This is a place for discussions of historic preservation in Armory Park, and what benefits and challenges it presents. Local history is another subject addressed here and in web pages. I will publish articles here when it seems helpful; readers are invited to comment. To support the mission of this site, acceptable comments are those that contribute to reasonable historic preservation, better understanding of our history and serve the interests of Armory Park residents. Others may be invited to post here also. Please let me know if you want to do so.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Review: Living in the Past

An Owner's Guide to Understanding & Repairing an Old Home


Many people coming to Armory Park are novices in the details of living in an historic home and neighborhood. Author Scott Sidler has provided answers to the questions us novices should have asked. 

Perhaps the best way to learn what this book has to offer is to review the subject matter extracted from the Table of Contents:

WHO NEEDS THIS BOOK?

INTRODUCTION


UNDERSTANDING YOUR OLD HOUSE

WHAT IS A HISTORIC HOUSE?

WHY SHOULD I BUY AN OLD HOUSE?

BEFORE YOU BUY AN OLD HOUSE

PRESERVATION OR REMODELING

DEALING WITH HISTORIC DISTRICTS

THE "GREEN" OLD HOME

MODERN LIFE IN AN OLD HOUSE

RENOVATING THE RIGHT WAY

THE DANGERS OF DEFERRED MAINTENANCE

HISTORIC HOME MAINTENANCE 101

THE 5 WORST MISTAKES OF HISTORIC HOME OWNERS

OLD HOUSE HEALTH HAZARDS


REPAIRING YOUR OLD HOUSE


WORKING WITH FLOORS

WORKING WITH WINDOWS

WORKING WITH DOORS

WORKING WITH PLASTER

WORKING WITH EXTERIOR WOOD

WORKING WITH PAINT

WHY DOES ANY OF THIS MATTER

The best time to read the book is before purchasing an historic property. The challenges of maintaining or repairing an old house may be more than you want to take on. If you have exterior changes in mind, you may find that the historic review process will make those changes impossible or more difficult. The process will always take time and may incur more cost. There are permit fees involved.

If you decide to go forward or already own an Armory Park property, the second section can be helpful. The tips regarding some of the most common repair tasks may help with your repairs. 

I couldn't find the book in the Pima County Library system. The print version of the book is fairly expensive at $33 but you can buy the Kindle version for $10. Here is the link at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=living+in+the+past&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Whichever you choose, this book will be useful as you live the adventure of caring for an old house or decide that this adventure is not for you. 




Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Historic Blenman Inn


This excellent piece by KGUN9 tells a good story about the Blenman Inn today and how it came to be. Margo and Rob Caylor are the owners of the inn and have preserved its historic character while offering comfortable accommodations to the traveling public. Margo is an accomplished amateur historian and has filled in many details of the house's history and its most significant residents. I've had the pleasure of touring the inn and it is even more appealing in person. 

You can view the video by clicking below: 


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

 There has been some listserv discussion recently regarding a coal tower the railroad used to fuel its steam locomotives back in the day. Tod Santee did a post  that inspired me to do a search for the matter in the Star archives. Here is what Tod had to say: 

  "Up until way back in '97-'98 or so, there was an historic coal tower straddling the tracks almost directly east of 16th St & Toole.  One day we found out Union Pacific or Southern Pacific RR was preparing to knock it down with a wrecking ball but only because of the news that a homeless guy who had apparently been living inside the upper part for a few years when he came to Tucson during his transience.  He climbed out on the roof of it basically daring the wreckers to "go ahead and try" according to so news reports & interviews he got with the Star.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

New Window Replacement Options

At its September 21st meeting the APHZAB accepted for its reviews the revised language in the Technical Standards Manual regarding windows. The Board will now have more flexibility to recommend approval of alternative window materials. Here is the relevant language from the meeting Legal Action Report (LAR): 

The Board members then asked for certain clarifications. It was noted that the language merely allows the Board to consider alternate materials on a case-by-case basis, especially “clad” wood windows. Ms. Brown suggested that it could potentially allow certain considerations on historically authentic replacements that are now being manufactured. She gave several examples: vinyl is never considered appropriate as a material; some aluminum replacements may replicate historic steel windows better than other options; exterior and interior surface wood munitions and mullions may more faithfully recreate historic proportions on dual pane windows  rather than scaled up versions required for the heavier and thicker panes (noting that between glass snap in grids and exterior only designs are not considered appropriate; and that some fiberglass products may be better than modern wood replacements in specific instances. The option however will only allow for consideration of possible materials on a case-by-case basis. Further acceptable changes would require further updates to guidance than the language now in the code the Board is discussing. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The AZ Republic Likes Armory Park

The reputation of Armory Park as a historic gem even extends to Phoenix. This article appeared on the azcentral.com website on 10/15/21. 

Armory Park 

Armory Park, just south of the city center, is the first residential district in Tucson to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to the Blenman-Elm Neighborhood Association.

The front garden of Armory Park, The Children's Museum, serves as a playground for children in  Tucson, July 29, 2021.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Research Team

History research can be a team sport. Finding historic details is like a detective story. Success is built on leads, tips and networking with others who may have a part of the picture. Put these things together and another bit of Armory Park history emerges. I would like to facilitate collaboration among the Armory Park residents who are interested in our history. 

There are two ways for you history buffs to stay engaged. The easiest is to become a follower which you can do by clicking on the blue button in the left column. This will notify you of each post to this blog. 

The second way is to become part of the Armory Park history discussion group. Just send me an email indicating your desire to join and I'll add you to the list. This will be a forum for sharing neighborhood history and research options. Since not all Armory Park listserv members are history buffs, it is considerate for us to limit the amount of discussion on that platform. Since only people interested in history will sign up to our discussion group, you can feel free to discuss whatever you want. 

I hope one or both of these options will help you to be a part of our Armory Park history research team. If you have trouble with either, please let me know at blog@kmtaylor.com

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Research Tools: Tucson Directories


Even before the telephone came to Tucson, directories of businesses and residents were published. This first image is from the 1901 directory, page 66. It shows that a person named F B French lived at 637 S 4th Avenue, my house. If you are scrolling through the PDF copy of the directory, it will show as page 89 because of the un-numbered pages which are counted by my PDF software. If you scroll through to page 109 of the pdf, you will find another name, O H J Johnson, associated with the same address. This is page 86 of the paper directory. Paper copies of the directories can be found at the historic society but they are in resident name order so finding a particular address is very difficult.