Scottsdale Art Mystery

Ever since my cousin, Deborah, and I read Nancy Drew books and pretended we were the Dana Girls when we were young, I’ve loved a good mystery. I have a need to know the facts on just about everything and the research is the best part.

So this house in the Old Town section of Scottsdale has intrigued me for years. I drive by it almost every day on my way to and from work. And I blogged about the art in the yard in January 2010. Back then, it looked like this:

It has changed a little over the last couple years. Those pennants or flags were replaced with different, more orange-y and earth-tone ones.

A couple of weeks ago, I was dismayed when I drove by and saw a man out in the yard who appeared to be cutting the tree down. Fortunately, over the next couple of days, I realized that was not the case.

Click to enlarge for a better view.

It seems as though the already dead tree sustained some further damage and broke off. This tree must have some major significance to the homeowners because it has now evolved into an even more unusual, more elaborate, more artistic work.

The rebar (?) is even more ornate now as is the stone work. Who would think a broken, dead tree could look so cool?

I took my camera to work with me the other day, determined to get some shots on my way home. As I got there, I saw that the man was out mowing the lawn. I almost chickened out and kept driving but I really wanted to know the story of the art. You can’t park right on this street so I had to go around the corner to park. By the time I got back, he had moved into the back yard with his lawnmower. So I still felt I had to sneak my shots. 😦

I don’t know the exact answers yet. But I do know (thanks to all the online county assessor records) that the house is only 792 square feet on a lot that is 13,561 square feet~leaving lots of room for unique art and a lush park-type setting. It’s owned by the trust of a woman who was Scottsdale’s oldest native at the time of her death in 2007. Thelma and her sister and other members of their family were prominent in early Scottsdale, when it was a smaller, more “western,” much different town than it is now. They formed the Scottsdale Historical Society. She developed a reputation as the city’s “watchdog,” making certain that the public was well-informed on city happenings and she worked hard to preserve Scottsdale’s history.

I think the artist is her son, George, who is in the Arizona Artists Guild. He has also now added a few other pieces of art to the yard, incorporating more dead trees, and other objects. I guess he may just be preserving his childhood home and these trees have a sentimental or historic value to him.

It makes me sad that when we had 2 dead trees cut down in our yard over the last few years, all we did was have them chopped up and carted away.

*If I ever get information from the artist himself, I’ll post an update.


9 thoughts on “Scottsdale Art Mystery

  1. Thank you for visiting my site and leaving a comment. I find it interesting that in December we are moving from Puerto Rico and hitting the road once again. Scottsdale, AZ is our first stop for about 4 weeks. i’ve been often on short visits, but I’m looking forward to settling in and exploring deeper. I will definitely be looking for this yard. 🙂


  2. A fascinating story about this interesting yard of art.
    I like the views over time as these pieces have evolved, but continue to be saved. Fine images and reporting. I hope you learn more about this interesting family.


  3. I love the baskets of river rocks. Perhaps these trees once held a wonderful tree fort or there was a big shady limb just right for daydreaming or reading a book while leaning against the trunk. If it was me being intrigued and appreciative, I’d write a letter “To the lucky person who lives in this wonderful tiny house…” You just might make a new friend and get a tour! Some things you just never get to know until you put on your “I Be Bold” hat!


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