Saturday, February 20, 2010

Surprising Tucson

It was time to leave Tucson, . . . but that was hard to do.

We had found a beautiful RV Resort just east of the city with this view of the Santa Catalina range. The Park was less than five miles from most of the sights in Tucson.

The mountains presented different looks depending on the time of day and the weather.

The mountain seemed to take on a less imposing quality with the light snowfall and the billowy clouds. This was about as close as we have come to a winter scene since leaving Philadelphia.

We took a short walk around a section of the city with some historic homes. On the right is the Steinfeld House. Built in 1900 in the California mission-revival style, it was designed by Henry Trost, Tucson's most noted architect. It served as the original Owl's Club, a gentlemen's club for some of Tucson's most eligible bachelors of the time.

About one block away is the impressive Owl's Club Mansion. This home, built in 1902, was also designed by Henry Trost in the mission-revival style, albeit with a great deal of ornamentation. It replaced the Steinfeld House as home to the bachelors of the Owl's Club.

Another example of Mission Revival, the Cheney House is a typical turn-of-the-twentieth-century residence of an affluent family.

Now the El Presidio Inn Bed & Breakfast, the Julius Kruttschnidt House dates from 1886. Victorian trappings, including a long veranda, disguise the adobe origins of this restored home.

Once a Chinese grocery, the Corner Market features the 45-degree corner cut common to many businesses in the Sonoran neighborhoods.

The Verdugo House is a transformed row house with 24-inch-thick adobe walls, contemporary colorful doors, and the canales (the six metal drainpipes below the roof line) that once drained water off the roof.

Information on the historic homes comes from the El Presidio Historic District Walking Tour brochure. In contrast, my interest in the US Bank in downtown Tucson is limited to my fascination with the unique shape of the building.

Back at the RV Resort, we caught a couple of sunsets before heading to Albuquerque.

Tucson was a great surprise to us. Before spending any time in the city, I guess we thought of it as a step-down from Phoenix.

On the contrary, Tucson would rank right up there with any other city we've visited. It is a city rich in history, culture, and diversity. It appeared to us to be a city that welcomed new people and new ideas, while still revering its history.

And across the board, had some of the finest restaurants of any city we've visited.

We're looking forward to a return.

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