On December 28, 2005 the Winterhaven neighborhood was added to the National Register of Historic Places, becoming the twenty-first historic district in Tucson.
Winterhaven consists of 265 residences and 3 well sites. Winterhaven’s historical significance meets two of the criteria for listing on the National Register:
- Properties associated with events that have made a significant contribution to broad patterns of our history. Winterhaven is an example of a nationwide trend towards post-war suburban community planning centered upon the automobile.
- Properties that embody distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction. Winterhaven is a ranch house subdivision featuring four major ranch house styles: Traditional, Modern, Minimal and Transverse.
There is also a sizeable body of work – 22 homes — by architect Anne Jackson Rysdale, the only registered, practicing female architect in Arizona during her early career. She practiced from 1949 into the early 1960s and worked under prominent Tucson architects Henry Jaastad and Arthur Brown.
The neighborhood is distinct because of its park-like atmosphere and green, non-native landscape that lines wide, curving streets. The neighborhood has notable examples of modern ranch style homes. The original layout of the neighborhood was shaped by both the automobile and drainage concerns. Winterhaven used a layout of curving streets and irregularly shaped lots that had been used previously in Colonia Solana and El Encanto neighborhoods however Winterhaven was unique in the dominance and uniformity of its green landscape.
The annual Winterhaven Festival of Lights dates back to 1949. C. B. Richards was inspired to create the Festival after visiting a similar display in Beverly Hills in the 1930’s. He purchased the first set of Christmas lights in 1949 and donated them to the neighborhood. He purchased the Allepo pine trees from Guy Monthan’s nursery that was going out of business. He planted them at regular intervals and placed electrical connections near each tree for the Christmas lights. C. B. personally judged all of the displays at the beginning and awarded $100 to the best decorated home. After moving to San Diego, he continued to visit Winterhaven for the Festival of Lights.
Notable residents of Winterhaven include:
- George Barr who helped found the City of Catalina. He also founded the engineering firm Cella-Barr and was a 20-year member of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District.
- L. A. Carruth who was head of the Entymology Department at the University of Arizona and helped in the planning and construction of the Northminster Presbyterian church on Tucson Blvd. and Fort Lowell Rd.
- Katie Dusenberry who was president of TUSD, a supervisor on the county school board and was named Tucson Woman of the Year.
- John Fahr who was the first person to drop a bomb on Germany and on the crew of the first B-17 to be shot down over Germany during World War II.
- Warren Woodson who was the head University of Arizona football coach from 1952-1956. He coached the ‘Cactus Comet’ Art Luppino during that time span. Woodson’s teams also included three Wildcats who are now in the US Sport Hall of Fame: Luppino, center Paul Hatcher and linebacker Ed Brown. Woodson ranked thirteenth in career victories as a Division I football coach with a 203-95-14 record in thirty one seasons.