A battle over Phoenix history: Preservationists want Al Beadle home saved

Residents in a Phoenix neighborhood woke up this past week to find a demolition sign in front of a home some call historic, and some are doing what they can to save the home.

The rectangular building in question, tucked in under the shadow of the Camelback Mountain, was built in the 1950s. Al Beadle was the architect behind the White Gates home near Camelback and 44th Street. 

"The quintessential desert modern architect of mid-century," said Ashley Harder with Preserve Phoenix. "This was his first house. He built this for his family, and it’s been put in multiple publications during that time in the 60's."

The building was gutted more than a decade ago. Plans for it have been crafted, but never started. It was sold this year, and now, a demolition request can be seen out front,

The building’s new owner did not return our calls.

As we spoke with Harder and another preservationist named Julia Taggart, a neighbor stopped by to share stories of the home.

"I would be sad, yeah," said Marsha Umbenhaur. "I think I'd like to see it somehow preserved, and incorporated into something for the owners."

White Gates home not the only building under threat

Besides the White Gates home, another building that some in the Phoenix area say has historical significance is the Mystery Castle.

That building, located in the area of the South Mountain, was built in the 1930s. it hasn't been open for tours in two years, after it was damaged by a storm and vandals.

"My face just dropped when I heard that," said Taggart, who is the president for the Sunnyslope Historical Society.

Image 1 of 3

White Gates home

Both properties will now be reviewed by Phoenix's Historic Preservation Commission, and the commission is set to discuss the future of Mystery Castle during a meeting on March 18.

"I'm really hoping we can save it," said Taggart. "I think if the community comes together, it will help show that it does matter."

Mystery Castle's owner didn't want to comment on the matter, but said the vandalism was extensive to the property.