Marketplaces in Tucson’s Barrio Viejo – Four Points in Time

Presenter: Kathe Kubish, Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation

Today Tucson’s Barrio Viejo is a quiet and beautifully restored residential/office neighborhood. But a century ago it was a thriving blue-collar commercial district, catering to a mixed population of Mexican American, Chinese, African-American and Jewish residents. The gentrification of recent years obscures our understanding of how this vibrant mix of commercial and residential uses flourished here. Who were the entrepreneurs who provided these services? What factors led to their success or failure? How did external events – the Great Depression, two World Wars, the advent of the automobile, and shopping malls – impact these businesses? Highlighting four points in time – 1901, 1919, 1930 and 1945 – helps to answer these questions.