Modern Phoenix Neighborhood Network

Howard Madole Homes Celebrated During Historic Preservation Week in Sedona, 2003

Reprinted with kindest permission from the City of Sedona Regular City Council Meeting minutes, Tuesday, May 27, 2003

The highlights of Historic Preservation week were a tour by Howard Madole and his talk to the public at the library on May 12, 2003.

Howard Madole moved to Sedona with his family in the late 1940's. His dad bought a piece of ground in west Sedona and the family decided to build a house for resale. Howard had no formal training or experience, but he designed an adobe house with large hand hewn wood framed windows and three special fireplaces. The family made, one at a time, several thousand adobe bricks on the property, of their own mud concoction including some recycled asphalt to add strength to the bricks. The house is in original form on it's original site off Tranquil Avenue on present day Wesleyan Church property. It has long been a favorite structure of commission members.

The Madole family sold this house and then bought another parcel of land and subdivided. Howard's next design was for a home for himself in this little settlement. It is the first house on the left as you encounter the homes on Madole Drive. Howard's designs were by this time quite modern and included a unique structural roof design. 2 X 4's were nailed together to create laminated solid wood roof sections. These sections were, and still are, supported by a ring of steel at the outside perimeter of the roof, placing the roof sections in compression and keeping them in the air. Howard told us that his roof designs were affordable back then because he bought straight, perfectly clear pine from the Flagstaff mill for $95/1000 board feet. Howard was a natural and intuitive innovator and some of his houses used a buried duct system for cooling.

As we walked up Madole Road while on our tour, homeowners came out to say hello and were thrilled to meet the architect of their homes. They were gratified to learn that there are a few serious Madole affectionados on the street. Howard designed the original King's Ransom motel and the Royal Crest Apartments, disappointingly, most of his architectural elements on both of these have been covered over by faux Spanish elements. As you can imagine, the streets and landscaping have changed quite a bit since Howard left here in the 1960s. Finding some of his houses were a treasure hunt and spending the afternoon and evening with Howard was a special treat.

Howard went on to design over 200 structures in Northern Arizona and at 80 years today he is still a practicing architect with local and international commissions.