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The Rich History of Arcadia in Phoenix, Arizona

History of Arcadia

The Rich History of Arcadia in Phoenix, Arizona

Full of charm and rooted in history, Arcadia continues to be one of the most highly sought-after neighborhoods in Phoenix, Arizona real estate.

Natural Beauty & a Highly Desirable Location

The name “Arcadia” is rooted in ancient Greek history. It is a region and also part of its mythology. Arcadia was home to one of the Greek gods and symbolizes “unspoiled, harmonious wilderness.” Aptly named, Arcadia in Phoenix, Arizona is truly in harmony with nature. There’s majestic Camelback Mountain views. Water weaving in and out from the Arizona Canal. And an abundance of fruit trees.

The heart of the Arcadia community (known as Arcadia Proper) is from Indian School Road to Camelback Road and between 44th and 68th Street. It shares boundaries with other well-known affluent areas, like Old Town Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Biltmore Phoenix, and more.

The history of Arcadia, however, is one of the most unique stories in the Valley.

1900s History of Arcadia: Citrus Groves & Large Lots Prove Profitable

Arcadia has been considered valuable Phoenix real estate for more than a century. It all began in 1899 with the very first citrus grove. Planted in Arcadia, it performed exceptionally well in the fertile soil at the foot of the mountain. It didn’t take long before the area was teeming with citrus trees. The profitable crop attracted the eye of farmers, investors and land speculators. And it quickly became an important piece of the local economy.

1920s Arcadia: First of Its Rural Estates for Wealthy Landowners

Fast forward to 1920, there were now hundreds of citrus orchards. The Salt River Valley Reclamation Project was in full swing, making water more accessible. The Arcadia Water Company was providing widespread irrigation. And Arcadia had its first subdivision — also the first in central Salt River Valley — called Citrus Homes.

Area home developers worked toward the same development strategy: offer considerably large lots — between four to ten acres — and require homebuyers to spend more than $5,000 in construction costs. Shortly after the initial neighborhoods went into development, the minimum was raised to $10,000.

Without a doubt, Arcadia drew a discerning, affluent homebuyer to the region from the very start. And the original development strategy certainly proved successful; most properties within these historic neighborhoods are valued at well over $1 million today.

The original Arcadia neighborhoods include:
  • Citrus Homes
  • Glencoe Highlands
  • Arcadia Estates
  • Arcadia Replatted
  • Hacienda Allenada
  • Alta Hacienda

Further supporting the prosperous area, Arcadia saw its first resorts in 1930. It was now a destination in addition to an affluent community. The Cook Mansion, a 3,500-square foot Spanish-style villa on a sprawling 65 acres, turned into the modern-day Royal Palms Inn. It was a celebrity-hideaway favorite. The Jokake Inn and Paradise Inn were other early developments. The properties were located on what’s now known as The Phoenician. Elizabeth Arden’s Maine Chance retreat was the first luxury spa. Inspired by Arden’s rural farm in Maine, the resort was open during winter months and quickly became a hot spot for First Ladies and other famous women.

1950s Arcadia: Phoenix Population Boom Reaches Camelback Mountain

Air-conditioning was now ubiquitous. And like that, Phoenix quickly became the largest city in the Southwest and one of the top 100 most populous cities in the US.

Arcadia’s homebuilding skyrocketed. Many of the area’s famous ranch-style homes were built during this time and complemented the larger estates. The midcentury homes were carefully constructed and also careful not to disrupt another important regional crop: the Sphinx Date Palm. Arcadia was one of the few locations where it would grow. The area became dotted with citrus and palm trees, making it a one-of-a-kind paradise complete with dramatic mountain views.

Today’s Arcadia: Luxury Real Estate More Popular Than Ever Before

In summary, Arcadia has it all: Neighborhoods with tons of architectural character, historic roots and large lots – a true rarity in Phoenix. Its bike-friendly community and a culture of indoor-outdoor living. And some of the Valley’s best schools. Farming is still present here. There are a number of “urban farms” and bountiful gardens. It is also known for local restaurants and unique businesses.

So, it comes as no surprise that Arcadia luxury real estate has held strong. Home values have only increased. And it continues to be a top real estate market among millennials, young families, affluent audiences, and those seeking a highly strategic investment property. If we’ve learned anything about this picturesque place over the last 100 years, it’s this: Arcadia is one of the best places to live in Arizona. And its future is just as rich and promising.