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Valley of the Moon receives historic status

Posted at 5:39 PM, Dec 31, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-31 19:39:14-05
Inside the enchanted garden at Valley of the Moon, Zack Jarrett explains some of the magic found there. 
"When the fairy queen throws parties, she of course throws them inside her fabulous castle," said Jarrett while pointing out a rock formation inside the garden. 
Jarrett is the president of the Valley of the Moon board and says it all came from the imagination of George Phar Legler who began building the site in 1923. 
"His goal was to build a life size enchanted land that he could use as a canvas for his storytelling to children," said Jarrett. "But that also could be used as a place of mental and spiritual healing for adults." 
Legler built the site by hand using Catalina rock, cement and sand. And many of the original structures have stood the test of time over more than 90 years. But just recently, the site received historic landmark status from the City of Tucson. 
In 2011, the property was listed on the national register of historic places but that offered little protection to the site. 
That's when volunteers started working on historic landmark status, a process that took years. Valley of the Moon became the first new historic landmark in Tucson in 20 years when it received the status in May. 
"We have here this funky, quirky, earthy little bit of Tucson history and thousands of children have come through over the years and this place has been an important part of generations of Tucsonans lives," said Jarrett. "So I'm thrilled that Tucson is protecting historic resources like this and I think no place in Tucson deserved it more than Valley of the Moon."
The historic status will protect the property from future development. Jarrett says it also protects them from themselves in a way because now any changes or renovations on the property have to go through an approval process. 
Now that they've achieved historic landmark status, Jarrett says they plan to throw a big celebration. It will take place January 16 at Valley of the Moon, 2544 E. Allen Rd. They just ask that you RSVP ahead of time through their website.
They are especially looking to reach former volunteers and hope anyone who has had a part in Valley of the Moon's history will attend the celebration.