By Nancy Burgess
Last year, the Arizona State Savings and Credit Union purchased a church on East Gurley Street in Prescott. On the same property as the church, which was built in 1961, is the J.M.W. Moore House, built in 1892. This house was documented in 1978, as a part of the Prescott Multiple Resource Area documentation of Territorial Architecture, but was not listed in the National Register. Upon acquisition of the property, the Credit Union proposed a remodeling of the church for an office and demolition of the Moore House. The Moore House is a very plain, simple one-and-one-half story Victorian Cottage with shingle style influence which is important for its simplicity of form and detail. The building is structurally sound and has exceptional integrity.
J.M.W. Moore was a prospector who made a rich strike in 1884. He was elected to the Territorial Legislature and engaged in a successful real estate business. In 1892, after bringing his family to Prescott, he built the house at 518 East Gurley Street and planted a fruit orchard. Photographs from the late 1920s, show the house surrounded by fruit trees, but otherwise almost identical to its appearance today.
After the Prescott Preservation Commission expressed their concerns in a letter to the Credit Union about the proposed demolition of the Moore House, the City started working with the Credit Union to find a solution for saving it. Initially, there were proposals to move it, and the Credit Union was willing to donate it to a non-profit if they would remove it. After considerable negotiation with Patti Venuti, the Manager of the Prescott office of the Credit Union, the Credit Union committed to finding a way to save the house on the site and give up the parking spaces its removal would have generated. We were able to find a very suitable buyer, Guy Naus, who won the Governor's Award in 1995, for his restoration of the Rev. E. Meaney House across the street. A creative transaction was completed and Naus Construction has begun the restoration and reconstruction of the J.M.W. Moore House for professional offices.
The City of Prescott feels that this has been a very positive step for Prescott and are very pleased that the Credit Union Board was willing to commit to saving the Moore House and retaining this historic structure on site. The Arizona State Savings and Credit Union has demonstrated its support for the historic resources in Prescott by its willingness to be creative in finding a solution to save the Moore House. We are all looking forward to the restoration by Naus Construction and plan to include the Moore House in a National Register District nomination to be prepared in 1999/2000.
Nancy Burgess is the City of Prescott's Preservation Officer.
Sharlot Hall Museum Photograph Call Number: (bure4004p). Reuse only by permission.
The Moore House on Gurley Street as it appeared in 1900. The house is currently undergoing restoration by Naus Construction.