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.