At least two major thoroughfares in today's Ahwatukee are named after people who claimed lands in the area, in the decades following the signing of the Homestead Act in 1862 Warner Road was named after Samuel Warner of Kansas, while Elliot Road was named after Reginald Elliott of California. Both claimed lands in an area now known as Tempe. A third man, Arthur Hunter, claimed land within an area now known as Ahwatukee. The street known today as 48th Street was, for a time, named Hunter Drive, after Arthur Hunter. Hunter is rumored to have, in the 1940s, disassembled and buried in the Ahwatukee desert a Studebaker auto purportedly owned by Al Capone.
One of the first houses in the area was built by Dr. William Van Bergen Ames, who co-founded Northwestern University's now-closed Dental School. The house was built on a piece of land measuring over 2,000 acres (810 ha), which was purchased for $4 an acre.
At the time, the Chandler Arizonan newspaper called the house, built in the foothills of the South Mountain, "unmatched in scope and size". The house was noted to be a 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) winter residence, designed by prominent Phoenix architect Lester Mahoney, with construction starting in 1921.
The house was given the name "The Mystic House" by the Chandler Arizonan, due to its cost, size, and isolated location. The Ames, however, called it Casa de Sueños. They moved into the house on Thanksgiving of 1921, but Dr. Ames died suddenly in February 1922. Ames' wife continued to spend her winters at the house until her death in 1933.
Following Ames' wife's death, the Ames' property in Ahwatukee was willed to St. Luke's Hospital The property was bought by Helen Brinton in 1935, who gave the house (and eventually the area) the name it is known by today (as explained below). Brinton died in 1960, and the house was demolished in 1979.
In 1946, the International Harvester Company rented land from a United States Army tank testing facility located west of today's Lakewood community, for use as truck and heavy equipment proving grounds. The proving grounds eventually grew to over 4,000 acres (1,600 ha).
The grounds were designed to stress-test trucks and heavy equipment with, among other things, a 7.5 miles (12.1 km) test track, dirt tracks, a special testing area with 20 to 60% grade, service shops, and a runway for company executives. The grounds were sold to a property development company in 1983, due to a combination of economic issues, labor union problems, and a patent infringement judgement against the company The area is now a part of The Foothills and Club West developments.
Ahwatukee Foothills Properties
About the Neighborhood
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Listing Information Current As Of Oct 18, 2021 1:55:pm