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View of The Big Blue House in 1901 from 6th Avenue side of the house. In 1901 the front of the house faced 6th Ave. where most of Tucson's more prestigious homes were located and leading South into downtown and East to The University. Note the windmill between the houses. The Big Blue House sits on the SW corner of University Blvd. & 6th Ave.
Room One 1901. (left) We were able to save the wooden transom doorframe in this picture. It had been covered by plaster for 50 years. The wood grain is very obviously recognizable from this picture taken in 1901.
Room 2 1901 (right) Room two was once the main parlor.
What we know so far..
September 1, 1873: Tully, Ochoa & Company is issued Deed #786 for the entirety of Block 39 by the Village of Tucson.
Pinckney R. Tully and Estavan Ochoa became partners in a mercantile and freighting business in Mesilla, NM, moving their headquarters to Tucson in 1868. Each man served one term as mayor of Tucson, Ochoa being the first Hispanic to do so. The coming of the railroad severely curtailed the need for long distance freighting; by 1884, declining revenues forced the sale of land.
May 31, 1884: Tully, Ochoa & Co. sells Block 39, along with 43 other parcels of land, to Theodore L. Stiles.
Stiles was a partner in the law firm of Haynes & Stiles with John Haynes. He also sat on the US Court Commission. An active land speculator, Stiles acquired much his property from bankruptcies and quickly resold it. He left Tucson in 1887 for Tacoma, WA. It is not known when he sold the property to J. S. Vosburg.
July 14, 1884: J. S. Vosburg sells Block 39, along with other parcels of land, to John Gardiner.
January 31, 1899: Stiles sells Block 39 to Dr. Thomas M. Smith.
Smith was a local doctor of whom little is known. It is not clear how Stiles was able to sell the property for a second time. This may not have been an entirely legitimate sale or Stiles may have held onto a partial interest in the property when he sold it to Vosburg.
February 5, 1899: Smith sells Lots 1, 4, 5, and 8 of Block 39 to Ada M. Humphries or Humphrey.
It is not known who Humphrey was, but she obviously had some kind of personal or business connection with the Gardiners in the development of the area.
March 27, 1899: Smith sells the south half of Block 39 to Henrietta Starr.
Starr’s husband, Richard, was initially an auctioneer and became involved in real estate speculation and development.
July 20, 1899: The Board of Equalization raises the property value of Lot 1 of Block 39. Ada M. Humphries is listed as the sole owner. It is unclear if physical improvements had been made causing the increase or if the property itself had become more valuable.
July 25, 1899:
Smith and Henrietta and Richard Starr sell all their interest in Block 39 to Anna Marie Gardiner, the wife of John Gardiner. The purchase was likely made to consolidate the Gardiners’ claim to Block 39 so they could develop it.
John Gardiner and Anna Marie Ramsey build a home on Lot 1 of Block 39, in an addition known as “Gardiner’s Terrace.” The address is 144 E. Third Street.
Arizona Daily Citizen for June 15, 1899. On page 4: "Plans are being
drawn by Architect
Henry C. Trost for a cottage to be erected by John
Gardiner of the firm of Gardner, Worthen & Goss."
The Arizona Daily Citizen describes the house as “a story and one half building of brick, five rooms on the lower floor and two on the upper. There will be large and spacious porches around the building.”
1906-1908: The address is changed to 743 N. Sixth Avenue.
1908: The address is changed once more, to 144 E. University Boulevard.
June 34, 1914: Gardiner sells the house and lot to José María (Joseph M.) “Pepe” Ronstadt and then Gardiner moved to 124 E. University Blvd.
Ronstadt, the son of Federico A. Ronstadt, was born in Altar, Sonora, in 1879 and came to Arizona in 1885. Early in his career, he was the Tucson Postmaster and a county supervisor. With brother Fred and brother-in-law Jesus M. Zepada, he started F. Ronstadt Company. Ronstadt owned the Santa Margarita Ranch, which was the headquarters for the Baboquivari Livestock Company. He was president of that organization, as well as of the Ronstadt Commission Company, and was a director of the Southern Arizona Bank and Trust Company. Ronstadt died in 1933, leaving the house to his wife, Hortense, who died in 1965.
1935: The house is vacant.
1936-1946: The house is occupied by a succession of four tenants, mostly families.
1946: The house is converted to apartments, managed by John A. Corwin.
1951: Mattie T. Baker buys the house, operating it as the Baker Apartments. It is not known from whom Baker purchased the property.
1952-2005: The house continues to be used as apartments.
The Big Blue House - Tucson Boutique Inn
HERE IS A REAL TREAT:
Click here to view a PDF of 1901 Tucson Home and Business Directory. This directory has all the citizens and their address and their occupation. It also has a Tucson Business Directory.
click here 1901 Tucson Business and Citizen Directory
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