Many Years of AP Home Tours

I’ve been browsing through the Arizona Daily Star archives trying to learn more of the early history of Armory Park. Since we are about to have another home tour, that is a subject I decided to research.

The oldest tour I found was in May of 1975. The Star Article had this to say, “Armory Park began its flourishing career in the 1880s with the arrival of the railroad. It is “a showplace” for the evolution of architect styles of that era, according to Robert Giebner University of Arizona associate professor of architecture.”

ARMORY PARK HOME TOUR Sunday May 6th, Noon to 5
5.00 per couple, 3.00 per person. Self guided tour
begins on 15th St., between 3rd & 4th Avenue
(1979 advertisement)

The above appeared as a personal classified ad in the 5 May 1979 Star. You can see that prices have gone up slightly since then. The means for advertising our tour have become more sophisticated over the years. Electronic media and more comprehensive news articles spread the word of our tour across Tucson.

The 1981 tour featured 26 homes on this seventh home tour though the interiors of only ten of them were open:

  • The Galloway House, 630 S. Third Ave. This house was built in 1904 and is an interpretation of the Queen Anne style. Past owners of the home have kept it in its
    original form, including the Victorian woodwork and fireplaces.
  • The Brockman House, 420 E. 18th St. Built in 1902, this home is of Anglo-Territorial style and has high ceil­ings, French doors, and a recently re­stored narrow front porch.
  • The Evans House, 520 S. Fourth Ave. Built in 1901, this is a Victorian-style house con­structed of double brick. It also has a Cali­fornia bungalow-style porch, probably added in the 1920s.
  • The Contzen House, 611 S. Fifth Ave. An Anglo- Territorial-style house built around 1900, this home still has its original wood shingle roof. The front windowsills are of volcanic breccia, probably gathered in the Tucson Mountains.
  • The Winsor House, 422 S. Fifth Ave. Built in 1902, this stucco-on-brick house was designed by early Tucson architect Henry Trost. Both the inside and outside of the house have been extensively restored.
  • The Lowry House, 436 S. Fifth Ave. This is a Victo­rian-style house built in 1901. The front porch was remodeled in the bungalow style sometime after it was originally con­structed.
  • The Whitaker House, 509 S. Sixth Ave. Built in 1902, this is a Queen Anne house that has been completely re­stored.
  • The Immaculate Heart Academy, 35 E. 15th St. The first Catholic school in Tucson, this building was constructed in 1886 and was also used as a convent. Stone from the “A” Mountain quarry makes up the lower floor.
  • The Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Built as a cultural center in 1920, this two-story Spanish Colonial Revival building has 20,000 square feet that in­cludes a theater and dance studios.
  • The Debrig House, 245 S. Fourth Ave. This house was built in the early 1870s as two Sonoran-style adobe structures. The original building has a two-room living area and a detached kitchen that were later joined by a hall­way.

In 1982, the Star said this about our neighborhood, “Armory Park is one of Tucson’s oldest neighborhoods and is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and Places. The area was home to many well-to-do railroad employees and their families during the late 1800s. Many of the homes they built were in the Anglo-Territorial Style, characterized by wide, deep verandas and high pyramidal roofs.”

From 1981 through 1986 there were home tours every year, In some years there were two tours with one of them to raise funds for some special cause.

15 Apr 1990, Page 97
This kitchen photo appeared in a Star  article about the April 1990 Tour

About the featured home for the October 2000 tour, the star had this to say, “Territorial

14 Oct 2000, Page 49
Roskruge House (Star photo)

surveyor George J. Roskruge built the Queen Anne cottage in 1895. Its architect,  James Miller Creighton, designed Old Main on the University of Arizona campus. Artist Georgia O’Keeffe used to paint in a studio next door.” The article continued with a photo and comments on the excellent woodworking detail on the cottage. This house was also a featured property in the “armory park:74 ff” study which led to Armory Park becoming a federally recognized historic neighborhood. If you want to read more about what the study had to say about this house, click here.

21 Mar 2010, Page L013
Velasco House (Star photo)

In March of 2000, the Star said this: the “…building is known as the Velasco House after a former owner, Carlos Velasco, who ran a print shop there, publishing Tucson’s first Spanish-language newspaper, El Fronterizo. The 1850s building predates Armory Park, the historic neighborhood it’s part of, and even the Gadsden Purchase….” The 1974 study also included this house. To learn more, click here.

Home tours are a long time and important feature of our neighborhood. Not only do the tours raise money for worthwhile causes, they also introduce other Tucsonans to our special community. Donna and I were introduced to AP by the 2015 tour and our 1905 brick bungalow is on this year’s tour; we hope to see you here.

Our Historic Streetscape

Our neighborhood is a historic gem and our homes are not the only important part of maintaining our historic character. The streetscape (everything outside of  our property lines) is an essential element of our historic neighborhood. Over the years, many significant features have been lost, often because of city government actions. A first step to keeping our streetscape is to document what is here today. Here is a way you can help. Steve Grede sent me this flyer:

Armory Park Historic Streetscape Training Flier-page-001

If you want to download a PDF of the flyer, click here:
Armory Park Historic Streetscape Training Flier

 

The Lee-Cutler House

Lee-Cutler House, 620 South Third Street

620 S 3RDa
Photo by Ken Taylor

This is the sixth and last in the series of articles about homes highlighted in the armory park:74 ff study which formed the basis for creation of the Armory Park Historic Preservation Zone. I will be doing more pieces on Armory Park history and historic homes as I can gather information from the study and other sources. Continue reading “The Lee-Cutler House”

The McGinty-Laos House

McGinty-Laos House, 647 South 4th Avenue

This is the fifth in the series of articles extracted from the armory park:74 ff study which647 S 4TH formed the basis for creation of the Armory Park Historic Preservation Zone. I am particularly fond of this house since I see it every day and its restoration was the work of Annie Laos and her family. I did a previous piece in the People & Places category with less of an architectural emphasis. You can fine that article here: Historic Gem on S. 4th.

647 S 4th 3a
Photo by Stephen Sinex

The McGinty-Laos House (1897)-can be referred to as being in the Anglo-Territorial style as it dates from the territorial period and exhibits definite Anglo influences. Verandas and porches face the south and west fronts and the east rear, tying the irregular plan into a unified massing. All this is capped with a dominant pyramidal roof form having additional gables projecting over plan projections on the south and west. There are many Queen Anne characteristics, such as the bay window of the living room. The wood porch displays simple Doric-like

647 S 4th 3b
Photo by Stephen Sinex

turned posts and no railing. Window openings have segmental arched heads while the doors are flat headed. The house was one of the first in Tucson to be mechanically equipped with a central cooling system. The interior exhibits a wealth of elaboration in Victorian wood detailing and appropriate furnishing. Today the residence is well maintained and displays all the charm, as well as the accumulation of nostalgia, characteristic of the Victorian era.

©1974 College of Architecture, University of Arizona

 

647 S 4th floor plan
Original floor plan by Gary Carlough

Old Armory Park Adobe

Velasco House, 471 South Stone Avenue (475 S Stone today)

475 S STONE, small
Photo by Ken Taylor

This is the fourth in the series of articles extracted from the armory park:74 ff study which formed the basis for creation of the Armory Park Historic Preservation Zone. Apparently the rehabilitation referred to in this article has been completed. The exterior is in excellent condition today in contrast to the photo in the study document.

This building was apparently built sometime in the 1860’s, in a man­ner typical of

475 S Stone floor plan, small
Plan by Gary Carlough

construction in Sonora and southern Arizona during the early territorial period. It has a central ZAGUAN or entry hall with flanking rooms and additions extending to the rear defining an interior court. The original plan was L-shaped, with other rooms added as necessary.

Of adobe construction, with walls 18″-24″ thick, the original portions of the house have ceilings 14 ‘ —15 ‘ high. Fireplaces were located in all rooms except the ZAGUAN. Although the structure borders on the Armory Park area, and does represent a building tradition which preceded the major development of the area, it is a common building form and is reflected in some of the later houses in the district.

The extremely thick walls, built over stone foundations, were both an environmental response to the heat of summer and a product of technological limitations. The thick walls

475 S Stone old photo
Photo by Larry Lauser

served as a ‘heat sink’ providing moderation of temperature differential over a twenty-four hour period. The pattern, size and placement of windows and doors are characteristic of buildings of this tradition. Doors are set deep within the walls while windows are placed at the exterior surface.

The house was purchased by Don Carlos Ygnacio Velasco in 1878, at the time he founded the Spanish-language newspaper, EL FRONTERIZO, which was published continuously until Velasco’s death in 1914. The newspaper was an important contribution to what was at the time a predominantly Mexican community. Velasco’s printing office occupied this building while he resided in a smaller house at the rear of the lot.

The Velasco House is currently in the process of being rehabilitated. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the only Armory Park district structure to be so listed. This house is one of only three seen on the east side of the present Stone Avenue in an 1882, photograph taken from Sentinel Peak.

©1974 College of Architecture, University of Arizona

Galloway House, 630 South 3rd Avenue

This is the third in the series of articles extracted from the armory park:74 ff study which formed the basis for creation of the Armory Park Historic Preservation Zone.

When viewing the Galloway House from the exterior, it has characteristics of a modified bungalow, due primarily to its painted brick surfaces, upon closer examination, this

630 S 3RD a
Ken Taylor Photo, 2017

house, dating from about 1900, has very definite Queen Anne characteristics. The irregularity of the rooms is brought into accord on the exterior and covered with a single hip roof. The living room bay window as well as that of the dining room, and the box window of the main bedroom, all project from the brick wall surface. The entrance hall, living room, and dining room all interlock and repeat diagonal walls with corner fire­places. An overall diagonal patterning is evident within these principal rooms. A fifteen foot module is employed as a common Continue reading “Galloway House, 630 South 3rd Avenue”

Culin-Roskruge House, 318 E 13th Street

This is the second in a series of articles about noteworthy historic homes in Armory park. The historic information about each home is extracted from the armory park:74 ff 318 E 18TH Todaystudy done by the College of Architecture in 1974. My copy of this study was a gift from Annie Laos who passed away earlier this week. Those who value the historic character of Armory Park owe a debt of gratitude to Annie. Her drive, energy and passion for our history saved the original buildings of the Safford School from destruction. That set the stage for historic preservation here and she continued to be a driving force in that effort for many years. One can’t drive important change without causing some controversy which she certainly did. Annie was a great neighbor and we will miss her greatly. Continue reading “Culin-Roskruge House, 318 E 13th Street”

Kitt House, 319 South 4th Avenue

This is the first in a series of articles about noteworthy historic homes in Armory park. The historic information about each home is extracted from the armory park:74 ff study done by the College of Architecture in 1974.

IMG_2361In 1899 this house was built by William R. and Catherine Kitt; its general design said to have been done by Mrs. Kitt herself. It is constructed of thick adobe walls employing the Roman Revival style. The portico is not merely an applied classical ornament in this case, but is a deep front porch oriented toward the west. The single low-gabled roof extends over the tetrastyle porch in the Doric Order. In response to the environment, the gable end has a lunette IMG_2362transom for ventilation. Warm air is thus drawn out of the house through the attic. Although displaying Roman Revival charac­teristics on the exterior, the irregularity of plan shows defi­nite Queen Anne influences. For convenience in an inhospitable climate, each room is offered direct access to either the front or rear porch. Continue reading “Kitt House, 319 South 4th Avenue”

Historic Structures of Armory Park

Historic structures are among the appealing features of Armory park and certainly attracted Donna and me to the neighborhood. In a past post, I mentioned that Annie Laos IMG_2360is our next door neighbor. She was the leader of a movement to preserve the old Safford School buildings and was also a major player in the creation of our Historic Preservation Zone. Because she knows we appreciate the community’s history, she gifted us a copy of the armory park:74 ff study which formed the basis for creation of our HPZ. This study was done by the University of Arizona College of Architecture in 1974.

I am going to use the study as the source for a series of articles about the historic structures, mostly homes, which make Armory Park so special. I will also look for other sources of historic information about our neighborhood and the people and places who built it.

If you have relevant material, please contact me: blog@kmtaylor.com