Intimately snuggled between Scottsdale and Phoenix, the town of Paradise Valley, Arizona is an elegant island of acre-plus homesites boasting multi-million dollar homes. Nestled in the shadows of Camelback Mountain, Mummy Mountain and the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, many sprawling properties in this community enjoy a rural desert look and feel, while others are high-style contemporary estates.
Many people often ask how the town came to be named. According to the town’s website, in the 1880s, the Rio Verde Canal Company wanted to turn the open cattle-grazing land into irrigated farmland. In 1889, the same company sent three surveyors to work on the project, and these “Easterners” became so enthralled by the beauty and tranquility of the desert landscape that they named the area “Paradise Valley.” However, settlement in Paradise Valley did not begin in earnest until post World War II, with a scattering of modest homes usually built on large parcels consisting of one to five acres.
By the 1950s, Paradise Valley residents began to fear that their little piece of paradise would be swallowed up by the larger cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale. Petitions were signed, meetings were held, and in May of 1961, incorporation was granted and the Town of Paradise Valley was established. The primary goals of town organizers were to keep zoning requirements to a minimum of one house per acre and to keep the area entirely residential. Their mission was beautifully accomplished, and by 1968, the town boundaries were generally defined.
Since that time, Paradise Valley has become known as a haven for private, relaxed upscale luxury living. In fact, a wealth of spectacular estate properties now call Paradise Valley home, and many of them are lushly landscaped with towering palm trees, luxuriant grassy lawns and tropical foliage. Overlooking glittering nighttime city views, this enchanting enclave of high-end real estate also features gravity-defying mountainside masterpieces, and speaking of mountains, another question that’s often asked relates to how one of the town’s landmarks, Mummy Mountain, got its name.
Back in the day, this saguaro-studded mountain was known by some as Windy Gulch while others called it Horseshoe Mountain, but according to the town’s website, it was long-time resident Charlie Mieg who finally named it Mummy Mountain. Mr. Mieg was a major landowner along the north and east sides of the Mountain, and the grapevine had it that he felt “Windy Gulch” and “Horseshoe Mountain” didn’t have much marketing appeal. One day, he took a long look and decided that the mountain looked like an Egyptian mummy lying down, and apparently believing that a more interesting name would help sell his properties, voila - Mummy Mountain was born.
It’s obvious that much has changed in Paradise Valley over the last several decades, but the one thing that every single home in the town’s scant 16 square miles has in common is the cool cachet that comes with life in such a perfectly named slice of southwestern heaven.
Brian Dunshie - 480.522.6818
Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty Scottsdale Waterfront Office
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