Do you have a piece of our past? Nostalgia can be such fun! If you do have something to share, email us at Joseph@ThoseCallaways.com. If we post your item(s) on our blog, we will send you tickets to the movies! What a deal!

 

Our New Listings agent, Joyce, found some fascinating Sunburst Farms history. This neat narrative was given to Sunburst Farms home purchasers as part of a larger packet of information. It’s a fun read!

History of Sunburst Farms East

By: Leland Brake   Dated 1977
 
          I think it is necessary first of all to say that the home owners of Sunburst Farms East are a unique group of people who are independently strong and with very few expectations have been great neighbors.  The group over the years has never been one, as we see it, to be of families that join together in community projects, but when the chips were down in any situation, they always rallied together for the best of the group as a whole.
          Linda and I came to look at our first home in Sunburst Farms when unit one and two was being built.  That I believe was back around 1969.  We met the salesman in the showcase for Sunburst Farms which was located on Shea and 60th Street which you can still see on the north side of the road when you drive by.  The salesman put us in his Scout and we traveled down the road, turning off Shea on 56th Street onto a dirt road for about ½ mile or so and drove on past Cactus and looked at the homes which at that time were selling for around $29,000 for the three bedroom holiday.  It was a unique experience because Linda and I were raised in this area and can remember so well as kids saying, “Can you believe anybody lives on the north side of Camelback Mountain?”, yet here we were way out in the middle of the desert looking at a home. 
          At that time Cactus Road was paved up to 52nd Street and was a dirt road from 52nd to Tatum.  Tatum, of course was also a dirt road and was one of the roughest roads you could believe because it was graded about once a month or whenever it rained.  Many people don’t realize Tatum was only paved about four years ago and some of us drove it for over four years as a dirt road with all the dust that it created in the balley.  It was impossible to get across on Cactus to 32nd Street because no road existed.  People from the area had cut a trail somewhat along the alignment that is presently paved there but you were taking your life in your hands by driving it and, had it rained in the last week or so, it was a sure place to get stuck.
          Shopping was always a joy because the only shopping center here at the time was the shopping center on the northwest corner of Shea and 32nd Street and Bayless Market was the only market serving the whole Paradise Valley for a period of three or four years before the next Bashas shopping center was built directly across the street.  It would often be a risky job trying to leave Sunburst Farms after dark and drive to the Bayless Market.  If it looked like it possibly might rain on a Sunday afternoon, there was a good chance you could get stuck before coming home.  We thought of those things as hardships at the time, but looking back on it, I have to say that it wasn’t all that difficult but I do get a kick out of hearing someone say, “Gosh, I hate to go all the way up to Smitty’s today to get some groceries.” 
          One of the more interesting, if you want to call it that, times was the flood and tornado that came through Sunburst Farms in the summer of 1973 (I think).  Yes, tornado… there are some people who are living in houses in the subdivision that may not know it, but their roofs were blown off.  That was quite an exciting week.  I remember it started out looking out over Camelback Mountain seeing a large, white cloud with a dust storm beneath it moving our way coming north toward our subdivision.  We had been out riding our horses in the alfalfa fields which were being farmed in the area of Sunburst Farms west of 52nd Street toward Tatum.  Of course, as of you know, this whole subdivision was built upon alfalfa fields and that is why we have irrigation.  As the cloud approached, Linda and I sat outdoors marveling on how pretty it was until the dust got so bad we decided to go in the house.  Then it became like I have never see before or since.  It became very black and looking out the back of our house, I saw our chickens and geese being lifted and flying off over the top of our house.   This may not sound too surprising to you, but we had just clipped the wings of our chickens about a week before so that they could not fly.  For everything we lost, however, we gained because of two blocks away a metal shed containing a saddle and various horse tack landed right in the middle of our backyard… unfortunately on its side.  We later found out we were just on the edge of a tornado that down the block further to the east end, on the eastern side of our subdivision, had removed portions of roofs, blown down barns, and in one case, lifted the complete roof a house and placed it in the back yard.  It kept raining, and although it is hard to believe, you could look out of your yard if you were close to 52nd Street, as we are, and see a solid sheet of water from 52nd Street up half way to 54th Street with no berms visible and only portions or fences.  Many of the houses close to 52nd Street were flooded and fortunately at that time only alfalfa fields existed to the east, but the view to the east of Tatum was one of a solid sheet of water and no land visible and no bushes sticking up.  During the first portion of this kids were riding down on inner tubes and one of our neighbors launched a boat up by the pump and motored on down to Cactus and back up at least twice that I saw in his outboard.
          As it became apparent the situation was more serious than any of us believed, neighbors banded together and began filling sand bags and feed bags to lock the water out of doors.  People were running back and forth helping each other and the community pulled through with some people suffering some serious losses, but everyone was a great help to each other.  I can remember one of the most serious problems that we had during the three days that we were all stuck in here because of the water, you couldn’t drive out, although it is funny now it was not funny then, we were out of electricity.  Most of us had Coleman lanterns so some light was available and we would trade Coleman stoves so that we could fix meals for our families.  As I said, looking back on it is funny, but the biggest problem in our part of the neighborhood was that no one had a mechanical, manual can opener.  We passed that most precious of all tools around… a hand grip… from family to family as we all had electric can openers.
          My neighbor to the east of me being more daring than many and having an excellent four wheel drive pickup was one of the first to get out.  I might add, during this whole time there were helicopters flying constantly overhead checking for looters and to see if people needed help, so the situation was serious.   Anyways, Don got together the courage and made the first trip out to a store for purchases as many of us were running low after three or four days.  Don got stuck several times and it took him about four hours to make the trip, but just as the sun was receding, Don pulled back into the area with the first load of “goodies” from the outside.  This load consisted of about three gallons of milk, some cans of tuna fish and 13 cases of beer.  Even though our wives will never forgive Don, most of my male neighbors couldn’t have been happier. 
          During these years many other things happened, more homes were built, some paving was done on Thunderbird Road and the housing development at last stretched from Cactus to Thunderbird.  Trees were planted, new families moved in and out and friends came and went.  Hallcraft made an attempt to give us back our association and, in fact, tried to dump it in our laps in a very poor financial condition with a well that needed a lot of work.  Once again a bunch of neighbors got together and to the best of their ability kept Hallcraft from perhaps perpetrating an injustice on the homeowners, and later, the homeowners association as we now have it was founded.  The association has had its ups and downs over the years and has had its causes over the years.  I can remember the first “cause” was when a very loose knit group of housewives got into mosquito control.  There were some years back in the early 70’s when because of the irrigation around the area and all the open desert which collected water puddles after the rains, the mosquito problem was like many had never seen who had been here three or four years.  It is still not good today, but oh how bad it was then.  These gals went from house to house selling or giving away control so their kids could go outdoors and play in the afternoon.  From the mosquito control to the takeover of the association, the association has gotten involved in the managing of the irrigation company, which since the association has managed it has never been in better shape and is what gives you value for our $29,000 homes that we have today.
          Linda and I watched schools built, parks going in, Westor Developments being developed, golf courses to be developed, not developed, we have watched Smitty’s try unsuccessfully for many years to get zoning o-kay in their location, we watched little boys and girls move in who were riding their first horses and showing their first goats or calves, get married and start their own families.  We have watched our neighbors grow older, we have watched the trees get taller, and we gave watched the neighborhood get better.  There will probably never be another opportunity to have another Sunburst Farms with acre lots, irrigation, etc. this close to Phoenix so were lucky that we decided to move here in the late 60’s.  The people living here now have always been, with very few exceptions, very good neighbors and we are happy to be a member of this association.

We were cleaning out our files this week and found this original price sheet for Sunburst Farms East at 60th and Shea Blvd.

Sunburst Farms

This inspired us to run a current Market Analysis for Sunburst Farms East in 85254.  WOW!  From an average sales price of $30,000 then to $562,800 now.  That is 1,876% appreciation.

 

Sunburst Farms_SMA

We thought we’d share this fun little tidbit we acquired along our Real Estate journey.  Hope you enjoy it!