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13 oldest standing structures in metro Phoenix plus 2 bonus buildings

Oldest building collage

(Photo: The Republic)

Some of the oldest standing structures in the Valley have been turned into local brew pubs, pizza places, and hotels.

Others have been preserved to reflect that moment in time when the dusty desert was scarcely populated but had ambitions to put school, gas, and lodging within reach.

Here are the Valley’s oldest — as nearly as we can confirm — standing structures.

In a place that  regards “old” as homes that were built in the ’90s, it’s fortifying to see that some homes and businesses of the earliest settlers still remain.

Some of the oldest standing structures have been turned into local brew pubs, pizza places, and hotels. Others have been preserved to reflect that moment in time when the dusty desert was scarcely populated but had ambitions to put school, gas, and lodging within reach.

Valley historical buildings

Here are the Valley’s oldest — as nearly as we can confirm — standing structures. Some look much the same, others are barely recognizable as the historic structures they are:


Union Pacific Railroad bridge (1926): While no one in the city is exactly certain of the oldest structure, the Union Pacific railroad bridge has to be among the oldest and most known. The bridge spans the Agua Fria River with tracks that run parallel to Buckeye Road.


Buckeye/Nels Benson/Raney House (1895).Buckeye/Nels Benson/Raney House (1895). (Photo: Ian Horvath)

Nels Benson/Raney House (1895): At least one private residence in Buckeye could predate this house. However, this two-story, 47-foot-wide farmhouse was rescued from demolition in 2008 by a resident and moved within a quarter mile of its original location on unincorporated county land near Miller and Hazen roads. The 3,500-square-foot blue house was built by one of the town’s early residents, Nels Benson.


Carefree/Shell Station (1959).Carefree/Shell Station (1959). (Photo: Creek Museum archive)

Shell Station (1959): A Shell gas station opened in 1959 at Cave Creek Road and Tom Darlington Drive and remains a Shell station to this day. The Carefree Sundial was erected the same year.

Cave Creek

Cave Creek/Black Mountain Store (1928).Cave Creek/Black Mountain Store (1928). (Photo: Oregano’s)

Black Mountain Store (1928): Located across from Town Hall, this building began as a store and later became the Cave Creek Inn. It’s now the site of an Oregano’s restaurant.

Oregano's restaurant moved into this building in CaveOregano’s restaurant moved into this building in Cave Creek, a structure built in 1928. (Photo: Oregano’s)


Chandler/The Chandler Bank Building (1913).Chandler/The Chandler Bank Building (1913). (Photo: Chandler Museum Archives)

The Chandler Bank Building (1913): The building that now houses the San Tan Brewery in downtown Chandler predates the San Marcos Hotel, now known as the Crowne Plaza Phoenix-Chandler Golf Resort, by a few months. The building opened in February as the Bank of Chandler and offices of Chandler’s founder, Dr. A.J. Chandler. Having served as a bank for decades, the building was empty when the brewery opened in September 2007.

San Tan Brewery in downtown Chandler.San Tan Brewery in downtown Chandler. (Photo: Annex Marketing Company)


Gilbert/Gilbert Historical Museum (1913).Gilbert/Gilbert Historical Museum (1913). (Photo: The Republic)

Gilbert Historical Museum (1913): On the corner of Gilbert and Elliott roads, the Mission/Spanish Revival architecture is eye-popping. It was the town’s original elementary school from the time it was built through 1977. The building became the museum in 1982.


Glendale/Adobe Building (1887).Glendale/Adobe Building (1887). (Photo: Glendale Historical Society)

Adobe Building (1887): Located at 9802 N. 59th Avenue at historic Sahuaro Ranch Park, the structure is on 640 acres purchased by William Bartlett, from Peoria, Ill. Bartlett hired Stephen H. Campbell to clear the land and plant fig trees and orchards. He lived in a tent for a year and then built the adobe for his residence and office.


Goodyear/Litchfield Train Station (Circa 1920).Goodyear/Litchfield Train Station (Circa 1920). (Photo: The Republic)

Litchfield Train Station (circa 1920): The city has not performed an official historical survey of the community but is trying to restore a train station that dates from 1920 when it was built near Maricopa County 85 and Litchfield Road to serve passengers and freight. The station closed by the early ’70s.

Litchfield Park

The Wigwam (1918): This iconic resort began its existence when the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company built the three-room Organization House on site for cotton ranch suppliers. A portion of the original building still stands. The Wigwam opened in 1929 as a ranch that could accommodate 24 guests.


Mesa/Pomeroy Building (1891).Mesa/Pomeroy Building (1891). (Photo: Michele Fluhr)

Pomeroy Building (1891): Built by the sons of one of Mesa’s founding fathers, Francis Pomeroy, the first brick structure housed the city’s earliest businesses. Location on West Main Street in downtown, the store was a clothing store and a shoe store.

Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley/The Hermosa Inn (1936).Paradise Valley/The Hermosa Inn (1936). (Photo: The Republic)

The Hermosa Inn (1936:) A private residence in town that little is known about most likely predates the private home-turned-hotel called the Hermosa Inn. Yet the former hand-crafted abode of cowboy artist Lon Megargee is among the oldest known structures. The home became an inn in 1941 and the artist’s original home was damaged in a fire in 1987, but some of the adobe walls were saved.


Peoria/First Presbyterian Church (1899).Peoria/First Presbyterian Church (1899). (Photo: Peoria)

Peoria Presbyterian Church (1899): The church is the oldest building in the original Peoria Townsite. Built on 83rd Avenue and Madison Street, the red brick church is on the National Register of Historic Places.


Phoenix/Jones-Montoya House (1879).Phoenix/Jones-Montoya House (1879). (Photo: The Republic)

Jones-Montoya House (1879): Built by an Anglo-Mexican couple that farmed the adjacent land at Buckeye Road and 10th Street, this adobe structure was typical of Phoenix’s early homes. Now owned by non-profit Chicanos por la Causa, Inc., which built new offices around the house, it needs rehabilitation. The adobe was built by Wilson Walker Jones and his wife, Alcaria Montoya, at a time when Phoenix’s population was 2,453.


The Titus House is the oldest structure in Scottsdale.The Titus House is the oldest structure in Scottsdale. It was built in 1892. Photo taken in the 1920s. (Photo: The Republic)

The Titus House (1892): This private residence, south of McDowell Road on the west side of Hayden Road, is the only remaining Victorian house in Scottsdale. The one-story brick house was built by Frank Titus, a wealthy railroad investor who became an executive with Maricopa and Phoenix Railroad.

Scottsdale/The Titus House (1892).Scottsdale/The Titus House (1892). (Photo: The Republic)


Tempe/CT Hayden House(1873).Tempe/CT Hayden House(1873). (Photo: The Republic)

CT Hayden House  (1873): The oldest continuously occupied structure, the house evolved from a Sonoran row house, built by Charles Hayden’s family between 1871 and 1873, to the well-known steakhouse Monti’s La Casa Vieja. Hayden’s son, Carl, an influential Arizona politician who has been called “the most important person in Arizona history,” was born in the house in 1877. The house expanded and expanded to become a boarding house, a tea house, and restaurant. It was purchased by Leonard Monti in 1954, and became a popular steak place until it closed in 2014. The site will be preserved as part of a multi-million dollar high-rise hotel project on the southwest corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway.

Republic reporter Maria Polletta contributed to this article.

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