The old Phoenix City Hall, still standing, was replaced by a new building in 1994. (Photo: Jarod Opperman for The New York Times)

The old Phoenix City Hall, still standing, was replaced by a new building in 1994. (Photo: Jarod Opperman for The New York Times)

Does Phoenix have any history worth preserving? Over the decades, scores of historic preservation advocates have insisted that Yes, yes it does.

Their tireless work and the fragility of the evocative built environment make a great article in last week’s New York Times all the more appealing. It is titled “Phoenix Rediscovers Historic Face Worth Saving.”

Attorney Mark Briggs is rightly mentioned in it, as he is a member of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission. He is cited along with the civicly-related bond money that supports historic preservation (and which is rapidly running out).

But kudos to the great preservation advocates in Phoenix, some of whom were quoted in the story: Jennifer Boucek (Preserve Phoenix), Alison King (Modern Phoenix) and Will Novak (Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods Coalition).

Michelle Dodds, the city’s historic preservation officer, rightly was quoted right at the top.

One speed-bump in the otherwise solid journalism occurs when the passive voice slyly creeps into a paragraph low in the story:

“There have been losses downtown, such as the Hotel St. James, built in 1928, that was demolished, save for its facade and lobby. The boarded-up property is now surrounded by parking spaces.”

It “was demolished,” eh? I’m sure someone mentioned that it was razed pretty recently by the Phoenix Suns, which wanted to make way for (yet) another surface parking lot, this one for its VIP ticketholders. (That demolition and the city’s reaction to it are the source of a lawsuit.)

Hat tip to journalist (and now Harvard student) Eugene Scott for pointing me to the NYT story.