Armory Park sprouted up east of the abandoned military plaza, on what's now 6th Avenue. Armory Park runs from 12th to19th street and from Stone to 2nd Avenue. Some 450 contributing properties occupy 30 blocks, most of them built between 1880 and 1920. Federal troops were stationed in downtown Tucson in the mid 1880's to protect the citizens from Apache Indians that raided on a regular basis. After the troops caused a lot of issues with the citizens of early Tucson they were pushed away from the downtown garrison and took up a position where Fort Lowell is today. Prior to this they made camp at Camp Lowell for a few years. Once the railroad rolled into town in 1880 Armory Park became home to railroad executives and workers. Loaded up with glass, wood, and all manner of non-local building materials, the trains helped transform Tucson's home building architecture. Executives built East Coast-style red-brick houses with pitched roofs, porches, and nice front yards on the main streets.
Barrio Historico, a remnant of the old Mexican barrio that once was just outside the presidio walls located near 100 South Stone Avenue south of the government and convention centers. It has been called BarrioViejo or Barrio Libre since in those days the Mexican inhabitants were free to follow their own laws. That has changed, but the area has preserved its distinctly Mexican flavor with classic sonoran construction of adobe & mud brick row houses, and roofs made from saguaro ribs and packed dirt, most dating from the late 1800s. From the streets the homes appear in a rainbow of colors, very distinct and unique. Some of Tucson's oldest structures can be found here and many of them nicely restored. Since most have been converted for private and commercial habitation. You will also find some red brick Queen Annes. In an area of about 20 blocks you will find some 250 of these properties while new construction continues.
Blenman-Elm is very new to the list of Tucson’s historic neighborhoods, and is located west of Country Club Road and north of Speedway Boulevard. This large district of 900 contributing houses dates from about 1920 to the 1950s. these houses range from Spanish Colonial revival to brick ranch. The streets are arranged in a grid fashion and all of the homes have beautiful front yards. This eclectic neighborhood bordering the University of Arizona contains the largest cluster of homes designed by Josias Joesler, Tucson’s most recognized architect.
Catalina Vista was erected in about 1924 and is located just south of Grant Road and east of Campbell Avenue. At this early date the developers of this project had the foresight to build roads and dwellings that would accommodate both people and cars. This neighborhood was subdivided for development in 1940 and now has many Pueblo and Spanish revival style homes as well as classic American red-brick ranch and also some modern all on nicely sized lots. Palm trees line the streets and winding roads with an occasional landscaped median, traffic roundabouts, and small parks with lots of benches add to the cosmetic appeal of this serene neighborhood. Pricing ranges from about $350 to about $800 thousand. The close proximity of Catalina Vista to both the University Medical Center and the University of Arizona has been a factor in keeping its home values high. The 274 contributing properties dating from 1924 to about 1962 represent a variety of historic revival styles. Famous resident Margaret Sanger had her house designed by Tucson’s leading designer and modernist, Arthur Brown.
Colonia Solana lies South of El Encanto and was erected between 1928 and 1949. Like El Encanto, Colonia Solana was intended to attract rich people from the east, but unlike El Encanto, being full of lawns and flowers, Colonia Solana has only native desert cactus and plants. Its curvilinear streets follow the natural contours of the lay of the land and desert washes. Neo-classical revival and Spanish Colonial revival homes coexist with the modern and ranch houses. Colonia Solana is roughly bounded by Broadway Blvd. & S. Randolph Way, & Camino Campestre, and S. Country Club, and has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since January 04, 1989. This district has 53 contributing properties.
El Encanto Estates, often called the "Beverly Hills of Tucson," tucked away and almost hidden in the center of town is located east of Country Club Road and north of Broadway Boulevard, and is an upscale, sophisticated neighborhood developed from about 1928 to 1941, and characterized by an apparent California influence, was deliberately designed to attract wealthy residents, particularly from the East. El Encanto has a formal symmetrical pattern of curving streets lined with elegant and romantic houses meant to evoke a Southwest feeling. Deed restrictions have been set for these large Spanish Colonial and pueblo revival houses, requiring large spacious lots with lush and extensive landscaping. Palm trees grow and abound all about. Fifty-three of the neighborhood's 145 houses are contributing properties.
El Montevideo is a small area with 43 contributing houses nestled in between Broadway & 5th Street & between the El Con Mall and Alvernon. Built from about 1930 to 1945, you will find Spanish Colonial revival, ranch, and modern style architecture. Josias Joesler, Tucson's most recognized architect designed many Montevideo homes. Here again you will find a distinct Southwestern feel with much cactus and desert growth. Montevideo has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since September 12, 1994. El Presidio is probably Tucson's oldest neighborhood. It was here that Hugo O'Conor established a Spanish village fort in 1775 to protect the people from the Apaches.
The Presidio is no longer in existence, but many19th-century Mexican adobe houses are still inhabited, located just north of the downtown government buildings. El Presidio has 80 some properties on about 12 blocks, most dating from about 1850 to 1912. Later residents added pitched roofs and front porches to the adobes, and now share the streets with commercial buildings and also brand new traditional homes. Feldman's Addition, lies North of West University and is located north of Speedway Boulevard and west of Park Avenue.
Feldman’s Historic District was nominated for the historic register in 1989 and it was known as Speedway-Drachman. In 2005, the boundaries of the district were expanded and the name was changed from Feldman's addition to Feldman’s Historic District (FHD). Built in the first three decades of the 20th century, Feldman's cottages include wooden-floored bungalows, Spanish Colonial stuccos, and craftsman houses. The narrow, deep lots nowadays are home to some 355 contributing properties, and its very long yards have allowed many student rentals to live out back. St. Luke's in the Desert, in the middle of the neighborhood was once one of Tucson's many sanitariums for tuberculosis patients—it's now a retirement home. FHD is primarily situated within the bounds of the historic Feldman’s Addition subdivision, but also includes bits of Steinfeld, Tucson Heights, Schumacher, and University Home Addition.
Fort Lowell is located several miles east of the city center along the Rillito River and Pantano Wash. Camp Lowell was first established in 1866 on the outskirts of Tucson. Due to unhealthy conditions of the city the army moved the post 7 mile northeast and established Fort Lowell in March, 1873. This lush flood plain made an ideal dwelling place for the Hohokam Indians from about AD 300 to 1250. The role of Fort Lowell encompassed escorting wagon trains, protection of settlers, guarding supplies, patrolling the border, and conducting offensive operations against the Western and Chiricahua Apache Indians. Troop strength at Fort Lowell averaged 130 officers and 239 enlisted men. Serving at Fort Lowell were companies representing the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Cavalry Regiments, and the 1st, 8th, and 12th Infantry Regiments. The troops kept in constant contact with Tucson through dinners, dances, band concerts, baseball games and by frequenting the numerous gambling halls and saloons. The fort was short-lived. In 1891 after the end of the Indian Apache wars the army saw no further need for Fort Lowell and in 1891 the post was abandoned. Mexican farming families took over the buildings and constructed more adobes of their own, creating a new village called El Fuerte. The buildings at Fort Lowell reflected a Mexican Sonoran style of architecture. Buildings were built with think adobe walls, pine logs, and saguaro ribs supporting hard packed dirt roofs and wide hallways for ventilation. By the mid-1880s Eastern Anglo features such as porches shutters and tin roofing were added. Mormon farmers also eventually came onto the scene. Today the adobes sitting haphazardly amidst the mesquite trees retain a rural Mexican feel. Thirty contributing properties share the 150 acres with new luxury houses.
Indian House is a very small neighborhood located just North of the Park Place Mall on East Broadway Boulevard. Indian House has played a substantial part in the saga of Tucson’s early desert past. The only way into Indian House is by following the winding dirt roads through the natural undisturbed desert. Its six houses were constructed utilizing the Sonoran ranch and pueblo architecture in the 1930s. Indian House Community Residential Historic District was added to the register in 2001, and consists of 400 acres with only 6 buildings. Iron Horse Historic District is east of 4th Avenue and north of the tracks, and is roughly bounded by Eighth St., Euclid Ave., Hughes and Tenth Sts., and N. Fourth and Hoff Aves, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places since June 19, 1986. Built from about 1890 to 1908, Iron Horse has always been a mix of rentals, apartments, and small houses in assorted styles from Sonoran adobe to Queen Anne. The Southern Pacific rail employees who once lived here had to obey the “one mile rule”, the train company required them to live close enough to hear the whistle blow, calling them into work. Today there are about 178 contributing properties in this district.
John Spring Neighborhood was named after Tucson's first public school teacher; and the John Spring School was first opened in 1872 at 21st Street and Main Avenue. John Spring has always enjoyed ethnic diversity. Located west of Stone Avenue just north of downtown, it was home to the Yaqui Indians, Mexicans, Chinese, and African-Americans, and by 1900 the neighborhood has attracted numerous middle-class black families. Tucson opened its segregated elementary school in 1917, and the first students were ages 6 to 21. John Spring neighborhood was constructed mostly between 1896 and 1917, and has a good mix of modest adobes and more elaborate brick houses. Today the old school is being renovated as a museum and cultural center.
The Pie Allen historic Area is East of Iron Horse located between Euclid and Park Avenues, and consists of nine small city blocks. Pie Allen was named after a good old boy that was an early Tucson merchant. Railroad workers also lived here north of the tracks in small houses built between 1880 and 1936. At one time they made up 60% of the neighborhood's population. The remaining historic houses, nestled in between the student apartment complexes tend toward the usual period mix of adobe Sonoran transitionals, Queen Anne’s, and bungalows.
Sam Hughes, the sought-after tree-lined neighborhood east of the university was named after a Welsh immigrant who came to the US in 1837 at the age of eight. The neighborhood began around 1918 as a haven for tourists, and is located in the mile-square area bounded by Campbell on the west, Speedway on the north, Country Club on the east, and Broadway on the south, which is adjacent to the University of Arizona, and provides its residents the convenience of being able to walk to the University while maintaining the feel of living in "Historic Tucson". It is nice to live within the proximity to the University of Arizona as well as downtown Tucson, an especially popular and convenient location for students attending the University of Arizona, the area provides its residents - students, young families, empty nesters, working professionals, University professors, and retirees - a strong sense of community within walking distance to shopping, restaurants, social activities and, of course, the University of Arizona. Houses in an appealing combination of styles continued to be built up until about 1953. The mix of 1,226 contributing properties includes the popular mission revival, inspired by California churches, and pueblo revival, a reworking of Indian dwellings, as well as craftsman, international, and ranch styles. The homes in the area are of a especially superlative vintage, and many have been lovingly attended to and modernized on the inside. Some features and amenities are: Historic Sam Hughes Elementary, 23.6-acre Himmel Park, a library, a public swimming pool, and the retail stores, and the cafés of 6th Street, and they are all located in the heart of the neighborhood. It’s safe to say that once someone buys a home in the Sam Hughes area they tend to hold on to their property for many years. Sam Hughes properties are rarely on the market and when they do hit, they sell very quickly, thus, they could be termed as an exceptionally very good investment.
San Clemente earned the National Historic District designation in 2005 and is Tucson's “newest” historic neighborhood consisting of 225 contributing properties, and is bordered by Broadway, Alvernon, Timrod, and Columbus which is directly east of Reid Park. The neighborhood had its start in the 1920s, however, most of the homes were built in the 1940s & 50s. The homes range in style from Spanish Colonial revival to Sonoran ranch and range in price from $180,000 to $400,000 and are typically between 1600 sf. to 3000 sf. Some district features are curvilinear and grid-patterned streets that help slow traffic thus contributing to community safety. The West University Neighborhood is located roughly between Park on the East, Stone on the West, Speedway on the North, and 6th Street on the South, and is known as being Tucson's first suburb. The University of Arizona began in 1885 on a plot of land that was then considered to be way out of town; and houses from the middle and upper middle classes began to appear just west of this new college from about 1890 to 1930 which has contributed to the growth of San Clemente, which was also one of the first areas to develop to the North of the Southern Pacific Railroad. West University has a few transformed Sonoran adobes, but the majority of the houses are appealing California bungalows in wood, cottages, duplexes/triplexes, and stuccoed brick houses with pitched roofs. Sidewalks, front porches, and tidy front yards filled with flowers dress up the neighborhood. Sixty blocks strong, this large district features 600 contributing houses, as well as two major shopping areas, the pedestrian-friendly Fourth Avenue Shopping District and Main Gate Square.