If you decide to live in the Casa del Northern Development in North Central Phoenix, you will reside in one of the most unique and historically documented parts of old Arizona. The present development of approximately 5 acres was originally a grove of citrus trees attached to the winter home of Eric Anderson Astlett, a businessman from New Jersey.
It was built in the late 1920s for the Astlett family’s enjoyment and refuge but unfortunately did not serve them for very long. Eric A. Astlett, who was born in London, England, died in Phoenix in 1932 at the age of 36. The home was subsequently the residence of the Walter R. Bimson family. Walter R. Bimson was the head of Valley National Bank for many years beginning his association in 1933. Presently, the historic two story Spanish style mansion has been beautifully restored to its 1920s glory.
In 1966 the property attached to the mansion began to be developed as the site of 12 smaller homes. The builder was the E. A. Kerber Construction Company and the renowned Arizona architect Bennie Gonzales was the designer. Four of the homes were two story units which included three bedrooms and two and a half baths, separate dining and living rooms, and two fireplaces, one in the family room and one in the living room. Eight of the homes were one story units consisting of three bedrooms or an alternate two bedrooms and family room, two baths, breakfast area, dining room and sunken living room with a fireplace. All of the homes were completed with a unique finish designed by Bennie Gonzales, it is a stucco wash over block for all the exterior and some of the interior walls. The existing pool on the property was completely renovated by Paddock Pools and the cabana area was designed by Gonzales. The landscaping for Casa del Northern was designed by MacDonald and Bigler Landscape Architects. The development was completed in 1967.
Because Bennie Gonzales, who was born and grew up in Phoenix, was a graduate of Arizona State University, records of his work may be found at the Arizona State University Architectural Archives. He has buildings all over Arizona (approximately 300) as well as in Mexico and Saudi Arabia. The archives contain visual records of Casa del Northern, both exterior and interior shots. The residents of CDN are presently pursuing historic designation for the property through Vince Murray, Architectural Historian.
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