Thursday, August 31, 2006

Old County Courthouse Arcade

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Courthouse Dome

The Pima Country Courthouse was built in 1929. I have two associations with this building - one involves being called for jury duty in the taller more modern Superior Court building next door and during lunch break looking out a window at this dome and thinking how gorgeous it was. The other, unfortunately, has to do with property taxes. The building now houses county offices instead of courts - including the county property assessor.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Liquor Store

Monday, August 28, 2006

General Villa Rides Again!

This statue lives in a quiet little park across the street from La Placita and a block from the County Courthouse.

The sign on the base of the statue says it is "an equestrian statue of the Mexican revolutionary leader General Francisco Torres", presented to Arizona by the Republic of Mexico in 1981.

So I read the sign and thought "huh?" because it sounded like Pancho Villa who at the time he lived and even now is largely remembered in the US as a Mexican bandit who attacked Columbus, New Mexico (part of the US) in 1916.

So I went looking on the web and it was the same person and a remarkably larger than life individual he was. Depending on which website you look at, he was a brillant Mexican cavalry leader during the Mexican Revolution and a champion of the poor or he was a ruthless killer bandito, even a cattle rustler (which any Western movie will tell you makes him a real bad guy). See here and here for details.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

El Presidio Window With Flowers

Window from the El Presidio district, where the oldest houses in Tucson are built over what was an even older Tucson going back to the original Spanish Presidio.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Another Look At The Benedictine Sanctuary

Congratulations to the Orange County blog for their 100th day! I wonder how many of the DP blogs have now passed the 100 day mark?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Stars in Front of the Fox Theatre

These stars aren't stars in the celebrity sense (at least I didn't recognize any names). I'm guessing they (the stars) honor people who made contributions towards bringing the theater back to life.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Rather Lively Mosaic From A Gallery

Detail from the outside of a University of Arizona gallery that shows student and faculty work. The photo is from a mural painted in 1996 by Alfred Quiróz's students "that illustrates nothing less than the whole history of world art."

Read here about
Quiróz's works of "sustained political outrage".

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Facade in Brick

Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona

Check out the more whimsical brick facade in Brussels: Day by Day.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sonic At Midnight

Sonic is a fast food chain. It started as a root beer stand in Shawnee, Oklahoma in 1953. The innovation that made it popular was drive up service. Customers would drive up, park next to a menu and order from an intercom. "Carhops" would come out and deliver the food. The name "Sonic" was chosen to reflect what was then the beginnings of the Jet/Space Age. Now Sonics have both drive thru and drive up service. I'm not particurly a fan of the food but I like the irony of it all - and the bright lights.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Church Tower in the Evening

St. Benedictine's Sanctuary.

"Colors answer feeling in man; shapes answer thought; and motion answers will.
John Sterling (1806 - 1884) English novelist, poet."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Feeding the Animals

Nope, there are no giraffes in downtown Tucson (that I know of). Just at the end of the series walking through downtown.

So here's one from the zoo. The Tucson Zoo has a program where people get to feed the giraffes. They buy the food, stuff like carrots, greens, some kind of giraffe "biscuit". The zoo visitors enjoy it, the giraffes appear to like it and the zoo does some fund raising. Giraffe's have long blue tongues, by the way.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

La Placita Too

Friday, August 18, 2006

La Placita

Photos from across the street (below) including an elevated walkway and a closer look (right).

Ochoa ends at Church St. and there, a block up the street, is La Placita. La Placita is new Tucson, part of revitalizing downtown Tucson. It is a complex of shops, restaurants and offices. It used to be adobe brown but somewhere along the way someone said hey lets make it colorful (or something to that effect). I find the result delightful - I took a gazillion photos there. Sadly, I was told that the development company that owns it is considering going back to brown.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ochoa Street

StAugustine's on the left and a surprisingly colorful parking garage on the right.

The street is named for Estevan Ochoa, born in Chihuahua, Mexico, who settled in Tucson in 1860. He was a prosperous and influencial business leader, mayor of Tucson for a time, in the territorial legislature, the moving force behind bringing public schools to Tucson. He and his wife, Altagracia, were leaders in Tucson social life as well.

With the coming of "civilization" in 1880, via the railroad, Ocha and many of the early business leaders found themselves in serious financial trouble. The higher prices they could charge for goods freighted in by mules and wagons, often subject to attacks by Apaches, were no longer possible and many of the pioneer business leaders went bankrupt. It was the end of an era.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Guardian at the Door

Next to a side door of the St Augustine Cathedral, on Ochoa Street. The grain comes from the sandstone he's made of.

I've added a map of downtown Tucson and one of the city as of whole at the top of the links list for those, like me, who sometimes get disoriented.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

St. Augustine on Stone Street

In its earliest days, Tucson was known as San Augustin de Tucson. The St. Augustine Cathedral on Stone St. was built in 1897. The facade was added in 1928, inspired by the Cathedral of Querétaro, Mexico. With the exception of the facade and towers, the cathedral was demolished and rebuilt in the 1960's.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Not on Jackson Street

A correction of yesterday's post - these two buildings face each other across Broadway just off Stone. (Jackson is a block south)

I like the contrast between the these two buildings, the huge Unisource Building with its looming Mesoamerican pyramid magnificence and the small Centro Cultural with its old West/Spanish Colonial influences.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

On Stone St

Turning south on Stone, two office buildings in different styles. The one in the more historic style is Chase Bank and the one reflected is the Unisource Building. Interestingly what you see in the photo of the Chase Bank building exterior is a facade, just on the street sides of the building facing Congress and Stone. The building behind is much plainer.

The Unisource Building is the one that stands out when you see the Tucson skyline from a distance. I think its an elegant imaginative building, unlike most of the other office buildings erected in the last 50 years.

Today is International Left Handers Day (which I am myself). I'm curious how left handers are viewed in other parts of the world?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

They Waxed the Street!

The Fox Theatre showed movies for 50 years before closing in 1974. It has recently been restored and I like to think it looks now like it looked on April 11, 1930 when Tucson gave a huge party to celebrate its opening.

For the night of the opening Congress St was closed and waxed for dancing, there were 4 live bands, a live radio broadcast and free trolley rides downtown. Aproximately 3,000 people bought tickets to see the silent movie "Chasing Rainbows" and a Mickey Mouse cartoon inside the theatre.

Currently showing at the Fox is "Breakfast At Tiffanys".

Friday, August 11, 2006

Congress and Scott

Any view of Tucson's office buildings is likely to be a jumble of architectural styles, in this case two office buildings of different eras, a rundown older building peeping out from behind the psuedo Spanish Colonial facade of the Downtown Event Center.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Vaudeville Cabaret

On the south side of Congress along with The Chicago (Music) Store, The Grill and Wig-O-Rama. Reading about this club here made me realize that the time to visit this street is at night, when the clubs, cabarets and restaurants really come alive.

Appearing this week at the Vaudeville: The Sneaky Pinks, The Feelers, Pop Gestapo Livin.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Chicago Music Store

Across the street from the yesterday's lady in red, the Chicago Music Store, is a 60 year Tucson tradition. Family owned and operated. If it relates to music they've got it. Its a huge building by the way, my photo just shows an interesting corner of it.

You'll be seeing the blue building again as we continue down the street.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lady in Red

The businesses in this area are eclectic to say the least. A mix of clubs, restaurants, other oddities like this shop and some businesses that have survived from times in the past when downtown was a thriving, bustling place.

The Hotel Congress, mentioned here on July 17 re Dillinger, was, interestingly, the site of the Arizona Fetish Ball last Saturday. No not my thing, though I did consider coming by that night for the photo op.However the thought of angry people in leather and chains seemed a bit daunting.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Down A Downtown Street

I told you downtown Tucson could look dull :) However, this is where we're heading, west on Congress St. I might as well say here that downtown Tucson consists of county and city office buildings, court buildings, office buildings, a number of historic buildings, restaurants and it gets pretty miscellaneous from there.

Downtown is also a very small portion of the city of Tucson as a whole. And the majority of retail shopping activity happens elsewhere, in shopping malls and strip malls scattered all over town.

There is a grand plan, called Rio Nuevo, to revitalize downtown that's been brought up periodically since the 1970's but its largely still an idea lacking funding rather than a reality.

The red building on the right, on the corner of Congress and 6th, is tomarrow's focus.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Martin Luther King Jr Apartments

Check out this wonderful story about this building and a walk through Tucson. "Tia" means "aunt".

Basically I'm going to do a walk through downtown Tucson starting from yesterday's photo (which I changed to one that better leads into today's photo). This apartment building is just east of the bus station. An otherwise drab building and yet there is this whole huge mosaic covering the width of the building, 4 stories up.

When I look at the detail from this telephoto shot, I think about the fact that it appears to be, has to
be, hand made, tiles laid down one at a time.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sun Tran Downtown Bus Stop

I've been putting off taking pictures of downtown Tucson because I thought of it as rather dull, largely office buildings ranging from nondescript to ugly. And there are those. However a photo excursion this morning revealed a lot else, things bizarre or brightly colored or elegant sometimes existing right next to each other. And there is surprising richness of decoration in public places. Like the city bus station, which is in an unquestionably rundown and seedy part of town.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Benedictine Sanctuary



Latin anyone?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bridge, Now Waterfall

This seemed to be an opportunity to play for some people. These 3 guys ran across it - twice - and then ran downstream and rock hopped across the whole flooded stream. Definitely risky, might even have been worthy of a Darwin Award.

This man took a more contemplative approach, just enjoying the flow.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sabino After The Flood

It rained and rained and rained in Tucson and then it flooded. This is in Sabino Canyon today several days after the worst of the flooding.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Standing Woman With Hands On Face, 1976

Francisco Zuniga

Photo above from
University of Arizona