Although The Valley is not as “historic” as New York City or San Francisco, Phoenix can definitely boast an interesting historical landscape. Specifically, Phoenix’s architectural history is filled with innovation, great design, and even a little controversy.
One such historical landmark, the Luhrs complex, was completed in 1924 and became a hotbed for Phoenix’s early efforts to modernize its downtown. Towering as the tallest building in the Southwest for decades, the Luhr’s complex is actually four separate structures. The art deco architectural details combined with Spanish colonial influences were the brainchild of the El Paso architectural firm, Trost & Trost. Commissioned by prominent Phoenician entrepreneur, George H.N. Luhrs, The Luhrs complex incorporates beautiful brick facades, marble details, and three-hundred-sixty degree views of the city.
The complex has hosted many of Phoenix’s notorious tenants and has even been the site of a few tragedies, including two suicides and the accidental elevator-shaft death of "Cap" Taylor. The tenants have included everything from the Valley’s prominent Arizona Club to the controversial Prohibition Department to the infamous Gangland kingpin Gus Greenbaum, who used the Luhrs offices to run a bookmaking operation before he and his wife were murdered in 1958.
Although this Era saw the prohibition of alcohol, that did not stop Valley residents from engaging in other activities. The Arizona Club frequently hosted boxing "smokers" on the Luhrs Building rooftop. The Luhrs rooftop even saw a six-round bout between light-heavyweight champion of the world, John Henry Lewis, and former Luhrs’ bellman, Adam Diaz. Despite his lack of professional training and his age, Diaz beat Lewis and went down in history.
Soon after the Prohibition Era, Luhrs began filling its halls with attorneys. One such renowned attorney, Charlie Brewer, was known for allegedly shooting at his parrot, Earl. When asked about the incident later, Brewer stated, “I'd sooner shoot at my own kids than to shoot at that green dog.”
As designers, DUO Design is proud to be a part of such a colorful and historical legacy. We chose this building to house our architecture and product design firm because it epitomizes the strength, beauty, and innovation of design in Arizona from yesterday and today.