Rising From the Ashes…or Sand…

Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers

Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers
This would be part two of the ‘diversity straining’ trip that I posted a few weeks ago…phase 3 of the actual trip.

90 or so years ago, a couple of guys… I’m a little fuzzy on facts here…these MAY have been the McArthur brothers, whose older brother, Albert Chase McArthur, is the architect of record… got the big idea to ‘trick out’ some buses…. bunks in one and a kitchen in the other, and they would take people out into the desert outside Phoenix, Arizona for an overnight vacation, camping under the stars and serving gourmet food.  Had they patented the idea they might be remembered as the ‘fathers’ of the RV…instead, they decided to build the Arizona Biltmore.

This trip is part of an on-going book project with GrandinHood Publishing . I won’t be ‘scooping’ the client because a large number of these were shot with a cell phone for scouting and sketching purposes…wouldn’t be used in the book anyway….details and bits and pieces…





There is continued controversy about Frank Lloyd Wright’s participation in the design, but there is no doubt that he had some influence, if not prevailing influence. The ‘Sprite’ above, of which there are 8 on the property, are cast from the originals which adorned the  demolished Midway Gardens in Chicago.

Frank Lloyd

These “Textile Stones” are said to either be a ‘Wrightian’ stylized view of palm trees, or they are McArthur’s design based on the logarithm of a B-flat minor. ? Go figure…. They used 8000 of them.


There is a somewhat Aztec influence about the structures

Terrace Court-Edit

and there is also a certain Gothic feel to some of the interiors.


That ceiling is gold leaf and I believe I read where the Biltmore is second only to the Taj Mahal in gold-leafed ceilings…

This is a statue called “Phoenix” which sits on the South lawn.

Phoenix 1

I didn’t quite ‘get it’ until one evening while strolling to the main building I saw it from the other side…. Eureka! 🙂

Phoenix 2

I know it’s no big deal to those of you who live in more tropical ‘climes’ than I do, but to step out of my room and be able to pick grapefruit, limes, kumquats, oranges, and pomegranates was a treat for me.

azb oranges

Now granted, we here in Tennessee can step outside and grab a chicken and wring its neck for Sunday dinner.


Irving Berlin penned “White Christmas” while lounging beside Marilyn Monroe’s favorite pool. I guess that makes sense…. a Jewish man beside a pool in the desert writes one of the most famous Christmas songs ever…..
As all grand historic hotels, the Biltmore has hosted its share of Presidents, movie stars and moguls.  AND….this is where the Tequila Sunrise was invented…

More to come…

Fruit cups

Oh… I have GOT to come up with something to shoot in this location.  It reminds me of the David Bowie movie, “The Man Who Fell To Earth” for some reason.




~ by rkpowers on December 7, 2013.

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