A.E. England Building
Constructed by local builder, Clinton Campbell, in 1926, the A.E England building was originally constructed as an auto building. The building’s design of the large storefront windows served its purpose to showcase vehicles from Hudson Motor Car Co. (1909-1954). Not only did the A.E. England building serve as an automobile showcase, but also served as a business for the Electrical Equipment Co, a stationary store, and an art gallery over the years. Currently, the building has been restored by the City of Phoenix and is known to be Historic Property in the Phoenix Civic Space.
Backstory and Context
Clinton Campbell (1865-1937) was known as a prominent builder for the city of Phoenix, Arizona. The A.E. England building that is currently run by the City of Phoenix, was originally the A.E England Motors, Inc./Electrical Equipment Co. building built by Clinton Campbell. Not only did Campbell build the A.E England building, but his works also include: Clinton Campbell House, 361 N. 4th Ave., Phoenix, Arizona; El Zaribah Shrine Auditorium, 1502 W. Washington St., Phoenix, Arizona; Firestone, 302 W. Van Buren, Phoenix, Arizona; ASU President’s House, ASU Campus, Tempe, Arizona; and Bear Down Gym, NRHP-listed, at University of Arizona.
Throughout the 1920s-1930s, the A.E. building served as a showcase for vehicles under the Hudson Motor Co. The company had started in Detroit, Michigan and was founded by Howard Coffin, George W. Dunham, Roy E. Chapin, and largely funded by the department-owner himself, Joseph L. Hudson. This type of model car was known to be one of the first low-priced cars on the American market and had sold over 4,000 vehicles in the first year of being in business. Their competitors at the time were Ford and Chevrolet due to them coming out with the Essex line. Hudson Motor Company’s peak was in the year of 1929, however, due to the Great Depression, their sales became slow. After Hudson’s continuous losses in business, they eventually merged with Nash Co.
During the early 1930s, the A.E. England building left the auto sales business and instead, became the Electrical Equipment Co. Their merchandise was based in purveyors of radios, batteries, and Kelvinator refrigerators. This business lasted for the next twenty-five years. Throughout those years, the Electrical Equipment Co. along with The Arizona Republican (now The Arizona Republic) newspaper, owned the KTAR radio station which was the first radio station in Arizona. The Electrical Equipment Co. provided KTAR with equipment for the radio station, originally located in the Heard Building, south of A. E. England Building, at 112 N. Central Avenue.
After years of being vacant, in 2008, the A.E. England building was rehabilitated with Phoenix Historic Preservation bond funds. As of today, it is part of Civic Space Park, and is also used by the community and Arizona State University’s downtown campus, also home to the Artlink A.E. England Gallery. The space is utilized as space for classes, meetings, and art/cultural events.
Dodds, Michelle. "Central Avenue is Phoenix's former 'auto row'." AZCentral.com July 24, 2014. Accessed December 06, 2018. https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2014/07/24/central-avenue-phoenix-former-auto-row/13096965/.
Downtown Voices Coalition. "Another feature of downtown Phoenix's Civic Space is historic A.E. England Building." April 26, 2009. Accessed December 06, 2018. https://downtownvoices.org/2009/04/26/another-feature-of-downtown-phoenixs-civic-space-is-historic-ae-england-building/.