Tovrea Castle is located in southeast Phoenix on a little rise called Carraro Heights after the man who built the castle between 1928 and 1930. Alessio Carraro was an Italian immigrant who purchased the land here in order to build his dream of a resort surrounded by desert vegetation.
His dream was dashed when Edward Ambrose Tovrea expanded his cattle business to build sheep pens abutting the Carraro land. Knowing that guests would not want to vacation in close proximity to the unpleasant by-products of penned cattle and sheep, Carraro sold the property. The buyer turned out to be Della Tovrea, wife of E.A. Tovrea the offending cattle baron.
The Tovrea’s moved into the castle, but two short years later, E.A, Tovrea died. Della continued to live there until she married William Stuart when the two began living in Prescott during the summers and spent winters at the castle. When Stuart died in 1960, Della returned full time to the castle and lived there alone until her death in 1969. You can read more about the amazing history of this place here.
Since that time, the property was largely unused and as you might expect significant deterioration has taken place. The city of Phoenix bought the property in 1993 in hopes of restoring it to its historical elegance and opening it to the public.
The downturn in the world economy has had a devastating effect on all such non-essential projects so once again the castle restoration has been stalled. However, the city now is encouraging volunteers to help with restoration efforts. Regular volunteer opportunities are available to help keep the gardens healthy. (Click this link for more information.) More volunteer and contributory opportunities are in development.
Over the next few days, I’ll show you more photos I took on the day a close friend of mine and I volunteered to work in the gardens.