115 W. Sherman St.
This dilapidated old adobe building is said to be the oldest standing structure in the City of Phoenix. It sits, rotting, in the middle of a parking lot, surrounded by chain link but was built around 1870 by “Lord” Darrell Duppa, a Cambridge-educated gentleman from Kent, England who is considered one of the founders of Phoenix. He is also credited with naming the new town site. Duppa, along with Jack Swilling (another founding father) saw the agricultural potential of the valley and, taking a cue from the ancient Hohokam irrigation canals, devised a plan to irrigate the valley.
The building is made of mud adobe and covered with a roof constructed of Cottonwood branches and earth — typical construction techniques for the time. In fact, adobes like this would have dotted the fields near the Salt River before the turn of the century. Homestead is a misnomer however, since Duppa and his family probably never lived here — the building was most likely an agricultural out building on his ranch. It’s now managed by the Arizona Historical Society and at one time was open to the public as a sort of pioneer museum. Stop by and see it before it gets torn down or totally melts into the ground!
Historical photo courtesy of the Phoenix Museum of History.
This is unfortunately characteristic of the neglect of the past in the Phoenix-metro area where developers roam and destroy the valley. We have lived abroad in a house built in the 1600s, and it is in far better condition that the Duppa house which dates only to about 1870. There are areas of the world where history matters.
This is a total shame. Why can’t this building be preserved by possibly making a cover for it similar to Casa Grande?