The Willo Historic District in Phoenix Arizona
"... Everyone seems to think of Willo when they think historic Phoenix. Well-kept homes and manicured lawns make up almost a square mile of this charming residential neighborhood just north of downtown Phoenix...."
Willo Historic District boundaries are roughly: Thomas and McDowell roads, Central and 7th avenues.
You don’t need to go very far to find someone willing to share accolades about the Willo Historic District. Like Samantha O. wrote recently on Yelp: “I am obsessed with this neighborhood. I love driving around looking at the precious homes on any Sunday afternoon with frozen yogurt in hand, pups sticking their heads out the windows and HOPING/DREAMING that I can find one of these homes in my price range…”
Willo residents are accustomed to Samantha and others like her who take an hour or so out of their weekend schedules to daydream and wander the palm-lined streets of this downtown neighborhood. They even open a handful of homes to let thousands like Samantha dream of life inside at their Annual Willo Home Tour. Home tours happen every year in our downtown historic districts, and Willo’s is probably the best-attended tour in central Phoenix. There’s a reason for that.
Everyone seems to think “Willo” when they think historic Phoenix. Well-kept homes and manicured lawns make up almost a square mile of charming residential neighborhood just north of downtown Phoenix. Tudors, Bungalows, and Spanish Colonials—classic historic examples from the 1920s and 30s with hardwood floors and multi-paned windows– line the streets to welcome admirers in the southern end of the Willo Historic District. Travel north, with tail-wagging pup (on 3rd Avenue, please. It’s one-way. 5th Avenue, also one-way, will take you southbound again), and you’ll find classic 1940s and early 50s Ranch-style homes as you get closer to Thomas Road. And more often than not, you’ll find a guesthouse in back no matter what year the home was built.
What’s not to love? Well, if you’re Samantha—the price. Willo properties typically have an entry level of around $300,000 and can escalate to over $800,000 in a strong real estate market. But if Willo fits your budget, this coveted downtown spot offers friendly neighbors who’ll greet you on the streets, trendy restaurants and shopping along McDowell and Thomas roads, all with a peaceful and well-loved residential neighborhood in between.
Sage is one of the better antique shops here and definitely a favoriite of Don's (who can walk through his home and reference a number of treasures that he just couldn't say "no" to). It specializes in European salvage -- iron gates that can be mounted on walls as decor, chandeliers and other weathered Old World finds. A clerk noted that owner Kendra Vermeer has a buyer based in Europe, and makes regular treks to the Port of Long Beach to meet the container ships. You'll find Sage Antiques at 335 W. McDowell Road, (602) 258-3033
Finding Willo, by Katherine Bair Desmond is a wonderful article about the neighborhood. It was printed in American Bungalow Magazine (Summer 2009). Here's an excerpt:
Ryan and I drove the streets of the neighborhood and decided to call a realtor. We didn’t have jobs lined up in Phoenix—we still thought we were just exploring—but we knew we had found the place we wanted to call home. Days later we visited an American Colonial Revival home. I remember pulling up in front for the first time—there were paper hearts hanging in the windows, obviously the project of a child getting ready for Valentine’s Day. I turned to Ryan. “This one’s got good karma,” I said. Read More
Willo Neighborhood Association and Home Tour information
PS- Willo Historic District takes its name from the two voting districts it encompassed when it was formed—Wilshire and Los Olivos. It really is Willo, not Willow as many think.