Mid-Century Chandler: The Unexpected Gems Art & Architecture Exhibition

Mid-century modern architecture can be seen throughout the United States, unfortunately many of the original designs built in the 1950s until the early 1970s have been drastically tampered with or have been knocked down in place of other architectural styles.

Photographer Holly Metz and Historic Preservationist, Christine Wahlstrom-Weiss teamed up to go on an exploration of everything mid-century Chandler, Arizona. The exhibition at the Visions Gallery in Chandler, Arizona documents in photographs, blueprints, advertisements and other mid-century modern memorabilia.

Chandler City Directories 1955 – 1968
Viewfinders on display with various mid-century modern slides from Chandler

This modern style is preserved in the town only a short drive from the bustling metropolis of Phoenix, Arizona.

A primary focus of the exhibition is on Glenn McCollum’s architectural endeavors. Glenn McCollum is a prolific mid-century architect based in Chandler. From 1954 to 1989, he designed almost 500 contemporary projects in Chandler and Arizona. He worked for well known architects in Phoenix, Lescher and Mahoney, who were students at Frank Lloyd Wright. He is considered to be the primary contributor of mid-century modern design in Chandler, making it a treasure trove for this type of style.

Glen A. McCullom blueprint design he made for his office
Glen A. McCullom Office 1974 – 1989
Glen A. McCollum Drafting Tools

Chandler began as a small rural farming town. However, it was connected to other cities such as Phoenix, Tucson and Mesa through State Route 87. This road began building mid-century modern motels and bright neon signs to attract visitors.

This style eventually poured into the town of Chandler with more residences requesting modern homes and iconic buildings like the San Marcos Resort (built in 1913) and Colony desiring a mid-century modern revamping.

Many of the mid-century modern designs such as the homes, shopping centers, motels and signage from the era when they were first created still exist in Chandler today.

The Visions Gallery, Mid-Century Chandler: The Unexpected Gems, serves as a curated retelling of the many historic mid-century sites throughout the town.