The thing about having been around Tucson since the 1950’s is how much of the city that I grew up in that has been destroyed.
I feel like a ghost wandering around town, remembering things like…
…the Midway drive in
…the old barrio that was torn down for the convention center
…the Tucson Sports Center on West Congress
…the de Grazia studio on north Campbell
A friend of mine …. Otis B….once had a great idea that I think it time to pursue.
That was to erect historic monuments to the history Tucson doesn’t want to remember. A record of lost historic sites.
For example, remember the famous Life Magazine picture of Speedway as the ugliest street in America?
Otis’ idea was to put that Life Magazine photo on a concrete pedestal at Speedway and Country Club looking east, so folks could remember what the street once looked like, and decide if the new version of Speedway is any improvement.
Another suggestion was a plaque honoring Elmira, the girl who was the first swimmer in the Stone Avenue Underpass, after a summer thunderstorm flooded it in 1936. The ephemeral body of water that drowns the occasional car is named “Lake Elmira” now.
Missing from the photos on the wall of the new Broadway Underpass is a picture of the original dark narrow tunnel with all the graffitti “Mary Loves Tudy”.
It was a “right of passage” after you got your driver’s license to drive through the old Broadway Underpass, and not scrape the side of your car badly.
And lest we forget what Stone and Congress once looked like…
And here is a shot of the Hotel Cogress looking west.:
The there was the time when there really was water in the Santa Cruz River before it was sucked dry. There is an old photo from the side of A Mountain.
And of course the original El Conquistador Hotel which is now the site of a dying shopping mall…
Throughout the city photo records of what used to be on a site should be created, placed in front of the new buildings or parking lots, so the original Tucson won’t be totally forgotten.