Annie: Saving Armory Park

I have mentioned the contributions Annie Laos made to historic preservation in our community. Doing some internet research, I came across more information about her role in that effort. These are her words recorded in the Zocalo Magazine (May 9, 2014):

“We’ve lived in Armory Park since 1960 and still live in the same house. It tore me up when I saw them tearing down the barrio to build the convention center. They wanted to do more (destruction), but we stopped them. Mayor Corbett wanted to build the Butterfield Freeway from the airport to the convention center. This would have torn down a large part of Armory Park and Safford and Carrillo schools. One freeway plan also called for elevating the wishing shrine, El Tiradito, up in the air on freeway pylons.

“Rosendo Perez and I led the protest against these plans. Mayoral candidate Lew Murphy supported us. He won the election by 360 votes. It took an election and a miracle to stop the freeway plans. I believe it was the power of the castaway of El Tiradito. After that, we helped to place the wishing shrine on the National Register of Historic Places” (added in 1971).

“We also got the Armory Park neighborhood designated as a historic neighborhood. The reason we were able to do this was because of the railroad. All the houses along South 3rd Avenue, which is right in the middle of Armory Park, were railroad houses, for the workers. The neighborhood was accepted on the national register in 1976.”

I will continue to look for these snippets of our history. If you have such information or know of a good source, please let me know.

Author: Ken Taylor

I am a relatively recent Armory Park resident (2/16) along with my wife, Donna and our little dog Lulu. In our 7+ decades, Donna and I lived over 30 years in Anchorage, Alaska before moving to Arizona. We have been Arizona residents for 16 years before coming here including 12 in Green Valley and four in west Tucson. We love the neighborhood for its history, walkability and interesting residents. Lulu insists on walking every day so you may see us following her around and picking up trash to keep our neighborhood presentable.

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