Donna Reiner, a local historian and a good friend of Get Your PHX, has written many articles over the years for the Arizona Republic and others about what came before us. We use her services when we list properties of historic significance to help us tell the stories behind the homes.
We are happy that Donna is allowing us to re-publish some of her articles on a monthly basis. If you or your business ever needs a historian, let Donna know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Central Avenue north of Osborn Road has two concrete representations of math. Some might even consider these buildings to be quirky rather than elegant. And one of these two edifices even has a popular name.
The lesser known building is The Pyramid on Central located at 3507 N. Central Avenue. How many of you have ever paid attention to that building? Wow, an upside down pyramid. How is it supported and what does it look like inside? The pyramid and its more prominent neighbor to the south, The Financial Center, symbolize the changing landscape of that section of Central Avenue. From desert to farmland, then homes and a school. Eventually over time the commercial structures in this localized area grew from one to two stories to the Financial Center’s 18 stories.
Little was known about the Pyramid’s history for some time. The low square building previously on the property was occupied by the Great Southwest Land & Cattle Company which, along with its president, Ned Warren Sr., was involved in several major land frauds. With that much negative history, no wonder the developers of the property wanted to start with something new and different plus super modern.
Tempe City Hall, the first inverted pyramid design in the state, was nearly ten years old when our inverted pyramid was constructed in 1979. But the Phoenix structure has far less glass than the Tempe City Hall and that lessens its visibility to the casual driver. During the day we merely see a wide band of concrete and only a narrow band of glass. Illumination of the windows certainly would make it strikingly noticeable at night.
The identity of the architect was finally discovered last year in an old lease agreement. Thomas Hite, from Colorado, also designed the futuristic looking McDonald’s in Woody Allen’s movie “Sleeper.” Watch the movie again, just to see that building. By the way, it’s actually a church.
We suggest that you stop and really look at this beautiful geometric shape the next time you are in the area.