One book leads to another...

Saturday, April 23, 2022

A to Z Blogging - T


A to Z April (2022) Blogging Challenge


Hello, dear readers!

I’d like to thank you all in advance for stopping by, and I hope that at least a few on my list of remarkable buildings pique your interest as they did mine.

“Design is not a coincidence or a formula; it is a result of human reflection and vision in response to a specific challenge.” ~ Unknown



Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

Italian immigrant and businessman Alessio Carraro hired Phoenix architect H.D. Frankfurt to design a “Boutique” Hotel that would attract buyers for a proposed 48-home subdivision he planned to call “Carraro Heights,” evidently without any intention of following the architect’s plan, as he instead pursued his own dream of a medieval Italian castle.

Besides the concrete basement, ascending floors are elongated octogons stacked on top of one another, each smaller than the one below, giving the building its colloquial “Wedding Cake” appearance.

The castle opened to festive fan-fare just after Christmas of 1930 – and right before Carraro realized his newest neighbor owned a stockyard, the sight, and smell of which could very well deter any prospective home-buyers. But then again, after the stock market crash, there might not be any home-buyers anyway.

The economy worsened before it got better, and Carraro was forced to give up his dream before ever breaking ground on the subdivision. His real estate agent accepted a (low-ball) bid from the highest bidder.

I can only imagine Carraro’s thoughts when he realized the highest bidder was his neighbor, E.A. Tovrea, the cattle mogul. Tovrea’s wife, Della, loved the castle so much that she moved right in and lived there until she passed away in 1969. She chose the basement as her main living area because there is no central cooling, and it gets hot in Phoenix, Arizona.

I’m glad that to this day, both the original builder and the longtime owner’s names are used in the title of this Historic Landmark. In addition, the castle is highly visible from surrounding areas, portions of the freeway, and several flight plans in and out of Sky Harbor airport.

Is it just me, or does this plaster ceiling look like icing on a cake?

The views alone are worth the tour, and the guides are engaging! Would you go? Have you been?


  1. I imagine I have seen this from the highway but just didn't know what I was seeing. I've driven around there often. Never heard of this before!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. I've been curious about this castle my whole life. It was almost sad to trade the romantic folklore for facts ;-)

  2. I would go to Tovrea Castle and I want to go to tour it! But it is virtually impossible to get tickets to it! The tickets sell out quickly and tours are only offered certain times of the year. From what I understand next year's tickets are going to be on a lottery system. You enter the lottery and see if you get picked to be able to then purchase tickets. We drive by it often as we live in Phoenix. I hope one day to be able to see the inside of it!


    1. Hi, Betty!
      Just found your comment in the spam section - along with several others. Don't know how or why that happened.
      Interesting to hear about the lottery system. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you do get in ;-)

  3. Having lived in Phoenix for 20 years, I've seen this "castle" countless times, but never went up to check it out.

    >>... it gets hot in Phoenix, Arizona.

    PEZ are hard to load.

    ~ D-FensDogG

    1. I bet you have ;-) Weren't you curious?

    2. I probably was curious. But it was probably also too hot to get out of the car. ;-D

      ~ D-FensDogG

  4. Hi Diedre - what a fascinating story - and I'm so pleased it ended well for the next generations ... cheers Hilary

    1. Hi Hilary! It has enchanted me since I first laid eyes on it ;-)


Any thoughts? Join the conversation, comments welcome here!