Tovrea Castle

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Tovrea Castle
Tovrea Castle by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Tovrea Castle is located in Arizona
Tovrea Castle
Tovrea Castle is located in the United States
Tovrea Castle
LocationPhoenix, Arizona
BuiltDecember 1929 to January 1931
ArchitectCarraro, Alessio and Leo; Mocktatchev, M.
NRHP reference No.96000309[1]
Added to NRHPMarch 28, 1996

Coordinates: 33°27′03″N 111°58′23″W / 33.45094°N 111.97315°W / 33.45094; -111.97315

Tovrea Castle is a historic structure and landmark in Phoenix, Arizona. Originally intended as a centerpiece for a resort and later a private residence, the castle is now part of the Phoenix parks system and is designated as one of the Phoenix Points of Pride. Plans were to fully open the site to the public in 2009, but cost overruns delayed the opening.[2] Currently the park shows over 5,000 individual cacti in over 100 different varieties, all maintained by volunteers of the Tovrea Carraro Society. Tickets for guided tours of the grounds, first floor, and basement have been offered since March 2012.

Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights[edit]

Tovrea Castle in 2013

Although the castle had long been recognized as a city landmark, the deteriorated state of the grounds and the building left it unsuitable for use as a city park. After finalizing the purchase of surrounding properties, the City of Phoenix began an effort to restore the building and revitalize the gardens.

In 2006, significant work was begun on restoring the gardens surrounding the castle to their previous state. Diseased and dead plants were removed from the site while surviving vegetation was rehabilitated. During restoration efforts, 352 saguaro cacti were planted on the site and over 2,000 other cacti were relocated. Other vegetation, including desert wildflowers were planted in the gardens. Currently the park boasts over 5,000 individual cacti in over 100 different varieties.

Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights is named in honor of the original builder, Alessio Carraro, and its second owners, E. A. and Della Tovrea.[3] An interpretive trail exhibiting the gardens and the many desert species, as well as a greenhouse, is planned for the park.

After many delays, the City of Phoenix finally completed the project by Arizona's centennial on February 14, 2012, including a visitor's center open to the public. Tovrea Carraro Society, a local non profit organization formed to operate the site, in partnership with the City of Phoenix, has been conducting guided tours of the grounds, first floor, and basement since March 2012.

Castle characteristics[edit]

The Tovrea Castle is a pine wood and stucco building constructed in a unique three-tier fashion bearing a strong resemblance to a traditional wedding cake, and as such has earned it the local nickname "The Wedding Cake."[4] The castle has historically eclectic and romanticized European architectural influences including parapets surrounding the roofline of each tier. In addition, the castle is lit during the night by LED and incandescent light bulbs distributed along the roofs and fences.

The castle is highly visible from surrounding areas, and in particular drivers on Loop 202 are offered an excellent view of the site. This has led to the castle's having become one of the most prominent landmarks of the city.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ Berry, Jahna. "City unsure when Tovrea Castle will open". The Arizona Republic.
  3. ^ Balazs, Diana. "Tovrea Castle's grounds will open to tours". The Arizona Republic.
  4. ^ Yandik, Will. "Phoenix Guards Its Castle Against Desert Sprawl". Preservation Online.

External links[edit]