of visionaries, dedicated citizens and effective civic and State organizations which have permitted Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights to reemerge into public awareness and once again highlight the American dream.
For further information, see www.tovreacastletours.org.
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MH-Global Communications Network, Maureen Herron, Executive Director, phone 602-579-0361; e-mail: maureenherron (at) gmail (dot) com, maureenherron (at) q (dot) com