Monday, May 2, 2011

Roosevelt Row

Photo by Jack Haskell
631 E. Roosevelt Ave., Phoenix, AZ 95003
Roosevelt Row has been a vital mixed use area from the earliest days of the establishment of Phoenix. Many of the historic concrete sidewalks in the corridor were poured 1909, three years before Arizona officially became the 48th State. In the early 1940's, when there were approximately 30,000 people living in Phoenix numerous businesses were established along Roosevelt Street. The flower shop at Fifth Street and Roosevelt has been in continuous operation since 1948.            In the 1970's, parts of the area were re-zoned as a high-rise incentive district leading to land speculation and a decline of the neighborhood that lasted until the late 1990's. Many of these inhabitants were forced out of their homes to make room for the new developments. Along with the decline of a community came the downfall of the neighborhood. Many of the remaining homes became high crime areas and unsafe to walk through. The houses that once held settling families were now infiltrated by crime and poverty. 
As the years passed, the blighted area was attractive to artists because the boarded-up buildings and former crack houses were affordable for studio and gallery space. The arts were a major factor in the revitalization of the area resulting in significant decreases in crime as more people began to venture into the area to experience the cultural vibrancy. Many new art businesses have emerged in the past thirty years within Roosevelt Row (Vanesian, 2010) (Below: Photo of wall within present day Roosevelt Row. Credit: Jack Haskell) 
Roosevelt Row present day has become a vital cultural center in Phoenix, Arizona. Artist from all over Arizona gather every First Friday of the month to celebrate the artistic roots of Phoenix. Roosevelt Row proved that a poor neighborhood could hold on to its’ culture and radiate it to the rest of the city. The once abandoned homes have now found new care takers in the hearts of eclectic Phoenicians. This is a story of how a city fought back to keep itself from being torn down due to the “waste of vital space” many neighborhoods become once they are targeted.
- Faith Alvarez and Alex Connelly
Vanesian, K. (2010). "Looking back on the future" shows modified arts is in good hands. New Times (Phoenix, Ariz.),
A bit of history. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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