Tucson Oddity: Starr Pass is homage to stage driver, not a spelling flub

2010-07-05T00:00:00Z Tucson Oddity: Starr Pass is homage to stage driver, not a spelling flubPhil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 05, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Starr Pass Boulevard seems to have one "r" too many, but that's because it's named after a historical figure rather than a newspaper.

The Starr name, the moniker of two resorts and what would be 22nd Street west of Interstate 10, came along in the early 1990s as a tribute to 19th-century stagecoach driver Richard Starr, who pioneered a stagecoach trail through the Tucson Mountains.

Developer Chris Ansley, who owns the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa and Starr Pass Country Club & Spa, persuaded the city in 1992 to rename the street.

Built in 1884, Starr's trail was a fast-track route from Tucson to Quijotoa, a mining boomtown 70 miles to the southwest. Starr also ran a telegraph line between Quijotoa and Tucson, but the mine went bust, and a fire destroyed the town in 1889. Today almost nothing remains.

Now Starr Pass Boulevard leads to the resorts, where the golf course's signature 15th hole now stands, between two mountains.

Oddly, the golf resort originally was conceived as "StarPass" when it was first proposed in 1985.

The 1,000-acre development stalled until Ansley's company, Signature Properties International, stepped in and bought the property for $15.5 million in 1992 after it had bounced between a series of banks that struggled to make money from the resort.

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or pvillarreal@azstarnet.com

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