D.J. Frankenberg House

 

 

Survey Number: HPS-209
Year Built: 1915
Architectural Style: Transitional Western Colonial Box


BACKGROUND + STATUS
On March 8, 2005, the Tempe Historic Preservation Office received a nomination for historic property designation for the D. J. Frankenberg House located at 2222 South Price Road as a Tempe Historic Property and a request for listing on the Tempe Historic Property Register.

The D. J. Frankenberg House is identified in the Tempe Multiple Resource Area Update as eligible for designation as an historic property.

The applicant requests designation of the house only, exclusive of the 4 acre site of the Tempe Church of the Epiphany campus. A site plan has been provided with the application indicating the building footprint as the extent of the designation requested, however, no legal description has been provided to subdivide the parcel for partial application of Historic Overlay Zoning.

The Commission is advised that multiple zoning classifications exist on individual parcels throughout Tempe. This typically occurs on parcels that span larger contiguous areas zoned differently. The Commission is additionally advised that precedent exists for partial application of Historic Overlay Zoning in the single case of the historic designated 1933 Moeur Park WPA Structures located at the northeast and southeast corners of Mill Avenue and Curry Road, and within an 80 acre parcel that is a portion of the 296 acre portion of Papago Park owned by the City of Tempe.

HISTORY + CONTEXT
The D. J. Frankenberg House is significant as the home of a member of one of the earliest ranching families in Tempe. Frankenberg was selected as one of the first farmers to experiment with Pima Long Staple Cotton. In Tempe, the boom and bust of the cotton market had an economic impact arguably more profound than the Great Depression. Further, cotton’s impact on the landscape would ultimately facilitate unprecedented suburban development in Tempe after World War II.

The D. J. Frankenberg House is significant for its association with the Frankenberg family. Frankenberg was civic-minded and during the 1920s, he served as president of Tempe Union High School and as a Trustee of the Tempe Board of Education.

The D. J. Frankenberg House is significant as one of the best remaining examples of the transitional Western Colonial Box style in Tempe and features a fine Craftsman style interior.

The D. J. Frankenberg House is not located in an area considered to be archaeologically sensitive by the City of Tempe.

Association with events significant to broad patterns of history:
In Arizona the cotton industry began to develop in earnest around 1912 when a special hybrid of Egyptian cotton, known as Pima Long Staple Cotton, became the most important cash crop for valley farmers. The Arizona Cotton boom occurred during World War I as a result of the suitability of Pima Long Staple Cotton for war materiel manufacturing. This type of cotton was developed with the help of Charles Henry Waterhouse and Estmer “E. W.” Hudson of the United States Department of Agriculture.

D. J. Frankenberg was selected as one of the first farmers to experiment with Pima Long Staple Cotton.

Pima Long Staple Cotton yielded a greater tensile strength which made it valuable as an industrial fabric. The boom was a result of wartime demand for products such as tires and other heavy manufacturing items from Pima Long Staple Cotton coinciding with a lack of offshore supply sources. In 1914, the Salt River Valley Cotton Growers Association joined with several prominent Tempe businessmen to establish Tempe's first cotton gin. During the harvest season, the gin operated non-stop to produce twenty five 500-pound bales a day.

By 1920, cotton was so valuable and yielded so much money that almost all other crop production from alfalfa to dairy ceased throughout the Valley as land was converted to grow cotton. Cotton acreage in the valley reached a peak of 142,325 in 1919 when war-time prices reached $1.25/pound. Most of the cotton acreage was south of the river in the area of more alkaline soils and Tempe was considered the commercial center for the crop. In Tempe the boom from cultivation of Pima Long Staple Cotton in turn brought a need for precise quality control. This changed irrigation practices and caused the leveling of 230,000 acres throughout the Valley between 1912 and 1920, when the cotton crash devastated the local economy.

After World War I, many government cotton contracts stopped as demand subsided and alternate sources of supply resumed. The resulting glut on the market ended the Arizona Cotton boom. Irrigated acreage gradually reverted back to alfalfa and other crops, but the newly leveled land would help facilitate unprecedented suburban development in Tempe after World War II.

Association with lives of persons significant in our past:

Don Juan Frankenberg was a member of the pioneer Frankenberg family who were ranchers in the Tempe area as early as 1888. In 1915, D. J. Frankenberg built this house for his family on the family homestead. That same year, he was selected to experiment with Pima Long Staple Cotton as part of the program with the Government Experimental Farm (USDA) at Sacaton, Arizona. Cotton farming was successful in the Tempe area until the loss of the market in the 1920s.

Frankenberg was civic-minded, serving as president of Tempe Union High School and as a Trustee of the Tempe Board of Education during the 1920s. The Frankenberg family lived on the farm until 1932, when the Depression forced foreclosure and the family moved to Phoenix. D. J. Frankenberg died in 1952 in Phoenix.

Distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction:

The D. J. Frankenberg House is significant as one of the best remaining examples of the transitional Western Colonial Box style homes in Tempe, featuring a Craftsman interior. Colonial Revival became a popular American house style after it appeared at the 1876 the US Centennial Exposition. Reflecting American patriotism and a desire for simplicity, the Colonial Revival house style remained popular until the mid 1950's. Western style Colonial Revival reacted against excessively elaborate Victorian architecture, and over time, the simple, the symmetrical Western Colonial Box style evolved into the Foursquare and Bungalow house styles of the early 20th century.

The American Foursquare or the Prairie Box was a post-Victorian style which shared many features with the Prairie architecture pioneered by Frank Lloyd Wright. The boxy shape provided roomy interiors and many Foursquares were trimmed with tiled roofs, cornice-line brackets, and other details drawn from Craftsman, Italian Renaissance, or Mission architecture. By the 1910s Foursquares often had the same type of interiors as Bungalows with open floor plans, lots of built-ins, and fireplaces.

The Craftsman Bungalow is an All-American house form and its efficient floor plan became the prototype for housing on a large scale. In the west, two California architects, Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene, are credited with popularizing the Bungalow house style. Homes designed by the Greenes were publicized in magazines, and a flood of pattern books followed. The Greene brothers also built a few elaborate, landmark "bungalows" such as the Gamble house (1909) in Pasadena, California, however, homes like this are contrary to the spirit of the Bungalow. True Bungalows express structural simplicity, efficient use of space, and understated style.

The D. J. Frankenberg House is a single-story building of irregular plan constructed of pressed yellow brick with a concrete apron. The house features three intersecting red tile hipped roofs with three hipped roof ventilator dormers. The house combines the Western Colonial Box format with Craftsman Bungalow detailing notable at the four large, square, brick pillars supporting the roof over the recessed porch and extensively throughout the interior.

Characteristics of the Western Colonial box include hipped roofs, dormers, and porch inset beneath the house roof. A brick exterior chimney is located on the north wing. Windows are double-hung in wood frames with brick sills. Original solar water heating panels are present on the south roof of the sleeping porch. Except for the infill of the front porch openings, no exterior changes have been made.

The Craftsmen style interior was constructed by local cabinetmakers Thomas W. and Dwight Nichols. The interior of the house was virtually unaltered. Original Craftsman features, such as tapering square wood pillars supported by wood bookcases in a front entry, built-in wood cabinets in living and dining rooms and the kitchen, hardwood flooring, doors, and hardware were all intact and in good condition.

Likely to yield information important in prehistory or history:

The D. J. Frankenberg House is not located in an area considered to be archaeologically sensitive by the City of Tempe.

SUMMARY
The D. J. Frankenberg House is significant as the home of a member of one of the earliest ranching families in Tempe, for the connection with the development Pima Long Staple Cotton agriculture, and for association with Don Juan Frankenberg, former president of Tempe Union High School and Trustee of the Tempe Board of Education. The D. J. Frankenberg House is significant as one of the best remaining examples of the transitional Western Colonial Box/Craftsman Bungalow residential architectural style in Tempe. The D. J. Frankenberg House is not located in an area considered to be archaeologically sensitive by the City of Tempe.

SIGNIFICANCE
The subject property meets the following criteria for designation, as found in section 14A-4 of the Tempe City Code.

(a) The following criteria are established for designation of an individual property, building, structure or archeological site:

(1) It meets the criteria for listing on the Arizona or national register of historic places;

(2) It is found to be of exceptional significance and expresses a distinctive character, resulting from:

a. A significant portion of it is at least fifty (50) years old; is reflective of the city's cultural, social, political or economic past; and is associated with a person or event significant in local, state or national history, and

b. It represents an established and familiar visual feature of an area of the city, due to a prominent location or singular physical feature.