C.P. Mullen House

Location:  918 S. Mill Avenue
Survey Number: HPS-194
Year Built: 1924
Architectural Style: Georgian Revival

SUMMARY
The 1924 Mullen-Van Petten House is significant for its association with the historic Gage Addition subdivision; with stockman and rancher C.P. Mullen, with educator and politician Donald R. Van Petten, with the Pacific Ready Cut Company and as the first and one of the most outstanding Period revival houses in Tempe.

A: HISTORIC EVENTS
The Gage Addition is just west of the ASU campus and is the northern part of the Maple-Ash neighborhood. It is one of the best preserved and oldest neighborhoods in Tempe, and could qualify as an historic district. It includes homes that were built in the early 1900s, along with newer houses dating to the 1940s and '50s.

B: PERSONS
C. P. Mullen was a stockman and rancher in the Kyrene District from about 1905 through 1921. The Mullen family occupied the house from is construction in 1924 until the mid-1930s.

Donald R. Van Petten, a Tempe educator and politician, served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1928 to 1930 and taught at ASC/ASU from 1942 to 1961 in the history and political science departments. During this period, he wrote several editions of government texts used in Arizona schools.

C: ARCHITECTURE
The Mullen-Van Petten House is one of the most outstanding residential structures constructed during the revival of Period architecture in Tempe. Its fine architectural detailing and workmanship, executed in a Georgian Revival format, exemplify the national trend to return to styles of the past, popular during the late 1920s and 1930s. It is noteworthy also for being the first such Period Revival residence to be built in Tempe. The Mullen-Van Petten House is a single-story frame house with a shingled pitched roof and is rectangular in plan. Georgian Revival style characteristics include the symmetry of the facade, a portico with pedimented gable covering the single-leaf central door, and gable returns. The pedimented gable of the portico features embossed scrollwork underscored with brackets. The portico has two sets of triplet square pillars rising from the floor to a frieze framing the three sides of the portico. Decorative crosspieces link the pillars in each triplet. Gable ends of the house are characterized by boxed eaves, louvered vents, and gable returns. The siding covering the house rises to the roofline. Casement windows are in triplets on the front facade and in pairs on other facades.

The Pacific Ready Cut Company of Los Angeles California was one of six national companies selling kit homes through mail order. Pacific Portable Construction Company, later Pacific Ready-Cut Homes, sold regionally and internationally from Los Angeles (to California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Latin America). Pacific Homes sold about 40,000 kit homes during their 32 years in business (1908 - 1940). The Mullen/Van Petten House was built for C. P. Mullen in 1924 by the Pacific Ready Cut Company, and is one of our earliest a pre-fabricated houses.

SOURCES
National Register Nomination, 1984

Tempe History Museum Historic Property Survey - Mullen-Van Petten House