Encanto Park History
Encanto Park was the brainchild of William G. Hartranft, a millionaire philanthropist and president of the first Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board, who envisioned a park on the scale of Balboa in San Diego or Gold Gate in San Francisco. To that end he convinced the parks board to acquire 200 acres of property that at the time sat outside the city limits.
Construction of the park began in 1935. The clubhouse, lagoon, boat dock, 18-hole golf course, band shell, playground areas, tennis and horseshoe courts and archery range were completed in three years.
In 1946, members of the Valley Garden Center struck a 99-year deal with the City of Phoenix to lease a 3-acre strip of land just south of Encanto Park for $1. In 1948, they raised the money to build the center, opening it in early 1949. With two large gathering rooms, a kitchen, nearly 3-acres of lush grounds, and a 100 year old mesquite tree, the garden is a popular setting for club meetings, weddings, receptions and business meetings.
The park's south side was renovated in 1982. New game courts replaced the archery range and parking and play equipment were added.
Reconstruction of the north side began in 1986 and included revamping the lagoon and channel systems, building new restrooms, sidewalks, and a boathouse and adding lights and play equipment.