Historic Zone Tips

A Message from Your Neighbors on the Armory Park Historic Zone Advisory Board:


Here’s what you need to know.

On your own, you can:

  • Fix broken window glass,
  • Paint the outside of the house,
  • Make emergency repairs to a leaky roof,
  • Replace a rooftop evaporative cooler or air conditioner in the same location,
  • Add a window air conditioner,
  • Fix a broken fence board or metal picket with identical material.

You need to get an Historic Preservation Zone (HPZ) review to:

  • Change/replace windows or doors,
  • Install or replace fences and gates,
  • Put on a new roof or new shingles,
  • Add walls,
  • Add solar panels,
  • Move exterior heating and/or cooling units,
  • Add any structures,
  • Other exterior changes.

Not sure? Contact Martha McClements, chair of the Armory Park Historic Zone Advisory Board (APHZAB), at mmcclements@earthlink.net or 520-820-6541 for guidance. Arranging for an informal review while you’re still considering ideas for changes could be a major time and money saver for you to avoid having to redo plans. Doing work without approvals could result in stop-work orders, fines, formal zoning violations, loss of the historic property tax break and even having to restore the property to its prior condition.

APHZAB is an official City of Tucson Advisory Board, made up of unpaid volunteers drawn from your neighbors. Our purpose is to help you plan appropriately and guide you thru the process of completing your project and our goal is to help you make decisions that maintain the aesthetic quality and integrity of our wonderful neighborhood. Your project may be subject to city fees, but APHZAB services are free. To be on the agenda, please make arrangements at least 1 week ahead of time to comply with the open meeting law requirements.

APHZAB meetings are usually held in the Community Center of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (on E. 16th St. just east of S. 5th Ave.) at 7 pm on the 3rd Tuesday of the month as needed. The time, place and agenda for a meeting, and the Legal Action Report documenting the results, are posted on the City’s Boards and Commissions website at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/clerks/boards?board=9.

In addition, a volunteer team is working on an “Historic Review Improvement Initiative” to help the process go more smoothly. Please contact Ken Taylor at ken@kmtaylor.com or Michael Means at micasaadobe4@gmail.com to share your experiences. If desired, your feedback will remain anonymous.


It’s Home Tour Time

Home Tour LogoJourney through Tucson’s architectural evolution when downtown denizens open their doors for the Armory Park Historic District Tour. This self-guided stroll offers a glimpse at styles ranging from California bungalow and dainty Victorian to clever, contemporary, adaptations of vintage commercial buildings. (more below)

  • When: Noon-5 p.m.; Sunday, November 12, 2017
  • Home Tour starts at: St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 545 S. 5th Ave.
  • Proceeds benefit: Armory Park’s Neighbors Feeding Neighbors Program and other neighborhood charities.
  • Cost: $20.00 per person – children under 12, free.
  • (All children must be accompanied by an adult. nly certified service dogs will be allowed in homes).
  • You can buy tickets one of 2 waysPurchase at St. Andrew’s on tour day – credit cards are welcome, or pay in advance – select the number of tickets, then  click on the paypal link below. 

Home Tour Ticket


Print your receipt and bring to the home tour to exchange for the tour map.

For information call Anne Cooper at (415) 613 – 3312, or email anneclarkcooper@gmail.com.

Historic and eclectic. Those words pair nicely in describing this year’s tour. More than a dozen homes, businesses, 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 Anne’s had become all the rage among railroad executives, who looked down their noses at the traditional adobes then dominating the town.

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 Tucson historian Ken 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. “Armory has its own feel and character.”

But such snobbery came at a cost, said 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 Park 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.”

Neighbors Feeding Neighbors

In the tidy kitchen of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Rev. Jefferson Bailey is placing a sprig of parsley just so. His prep area is a checkerboard of little boxed lunches–potato, broccoli, roast beef–precisely arranged inside Styrofoam containers. When collective perfection is achieved, each box is snapped shut and hustled off to the coolers. Those gleaming coolers store a week’s worth of meals, which eventually are dispersed to shut-ins and other hungry folks scattered among downtown neighborhoods. While the need for Bailey’s efforts seems obvious, that wasn’t always true. In this seemingly middle-class enclave, hunger is surprisingly hidden; a government friend told him that 40 percent of nearby residents live below the federal poverty level.

“To me, it was a big eye-opener,” he says. “If so, who were they?” So beginning in 2007, volunteers pounded the pavement, looking for folks who’d fallen through the cracks. They also visited the Armory Park Senior Center, retrieving the names of those who had stopped dropping by for meals. “We identified about 14 people who were no longer mobile enough to get there,” Bailey says. “And that’s how we got started.” Today, his Neighbors Feeding Neighbors program provides meals for downtown residents who are elderly or disabled, recovering from illness or unable to cook for themselves. It does so without any government assistance, relying solely on donations. “And the only bureaucracy,” Bailey chuckles, “is inside my head.” Rotating volunteer teams put in three-hour kitchen shifts, while another team distributes meals along with packages of  yogurt, bread and fruit.

The rest is history. “It’s just people living in the neighborhoods, delivering food to people in the neighborhoods,” Bailey says, as he reaches for more Styrofoam boxes to be arranged just so.

Armory Park Plan Published

Susan Beirer and Steve Grede made a presentation to APNA last May regarding a plan to document and preserve the public landscape (streetscape) of Armory Park. At that time it was agreed that the final document would be added to APNA website when finished. That has now happened and now Armory Park Conservation Master Plan 2017 is available to be downloaded as a PDF. It has been published by the Heritage Conservation Program of the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.

The plan came out of Helen Erickson’s Preservation Planning spring 2017 class.  Whatever your level of interest in Armory Park’s public spaces you will find something for you in this document. If your interest in the history and landscape is not too deep, scan through the pictures and read some of the related text. You will learn some new things about Armory Park. If you are deeply interested, you won’t want to miss a single word.

Contact Susan Bierer (sbierer@email.arizona.edu) with any questions.

Old Articles

I was just searching through the articles in the Old Articles category and realized that the way they are presented could be confusing. All of the articles appear to be written by the same person (me). That is not the case and all of the articles in this category were written by previous authors before I came to the site. When the site was moved to a new hosting platform, I also moved the years of previous articles so that our records and history would not be lost. Unfortunately, the transfer also identified me as the author of all articles, losing attribution to the actual authors. I could see no practical way to preserve the authorship information for so many articles.

If you would like to reclaim authorship of articles, please give me your name, contact information and the article titles. I will make the corrections.

Welcome to the APNA Website

The site has been restructured and simplified. Now we need more content to make it really useful. Anyone wanting to make a contribution of material can send it to me. If editing is required, I will be glad to do that. I have volunteered to maintain the site but not to originate content for it. The home tour article is an excellent example of what we would like to see.

Ken Taylor  ken@kmtaylor.com