This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

Mission Revival architecture in Phoenix, Arizona


Mission Revival is the name of a style of architectural design that was very popular in the 1920s, and it's still popular nowadays in Phoenix. Well, kind of. In its simplest form, you can describe it as red tile roofs and stucco.

Personally, I like the look of Mission Revival. And yes, I know it's an artificial style that was inspired by the Spanish Missions, and the popularity of Zorro movies. Of course, the building has to have a red tile roof and stucco, but true Mission Revival has so much more.

The Heard Museum, shown above in 1938, when it was pretty new, is a great example of Mission Revival. It's still there, on Central south of Thomas Road (between Oak and Monte Vista). It does everything right. There are the romantic balconies with the ironwork, the arching windows and entrance ways, and a courtyard. Yes, it's the feeling of old Spain, or old California, as if Zorro will come riding in any minute.

If you visit Santa Barbara, California, this is about all you'll see. The earthquake of 1925 pretty much knocked all of the old buildings down, and the city decided to rebuild with Mission Revival. So, if you like Mission Revival, go visit Santa Barbara, where it's done beautifully, all over the town. And realize that you're looking at an artificial city created in the 1920s to look like old Spain, or old California.

I love old buildings, of any style. And the next time someone criticizes your red tile roof and stucco house in Phoenix, just smile knowingly and say, "It's modified Mission Revival!"


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