One of Chandler’s must-see destinations is the 1938 Pueblo Revival-style McCullough-Price House. The building is one of more than a handful of the City’s historic structures to be recognized by the National Register of National Places and is located near Chandler Fashion Center. Not only is it a building of interest with historic note, making it worth the trip, but it also currently houses the Chandler Museum and some of the Museum’s collection.
The home was designed by architects Lescher and Mahoney in 1938 for William McCullough, a winter visitor from Detroit who usually stayed at the San Marcos Hotel when he was in Arizona. The house was surrounded by 350 acres of alfalfa and cotton fields. It had four bedrooms, maid’s quarters, a roof patio and a built-in barbecue in the backyard; you can still see the roof patio and barbecue today.
The Lockhead family, managers of the Pecos Valley Milling Company, purchased the home and kept it until 1950 when they sold it to Arthur and Louise Price. Before the Price family purchased the home, it had been vacant for several years and was rented by the San Marcos Hotel for visitors.
Mr. and Mrs. Price are significant in the East Valley’s history. Mr. Price, Dr. A.J. Chandler’s lawyer, had lived in Chandler since 1913. He was instrumental in drafting Chandler’s constitution and by-laws as the first City Attorney. He also became the first Justice of the Peace. Mrs. Price was the niece of Dr. Chandler and her father was a pioneer resident of Mesa.
Mr. and Mrs. Price lived in the home until the early 1970s. After their death, the family rented the home out. The land around the building remained agricultural until the 1980s. Pulte Homes purchased a large piece of the land and built a nearby subdivision – Hearthstone. And, the remaining piece was developed by retail and subdivisions.
The house was donated to the City by the Price-Propstra family in 2001. In 2007, the house was renovated and opened to the public in 2007. In 2011, the building became the Chandler Museum’s main location and administrative offices.
When you visit there are a few architectural details you will want to see. Before you enter, notice that the door is Art Deco style with a granite transom and jambs with replicas of petroglyphs. You will also see the wood vigas that are characteristic of the Pueblo Revival style. Vigas are exposed roof rafters traditionally used in adobe building in the Southwest. The concrete lintels above each of the windows also have an Art Deco design with a Southwestern appeal, a combination echoed throughout the house.
Inside the house, it is all about the details, including exposed wooden beams with Neoclassical cornices on each end. Inside the space that was once the dining room, exposed log beams are tied together with leather straps. The light fixtures in the home are one-of-a-kind handcrafted art reproductions funded by the City’s public art program and based on a design found in the drawings of the original architects. They are craftsman ironwork with tulip lights, once again combining the Art Deco of the time with the regional influences. If you like all of the subtle regional and era influences, another example in the house is the inlayed wood paneling with a stylized Native American cloud pattern where the panel meets the ceiling, making a column-like look in the room.
Entrance to the museum is free so you can take a closer look at the wonderful intricacies within and without, while enjoying the exhibits and the photo collage wall featuring photos of Chandler’s past as well as a giant image of Dr. A.J. Chandler.
For more on Chandler Museum, visit chandlermuseum.org. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.