It was 1959 and developer Howard Hamm wanted Tucson to have a saloon and dance hall. In fact, he also wanted a livery stable, blacksmith shop and old west opera house. To be more precise, Hamm wanted us to have a Trail Dust Town.
The idea had been under wraps for several years, but in August 1970, City Parks Director Gene Reid announced plans for a new 850-acre regional park along the Santa Cruz River.
This article originally ran in "Tales from the Morgue" April 9, 2008.
When the dowager countess of Suffolk and Berkshire lived near Oracle, in the 1950’s, she didn’t have to worry about development encroaching on her view. She owned most of it.
The following originally ran in "Tales from the Morgue" July 28, 2008:
This article originally ran in "Tales from the Morgue" July 25, 2008.
In July 1952, the Tucson Chamber of Commerce presented a list of their top 24 historical sites in town. They planned to place steel markers at each location. But, due to a steel shortage, that part of the plan was on hold.
The Tucson summer of ’42 was going to be a long, hot and dry one and not just due to the weather. Wartime restrictions and priorities on some metals caused a severe shortage of beer caps. But, that was not the only problem standing between beer drinkers and their brew.
Back in the 1930s, when work began on the new Catalina Highway, many Tucsonans began dreaming of a ski lodge on top of Mount Lemmon. Their hopes were only slightly dashed when a consultant told them “There is no use kidding ourselves. This is not snow country.”
The following article is from the Oct. 13, 1939 Arizona Daily Star.
On Trick or Treat night 1951, some of the tricks went a little too far for several residents and the Tucson police. In addition to the minor reports of vandalism, there were several instances that went beyond that. By the time the evening was over, several UA students had been arrested.
As most of the country experienced this past weekend, daylight savings time ended and it was necessary to move their clocks back to standard time. Here in Arizona, however, we have chosen not to participate in that timely scheme. That wasn’t always the case.
An Arizona Daily Star interview with UA grad and future astronaut Dick Scobee. The article ran on April 26, 1979.
Wayne Newton, well-known for his long running show in Las Vegas, has appeared in Tucson on several different occasions. At least two of those performances did not sellout. And, neither of the shows received a very glowing review.
It was almost as good as a ticket to the World Series! In the 1920s and 30s, Tucson baseball fans could “watch” all the series action without leaving the Old Pueblo.
It was a citywide celebration on October 12, 1929, when the UA football stadium was officially dedicated. More than 8,000 people showed up for the festivities and the game. The UA defeated California Institute of Technology 35-0.
The following article ran in the September 4, 1934 Arizona Daily Star. A suicide or a group of hunters who spent too much time in the wilderness? You decide.
Hard to imagine it in this day of pocket size digital devices, but in 1927, it was big news that you could now get a phone with the mouthpiece and receiver in one piece!
With the death of an outstanding athlete, a legend began over 80 years ago. The story starts with the obituary from the Oct. 19, 1926 Arizona Daily Star read as follows:
For the October 30, 1926 University of Arizona Homecoming game, the freshmen and sophomore classes were gearing up for a fight of their own. Here is the story from the Arizona Daily Star announcing the upcoming combat:
Kirk Douglas had high praise for a Tucson landmark. When interviewed for a 1972 magazine article on “Arizona’s Shoot-Em Up Town,” Douglas had high praise for the movie location, Old Tucson.
This ad (without the photo) appeared in the Oct. 17, 1926 Arizona Daily Star:
Ninety-three years ago, on Oct. 16, 1916, Margaret Sanger and two other women opened the first birth control clinic in the United States. Sanger’s goal was to provide women with accurate and effective birth control, so they could avoid unplanned and unwelcome pregnancies.
In March 1961, one of America’s most distinguished composers and conductors, Aaron Copland, spent about a week in Tucson. Among other activities, he lectured at the UA and conducted a performance of the university symphony orchestra and choir.
The trouble started when the administration established a new dress code for students at the UA. On Oct 1, 1959, the Star ran the following story:
Just like the rest of the country, Tucson has had its share of censorship issues. After all, it is not unusual for books, plays or other forms of public expression to be deemed objectionable by some member of the community. Here are a few examples from the Star archives.
The following ad ran in the Arizona Daily Star in September 1931:
Today, many people believe the location of the TEP stadium is too far from downtown. How would they feel if the ‘new’ community center had been built at E. 22nd Street and S. Swan Road?
On the night of Sept. 26, 1960, over millions of Americans witnessed a historic event, the first televised presidential debate took place. Tucsonans watched along with their fellow countrymen and then weighed in with their opinions on how the candidates performed. The Star’s editorial page a…
In September 1989, “America’s Most Wanted” had been on television for only about a year-and-a-half. But during that time, the show had profiled about 180 fugitives and been directly involved in the capture of about 70 of them. Several Tucson cases had been presented on the show.
From the September 24, 1931 Arizona Daily Star:
This is a Bonnie Henry article from February 20, 1999:
It was quite an event on the evening of Dec. 12, 1929. That was the day Albert Steinfeld’s new Pioneer Hotel opened in downtown Tucson. With 250 guest rooms, the need for a top-notch hotel for the growing community was apparent. Over 500 guests attended the affair, which included dinner and …
An advertisement from a September 1931 Arizona Daily Star:
It all started with a workplace accident. But, before it was over, the tritium leakage at American Atomics Corp. led to the closure of the plant, nearly half a million dollars of food destroyed and neighbors who feared for their health.
When he was growing up, the famous science fiction author Ray Bradbury spent time in Tucson. He later told a reporter that it was here that his writing career began at the age of 12.
On Friday, Sept. 25, 1931, a strange thing happened in downtown Tucson. Around 10:30 in the morning, dozens of straw hats fell from the sky. It was all in preparation for Fall Hat Day!
When a young Garry Shandling was growing up in Tucson, he planned on being either a veterinarian or a comedian. By age 10, though, the animal population lost out to show business and comedy was all he wrote.
Tucsonans are just as eager as the rest of the world to have their feats of endurance or derring-do recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. They have tried long hours of Putt-Putt golf, endurance swimming and backwards roller-skating, to name just a few attempts.
In 1965, there were seven junior colleges in Arizona. Maricopa County had four, plus there was Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher, Cochise College in Douglas and Arizona Western College at Yuma. Pima County had none. That was about to change.
Shirley Poliakoff had been acting practically all her life. After moving to Tucson in 1951, the British born actress became active in the local theatrical scene and eventually founded the Tucson’s Children’s Theater. In the 1960s and 70s, she shared her love of the theater with thousands of …
In September 1979, Lee Trevino conducted a one-day golf exhibition and clinic at Randolph Golf Course. Here are some of his golfing tips he shared with the crowd.
Fifty years ago, the Tucson Community Council conducted a survey of Tucson’s older population. The preliminary findings were released in September, 1959. The survey showed most seniors medical care was too costly. Passed in 1965, Medicare would not take effect until 1968.
In the 1960s, Raymond Burr, better known as television’s Perry Mason, visited Tucson several times. During his stays, he participated in a variety of local events, including a talent show and a symphony.
In 1957, when Stan Kenton performed in Tucson, the turnout was disappointing. But, that wasn’t Kenton fault. The Star reviewer described the event as one of the “the most confused bookings seen around these parts in many a Sputnik.”
Following their years of success in the 1950s television series “The Lone Ranger,” the famous Masked Man and Tonto made several feature length movies, including one which was filmed at Old Tucson.
Fifty years ago, the University of Arizona imposed its first parking fee. The $5 per semester charge was to begin on Oct. 1, 1959. Some students quickly protested and said the university officials “are picking on us!”
When a young Tucsonan named John Turjoman decided to give ballet a try at the age of 14, it was because he wanted exercise and liked gymnastics. He never dreamed that he would someday return to Tucson as a featured dancer with Baryshnikov (as in Mikhail Baryshnikov) and Company.
As the future class of 1938 began their freshman year at the University of Arizona, a college dean offered them the following words of advice. The column ran in the Sept. 2, 1934 Arizona Daily Star.
In the late 1970s, with a new movie in the works, Clayton Moore, the REAL Lone Ranger, was forbidden from wearing his traditional mask. His fans were outraged. Maybe there was some kind of justice when that new movie, with a Tucsonan in the role of the famous masked man, proved to be a total flop.