Monday, June 21, 2010

Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

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.

16 comments:

Kathy said...

This is such a landmark in our city. Can't wait to see your forthcoming pictures of the gardens.

Julie ScottsdaleDailyPhoto.com said...

very interesting background and an interesting structure

Mo said...

I do hope the locals can organise the restoration.

Jarart said...

I've always loved this place. I hope it will be cared for in the future.

Lucy said...
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glenda said...

Thanks for the update on the history. I believe at one time you could tour the mansion for fund raising. I didn't get to do that and always wanted to see inside.

Brenda's Arizona said...

Good job! The castle has long been a source of conversations. A tribute to you for your volunteering efforts.

Jacob said...

What a fascinating story! I don't remember this, but when I lived there I was too busy going to school to worry about such shenanigans!

That Tovrea bunch were pretty sneaky!

Hilda said...

I wish the city much luck in raising the funds and getting volunteers. I really hope it gets restored eventually — such a fascinating history and I'm sure its architecture and interior design is fantastic.

Magpie said...

Looking forward to your future posts. This is as close as I've ever been. I hope restoration efforts are successful.

Tracy said...

I can't wait to see the photos. I was really looking forward to the re-opening of the castle as I had never seen it before and was really disappointed when I found out it was going to remain closed.

Caroline said...

Hi Sharon and thanks for the comment on my blog. I have had a wonderful browse through your blog too - it has opened up even more of our wonderful world! I just love the bird photos. Thanks very much!

Irina said...

Very interesting. I hope she was not very sad walking through the huge empty house in the evenings...

Kate said...

People and their stories are often strange and fascinating. This one is a rare one, and thanks for capturing it with your photos.

Cynthia said...

I was fascinated by this place as a child. I would always look to see a single light burning and wondered who lived there. I await the time when the castle is opened to the public and I can finally get a glimpse inside.

Stephanie said...

That is such a unique property. I've never seen anything quite like it! It could make a nice resort or spa center...