Sun Cities Today Blog

Welcome to the communities that changed a nation!

Archive for the month “August, 2011”

Intriguing? Captivating? or both?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Don’t you love headers that seduce you into reading more? While words can be temptress-like, how about when you come across material things that have a texture that is far more than what you see at first glance? You know that if you get closer look, all will be revealed and ultimately reveled in.

Sun City is filled with those kinds of wonderful opportunities for exploration. For example; millions of people drive down Thunderbird and cross over Del Webb Blvd each year. As they go flying by, they see the old circular Lakeview Recreation Center. Quaint maybe, but hardly impressive. Sadly, most just see it as an old building. If they stopped and looked, they would be stunned at the gorgeous lake setting and “mountain” behind it. Visitors are always amazed.

But alas, this column is one of a more personal preference; and the setting is a scant block or two away. From my earliest visits to Sun City beginning in the 90’s, i found myself fascinated by a series of homes in Sun City. They were unique – probably why i was mesmerized by them. For those of you who know Sun City, Webb’s style of building was if nothing else, consistent. Though front elevations differed, you could tell it was a Sun City home.

Del Webb Blvd is one of the most often traveled streets in the community. If you are heading south on it and pass Cameo there are 72 odd-looking structures over a two-block by four-block area. They have 10 foot walls and the appearance is almost compound-like. They were a one time construct in the 60 series that was unveiled in 1969/1970 as Del Webb Corporation moved into what is called Phase 2. One reason they stopped building them was the lack of parking as model homes.

I’ve driven by them hundreds times and always wondered what the heck was behind those walls. When models came up for sale, i would pick up information sheets and was even more intrigued by their square footage. Some came in with more than 2200 sf, all had two courtyards and a few even had their own swimming pools.

Sun City has 27,000 plus homes with a third of them some configuration of twins, quads, garden court apartments and patio apartments. In fact, 380 plus home owner associations oversee these various types of dwellings. What was so significant was i kept reading in the information put out by Realtors that these Patio Homes were akin to single family homes…no association fees.

Finally a few years back i got a chance to see a couple of the units. I absolutely loved them. Expansive, and when i saw them, expensive as well. Square footage dictated the higher price, but for those looking for security and convenience, they were perfect. If we hadn’t been living in a single family home we had remodeled from top to bottom, we would have been looking at this type of arrangement.

Perhaps nothing says it better than this cut line from the 60 series booklet on the Patio Home: You have all the advantages of a single family residence plus the economy, security and convenience offered in these highly livable Patio Homes. In my opinion, there is no more interesting property within the walls of Sun City than this style of home. And like all Webb homes, the non-load bearing interior walls can be removed making for some awesome open spaces.There are currently four Patio Homes homes on the market. Five years ago the largest of the units would sell for well over $200,000. The smaller 1888 sq ft would be in the $175,000 range, depending on what had been done to them. Today, the least expensive on the market is $95,000 with the highest at $158,000. All are exquisite bargains.

The photos aboveĀ areĀ from a unit listed by Judy Baerg for $132,000. Judy is a Coldwell Banker sales agent and also the director of the Del Webb Sun Cities Museum. We toured the model the other day and it is an exceptional property. It’s move-in ready, lots of square footage and enough party space to choke the proverbial horse.

Anyone looking to move into Sun City or interested in upgrading or changing their current residence should see these units. They are unique, captivating and intriguing (and one heck of a buy). For more information or a personal showing of any of the four available Patio Homes, visit or contact Judy at 623-451-5527.


Can you dig it?

Agriculture Club members displaying their crops

Funny, as i wrote the headline for this post all i could see in my mind’s eye was an image of Dobbie Gills’ sidekick Maynard G. Krebs. His role as his Bohemian beatnik buddy was both loveable and laughable. Odd what the mind remembers as we age, forgetting important stuff and replacing it with the mundane and the minutia of insignificance.

I love this old picture of the Sun City Agricultural club from the 60’s. It should come as no surprise many of the folks moving here wanted to get their hands in the dirt like they did back home. Webb’s people were smart enough to know making land available for them to do so was a good investment in their future. There was a plot of land set aside on 107th Ave for the green thumbers’ and they were each given a 40-by-40 garden patch where they grow to their heart’s content.

Many of those early members had to relearn their gardening skills. Seems the challenges of growing in the desert were dramatically different from those lush more arid pastures back home in the midwest. Irrigation played a huge role in their gardening success. They also noted the importance of using an inordinate amount of fertilizer to help get the crops growing.

It is interesting to read from a Webb publicity piece from July 7, 1970 the claim: “Brochures and advertising stated the corn grew taller, the squash bigger and everything grew faster and better.” The Webb folks brought in experts from the area who helped residents get a better knowledge of growing in this climate; obviously they were successful as our files are filled with stories of how the Agricultural Club used their fields to feed people across the valley.

Stories like these are great in that i am constantly reminded how varied and diverse the range of things residents in Sun City can partake in. We all tend to see life through the eyes of the things we do. We forget there are hundreds of options to stay busy and engaged in. Our very success was due to that wide scope of non stop activities and as i read the stories from those early years of the Agricultural club, clearly, people loved it.

We can find the same stories told over and over in our files from those years long past. There were some 150 plus clubs and each was a chance for seniors to try something new or perfect a past hobby or art form. Either way, it was about people getting involved, making new friends and enjoying life. What’s so nice is that after 51 years, little has changed. Sun City is still teaching people how to have fun, stay young and be a part of something very special. As Maynard said…”can you dig it?”

Ain’t we got fun…

Hawaiian Dance Club circa 1960

Let’s start with an admission; i used to be the guy at party’s with the lampshade on my head. Not that i remember those old drunken times with any fondness, but admitting them as part of who and what i had become was the first step in my recovery.

Gratefully, sobriety changed me and without it, probably wouldn’t be on this planet enjoying where i am and what i have become. Lampshades have also benefited by my departure from those reckless years of my youth, but that’s another story for another time. This piece has nothing to do with the drunken debauchery of years long past.

You have to love those old photographs from the 60’s and 70’s. The single shot above tells a story of unto itself. It explains the reason for Sun City’s unrivaled success and why people who came here enjoyed something they had in all likelihood lost. Let’s face it, as we age, we start to get stodgy and more serene. When we are amongst the younger generations, we try to blend into the woodwork and not put ourselves out there to be looked at strangely and laughed at loudly.

Sun City and what it represented helped change that. From the photo you can see they guys and gals in the hula skirts were having a great time and the last thing that showed on their face was concern over someone judging them to be the court jester. The yearly luau’s were a time for people to let down their hair (assuming they still had any) and just have fun. Better yet, those kinds of events were standard fare within the community.

The point here is; getting old shouldn’t mean forgetting how to have fun and how to live with joy in our heart. The opportunity to reach out for new adventures and achieve new heights is only limited by the fear we become immersed in. Sun City was like a door opening to another whole new dimension; a place to stay young in both heart and mind (even if the tired old bones started to slow down). It was that way in the beginning and still is today.

Never underscore the importance of being able to enjoy life. With all of the miseries around us; the mess in Washington DC; the tragedies around the globe, we need to remember just how good it is to smile, laugh (at ourself if need be) and to love with abandon. To go through life doing any less just leaves us coming up short. To help grasp that, look at that old picture above and smile while quietly wishing you were the one having that much fun… and then when the opportunity comes along, plunge in with both feet. No fears.

Ultimately, the goal should be to have lived life with no regrets.

Post Navigation