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If These Walls Could Talk

Driving down Humphreys, do you find it hard not to notice the eye-catching traditional bungalow on the southwest corner of Cherry and Humphreys? Flagstaff has such a rich history and so does our real estate bungalow at 219 N. Humphreys Street.

Built in the early 1900s, this bungalow was originally someone’s home. In 1962, Willard Harkey (a real estate agent working for George Babbitt Realty) and his wife, Fran, purchased a quarter block on the southwest corner of Humphreys and Cherry consisting of two apartment buildings and a house. Willard and Fran opened Willard W. Harkey Realty in the home facing Humphreys. This family-run real estate office was in business for more than 35 years. I was lucky enough to speak with Fran Harkey and she shared some history of their experience with this property. The family converted the bungalow from a primary residence to a commercial property. The home has been updated multiple times throughout the years. In 1997, after relocating to Phoenix, Willard W. Harkey Realty closed its doors. But this bungalow has continued to house mostly real estate businesses ever since.

Stepping back to 1976 to share my personal experience with this special place, like many other Flagstaff residents, the real estate sign in front of the property caught my eye. My husband and I walked in the front door with plans to purchase our first home. Hilda Berman, our real estate agent, sat in the very spot I do now more than 42 years later. Back then, the real estate profession was so different – there were no computers, multiple listing service or pictures to view during the home-buying process. Unlike today, when a “first showing” is often done through technology, in 1976, a first showing was actually a tour of the home. Imagine that!

So, after a brief meeting in Hilda’s office, she took my husband and me out to see just one property on Lake Mary Road, a one-acre log cabin south of the water treatment plant that is still there today. We returned to her office and Hilda prepared the paperwork, a one-page contract. We signed and soon owned our first home. No disclosures. No negotiating. She just got it done! Life was so much less complicated back then. Our total investment was $35,000. What a contrast to today’s market.

In 2005, Holdsworth Construction Inc., a local third generation family-run builder, moved into the bungalow. Holdsworth Construction was founded in 1969 while Grant Holdsworth was teaching Construction Management at Northern Arizona University. Jon Holdsworth has continued to grow his family business over the years. Holdsworth Construction has built a reputation in Arizona for their love of being craftsmen and priding themselves in self-performing all the carpentry tasks for the new homes and remodel projects. Inspired by this bungalow’s history, Holdsworth Construction recently completed two bungalow-themed homes in Forest Highlands and Rockridge Estates. Jon’s passion of early 1900s bungalows and craftsman style is found throughout the homes constructed by Holdsworth. My business partner and I feel so privileged to share an office with an amazing builder that truly appreciates the art of building dreams.


Just like this treasured bungalow, my business has evolved over the last 40 years. I have worked for several brokerages in my career in many roles, from real estate agent to designated broker. When I was approached by Jim Lyon and Todd Gillenwater in 2005 with their plans to open a Flagstaff branch of Russ Lyon Realty Company, I saw in Russ Lyon the same values and traditions that I have followed over the years. We were a great fit. Russ Lyon Realty, now Russ Lyon | Sotheby’s International Realty, was founded in 1947 by Jim’s grandfather and just celebrated its 70th year anniversary. This family heritage was the perfect fit for my real estate business.

In 2012, along with my real estate partner Valerie Core, we relocated our business to share this office with Holdsworth Construction Inc. In 2017, we became the newest branch office for Russ Lyon | Sotheby’s International Realty, continuing the real estate legacy within in the walls of this beautiful and most special bungalow. This past year, we welcomed Nina Bedatsky, Lynda Ballantine and Dean Shaddy to our team, all now part of helping our clients with their real estate needs.

The real estate sign on Humphreys caught my attention in 1976. The building has had many coats of paint and much remodeling and updating, but it is still a monument to helping buyers and sellers with all their real estate needs in the same tradition started with Willard and Fran Harkey. If you purchased a home out of this bungalow, stop by and tell us your story. We would love to hear from you. QCBN


By Freddi Paulsrud

Freddi Paulsrud has more than 40 years in the real estate business and is an associate broker with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty located at 219 N Humphreys in Flagstaff.




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