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.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Margo Caylor - Neighborhood Historian and Innkeeper

Margo Caylor and her husband Rob, own the Blenman Inn. This adobe Victorian mansion is located just west of the Children's Museum. Besides being beautifully restored and furnished, it is distinguished by its rare style among Tucson houses. It must also be one of the largest adobe homes in the city. 

In addition to operating the inn, Margo is an accomplished amateur historian. She was not satisficed with owning an historic property, she also researched and wrote a compact history of the house and its prominent residents. You can see the page on the inn's website with this link:

Here are a couple of excerpts: 
As the Civil War came to an end, the Indian Wars raged in Southern Arizona well into the 1870s when Charles Rivers Drake, a former US Army officer, broke ground on this home.

​Drake was commissioned to provide contract labor and supplies to the recently-organized Southern Pacific Railroad Company in the laying of track between Los Angeles, California and El Paso, Texas. He chose this particular homesite because of its near equidistance along that 1,000 mile segment of track; the perennial fresh water supply offered by the nearby Santa Cruz River which flowed northbound out of Mexico, and because of the safety and protection offered by Fort Lowell—an adjacent Army fort erected during the Civil War that continued in operation, charged with sheltering Tucson residents from Indian attacks.
Drake’s additional responsibilities included helping out at neighboring Fort Lowell and the tent city of soldiers which occupied what is now Armory Park. With a basic knowledge of medicine, he assisted in primitive surgeries and prescribing of medicine to personnel injured during the Arizona Indian Wars of the turbulent 1870s.

. . . .

Drake sold the home in 1891 to Charles Blenman, an English attorney who had sailed around Cape Horn en route to San Francisco. Blenman practiced law in Tucson for more than 45 years and was affectionately known as “Judge” or “Barrister” throughout his career. The flagpole in the front yard of the Blenman Inn is the original one that Blenman erected. He was known for his patriotism, raising and lowering the flag on a daily basis. The “judge” entertained frequently at his home, being a brilliant storyteller and was known for his hospitality and for having a wide circle of friends. His two sons, Charles Jr. and William grew up in the house and both received appointments to the U.S. Naval Academy, both eventually retiring to Tucson, both earning the rank of Admiral.

Both of these men were prominent in their days in early Tucson. Both are also our historic neighbors. 

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