Eclectic Meets Historic at Armory Park Tour 2013!

Journey through Tucson’s architectural evolution on Sunday, November 17, when downtown denizens open their doors for the Armory Park Historic District Home Tour. This self-guided stroll offers a glimpse at styles ranging from California bungalow and dainty Victorian to contemporary, energy-efficient homes in a “New Urbanism” village.

Eclectic and historic, the tour includes a photographer’s studio/loft where daily life is viewed through a fascinating lens; a lovely, vintage, two-story home now serving as headquarters for the Symphony Women’s Association; the majestic, circa-1915 Scottish Rite Cathedral with its soaring, 48-foot ceilings; a delightful residence filled with more art than most galleries; former Armory Park senior apartments retrofitted to the emerging downtown scene; and Tucson’s favorite hometown radio station, KXCI 91.3.

A dozen homes, businesses, gardens and other properties will welcome you, with each of them exemplifying a notch on Armory Park’s diverse timeline. And long that line is, dating back to the railroad’s arrival here in 1880. Within a few short years, Victorians and Queen Annes had become all the rage among railroad executives, who looked down their noses at the traditional adobes then dominating the town.

But such snobbery came at a cost, says Tucson historian Ken Scoville. “They used double brick and a lot of material that was largely imported. It was the pressure of fashion, with people scorning adobe, but as a result, their homes were colder in the winter and hotter in summer.”

He says Armory was also among the first parts of Tucson to be laid out on a grid. “And today, unlike other downtown districts, such as the barrios, which were chipped away, Armory Park is pretty much intact.”

Taking its name from Armory Park, located on Sixth Avenue at the site of a former military plaza, the neighborhood initially spread up Third and Fourth avenues, and by 1900 had reached all the way south to 18th Street.

As noted by Scoville, traditional Spanish and Mexican designs were giving way to Anglo styles in this boom, and even existing adobe homes were retrofitted–ergo Anglicized–with wooden porches and roofs.

Ultimately, home designs flourishing during that period still make Armory Park’s architecture distinctive. This area is also known for a design called Anglo-territorial, with pyramidal roofs and broad porches.

“It’s not the barrio style, and it’s not (downtown’s) El Presidio Neighborhood,” says one longtime resident. “Armory has its own feel and character.”

When:       12:30-4:30 p.m., Sunday, November 17, 2013

Starts At:     St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 545 S 5th Ave.

Benefits:          Armory Park’s own Neighbors Feeding Neighbors   Program

Cost:   $20

Tickets Available At:          

            KXCI 91.3 FM (623-1000)

            St. Andrew’s on tour day.

To pay in advance, click on the following link and designate “Home Tour” for your donation. Print your receipt and bring it to the home tour. That will serve as your ticket: https://www.networkforgood.org/donation/ExpressDonation.aspx?ORGID2=237455932
For information call 628-4812, or email armoryparkstudio@cox.net

For information call 628-4812, or email armoryparkstudio@cox.net

 

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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