Among the appealing features of Armory Park is its historic character from its panorama of classic residences. One of the finest of these is the McGinty-Laos house on South 4th Avenue. It was built in 1897 and hosted President Teddy Roosevelt on a visit to Tucson. It is cited among the architectural examples included in the armory park:74 ff study by the U of A College of Architecture in 1974. This study formed the foundation for the process which led to creation of the AP Historic District in which we live today.
The house is currently the home of Annie Laos and her son Roy who is also proprietor of the Roy’s Corner store. Annie provided the initial spark for the historic preservation effort in our community when she successfully led the effort to prevent the destruction of the historic Safford School buildings. Annie and her family began restoration of the old house in 1952, bringing it back from the significant deterioration and damaging alterations which it had suffered. Most of the work was done by Annie and her sons. Most Tucsonans will recognize the family name today from the transit center named after Roy Laos Sr. who owned a bus company which was an ancestor to our current Sun Tran system. (more follows after the image)
The house is not only important historically, it also has among the most faithful and complete restorations of the interior of any of our neighborhood homes. All signs of its rooming house period are gone and the natural wood finish of trim and other details is beautiful. Those of us who saw the house on our 2015 home tour can appreciate what a great job she did. The addition of a modern family room at the rear of the house and other modern amenities was done without detracting from the overall historic character.
I plan to do more pieces on the homes and residents of our community in the near future. If you have suggestions and details on which a short article can be based, please email me.
Ken Taylor, email@example.com