When we were working on the Scottsdale Downtown Plan and renting an apartment in Downtown Scottsdale, we’d often drive down Thomas Road on our treks into Phoenix. On our way we’d pass by an unusual mobile home park featuring mobile homes flanked by permanently-built structures. After driving by countless times, we pulled over one day and took these photos. It’s called Oasis Park and features a fantastic array of mid-century architecture, both factory-built and site-built.
“Unique” is the word Oasis Park uses to describe itself on its website:
The word “unique” is one of the few in the English language that cannot be modified. There is no “very unique” or “a little unique” or “somewhat unique”. It stands alone. Above all else.
So, too, does Oasis Park. From the one-of-a-kind architecture of its homes to the perfect Scottsdale location to its welcoming residents, Oasis Park stands alone as that “unique” place to call home in the Valley of the Sun.
Reading up on the park on the website and other web articles, we learn that Oasis Park was created in the mid-1950s on nearly 15 acres in the midst of cotton fields. A drive-in theater sat across the road, long since replaced with office buildings. The first residents moved arrived in 1957 to find shuffleboard courts, a putting green, a 54-foot heated pool with a rock waterfall, a library inside the clubhouse, an on-site hobby shop for men, and a pink laundry room with matching pink washers and pink dryers. The amenities alone help set the park apart from other mobile home communities. Eventually 95 couples filled the park, maneuvering massive 55-foot mobile homes into their designated lots. Residents were required to add “ramadas” to the existing structures, and some opted to add more than what was required.
According to the reports, most residents were (and still are) winter visitors, maintaining homes elsewhere. Though originally a rental community, residents now own their homes and are shareholders in the Oasis Park Company, the corporation they formed in order to buy the land on which their homes sit. Each resident now 1/95th of the total land and decisions about the park must be approved by the majority.
The community was always intended for older couples whose children were grown, restricted to members 55 years old and older. At one time, Oasis Park would not let in widows; however, many of the homes are now occupied by single women. Prospective buyers are interviewed and must be approved by the Oasis Park membership.
The original mobile home is still part of the structure, as a rule, but each home has a uniqueness of its own. This comes both from the mobile home and the ramada structures, which create interesting compositions. In some examples the original mobile home is a distinctive element unto itself, whereas others are so fully integrated to be nearly indistinguishable from the rest of the structure.
I’m not sure which aspect of these structures I like best. Many (maybe even most) of the mobile homes are midcentury vintage, with cool styling that has come full circle to be very hip. But then the ramadas themselves are pretty great too. The two together are like nothing I’d seen before.