Mid-Century In Marlen Grove
One of our favorite Phoenix neighborhoods is none other than the historic, Marlen Grove. A community that offers not only a fantastic location, but also a look into the Mid-Century modern era with famed architecture by Ralph Haver.
Location, Location, Location
Marlen Grove is located in North Central Phoenix. It is bordered by 10th Street and 11th Street from Bethany Home to Montebello. Prior to the construction of Marlen Grove in the 1950’s, the area was filled with flourishing citrus trees.
Born in 1915 in Pasadena, California, Ralph Burgess Haver, was the son of Harry, a mason and Alice, a teacher. He studied architecture throughout his college years and graduated from the University of Southern California, Pasadena in 1941. Soon after, in 1943, he married his wife, Millie, at a USO Dance in the South Pacific. After separating as Captain from the Army Corps of Engineers, he went on to build his family home in 1946. He took station in the Hixson Homes subdivision, which is now known as Uptown Phoenix.
In this area, he designed his first ever home, the Hopkins House, for Dr. Doris and Mr. Edward Hopkins of Chicago. Also in 1946, he began working for Ed Varney on Architect’s Row, in which he and several other architect’s created office buildings along the east side of Camelback Road.
In 1947, after the success of Hixson Homes, Ralph’s brother, Robert purchased land in South Phoenix. It is known as the first Ralph Haver planned subdivision, Southdale. The Arizona Times reported that the homes "solved the problem of maximum livability and comfort at a reasonable price."
For the next few years, Ralph worked on a variety of developments, including:
Country Club Apartments, 1949
Madison Rose Lane and Madison #2 Schools, 1949
Luke Air Force Base Housing, 1950
The Peggy Reed Residence at Ingleside Country Club, 1950
The Nelson Residence, 1950
The Morse Residence, 1950
Mayfair Manor subdivision, 1950
Poladian Residence, 1951
Koko Theater and Restaurant aka Koko Club, 1951
And finally, in 1952, he began work on Marlen Grove and it is now one of the most sought-after Haver communities in North Central Phoenix.
To see the full history of Ralph Haver’s work, visit Modern Phoenix.
Homes in this Haverhood
Many of the homes in Marlen Grove are ranch-style with distinct windows and rooflines, marking them way ahead of their time in home design. The homes that have not been modified in the area, are known for their block construction, having a flexible floor plan, and feature exposed wood beams inside. Since this type of construction carries fewer load-bearing walls, many Marlen Grove properties have been remodeled.
Marlen Grove homes were advertised as '“the best value in the West.” They featured two to three bedrooms, one or two bathrooms, covered patios, and very large lots. Air conditioning was also a top (and booming) feature in these single-family homes.
Today, you will find the remodeled Haver homes in Marlen Grove to have many embellishments, such as colorful patios, extended courtyards, and solar panels. Many will look just as the original versions, just more modern.
The heart of Phoenix has grown in the past few decades and the ways of fellow Phoenicians has changed. Restaurants have doubled, many buildings are being converted, and homes are being remodeled. It has become a highly popular area, with Downtown Phoenix only minutes away and the Light Rail for a quick commute throughout the Valley. It is safe to say that residents are loving it!
Marlen Grove is just one area of Haverhoods that we are fascinated with. If you ever have the chance, take a moment to visit the neighborhood. Many call it a “drive-thru museum of Midcentury Modern architecture,” and it’s just right here in Phoenix!
To learn more about Ralph Haver and Mid-Century Modern in Phoenix, follow our Facebook, Haverhood.