Tucson has a disappointing lack of respect for its history. Small enclaves of restoration and gentrification exist, but large swaths of our history have been bulldozed for a convention center, cheaply made highrise dorms, and student housing disguised as six bedroom houses with four car garages. This building will doubtless be gone soon, solid brick construction replaced by cheap stick and stucco.
Arizona Avenue is one of a handful of “named” alleys in Tucson, mostly in the West University neighborhood. They date to the late 1800s when Tucson first began platting subdivisions north of the railroad. These alleys are distinguished by the fact they are paved, and by the fact they contain some of the most interesting housing in town. I believe many similar named alleys in Downtown did not survive. I remember Ash Alley, of which only a remnant exists at Franklin Street just west of Stone Avenue. That’s where the ‘artists’ lived and worked and displayed their wares on the sidewalks as recently as the 1950s.