One of the largest historic districts in Phoenix, architectural styles range from Spanish Revival and Tudor to Bungalow and Ranch.
Willo Historic District is perhaps the best known historic neighborhood in downtown Phoenix. Several factors come in to play including; the large number of homes, a bevy of architectural styles, the richness of its past and the hugely successful annual home tour.
A Brief History of the Willo Historic District:
Several historic events combined to give Willo historic district its personality. Most notable were the eras prior to the great depression, between the Great Depression and WWII and lastly the post war time boom.
The pre-depression era was a time of prosperity in the Phoenix area. The population grew from 123,000 in 1900 to 334,000 by 1920. Jobs were plentiful, opportunity was knocking and a housing boom was underway. Over 1/2 of the 22+ subdivisions that make up The Willo Historic District were platted during the pre-depression period including: Broadmoor, N. Chelsea, Las Palmas and N. Kenilworth.
Since about ½ of the subdivisions were created prior to 1930, a near equal number came into existence afterwards. Very few homes were built during the Great Depression (duh); Thus, many of Willo’s subdivisions were platted in the mid 1930’s to early 1940’s including: Wilshire Heights, Broadmoor Park and N. Broadmoor.
When talking about housing in the 1930’s we have to mention the newly created Federal Housing Authority. In a nutshell, the FHA provided loans for home buyers after the Great Depression. As part of their policy home builders were encouraged to build more uniform projects based on FHA guidelines. Thus, we see early/transitional ranch style homes during this period and far fewer period revivals.
The final building era in Willo Historic District is the post WWII period. During the war, few homes were built due to a shortage in building materials and restrictions imposed by the Federal Government. Once the war ended a fury of construction happened and is clearly represented throughout much of Willo in the form of the variety of ranch style homes.
What’s Happening In Willo Historic District Today:
The first word that comes to mind when talking about Willo Historic is “pride”. People tend to take care of their homes. The second word is “community.” Like most of the historic districts, the folks that live here walk, ride bikes, hang out on the front porch and tend to know their neighbors.
A wonderful mix of architectural styles add much to the feel of the neighborhood. The bungalows and revivals of the teens and twenties are the most popular for many while the ranch style homes of the 40’s & 50’s are in demand for those who like the mid-century look.
- Monterrey Style
- Greek Revival
- Pueblo Revival
- French Provincial
- Spanish & Mission Revival
- Tudor & English Revival
- American Colonial Revival
- Georgian Revival
Willo Historic District has location going for it too. Since its boundaries are McDowell to Thomas and 1St Ave to 7th Ave, Willo is in the heart of the City. The Metro Light Rail is a short walk or bike ride for many and there are a lot of restaurants and shops.
The recent build out just east of 7th on McDowell has added to the neighborhood feeling as well as popular restaurants like Chipotle Grill into the hood. Add all the local favorites and you have LOTS of options.
Expect to pay a premium to live in Willo Historic. Many of the homes have been well updated and demand is generally high. Most say the extra costs are worth it though.