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On October 10th, about two dozen ASURA members and friends visited the Castle on the Hill-Tovrea Castle. It is the one we always marveled at as we passed it driving into Phoenix on Washington St.
The original land was a homestead established by F.L. and Lizzie Warner in 1907. In 1928 the land, 277 acres, was sold to Alessio Carraro.
Tovrea Castle was completed in 1930 by Alessio, who built the castle to be the hotel center piece of a planned resort destination. In 1931, the Castle was purchased by E.A. Tovrea, the founder of the Arizona Packing Company. He passed away within a year but his wife, Della Tovrea lived in the Castle until her death in 1969. The City of Phoenix purchased the property in 1993 but it was not opened for tours until 2012.
The tour began at the visitor center where we learned about the creation of the Tovrea Carraro Society - TCS - a non profit organization. The city had spent over $15 million of bond funds to renovate the site but did not have the funds to open the site to the public. The TCS was formed in the summer of 2010 and worked on programs that would allow the public to tour the site.
After the introduction we boarded two trams and were driven around the castle and the cactus grounds. The Castle itself is very impressive, both inside and out, and so too is the very extensive cactus gardens surrounding the Castle. Tons and tons of rocks were hauled from the bed of the Salt River to line the walkways and accent the extensive hilltop cactus garden. Breath-taking and beautiful.
After the tour of the grouds we entered the first floor of the castle and you can imagine the oohs and aahs of our group as we FINALLY got inside the Castle to have a look. The Travel Committee is going to try to schedule another Castle tour for next fall. If you can’t wait, you can book online at TovreaCastleTours.com.
Story by Gary Anderson, Pictures by Barry McNeill & Gary Kleemann
ASU Retirees Association
Mailing address: PO Box 873308, Tempe, AZ 85287
Physical address: Community Services Building Room 201, 200 E. Curry, Tempe, AZ