Downtown's Leighton G. Knipe House Undergoing Restoration, But Its Future is Uncertain
|The Knipe house after the arson-related fire that nearly destroyed the building in 2010.|
A majority of the restoration project has involved completely rebuilding the roof, floor, and back half of the house, which endured widespread damage from both the fire itself and exposure to the elements over the past two years.
"The entire roof was severely damaged in the fire and the brick walls had some damage as well. The project will also repair the masonry and brick walls, shore those up, and basically replacing all of the wood framing that burned from the fire," Cox says. "There was some framing on the interior and some of the front porch area that was saved, but the majority -- I'd say 60 to 80 percent of the wood framing -- had to be removed and replaced."
According to Graham, the Knipe House restoration has taken two years to get off the ground because "it took awhile for the city to negotiate a fire settlement."
However, once it got the green light and the project began last spring, Graham says, the focus was to restore the structure to "as close a replica to its original state as we can make" given the limited budget.
Knipe, a renowned Valley architect who designed such legendary local structures as Tempe City Hall and the now-destroyed Jefferson Hotel, built the house for his parents in 1909 before later making it his own residence.
Graham says the property is unique not only be because of history, but also it's "stylistically unusual."
"It was not a pure style because [Knipe] was doing his own thing," he says. "It's like an arts and crafts house, sort of a bungalow but not a bungalow, but also has some east coast elements."