Librarian Files

Barrios in Tucson

In this case, the term barrios is being used in reference to the predominantly Hispanic historical neighborhoods in Tucson.
  
By the end of the nineteenth century, there were two identifiable barrios north of the downtown area:  Tonto and Tiburon.
 

Tonto
Tonto probably got its name because the Tucson Apache Manso community may have lived in this area.  The Mansos were called “tonto” or stupid by other Apaches who were fighting the Mexicans.  Tonto later became known as Anita. This location was north of St. Mary's road between Main Street and the Santa Cruz River.

Tiburon
Tiburon was also called Isla de Cuba.  It received its name because it had two small arroyos that had sculpted the land into the shape of a shark. Tiburon was located between the Southern Pacific tracks and the intersection of 6th Avenue and 6th Street. 

In 1940, the barrios were:
 
Pascua
This name comes from the fact that a lot of Yaquis lived here and they had a great respect for Easter (Pascua). The location of Pascua was Speedway to Grant, Stone to River.
 
El Rio
A subdivision called El Rio Park opened into the 1930s west of the Hollywood Barrio.  The El Rio Barrio area was west of the Hollywood Barrio between Grande and Silverbell.  Soon the Hollywood Barrio and the area north of Speedway surrounding the El Rio Golf and Country Club all became known as El Rio.
 
Hollywood  
This name comes from a sour joke.  The neighborhood was so poor they named it Hollywood, since it was in contrast to the wealth of the real Hollywood. During the late 1930s and early 1940s when it acquired this name, Barrio Hollywood had several adobe houses with dirt yards. The location of Hollywood was Speedway to Silverbell to St. Mary’s to the river.
 
Adelanto   

El Presidio
This location is West 6th street to North Church Avenue, Alameda Street to Main Avenue. (Some historians consider the boundary Granada Avenue.)
 
San Antonio 
 
Anita
Annie Hughes moved in with her brother, Thomas Hughes Sr. to help raise his children after his wife died.  In 1902 Hughes bought land that he called McKinley Park.  He named the main street in this area "Annie Avenue" after his sister.  The street soon became known as "Anita Avenue" and that is where the name Anita barrio originated. The location was River to Main, from Speedway to Grande.
 
La Calle Meyer
 
La Convento  
This name comes from the main street of the barrio, which was Convent Street.  There are two other names for this barrio, including Cuatro Equines and Historico.   The location was 17th street, Congress Street, Main Avenue to Stone Avenue.
 
Kroeger Lane
This name comes from a physician who lived in the area, Dr, Clarence Kroeger.  He provided medical care to the poor during the 1930s and 1940s. The location was west of where I-10 is now.
 
Millville
One of the major streets in this barrio was Mill. The location was east of Park from Speedway to 22nd street.
 
Membrillo
This name comes from the fruit, quince.  There were a lot of quince trees in this area.  This location was Carrillo Street to Clearwater Drive, Sentinel Avenue to the Santa Cruz River.
 
El Hoyo
This name comes from “the hole.”  It was originally a lagoon or small lake that dried up so the residents literally lived in a hole.  This area was formerly called “Jardin (garden) Carrilo." Another name for this barrio is Elysian Grove. The location was 19th street to Simpson Street, Osborne to Main Avenue.

Sin Nombre  
 
Menlo Park
The location of this neighborhood was from Congress to St. Mary’s, Grande to Silverbell.
 
Libre
This name comes from free zone.  This was supposed to be an area without legal restraints.  The location was 35th street of 22nd street, Osborne to 6th avenue.
 
National City
A planned community started in the 1930s.  It got progressively more Mexicanized.  The location was at the intersection of South Sixth Avenue and Indian School Road (now Ajo Way).
 
Sources:
Sheridan, Thomas E.  Los Tucsonenses the Mexican Community in Tucson, 1854-1941, Tucson: University of Arizona Press, c1986. (This resource has a line map showing general locations on Page 238).

Newspaper articles:  Arizona Daily Star, Nov. 13, 1988. Pages J1 to J6.
"Old Pueblo Section."  Tucson Citizen Sept. 27, 1979.  (These newspaper articles also have general outline maps of some of the barrios.)
Where’d that name come from? Well, neighbor,…” Arizona Daily Star. July 20, 2008. Page B1.

Article tagged with: barrio, barrios, tucson

Last Update: 3-20-2014 11:44am

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