Named Margarita Place by original owner Mary Kent, this neighborhood did not initially see much growth due to the Great Depression. After WWII, Federal aid programs helped families form Margarita Place into a energetic community.
Being a Jimmy Buffet fan and enthusiast of the tequila based beverage, I’d love to tell you that Margarita Place Historic District’s name comes from the drink. Sadly, I can find no supportive evidence, even after drinking a few margaritas. In fact, it is widely believed the adult beverage, known as the Margarita, was invented in the early 1940’s and our historic district was named Margarita Place in 1927. BTW: Margarita is Spanish for ‘daisy’ and was a popular woman’s name in the southwest during the 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The History of Margarita Place Historic District in Phoenix
Margarita Place Historic District is one of the 35 such historic districts in Phoenix AZ. Unlike many of its sisters, Margarita Place Historic District is comprised of only one subdivision. It was plated back in 1927 and named Margarita Place by Mary Kent. We are told she bought the land from JC Adams who was most likely the same Adams who built the Adams Hotels and who the downtown Phoenix street is named.
Ms. Kent did a rather unique thing with her newly plated subdivision… she held an auction to sell the approximately 33 lots. The result was a variety land owners, builders and architects. Sadly, the great depression reared it’s ugly head before many of the new owners had a chance to build their dream home on their newly purchased lots.
Two homes of note did make it out of the ground in the early days. Both were Tudor Revival style homes completed in 1931. A few other revival style homes make up the texture of Margarita Place including one other Tudor, some Monterey Revivals, a Mission Revival and several French Provincials.
Approximately 1/2 the homes in Margarita Place are early or transitional ranch style homes. This is pretty much the norm for historic districts platted in the late 20’s. The Great Depression put the breaks on home building until the mid-1930’s and then the newly formed FHA pushed simpler building styles like early ranch style homes. The trend towards ranch continued to dominate architectural styles in Phoenix for many decades.
Two-thirds of the homes in Margarita Place were built by 1943 with a number of them in 1941-42. We mention this as home building during the early 1940’s was restricted due to WWII. However, the Womack brothers were quite skilled at getting materials approval and built a lot of homes in downtown Phoenix during the early 1940’s including about 10 in Margarita Place.
Margarita Place Historic District Today
Margarita Place offers affordable historic living. Since it is located a bit north of the downtown core and several blocks off the Metro Light Rail, it will likely stay priced a bit lower than other districts that feature similar revival style homes. My sense is there is less neighborhood cohesion than we find in nearby Del Norte, Encanto Manor, Campus Vista and certainly Willo.
If I lived in Margarita Place I’d promote joining a few of the adjacent districts to create a historic tour of the area and homes. It seems historic tours bring the neighborhood together and promotes both interior and exterior updates and upgrades.
The homes are generally well size, averaging about 1600 sq.ft.. If you are fortunate you can find a Tudor, Spanish, or Monterey revival style home verses the more common ranch style homes found in the northern historic districts. Also, you have wonderful access to Encanto Park and Golf Course. This is great for walks, biking, picnics and golf… literally next door. There are a number of neighborhood restaurants including local favorite, Original Hamburger Works with its famous condiments bar and just 1/2 a mile away is Central Ave with lots of restaurants and Metro Light Rail.