Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Lookin’ back: Life begins at 103 for planned 12th Street art gallery

Owen T. Rouse

Owen T. Rouse

Unlike other sumptuous homes from Tucson’s past, almost always identified with some prominent previous owner, the one at 175 E. 12th St. has maintained a curious aura of anonymity.

It isn’t clear why that is so; the man who had it built and lived there for more than 15 years was an individual of stature – former Missouri state senator, Arizona territorial district attorney and associate justice of the U.S. district court, territorial supreme court justice and a well-known private attorney in Tucson.

Owen T. Rouse was born April 5, 1845, in Florence, Boone County, Ky., and moved with his parents to Monroe County, Mo., where he was educated and studied under a practicing attorney. Afterward, he graduated from Union Law School in Cleveland, Ohio, and began a private practice in Paris, Mo.

He later moved to Moberly, Mo., and entered the political arena, serving as a Missouri senator from 1880 to 1884.

Term completed, he petitioned newly elected President Grover Cleveland, a fellow Democrat, for appointment as a federal judge “somewhere in the West.” What was forthcoming was appointment as U.S. attorney for the Arizona Territory. He accepted the position, settling in Florence in 1885.

On May 24, 1889, sensing that the impending change of administration in Washington, D.C., would end his tenure, he resigned and moved to Tucson where he established a private law practice.

When Cleveland again won office the following term, Rouse sought and won appointment as a justice of the territorial supreme court from 1893 to 1897. He returned to private practice after that.

He and his wife, the former Louise Mosely, had one son, Charles Oma Rouse, born in Missouri. The younger Rouse had the distinction of being the first graduate of the first three-member graduating class at the University of Arizona in 1895.

He became an attorney, served as president of the alumni association 1900-1905 and was Pima County school superintendent when he died suddenly just short of his 30th birthday on Aug. 30, 1906.

The family lived near the intersection of South Fourth Avenue and East 12th Street, but moved to the 175 E. 12th St. home (formerly designated as 225 E. 12th St. before the city’s numbering system was changed) after it was completed in 1903.

The elder Rouse continued his law practice until his death Sept. 8, 1919. His wife died in 1922, and he, she and their son are buried in the old Masonic section of Evergreen Cemetery.

The Rouse home has gone through a series of owners over its century of existence, but had substantially deteriorated when former County Supervisor and Justice of the Peace Pete Rubi bought the property in 1966 and began a years-long renovation project.

He died in September 2001, and his heirs became involved in a court-ordered sale of the property.

The current owners, Thomas and Susan Cassidy, longtime talent and entertainment agents in Chicago, New York and Aspen, Colo., and currently associated with Long Realty here, purchased the house in October 2004.

They, too, have engaged in a renovation program that has included an eye-catching, colorful paint scheme of the entablature that extends under the eaves of the Italianate Victorian revival-style house and bridges the columns of the distinctive rounded front porch.

They plan to give the former residence a new role as a private art gallery, with invitation-only exhibitions created by famous entertainers from around the world who have become accomplished as artists as well.

Paul L. Allen may be contacted at 573-4588 or pallen@tucsoncitizen.com. For more history coverage, go to www.tucsoncitizen.com/history.

This is the Owen T. Rouse house (built 1903) at 175 E. 12th St., now

This is the Owen T. Rouse house (built 1903) at 175 E. 12th St., now

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

Search site | Terms of service