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Tucson’s Colorful Street: How Speedway Became Paint Row Modern Masterpiece for Lease: Tucson’s Ball-Paylore House “Transforming” Tucson’s History: Ignite Sign Art Museum Tucson’s May Day Mystery: 50 Years of Enigmatic Clues

Arizona’s Timeless Magazine

New Pueblo Constructors Adventures Building I-19

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The Firm That Helped Fuel Tucson’s Mid-Century Boom

Tucson’s Sunshine Mile Honored

KE&G’s Valencia Road Extension

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Arizona Contractor & Community


Favorite Holiday movie?

Publisher William Horner

The Ref

Editor Douglas Towne A Christmas Vacation

Bus: (602) 437-3040 Fax: (602) 437-3041 WWW.SHARPCREEK.COM ROC 184941-KA

It’s A Wonderful Life

DBE & SBE Certified White Christmas “Vermont must be beautiful this time of year... All that snow”

Contributors Cassy Anderson Carlos Lozano Luke Snell Doug Sydnor Jesse Wood

White Christmas It’s A Wonderful Life 1776 “I watch it every July 4th!”

Production Manager Laura Horner

Publisher’s Representative “Home Alone” though his wife Barry Warner says “Scrooge” because he doesn’t In Memoriam Charles “Chuck” Runbeck 1928 - 2020

watch Christmas movies with the family.

Advertising 602-931-0069 Subscriptions: Online at Serving Contracting Firms and the Arizona Community… Then & Now

Arizona Contractor & Community (ACC) magazine is published bi-monthly (Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec). ACC is a professional publication designed for the contracting industry, engineers, architects, equipment rentals, suppliers, and others interested in Arizona and its history. Content including text, photographs or illustrations may not be reproduced without the written permission from the publisher. The publisher does not assume responsibility for unsolicited submissions. ACC reserves the right to reject any editorial and advertising material and reserves the right to edit all submitted content material. Arizona Contractor & Community Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved.


Nov-Dec 2020




Arizona Contractor & Community

12 14 17

Construction Around Arizona: Projects • People • Practices



480-641-3500 480-641-3500 480-641-3500





58 62


Back When - Tucson’s Missing Marilyn Douglas Towne San Xavier: The Firm That Helped Fuel Tucson’s Mid- Century Boom - Douglas Towne Tucson’s Colorful Street: How Speedway Boulevard Became Paint Row - Carlos Lozano Sustainable and Modern: Tucson’s Historic Ball- Paylore House - Douglas Towne “Transforming” Tucson’s History: Ignite Sign Art Museum - Douglas Towne


Contributors - Cassy Anderson & Carlos Lozano From The Editor - Reflections of a Tucson-phile Douglas Towne



Arizona’s da Vinci Code: Tucson’s May Day Mystery Douglas Towne


Building on the Past - 1966: Taking Tucson’s Pulse



Architect’s Perspective - Bernard J. Friedman, AIA: Recognized Talent - Doug Sydnor, FAIA

Digging Through the Archives - New Pueblo’s I-19 Construction - William Horner


Bid Results


Advertising Index

Front Cover - San Xavier Rock & Sand Co. paving on 22nd Street between Craycroft and Wilmot roads, 1965. Article on page 40. Inset -Billboard promoting Tucson, 1960.


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Contributors P R I N T | PA C K A G I N G | M A I L I N G | F U L F I L L M E N T E C O - F R I E N D LY S O L U T I O N S

Cassy Anderson Article on page 27

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assy Anderson is the assistant executive director for the Southern Arizona National Electrical Contractors Association (SAZNECA) Chapter in Tucson. This Chapter is in the 5th NECA District and the 7th International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) District and works closely with IBEW Locals 570 and 518. Previously, Cassy was a staff associate with the NECA National Office, working in the New York NECA (NYECA) office in Manhattan, with IBEW Local 3, and later with NECA National’s Southern Region Field Staff. She graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s degree in applied design. Cassy recently relocated to Tucson, where she is enjoying learning about the landscape, culture, and history of Arizona. Cassy is pleased to be a part of an engaged NECA association. She enjoys working closely with Cindy Flowers, the SAZNECA executive director, who has built strong relationships within the electrical industry. They coordinate with Chuck Grube, business manager for IBEW Local 570, Domenic Marcanti, business manager for IBEW Local 518, Karen King, training director for the Tucson Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Program (TEJATP), and Daniel Ostero, training director for the Globe-Miami Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Program. SAZNECA had doubled their membership over the past two years while advocating for the industry’s government affairs, business development, safety standards, education, and labor relations.

Carlos Lozano Article on Page 48


hicago native Carlos Lozano was taught at a young age to appreciate the built environment by his father, architect Adrian Lozano. They watched urban renewal and market forces replace vibrant ethnic neighborhoods and much of the Windy City’s grand, dignified architecture. The Lozano family was also influenced by the “back to nature” philosophy in the 1970s and often camped in Wisconsin. The beauty of the desert, not architecture, eventually lured Carlos to Tucson in 1985. Lozano founded an engineering search firm, and the flexible recruiting hours allowed exploration of other interests. Appalled by the “newer is better” development philosophy common in the West, he began working with local historic preservation efforts, including wonderful “lost causes,” like plans to save Tucson’s last drive-in movie theater and its only remaining independent, hand-built, mini-golf course. Lozano served a full 8-year term on the Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission and continues as Citizen Advisor on transportation issues. He chaired the Historic Landmark Sign committee that successfully amended Tucson’s onerous sign code, allowing and encouraging vintage neon preservation. He is a longtime Arizona Historical Society Library & Archives volunteer who teaches workshops on historic property research, and does presentations, consults, and writes on various local history topics. His website,, is currently transitioning to host his collection of oral history recordings. Nov-Dec 2020

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From the editor: Reflections of a Tucson-phile Douglas Towne


a late lunch in a bar seemed like the safest option in this downpour. Within its dark interior, I pondered whether my rash decision would prove foolhardy. But the charms of the Old Pueblo soon won me over. The tipping point was the Chicago Music Store’s sign featuring an Indian hoop dancer. Any place capable of producing this neon display must have a lot going for it, I figured. And Tucson did. My friends and I had great fun exploring this basin rimmed by four mountain ranges. My “version” is forever tied to a mid-1980s snapshot in time: sports memorabilia and burgers at the Big A restaurant, the 49-cent record bin at Albums, dancing to “Revolver” tracks at the Club Congress, spying bighorn sheep on Pusch Ridge, finding sanctuary at The Shelter Cocktail Lounge, idyllic picnics in Sabino Canyon, congregating at Louie’s Lower Level, discovering author Chuck Bowden at the Haunted Bookstore, 1:30 a.m. “Los Muertos: the Dead” performances at the Café Olé, sushi runs to Tokyo Restaurant, skiing on Mt. Lemmon, and bottling parties at the Webb Winery. Tucson’s counter-culture hangout, Fourth Avenue, was a frequent destination,

whether to Value Village to outfit an apartment or sample beers at The Shanty. The funky strip attracted characters such as Toby, a pipe-smoking vendor who sold produce from his disheveled green 1951 Chevy truck. I was clearly smitten with this Sonoran Desert city. My 10-month degree program ballooned into a 3-year residence. But circumstances changed, and my time in Tucson came to an end. In the 30-plus years since then, I still get a buzz visiting the city. Many places have evanesced, but fresh entities have sprouted, including my new favorite place in Arizona, the Ignite Sign Art Museum. I hope our special issue captures some of the Old Pueblo’s considerable charms for you to enjoy. Top right: Café Olé cabaret ticket, and a Tucson promotional button. Left: Chicago Music Store Indian hoop dancer. Below left: Hotel Congress rooftop sign. Below right: The Shelter Cocktail Lounge. Bottom right: Toby, the Fourth Avenue produce vendor.

Image courtesy of Arizona Daily Star

Images courtesy of Author

ometimes you get lucky in life. You select your path after careful research, and then change it on a whim to the winning ticket. For me, it was switching from attending graduate school at the University of Texas to the University of Arizona, all because of incessant recruiting by a department head. “If I agree to come to Tucson, will these phone calls end?” I said, exasperated. And with that sentence, my journey from Denver shifted from Austin to a more southwestern path the following month. But it didn’t seem as if the weather gods agreed with my decision. A savage monsoon storm unleashed more rain than my windshield wipers could handle as I drove into Tucson for the first time. Undeterred, I crept along, but dips on Oracle Road had become raging torrents. The wet brakes on my 1976 AMC Hornet made stopping an iffy proposition. “Doesn’t this place have storm drains?” I thought. Waylaid before arriving at my UA destination, I pulled over at Mike Dawson’s Sports Page Lounge. The business was owned by a local athlete who had found success as a defensive tackle with the Cardinals when they played in St. Louis. Having


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my office will work to ensure these architecturally significant buildings and their facades are protected and adaptively reused.” A grassroots effort led by the Tucson Historical Preservation Foundation

Spotlight Shines on Tucson’s Sunshine Mile Douglas Towne n Tucson these days, all eyes are on Broadway Boulevard. The street is undergoing a major transportation improvement project, and the historic structures that line the road have been recognized as one of the nation’s most unique commercial strips. In May 2020, the impressive collection of mid-century buildings along the street were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The inventory includes everything from a shoe store to a synagogue. “Tucson is proud to celebrate this important historic designation,” says Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. “Our city and Above: Kelly Building, designed by Nicholas Sakellar in 1964, 2020. Right: The Sunshine Mile near Country Club Drive, 2020.

(THPF) took eight years and thousands of volunteers to protect the corridor, even though it was one of the city’s highpoints of mid-century development. Much of the city’s mid-century

Images courtesy of Jude Ignacio and Gerardine Vargas




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Top left: Hirsh’s Shoes, designed by Bernard J. Friedman, 1954. Top right: Valley National Bank Building, 1973.

expansion followed Broadway east. The boulevard was “born modern,” according to THPF. “The avenue expressed the new American optimism and post-World War II economic boom that was changing the nation, and became an important corridor with modern structures built along its edge to support new suburban neighborhoods.” Broadway blossomed into a high-end shopping district, with businesses selling furniture, lighting, photographic equipment, shoes, clothes, and cars. “Glass storefronts, geometric designs, new materials, and evocative signage combined to create a vision of Tucson as a modern metropolis,” notes THPF. The district picked up a nickname when “The Sunshine Mile”

was selected from more than 5,000 entries in a contest sponsored by the East Broadway Merchants in 1953. But more than a half-century later, The Sunshine Mile was threatened by neglect and redevelopment. In 2011, THPF began researching the surviving buildings for a potential National Register listing, which occurred in 2019. “This project to document these incredible buildings and designate The Sunshine Mile on the National Register represents the commitment of our community to preserve and celebrate Tucson’s mid-century modern heritage,” Demion Clinco, THPF CEO, says. Buildings in the two-mile-long district include Hirsh’s Shoes, 1954; Valley National Bank (Chase Bank), 1971, Kelly Building, 1964; and Temple Emanu-El Synagogue,1949-1960; Solot Plaza, 1954-1958; and the Friedman Block, 1955-1961.

Among the Tucson architects who designed buildings along The Sunshine Mile are Terrence “Terry” Cloney Atkinson, Charles Cox, Bernard J. Friedman, Josias Joesler, Gordon Maas Luepke, Cecil H. Moore, Frank J. Nelson, Lew Place, Roy Place, Anne Rysdale, Nicholas Gust Sakellar, William Wilde, and Sylvia Wilde. Tucson firms included Blanton and Cole, Cain, Nelson, Jaastad & Knipe, Juan Wørner y Bas, and Wares & Cook. Other architects included Phoenix’s Ralph Haver and California’s Ronald Bergquist. One of the benefits of the National Register designation is that the contributing buildings are eligible for tax incentives for restoration. “This entire project was undertaken to support the revitalization of this shopping district and will be a powerful economic driver for the community,” Clinco says.

Images courtesy of Jude Ignacio and Gerardine Vargas

Left: Haas Building, designed by Anne Rysdale in 1957, 2020. Below: American Evangelical Lutheran Church designed by Jaastad and Knipe, 1954. Bottom right: Welcome Diner, designed by Ronald Bergquist in 1964, 2020.

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Tucson Buzzes about Valencia Road Extension


t was almost as if KE&G Construction had to have a conversation about “the birds and the bees” during their recent work on the Valencia Road Extension from Houghton Road east to Old Spanish Trail. “Before the start of the project, we discovered a large presence of bees in the new roadway corridor,” says Jim Olson, KE&G transportation division manager. “Further investigation revealed that the bees were privately owned and bred for experimentation and observation. They were a particular sub-species that was rare and extremely docile compared to typical bees indigenous to the area. As a result, our construction

Employee Spotlight: Grey Major, Project Manager Favorite job task: I enjoy solving the daily challenges that come up. Toughest job task: Guiding the team’s efforts and helping them maintain focus on project goals. Most memorable day at work: The ribbon-cutting ceremony on our award-winning Valencia & Kolb project immediately preceding our current work. It was an exciting day of recognition for a fasttracked project that helped set the tone and momentum for this one. Favorite off-job task: Spending time with my family, hunting, and off-roading.

activities could not begin prior to the safe removal of the hive.” There were no bird issues, but Olson’s construction team kept in close communication with a local rancher concerning his cattle. “No animal fence existed in the area before the start of construction since it was open-range State land,” he says. “This issue also affected construction activities as the county couldn’t open the new roadway before completion of the fence.” KE&G’s work consisted of the construction of two new lanes of Valencia Road, including a new roadway, drainage facilities, soil cement bank protection, and a new bridge over Pantano Wash. “The project increased access for emergency vehicles and other metropolitan services to an area previously only accessible by a twolane winding road,” Olson says. The Valencia Road project coincided with the construction of the new Mica Mountain High School on the west end, which required numerous interactions between KE&G, Vail School District, and the public.

Despite working around bees, cattle, and a new high school, Olson says the project’s biggest challenge came from Pantano Wash, which taught his team about water diversion and contingency planning. The Valencia Road Extension has been a long time coming. “This project was designed in the 1990s and has been in the public works queue for 20 years,” Olson says. “Ultimately, the construction funding came from a private developer, Rocking K Development, with Pima County oversite and reimbursement, as well as additional funding coming from Vail School District to facilitate project expansion associated with the building of Mica Mountain High School.” A third party, PSOMAS, provided quality assurance, inspection, and engineering management. Subcontractors on the project were Keller for the bridge drilled shafts; Olson Concrete Structures for drainage structures; Sentry Fence, Brown & White, and Dynamic Fence for fencing, handrail, vcvguardrail, and bridge railing; and Brightview Landscaping. Arizona Contractor & Community

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Gladden Farms Blossoms Thanks to Borderland Construction


ultitasking is common in today’s society, but rarely to the extent to that performed by Borderland Construction at the Gladden Farms master-planned community in Marana, located northwest of Tucson. “The toughest part of the job is the schedule,” Steve Shepherd, company president and project manager, says. “This project will require as many as five separate crews all working at the same time on everything from earthwork to underground utilities to paving to meet the overall project schedule.” The project combines both private improvements on behalf of Crown West, the developer, and public works infrastructure for the Town of Marana. “Along with the three private subdivisions, there are two bid-build projects: Mike Etter Blvd,

which is the spine road splitting the projects, and the Postvale Corridor that primarily includes retention basins with dry wells, for complete drainage of the basins,” Shepherd says. According to Shepherd, having one project with five different contracts, two Community Facilities District (CFD) contracts and three private subdivision contracts, is the most unusual aspect of the work. Borderland Construction is being

Position: Site Superintendent, who has been with the company for 35 years. Favorite job task: Watching a project come together; we’re always proud of what we build. Toughest job task: Unforeseen issues encountered when excavating, and safely resolving them. Favorite off-job task: Building anything with a motor in the garage with my family.

Images courtesy of Borderlamd Construction

Borderland Construction Employee Spotlight: Mike McKissick

assisted by the following subcontractors: Torrent Resources for dry wells, Rockridge Construction for bank protection, Franklin Striping, Pace Electrical Construction for street lighting, and Trafficade for signage. Shepherd says that Borderland Construction has worked with Crown West since 2016. “We’ve completed ten projects before starting the five we currently have under construction.” Besides Tucson, Crown West has active projects in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Reno.

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CONSTRUCTION AROUND ARIZONA Projects Boulevard. The $26.6 million project will not only improve the roadway for motorists but make biking and walking easier along the major thoroughfare. Even the partners involved in the construction are taking advantage of the upgraded street. “Team Ashton and the City staff and consultant’s office are together in a historical house directly on the corridor with their front steps 10 feet from the new wider roadway,” Chris Rogers, president of Ashton, says. “This allows for quick access and decision making on the project.” Groundbreaking for the project commenced in January 2020, and work is slated to occur in five phases. “The project will widen two miles of Broadway to six lanes between Country Club Road and Euclid Avenue with medians, five-foot-wide bike lanes with a two-foot-wide buffer lane, sidewalks, HAWK crossings, bus pullouts, landscaping, and public art,” Rogers says. Rogers notes that the most challenging aspect of the project is installing more than 100,000 linear feet of underground storm drain, sewer, water, electrical, and irrigation. “Underground work is always

Tucson’s Broadway Boulevard Getting Broader


he eastern gateway to Downtown Tucson is becoming more welcoming. Ashton Contractors & Engineers is in the midst of a 20-month project to widen Broadway

Employee Spotlight: Joe Murrieta, Project Superintendent Experience: 27 years with Ashton Favorite job task: Meeting deadlines. It feels really good to say, “Man, we got it done!” Toughest job task: Getting subcontractors to do what needs to be done. Most memorable day at work: Finishing a major intersection with a traffic switch ahead of schedule. Favorite off-job task: Taking a long cruise on my motorcycle.

Experience: 1 year with Ashton Favorite job task: Watching the job progress after each big milestone. Toughest job task: Coordinating schedules and communicating with the construction team. Most memorable day at work: Installing a 90-inch diameter RCP storm drain 20 feet beneath a busy Tucson intersection. Favorite off-job task: Hiking and home remodeling projects.

Images courtesy of Ashton

Employee Spotlight: A.J. Sheetz, Field Engineer

challenging on a street project, especially when this road is over 100 years old, including portions of the sewer main.” Ashton self performs portable plant work and recycles the existing asphalt from the old roadway to produce the storm drain shading material on-site, saving on trucking, disposal, and mining new aggregate. The company also approached the City Environmental Services to fill in an old landfill near downtown with the dirt spoils from the pipe and roadway excavation. “This was a win-win for both parties helping to accelerate the redevelopment of a vacant lot and also provide an efficient haul location for the project,” Rogers says. Communication is essential to the success of the work. “The project has lots of interaction with the public since it has over 400 active businesses in the job and 1,500 emails receiving project updates,” Rogers says. “The City is very proactive when it comes to public relations and utilizes its own full-time staff, RTA Main Street Business Assistance Program, and Kaneen Communications. Ashton’s project team coordinates daily and weekly with these entities regarding upcoming traffic, business, pedestrian, and any public impacts.” Ashton teamed with Southern Arizona Paving for the project, as both companies have the same ownership. “When this project is complete towards the end of 2021, Ashton will be celebrating 75 years in business based in Tucson,” Rogers says. “The remaining primary subcontractors are locally owned as well.” These firms are GRG Construction Company, P.A.C.E. Electrical Construction, Santa Rita Landscaping, National Barricade, Pavement Marking, Inc., and Pattison Engineering. Arizona Contractor & Community


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Cassy Anderson


Images courtesy of Southern Arizona Electric

alter Novak started a Tucson company with his contractor’s license, two partners, and a green and black pickup truck in 1962. Southern Arizona Electric, Inc. began on a shoestring budget, using his life-savings of $1,500. But Walter did have an ace in the hole: an unforgettable advertising pitch: “You Phone Us – We’ll Wire You.” Within a year, Walter had bought out his partners, Hank Rave and Bob Conklin, and Southern Arizona Electric became a family business. The company thrived for 16 years until a crisis threatened its very existence. That’s when Walter’s daughter, Andrea “Andee” Leisner, unexpectedly stepped forth. This compelling story is about a long-time, family-run business in Tucson and a fearless woman who became a pioneer in the state’s electrical industry. In 1956, Walter relocated from Chicago

to the Old Pueblo with his wife Gertrude and their two children, Andrea and Laurence. The family moved to join Gertrude’s brother, Ed Chesin, who returned to Tucson after being stationed there during World War II. During the conflict, Chesin flew combat missions with the Flying Tigers, an American volunteer group of fighter pilots battling the Japanese over China. Gertrude’s brother and their parents, Ben and Reva Chesin, had started Chesin Construction, which built subdivisions and shopping centers in Tucson. Walter worked as a teamster in the Windy City for the Chicago SunTimes, which created a job for him in Tucson. He


Wiring Tucson for 58 Years: Southern Arizona Electric

would pick up the Chicago newspaper from a plane and deliver it to hotels and residences throughout the city. Walter decided to learn a trade after hearing about a union apprenticeship from an electrical contractor who worked for Chesin Construction. Walter’s decision was fortuitous, as he would join an industry that was set to boom. The National Apprenticeship Standards for the Electrical Construction Industry was established in 1941, a collaborative effort of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), and the Federal Committee on Apprenticeship. In 1959, the Skill Improvement and Safety departments were established, a timely occurrence with the trade’s technological advances, including nuclear energy. The Tucson IBEW Local 570’s business manager at the time was Horace Bounds. He instilled the importance of the brotherhood fraternity and what it meant to be a skilled union electrician during his 21-year tenure. Walter attended two electronics classes taught by A.R. Stelle at the Tucson Vocational High School. In 1962, Walter started Southern Arizona Electric, and within a year, it became a family business. Gertrude and Andee, who had been Walter’s study partners during his apprenticeship, became the office manager and bookkeeper. They also provided an extra pair of hands for projects. Laurence also worked at a young age for the family business. Top right: Walter Novak (fourth row in glasses) at an electronics class at Tucson Vocational High School, early 1960s. Left: Students soldering in an electronics class at Tucson Vocational High School, early 1960s. Above left: A letter sent by Horace Bounds notifying an apprentice of the Journey Wireman’s examination.

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twenty eight

Nov-Dec 2020

of the team and never let Jim or me forget to ‘get the check signed,’” Andee says. The Leisner’s home doubles as the company headquarters; their backyard is the shop, and the kitchen is the office. Their house is in the Tierra del Sol subdivision built by Chesin Construction near East 22nd Street and Kolb Road. There was a sense of pride radiating from Andee as she walked the yard, showing off the different workstations. Governor Rose Mofford appointed Andee to serve on the Arizona State Apprenticeship Advisory Council in 1984, a position she held for many years. She also held posts in many Tucson organizations, including the Board of Directors for IBEW 570/518 Pension Trust, Tucson Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, NECA Board of Directors, Minority and Women Business Enterprise Commission (MWBEC), and is a founder and Board

Horace Bounds shows electronics apprenticeship material.

Member of the Associated Minority Contractors of Arizona (AMCA). Andee continues to mentor individuals in the industry, including helping her son study for the electrical apprenticeship exam. She shows no sign of retiring and is interested in the field’s new technology. In 2010, Southern Arizona Electric began offering energy-efficient lighting, renewable energy solutions, infrared testing, sub-metering, and surge protection, while working with Tucson Electric Power. As a community leader and businesswoman, Andee helps women and minorities overcome participation barriers and expand their opportunities. She has undoubtedly left a mark within the electrical industry, opened doors for future generations, and we give thanks for all she has accomplished.

Images courtesy of Southern Arizona Electric

Below: Equipment in the Southern Arizona Electric yard. Bottom right: Andee Leisner in the yard at Southern Arizona Electric.


Andee loved the family business, including getting her hands dirty working with her father. One memorable project was working on the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory on Mt. Hopkins south of Tucson in the Santa Rita Mountains. Southern Arizona Electric was installing a tracking satellite and a big alternator, and her jobs were to pound grounding rods into the dirt and painting pipes. She enjoyed this experience, even though the exhausting and repetitious work took all day. Andee’s husband, Jim Leisner, was drawn into the electrical industry, too. He went through the apprenticeship program with assistance from his bride and became a journeyman working with his father-inlaw. The Leisner’s would have a son and two daughters. In 1978, Walter became ill and died three weeks later. Without hesitation, Andee stepped in to fill his shoes. Walter had put his heart into Southern Arizona Electric, and she was determined to do the same. There were few women in construction at that time, but that didn’t derail her ambitions. In 1978, she obtained her license and became the first female electrical contractor in southern Arizona. The job proved challenging. “And there were always those individuals that attempted to make it harder,” she says. Andee never shied from a job; she could terminate and crimp with the best of them. If there was a tool she had never used, she insisted on learning to use it, including jackhammers. She was inquisitive and wanted to understand all parts of the trade. Andee persevered, paving the way for women in the industry. “Gertrude remained an integral part

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n my 25-year career in business, I have serviced a wide range of industries, professionals, and businesses. I have operated in both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) spaces, and have learned much about how to engage with different types of clients and their various needs. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that being in a B2B industry is less complicated than a B2C because your client intrinsically understands general business principles. However, I find B2B can often be more complicated than B2C, because each organization you serve has a highly variable set of needs, values, and processes. Below are six questions you should ask when assessing a new B2B client that will help you understand how you can best serve them. What are their core values and mission statement? An organization’s core values and mission statement create their guiding principles; their “North Star.” It is as important to understand this information when you are making a B2B sale as it is when you enter a business relationship with any of your clientele. Understanding your clients’ core values and mission statement will allow you to relate your services to what is important to them, and it will help your client more easily see the value you bring to their organization.

How are they funded? Are they self-funded? Do business decisions have to run through a private equity firm? Understanding how your client is funded will help you better understand their internal processes, and will also help you know how to communicate with them most effectively. Understanding their source of funding can also reveal an abundance of information about the organization’s internal dynamics.


One CEO’s Take on Success in B2B Relationships

What regulatory pressures are they facing? This statement may seem out of left field, but understanding the regulatory constraints of the company or industry you are working with will help you gain an understanding of the outside pressures and complications of running their business. It is also essential to know how your client stays updated on any regulatory changes. Many companies subscribe to association How many employees does my client or lobbying groups to address and/or advohave? cate for positions and policies on the comWhile this seems like a relatively simpany or industry’s behalf. ple question, this can tell you more about a What are the relationship dynamics client than you think. For example, a large between the company and its leadership? employer will likely have more infrastrucThis question may seem like a sensi- ture to support a B2B relationship than a tive area, but it will help you better serve company with only a few employees whose your clientele in the long run. For com- culture is more “all hands on deck.” When panies with medium-to-large-sized work- considering this factor, you can also elaboforces, find out what the employees’ views rate and understand better who you should of company leadership are. Has leader- be communicating with, who should ship been promoted from within or hired receive important documents, and how from outside? For smaller companies, find their internal processes work. out whether the business owner has hired How can my services or product help friends and family. How invested are the them grow? employees in the success of the organizaIt is of chief importance to learn the tion, and what drives that investment? customer’s business or industry to clearly articulate your business’ value proposition and how your product or services can help them grow. Learn more about their business and the life cycle of when your product or services will best serve their needs and how they can articulate it to their team. Overall, there are many questions you must ask when entering into a B2B business arrangement. Taking steps to enhance your own understanding of the complexities of B2B clientele relationships and asking the right questions at the right time can and will lead to a successful and mutually beneficial business relationship. Vincent Ney is the founder and president of Expansion Capital Group, a business dedicated to serving American small businesses by providing access to capital and other resources, so they can grow and achieve their definition of success.

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Thirty two

Nov-Dec 2020


SACCD: Building Future Construction Crews


and educators has evolved beyond our imagination.” High school and middle schools are expanding their trade programs, along with Pima County Joint Technical Education District (JTED), Pima Community College, and the University of Arizona. “The commitment behind our business community to assist in expanding those programs is what is helping create career awareness in construction,” Gaanderse says. “We have a long way to go, but we are proud of the work done thus far and excited about what the future can bring.” The 2020 SACCD has been canceled due to COVID-19.

Images courtesy of Ramon Gaanderse

here’s one construction event that encourages the flouting of child labor laws. The sixth annual Southern Arizona Construction Career Days in 2019 attracted more than 3,000 students from 85 schools to pound a few nails, drill some screws, and unlock engineering puzzles. “Each student gets a hands-on experience with being able to operate equipment, hands-on building, and developing relationships with industry professionals,” Ramon Gaanderse, president and event founder, says. “This also allows educators and the industry to share ideas and discuss skills that are needed to train and place students into the right work discipline.” Students learn from experts in heavy civil construction and mining, engineering, building trades, and utility construction to increase career awareness in these fields.

SACCD’s popularity has grown dramatically, as 694 students attended the first career days in 2014. Last year’s twoday event at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds cost $76,000. “We could not have done this without the support of the industry, Gaanderse says. “From the first year to now, we have grown our participation and sponsorship.” Gaanderse notes that the event volunteers help bring the industry together, enabling them to work closely with schools in Southern Arizona to develop long-lasting relationships, “…that open the door for in-school visits,” he adds. “The blend between the construction industry

Arizona Contractor & Community



Thirty four

Nov-Dec 2020

Luke M. Snell


esus’ sermons had many references to construction that were used to illustrate spiritual concepts. These are still understood because the construction concepts he mentioned are as relevant today as they were 2,000 years ago. Safety on the Construction Site: Luke 13:4 Safety has and will continue to be an issue on all construction sites. Jesus referred to an event in which 18 people died when the Tower of Siloam collapsed. He pointed out these were not bad people just because they were involved with the failure. When there is a construction accident, we think the people involved did foolish things, took risks, and thus were responsible for their fate. These factors sometimes may be accurate, but not in the majority of cases. A disturbing statement from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is that 60 percent of construction workplace injuries occur in the first year of employment.

Image courtesy of James Tissot

The collapse of the Tower of Siloam.

Thus, we have placed great emphasis on training and safety in “toolbox talks” to improve our job site safety. When Hoover Dam was built in the early 1930s, safety was secondary to production. As a result, 96 people died on the project, a figure that doesn’t include those who perished from heat exhaustion and pneumonia from exhaust fumes in the tunnel construction. When building the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridges from 20042010, safety was emphasized. Only one employee died during the work, an impressive safety improvement though one we still can improve. Estimating Construction Cost: Luke 14: 28-30 This parable by Jesus points out that we must accurately determine the cost of building a project, or we will not be able to complete it. This maxim is excellent advice as, during the 2008 Recession, we saw many projects abandoned because of financial difficulties. The burden falls on the estimator to accurately determine the cost of the materials, equipment, and labor necessary to build and complete the project. Universities now teach this skill, and computer software is available to help prepare estimators to do a better job at accurately determining the cost. Even with an accurate estimate, the project can have financial difficulties. I have worked on projects where bedrock was encountered while digging the foundation, soil that had to be removed, unusual weather conditions caused delays, and the required materials were not available. On these projects, the cost increased because of unexpected events. One of these unexpected events could be the more than 3,000 unmarked cemeteries in southern Illinois, which are typically family burial sites. When a contractor comes across such a burial site, construction is halted. The police must investigate and determine if it is a homicide or a burial site. If it’s a burial site, the body must be respectfully reinterned. Similar delays occur if Native American burial sites or artifacts

are uncovered. A good estimator can anticipate many of the above problems and provide the owner with an accurate estimate of what will be involved to complete the projects. When the forecast is poorly done, there will be conflicts on the job site and cost overruns. These can lead to lawsuits, bankruptcy, and abandonment of the project. Thus, the parable makes as much sense today as it did 2,000 years ago.


Construction Techniques in the Bible

Construction Scheduling: Proverbs 21:5 Proverbs is filled with wise sayings that make common sense. The reference states, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” This concept appears in many similar adages from writers through the ages: • “Haste makes waste” - Benjamin Franklin, • “Wisely and slow, they stumble that run fast”- William Shakespeare, and • “The hurrier I go the behinder I get” Lewis Carrol. All of these maxims aim at a fundamental concept in construction: the need to plan the timing of construction activities. Jobsite trailers will likely have posted an elaborate schedule, with a start and end date for each activity. This plan allows the project manager and superintendent to provide the labor and equipment necessary for each day’s events. The schedule also identifies project bottlenecks, when items need to be ordered, and when sub-contractors are required. Most university Construction Management Departments have a class in scheduling, and software packages are also available. When I taught an Introduction to Construction class, I assigned students a swimming pool project to schedule. This simple project consisted of about 15 items. Most students understood the sequence of events, including earthwork, plumbing, and concrete, that needed to be followed. There were a few twists to the project. The owner wanted the pool completed by his birthday, and the specified pump required 60 days to be delivered. The students had to determine when to order the pump, which was the bottleneck or critical item on the project. Unless this order was addressed at the start of the project, they could not meet the owner’s scheduled birthday pool party. These three items: safety, estimating, and scheduling are all part of the planning process that is basic to every project. Interestingly, these items are as correct today as they were in Biblical times. Arizona Contractor & Community



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Jesse Wood


hat should construction companies know about the trend toward paperless? Construction companies need to know that plateauing growth is pushing nearly every industry to paperless environments. Efficient business runs on paperwork. When it comes to accounting/billing, HR, legal, and other back-office functions, paperwork is part of nearly everything they do. Construction companies that deal with hundreds of different forms, whether they be project bids, permits, insurance documentation, etc. need processes for managing them all. Those processes are taking up too much of our time. While businesses contend with trying to stay profitable, larger overhead may curtail their growth. The biggest thing to keep in mind about going paperless is that even if you remove the paper from paperwork, there’s still work to do. Fortunately, once you’re digital, you can do a whole lot more with your documents by introducing automation to your normal business processes. Businesses everywhere are introducing automated processes to the workplace to free up resources and reduce overhead. How can digital transformation help the industry save time and increase savings? Getting rid of paper and going completely digital means so much more than discarding your filing cabinets, although that is a nice perk. The real value of a digital system comes from being able to do away with the required manual processes. Even with the simplest of tasks like filing a document — imagine if instead of spending several minutes categorizing and finding the right location for it, you simply

had to upload it to the system, which is intelligent enough to know precisely where the document is supposed to go. Likewise, when you need to find that document later, you can find it in an instant, instead of spending minutes browsing through a filing cabinet — and that’s if it was filed in the right place. With the number of documents that pass through a construction office, the amount of time saved is invaluable. Intelligent systems can perform even more advanced business processes, with minimal input from personnel. Most importantly, you can handle more operations without sacrificing additional labor hours. The number of processes in the accounting department and the HR department increase as your company grows. Resources need to be spent on these operational tasks, regardless of how well your company is currently doing. More business means more accounts to manage, more employees to hire, more subcontractors to manage. But you’re essentially spending more resources on the same amount of work. By automating the redundancies involved in business operations, your back-office can maintain its size and budget while taking on more work. More importantly, business owners, managers, and CEOs can take a more upfront role in their business if their time was previously preoccupied with those hard-to-manage operations. They and others can put more of their time into what their business does, whether fulfilling client requests, providing feedback on projects, negotiating bids, etc.


Construction Without the Paperwork

It’s used in nearly every transaction we do online. Encrypting data before sharing it with another individual ensures that if malicious parties intercept that data, AKA hackers, they can’t open it without the encryption key. While the internet has made sharing information tremendously convenient, it opens up an abundance of complications. Email is probably the most common way we all share files, but the difficulty comes when those files need to travel between multiple points and servers, depending on the email provider. Most traditional email utilizes encryption; connections between computers are protected, but not the files What is encrypted file sharing, and why themselves. Encrypted file-sharing is one does this matter? of the only methods that directly protects Encryption is the most common the files. method we use to protect our digital files. How does this help construction companies keep sensitive client data secure? Encrypted file-sharing is not only an exponentially safer method of transferring data, but it also displays concern and attention to detail on the part of the construction company. Clients who are tech-savvy themselves are more likely to appreciate the extra care that protects sensitive information. Convenience usually comes at the cost of security and vice-versa. Encrypted file-sharing is the best way to strike a balance between the two.

Images courtesy of Author

Jesse Wood is a salesman who can also design a circuit board. With more than 20 years of experience in both technology and business, he brought his expertise to eFileCabinet in 2014 and assumed the role of CEO.

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THIRTY eight

Nov-Dec 2020

Back When Image courtesy

Tucson’s Missing Marilyn DOUGLAS TOWNE


here’s no record of Marilyn Monroe having visited Tucson’s Marilyn Motel. But the 40-unit roadside lodge, once located at 2330 North Oracle Road, certainly attracted other ladies of this name. “I would go there for obvious reasons,” photographer Marilyn Szabo says. “I wanted to get those signs!” Szabo is referring to the motel’s two iconic advertisements. “We Welcome You to the Marilyn Motel” glowed in pink neon

above the lobby. Overlooking the road stood a gigantic lady named Marilyn, clad in a bikini and neon. She was termed a “spectacular” in the industry because of her size. “At night she was alluringly outlined in colored neon,” Viola Hughes, the motel’s owner, told the Arizona Daily Citizen in 1972. “One of her hands holding a baton moved up and down. You could see her for a mile.” The motel opened in 1948, and two years later a swimming pool was added, along with the larger-than-life Marilyn. By the late 1970s, the motel had closed. The complex was razed to build a Circle K in

of Author

Image courtesy of Life Mag azin


1986. Marilyn, however, was missing when the demolition crew arrived. Rumors suggest someone absconded with her in the cover of night. After it closed, Szabo stopped by the motel with an idea to give the abandoned lodge one final blaze of glory. “I wanted to go back at night and hook up a battery to the neon,” Szabo says. “But no one was game for it.” Image courtesy of Szabo Arizona Contractor & Community


Nov-Dec 2020

SAN XAVIER: The Firm That Helped Fuel Tucson’s Mid-Century Boom


Douglas Towne

he name “San Xavier” is synonymous with the iconic “White Dove of the Desert,” the oldest European structure in Arizona. The Mission San Xavier del Bac, located about 10 miles south of Downtown Tucson along the Santa Cruz River, was completed by 1797. The internationally-known white-stucco Moorish structure is renowned for its Easter torchlight parade by Tohono O’odham and Yaqui tribal members. In the Arizona construction industry, San Xavier is also the name of a successful Tucson midcentury contractor and materials provider. San Xavier Rock & Sand Co.’s contracting division flourished from 19471966 during Tucson’s postwar boom years. The company’s materials division continued to operate into the 2000s. San Xavier’s success was due to its founder, a genial businessman for whom construction was just one of many civic ventures. Edward “Eddie” O. Earl was born in San Francisco in 1895 but raised in Los Angeles. In 1916, Earl went to work for his uncles, the Oswald Brothers, who were construction and highway contractors with projects throughout the Southwest, including Arizona. The onset of World War II dramatically changed Earl’s life. In 1941, he moved with his wife, Madelon, to Phoenix to oversee the construction of military facilities. Oswald Bros. was one of six contractors pulled together for the war effort in an entity called Arizona Constructors. The other companies were Pearson & Dickerson, J.A. Casson, Lee Moor, Phoenix Tempe Stone, and Arizona Sand & Rock. Arizona Constructors built the Navajo Army Depot in Bellemont and Marana Army Air Field. In late 1941, Earl became a partner in a merger that included Pearson & Dickerson, Oswald Bros., and J.A. Casson, called PDOC. The company expanded Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson and built Dateland Army Airfield. Earl moved to Tucson in 1945, and two years later gained a controlling interest in San Xavier Rock & Sand ready-mix truck at their headquarters, 1961.

Image courtesy of UArizona/J.S. Collection

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Top left: San Xavier’s George Nodwell and Tucson city engineer Glenton Sykes with a Di-Met concrete cutting machine, 1950. Right: San Xavier’s Lou Hicks working on U.S. Highway 70, with his grader and a Chevrolet, 1955. forty two

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

PDOC, which he reorganized into San Xavier Rock & Sand Co. The company was located on 11 acres at 601 West 22nd Street. A roundhouse formerly used for servicing locomotives for the El Paso & Southwestern Railroad served as the circular office. San Xavier initially performed contracting work but expanded to become a significant materials supplier for southern Arizona. The company operated three ready-mix concrete plants, an aggregate plant, and a scoria basalt mine near Douglas. Their products included ready-mix concrete, sand and rock, Lite-Wate Building Block, and specialized floor and roofing materials, according to an Arizona Daily Star article in 1966. The contracting division brought innovations to the industry, including in 1950 when they were the first in the state to use a concrete cutting machine, a Di-Met built by Felker Manufacturing. San Xavier constructed many Tucson facilities, including the Midway Drive-In Theatre, which opened with an 850-car capacity in 1948. The venue operated for 31 years. In 1952, San Xavier teamed up with Del Webb to construct a two-mile-long runway so U.S. Air Force Boeing B-47 Stratojets could land at Tucson Municipal Airport. According to Arizona Builder & Contractor, the runway was the longest of any municipal airport west of the Mississippi River. It could handle the newest commercial airliners, such as the Douglas DC-7. Airport

Nov-Dec 2020

“They were sort of the bastard child down in Tucson,” Wilcox says. “There was no place to go but up for San Xavier

Arizona Contractor & Community

Image courtesy of UArizona/J.S. Collection

Above: Edward Earl (right) receives a check from J.R. Snider of the Tucson Gas Electric Light and Power Co. for the Joint Hospital Drive, 1957. Top right: Del and Kate Fisher, of Fisher Contracting, with Edward and Madelon Earl, of San Xavier, at an AGC party, 1953.

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

three other Tucson contractors, M.M. Sundt Construction Co., Pioneer Constructors, and L.M. White Contracting Co., donated their services to build Tucson Derby Downs. The Soap Box Derby racing track was located on the east side of Tucconstruction included a fuel-testing center, son Municipal Airport. electronics building, and flight ramps. San Xavier constructed Arizona’s first The following year, San Xavier and cloverleaf interchange at U.S. Highways

forty four

80 and 89 in 1954. This transportation achievement landed them on the cover of Arizona Builder & Contractor. But things did not always go so smoothly for San Xavier. Joyriders stole a 10-ton company steamroller during work near St. Mary’s Road and I-10 in 1959. Their journey ended when the machine overturned, according to an article in the Tucson Citizen. The following year, a bee colony descended on San Xavier’s outdoor welding shop. No employees were stung, but four welders enjoyed an extended coffee break until a beekeeper could remove the swarm. Earl headed San Xavier and was also active in professional organizations. He was the national treasurer of the Associated General Contractors of America. Earl held directorships of the Southern Arizona Petroleum Co., Nogales Petroleum Co., Pima Oil Co., and Martin Aviators Inc. He was also president of the Tucson Airport Authority, director of the Tucson Chamber of Commerce, the Tucson Sunshine Climate Club, the Tucson Industrial Development Board, and the Bank of Tucson. San Xavier had about 100 employees in Tucson in 1966 when Earl sold the materials division to Union Rock & Materials Corp. of Phoenix for almost $1 million. Left: San Xavier equipment operators Lou Hicks and Joe Lucero (l-r), on a joint venture with Hagen Construction upgrading U.S. Highway 70 east of Globe near Cutter Arizona, 1955. Top right: San Xavier crusher crew affiliated with Tucson Local 428 at San Manuel, Arizona, 1970. Right: San Xavier materials plant, late 1950s. Nov-Dec 2020

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Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

Union Rock & Materials operated five plants in Maricopa County, and with the purchase, expanded into Arizona’s second-largest market. “With this transition, San Xavier will become one of the largest rock products companies in the Southwest, from which not only our customers but the entire Tucson community will benefit,” Earl told the Citizen. Earl retained San Xavier’s contracting division and renamed it the E.O Earl Contracting Co. The company operated for only a brief period because of Earl’s failing health. The firm built an 866-foot-long bridge that connected the Tucson-Nogales and Patagonia highways at the north end of Nogales in 1967. The concrete box girder bridge was the longest in southern Arizona, spanning both Nogales Wash and the Southern Pacific’s railroad tracks. Two years later, Earl died from cancer at age 74 in 1969. But the San Xavier name continued in use as a materials provider. “Union Rock & Materials retained the San Xavier name, and were both purchased in 1967 by Peter Kiewit and Sons of Omaha Nebraska,” says Raymond Dalton, who worked for San Xavier from 1978-90. Afterward, San Xavier went through a series of complicated mergers and sales, which included being combined with United Materials, with Cemex later purchasing part of the entity. In 1980, Al Wilcox worked for Union

and one in Green Valley, Sierra Vista, and Nogales.” When asked about San Xavier’s southern Arizona legacy, Wilcox pondered before answering. His reply was simple but powerful. “Well, we supplied the concrete for the Titan silos built around Tucson in the early 1960s,” he says. The silos held intercontinental missiles carrying 9-megaton nuclear warheads that were 600 times more explosive than the atomic bomb dropped on Japan to end World War II. Wilcox added, “And we supplied the concrete that helped decommission them in the mid-1980s.”

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

Top: E.O. Earl Contracting constructing a bridge in Nogales, 1966. Below: E.O. Earl Contracting workers pouring concrete for a bridge in Nogales, 1966.

Rock & Materials in Phoenix when management transferred him south to take over San Xavier. “They were sort of the bastard child down in Tucson,” Wilcox says. “There was no place to go but up for San Xavier, as they weren’t doing well, especially with the down economy at the time. I turned them around within a year.” Wilcox led San Xavier until he retired in 1999. “We were running one aggregate pit at Valencia Road and the Old Nogales Highway when I got there,” he says. “When I left, we had 240 employees and added four pits: one at Cortaro Road in Tucson,

forty six

Nov-Dec 2020

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Tucson’s Colorful Street:

that, if filled, would hold 15,886 gallons of paint. Until the 1940s, there was no store selling paint on Tucson’s three major eastwest arterials: Speedway Boulevard, Broadway Boulevard, and Grant Road. During the 1940s, when Tucson’s population grew by 25 percent, paint stores as Ronstadt’s or Corbett’s, located in the began appearing on Speedway. In 1945, warehouse and commercial districts sur- the first paint stores to open on Speedrounding downtown. Posner’s on Scott way were Diamond Speedway Supply, and Avenue, established in the 1910s, was Tuc- Speedway Lumber, selling Benjamin Moore son’s first dedicated and Bondex paints. The paint dealer. following year, State At Hostetter’s former The city’s first Variety and Supply location, customers tried opened selling Deer-O paint manufacturer was Pioneer Paints, out their paint selection by Paints that were manestablished in 1934 at ufactured in Phoenix. 438 West Congress, daubing the back fence and Deer-O was one of sevproducing paints forthe end of the building. eral brands claiming mulated to suit the formulations made for Tucson climate, and offering a greater vari- the Southwest, and offered “Exciting Tribal ety of “Southwestern” colors like turquoise Colors” such as “Yaqui Yellow” and “Havasu and pink. Pioneer was famous for its sign; a Blue.” giant replica of a paint can visible for miles Other paint dealers and their brands to

How Speedway Boulevard Became Paint Row Carlos Lozano


ave you ever wondered why businesses end up where they do? Keep wondering, as sometimes no one knows for sure. In the South, businesses that are open during the day prefer to be on the street’s shady side. This trend is reversed in cold climates. Commercial property on the outer side of a curved road is more desirable than that on the inside because it dominates drivers’ field of view. But no one knows why the vast majority of paint dealers in Tucson clustered along Speedway Boulevard, a street usually known for its restaurants and nightclubs. From Tucson’s early beginnings to the end of World War II, paint was sold in dusty hardware stores and lumber yards such

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Nov-Dec 2020

open east of downtown in the late 1940s included: B & R Hardware (Glidden), Tucson Hardware Company, (Pioneer Paints), Burnett Ray Lumber (Pabco Paints), and Petty’s Builder’s Emporium (Liquid RawHide). Speedway had seven paint dealers, Grant two, and Broadway one. Tucson’s population grew 373 percent in the 1950s, with most development located east of downtown. Paint flooded onto East Speedway, available in newly built hardware, lumber, and glass stores, along with the first dedicated paint dealers. These local stores and their paint brands, in the order they arrived, were: Choate’s Hardware (Tru-Test), Bartell Hardware (Devoe), Bentz’s Variety (Glidden), Romanoski’s Glass (Pratt & Lambert and

days,” according to the Arizona Daily Star. Southwestern Paints’ large, distinctive sign featured five animated neon paint drops pouring from the can. Other notable dealers included: S & W Lumber (General Paint), Tucson Glass (Pittsburgh Paints), State Hardware (Laton Paint), Midway Lumber (Dutch Boy and Deer-O), and Colorcraft, a Tucson favorite, selling Treasure Tones, Du Pont Lucite, and art supplies.

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

Top right: Tuscon’s Pioneer Paints advertisement, 1961. Below: Pittsburgh Paints store on Speedway Boulevard, Tucson, 1956. Below right: Deer-O-Paints can, 1950. Bottom right: Professional painter using Olympic paint, 1958.

Steelcote), and Zimmerman’s (Olympic). Stacote Paint was the first dedicated paint dealership on Speedway, which opened in 1953. Their initial large commercial sale supplied the major expansion of the Rillito Park horse track. That same year, locally owned Southwestern Paints began manufacturing operations and started retail sales on Speedway. The company boasted formulations for Tucson’s unique climate and was owned by the Sutherland family, who, “came to Arizona in Civil War

Arizona Contractor & Community

Images courtesy of Colorcraft

famous neon “cover the earth” globe. By this time, the section of Speedway from Alvernon to Craycroft roads became known as Paint Row. Nearly every brand of paint on the market was available on East Speedway. In 1956, Hostetter Paint and Hardware dropped the “hardware” from their name and moved into a stylish new building on East Speedway. For years, Charles and Bessie Hostetter had sold Devoe Wondertones and British Gelvatex on Stone Avenue. The couple updated to Plextone and Martin Senour for the move. Images courtesy of THPF

Corbett Lumber, located downtown since the 1890s, followed the competition to Speedway. Their new building featured a modernist zig-zag roof and a floor-to-ceiling glass wall. In 1955 Sherwin-Williams followed with a new store. Although Speedway was known for extravagant lighting, their sign did not feature the


Left: Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Taliesin Palette” using MartinSenour paints. Nov-Dec 2020

Top left: Colorcraft neon sign on Speedway, 1962. Top right: Colorcraft exterior, 1962. Below left: Colorcraft interior, 1962. Below right: Lucite demonstration at Colorcraft, 1962.

Ms. Hostetter was trained to operate southern Arizona’s only futuristic “Colorbot,” an electronic paint-mixing system “with a potential of 5 million different colors for every living human being on earth,” according to a 1961 article in the Star. Customers could see the “Taliesen Palette” of colors chosen by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In comparison, at the former location on Stone, “they tried out their paint stock by daubing the back fence and the end of the building.” She told the newspaper, “I abhor neutrals,” and advised customers to “use colors you like in your home, and don’t be afraid of your own decisions.” Dealers continued to pour onto Paint Row, including Del Display (Zolatone), Speedway Tool & Supply (Fuller), Mulcahey Lumber (Benjamin Moore), Anchor Painting (Pittsburgh), and Mathew’s Paints. Mathew’s claimed to be the first paint brand formulated for the Western climate, early in the 20th century. At the end of the 1950s, 17 dealers were on Speedway, three on Broadway, and two on Grant. If the paint stores were simply following eastward expansion, there should have been more on the latter two streets. Did all types of businesses flock to Speedway? The answer is no. For example, in 1960, there were 14 theaters in Tucson, but only two on Speedway: the modern, split-level, glass-front Showcase, and the beloved but doomed Midway Drive-In. Another theory to explain the paint cluster is that businesses (and people) imitate trendsetters, who, in this case, were the small hardware, glass, lumber, and variety stores. Subsequently, the big, national paint dealers followed these local businesses. By the 1960s, every major paint corporation had opened a dealership on Paint Row. In 1961, Fuller Paint, another brand claiming to be the first formulated for the Western climate, moved to Speedway, along with Sinclair Paints, and Pittsburgh Paints, while Sherwin-Williams moved further east. After decades on Main Street, Dunn Edwards moved to Speedway. While big dealers began to push out little retailers, Bargain Mart relocated from Country Club to Speedway. Among aisles of Ban-Lon shirts, doeskin coats, appliances, guns, and “fallout shelter supplies,” there were Dura Bond paints. Significantly, in

1969, Pioneer finally modernized its image, creating a sleek new “decorating center” at the east end of Paint Row. Our chronological survey ends in 1970, around the high-water mark of the Paint Row phenomenon. While paint was available in other areas of the city, dealers were spread thinly and evenly. That same year, Walgreens Drug stores began stocking Lucite paint on their shelves nationwide. In the years to follow, “big box stores” influenced many independent paint retailers and manufacturers to consolidate or close. Several major national chains

continue to thrive on Paint Row today. Alongside them, Terry Wiese, son of the original owner of Colorcraft, wins the prize for the longest continuously operating paint business in its original location. A city reveals much about its history by where its businesses are located. For instance, motel courts’ presence likely traces the route of an old highway, while a florist shop might indicate a nearby cemetery or hospital. But we may never know precisely why the “invisible hand” of the free market poured so many paint dealers onto Speedway.

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Sustainable and Modern: Tucson’s Historic Ball-Paylore House Douglas Towne


or most of us, living in an architectural masterpiece is something we can only dream about. Not so with the Ball-Paylore House, which was declared one of the state’s five most important architectural works by the Arizona Daily Star in 2011. The meticulously restored mid-century modern house in Tucson is available for overnight stays as an Airbnb rental. The listing invites guests to step back in time to Tucson in the 1950s and “spend easy afternoons reclined in a chaise lounge on the ‘revolving terrace.’” Reviewers give their stays a perfect 5.0 rating. The house is close to numerous amenities, but that is irrelevant according to a guest named Carrie, who commented, “Why would we ever want to leave the Ball-Paylore House; it was gorgeous.” How did this landmark building recently become available for the public to enjoy so intimately? The story dates to 1952 when Phyllis Ball and Patrica Paylore commissioned local architect Arthur T. Brown, FAIA to “design a bespoke, one-of-a-kind home that embraced the tenets of the American modern movement, responded to the envi-

ronmental conditions of the Sonoran Desert, and offered both beauty and function,” according to the Tucson Historical Preservation Foundation (THPF). Both women worked for the University of Arizona, Ball as a librarian, and Paylore as assistant director of the Office of Arid Lands Studies. Brown, who was also a fine art painter, moved to Tucson in 1936 during the Great Depression. He had graduated with an architecture degree from Ohio State University and worked in Chicago for seven years. The architect, who some credit with bringing modern architecture to the Old Pueblo, helped design more than 300 projects in southern Arizona. The architect was an early advocate fifty two

Image courtesy of Jude Ignacio and Gerardine Vargas

The power of Brown’s architecture is in the purity of its dedication to function.

Ball-Paylore House, 2020

Nov-Dec 2020

Arizona Contractor & Community

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Images courtesy of Jude Ignacio and Gerardine Vargas

for developing passive solar heating and cooling. Brown believed in the simplicity of design and thought that applying a style to a building was tantamount to dishonesty. His architecture wasn’t ornate or symbolic and didn’t borrow motifs from history or its neighbors, according to a Tucson Citizen article in 1985. “Its power, which may not be understood by everyone, is in the purity of its dedication to function.” The Ball-Paylore House, located in the historic Catalina Vista neighborhood near Tucson and Grant roads, is considered one of the most important works of Brown’s architectural career. “The forward-thinking project embraced geometry and siting to create a pioneering and early passive solar home,” notes THPF. The 1,200 square-foot hexagonal-shaped house has two-bedrooms and one bathroom. Airbnb’s description reads, “Bold original colors are punctuated by pale wood finishes and earth-toned polished concrete floors. The primary living areas radiate out from the central fireplace – like the petals of a flower.” The home retains most of its original modernist furniture designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller and custom Tucson furniture-maker John Kelso. The southern back of the home is all windows, which minimize direct sunlight during the summer. The rear patio has one of the coolest features: two awnings that wheel-around on a half-circle to provide portable shade. Built-into the house, hidden underneath a table in one of the bedrooms, is a

Above: Ball-Paylore House, 2020. Right: Portable patio shade structures, 1956.

Arizona Contractor & Community

cat door, “large enough to admit a fleeing cat but not a pursuing dog,” according to the Citizen. After Ball and Paylore died in the 1990s, Henry Koffler and his wife, Phyllis, inherited the house. Henry was the president of the University of Arizona from 1982-1991, and the couple used the landmark home to house visiting scholars. But after Henry died in 2018, and Phyllis the following year, the house’s future was in doubt. The THPF board worked with the Kofflers’ estate to purchase the property in late 2019, which likely saved the home from demolition or unkind renovations. “We are excited by the opportunity to allow people to experience this architectural masterpiece through overnight stays and limited tours.” Michael Fassett, THPF board president, says. “We are still raising funds to help pay for this project.” THPF did upgrade the house with air conditioning and wireless high-speed internet. Although the Ball-Paylore House has been featured in numerous publications, including House Beautiful (1962), Fine Homebuilding (1982), and several times in Sunset, the highest honor may have come during Brown’s annual home checkups before he died in 1993. “Arthur comes around once a year and asks, ‘Would you girls change anything?’” Paylore told the Citizen. “And every year we answer, “Heavens, no!’”

Images courtesy of Jude Ignacio and Gerardine Vargas

Top: Interior of Ball-Paylore House, 2020. Right: Ball-Paylore House patio, 1956. Far right: Living room of Ball-Paylore House, 1956. Below: Ball-Paylore House floorplan.

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“Transforming” Tucson’s History:

Ignite Sign Art Museum Douglas Towne


here are many ways to illuminate a city’s history; Jude and Monica Cook’s version is resplendent. The couple’s creation, Ignite Sign Art Museum, is a collection of Tucson’s discarded signage. Relighted, these advertisements electrify the city’s past. fifty eight

“Visitors thank us for what we’re doing in preserving and restoring Tucson’s historic signs; it’s not something we expected,” Monica says. How did this couple from Iowa come to be de facto keepers of the Old Pueblo’s commercial history? It all started with a sign that attracted Jude’s

attention almost a half-century ago. “I acquired my first sign in 1973 after discovering it under a bench in the sign shop in Iowa where I first apprenticed,” Jude says. “It was a porcelain Coca Cola sign; the sign maker was using the back of it as a roller pan.” And he has continued to Nov-Dec 2020

Images courtesy of Author Images courtesy of ISAM

collect signs ever since that fateful day. Astonishingly, his wife, Monica, encouraged such behavior. She even added to his collection, noting which signs intrigued Jude. “I would stop by later and purchase the sign,” she says. “I kept them hidden for months and then surprised him for his birthday or Christmas.” Jude started his own sign company

in Iowa in 1976 and opened Cook & Company Signmakers when the couple moved to Tucson in 1983. Monica recalls that they both conceived of opening a sign museum when Jude hosted a 40th-anniversary party for their business in 2016. “He lit up all the signs in his shop and invited friends and customers,” she recalls. “People loved seeing all the signs, and we heard comments like, ‘This place is

the 7,000 square-foot building is filled with more than 250 signs and advertisements, including some from outside Tucson.

Left: Opening night at Ignite Sign Art Museum. Top: Neon displays at Ignite Sign Art Museum. Above: Monica Hays Cook in her Deco boutique, and Jude Cook with his favorite sign.

like a museum!’” The Cook’s most significant hurdle to opening Ignite Sign Art was locating a suitable building, according to Monica. “We needed parking, high ceilings, and square footage, plus it had to be affordable.” They found the former Clyde Hardware store at 331 South Olsen Avenue after two years of searching and made an offer the next day. The couple has never looked back on Arizona Contractor & Community

Images courtesy of Author

Top: The Pioneer Hotel sign from Globe, Arizona was originally called the Terminal Hotel. Left: Tucson Small Animal Hospital. Above: Maureeen Towne enjoying the vintage items at Deco. Sixty

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about Tucson’s past from them,” Monica says. “When they’re willing, we also tape their stories for future displays.” The museum enjoyed success since opening in 2017, but they’ve been slammed by COVID-19. “Attendance is way down,” Monica says. “People were starting to come back after the shutdown, but then we became one of the country’s worst states, and attendance fell off again.” Thanks to Jude and Monica’s efforts, despite the pandemic, the neon lights remain bright in the Old Pueblo.

Above: Ignite Sign Art Museum combines vintage artifacts and humor. Right: Lamp shades for sale at Deco.

their decision to open the museum, which is available for events and classes. The space features rotating exhibits and a neon plant, where volunteers do glass-bending demos. “The adventure has been fun, but it would be nice to have a lot more money,” Jude says. “We could do even more.” The museum’s lobby features Deco, a boutique that offers quirky regional handmade crafts and an abundance of signthemed art. Monica and her sister have operated the business since 2009, which was formerly located on Broadway’s “Sunshine Mile” strip. The rest of the 7,000 square-foot building is filled with more than 250 signs and advertisements, including some from outside Tucson. Jude’s favorite sign in the museum is the small, art deco Old Fitzgerald bourbon sign. For Monica, the choice is more complicated. “I like the 76 ball because it’s big, orange, and rotates,” she says. “The Arby’s sign with all the light bulbs is an eye-catcher. The Valencia Market sign is another favorite because it’s a great example of the art deco period in signage.” Some sign restorations have required more detective skills than others, such as the Tucson Small Animal Hospital sign. “When we got it, it had the lettering for the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) on it,” Jude says. “The transformer was from 1948, and the neon holes did not match up with SPCA. Finding the original message required seven hours of carefully sanding, which revealed three different versions of the sign. It has now been repainted and lettered and will soon light up with neon.” Out-of-state visitors tend to appreciate the signs as works of art, while those that grew up nearby often share specific memories that the signs conjure up. “We enjoy hearing the stories, and we learn more




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ARIZONA’S DA VINCI CODE: Tucson’s May Day Mystery


leuths love Arizona for its well-known mysteries ranging from the Lost Dutchman gold mine to the otherworldly Phoenix Lights. Another intellectual challenge worthy of Sherlock Holmes originates in Tucson and is especially perplexing with its murky rationale and almost four-decade record of bizarre clues. Dubbed the May Day Mystery, because new clues always appear on May 1st, some believe the strange newspaper messages herald the path toward untold riches. Others think they reveal a global conspiracy, future social turmoil or entrance to a secret society. A few scoff and consider the weird posts merely an elaborate and expensive prank conducted by frat boys. One thing’s for sure: there are as many theories as there are devoted detectives and no one has yet solved the elaborate riddle. “When I first started, I thought I was going to crack this mystery in a year, make a victory post, and stick a fork in the site,” crows Bryan Hance, who founded the

Sixty two website in 1997. Two decades later he’s still at a loss to explain what’s going on. “I used to have lots of theories, and I’ve blown through them all with nothing concrete to show for it.” Hance first discovered the mystery innocently enough when he read the May Day issue of the University of Arizona newspaper as a freshman in 1995. A journalism major who now lives in Portland, Oregon, Hance noticed a fullpage, $1,000 advertisement in the student-run The Daily Wildcat. Seemingly composed of intellectual gibberish, the intricate collage featured historical figures and references, symbols, various languages, maps, musical notes, scientific diagrams and mathematical calculations. “I chalked it up to an obscure campus organization or some fraternity. Or drugs—I was, after all, a freshman,” he says. Although intrigued, it took Hance two years to piece together the extent of the mystery. By the time Hance saw the third full-page advertisement on May 1, 1997, he was the newspaper’s webmaster. On a whim, he began digging into the paper’s back issues. “The Wildcat archives are these massive bound fullsize books, absolute beasts, about 20 pounds each,” Hance says. “They had been tossed in a closet with no organization whatsoever. So, I’d

Images courtesy of Bryan Hance

Douglas Towne

Above: May Day Mystery fliers taped to Fourth Avenue, 2020. Bottom left: May Day Mystery clue sent to Bryan Hance, 2020 Bottom right: May Day mail postmarked in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

pull a date from the ad I was looking at, physically go dig in the closet for half an hour, pull the archive I needed, find an ad, and then repeat the process.” After two hours, Hance had found enough ads referencing the May Day Mystery to realize he had stumbled onto a previously unknown enigma of immense proportions. Hance’s research uncovered a large ad published every May Day since 1981, along with smaller unscheduled ads of less complexity. Each would feature the title and end with “Smiley Guy,” a largeeared smiley face signature. To help crack the case, Hance set up his May Day Mystery website and began receiving emails from the “Orphanage,” which claimed to be the source of the ads. They wrote that the announcements were not a game but led to a culminating event in the form of a revolution. One message ended with the statement, “The day you can see the door, you will be welcomed inside.” Hance obtained a PO box for the website and began receiving unusual correspondence. Many had a Las Vegas postmark, and all had Hance’s post office box

Nov-Dec 2020

May Day, 2008 ad in The Daily Wildcat.

Above: Undated ad in The Daily Wildcat. Top middle: January 1, 2017 ad in The Daily Wildcat. Top right: May Day, 1989 ad in The Daily Wildcat. Below: December 16, 2016 ad in The Daily Wildcat.

Images courtesy of Bryan Hance

as the return address. “Some of the mail was covered with crazy world stamps and routed through Pakistan or some other bizarre country,” he says. “I’m not sure why

the U.S. Postal Service hasn’t put me on a ‘watchlist’ of some sort, given the wild things they’ve held for me.” The correspondence contained alerts from the Orphanage, along with odd items like audiotapes, obscure Middle Eastern coins, and cash, which Hance meticulously archived. But the gifts came with some strings. “One time, Bryan got an electronic missive admonishing him for not posting the latest Freark, who was in 2002 the copy editor for communique on the website,” says Mariah the Wildcat. “He then posted something like, ‘Sorry, I’m behind on my scanning, I’ve been sick,’ and they sent him a get-well card.” And then things got weirder. Hance began receiving phone calls from different people, each reading from a script. “I’d try to give them a hard time, make them laugh, anything to elicit a response - and get nowhere,” he says. “They’d deliver their message and hang up.”

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Hance became a celebrity to some clue seekers intent on solving the puzzle, including one who insisted on meeting him. “They very calmly, and with extensive documentation, tried to convince me it was the work of the Zodiac killer,” he says. “That made for an entertaining evening, but it was certainly not the last.” Hance can’t pinpoint who is behind the messages. “There’s the ‘lone gunman’ theory which I’ve discarded as too long-running, expensive and complex,” he says. He rattles off other possibilities such as secret societies, radical groups, evil tricksters and performance artists. “They’re all totally valid and wildly invalid, is what I’ve found,” Hance says. “Each one’s about as possible as the next. And I think that’s why it’s still so damn fascinating.” Despite 20 years of investigations, the only reliable connection to the May Day Mystery is Robert Truman Hungerford, a Tucson attorney, who places the ads in the paper. Hungerford, a UA alumnus, serves as legal counsel for the Orphanage. He’s also a member of Mensa with interests in philosophy, theology, math, history and linguistics, Hungerford says, “The mystery is a work of art. There’s a society behind it, and this is the unveiling of the program that deals with future events.” Hungerford, who has historically been reticent in talking about the mystery, provided some clues. “All you need to uncover the mystery is the text on Hance’s website,” Hungerford says. “I would suggest to anyone who is interested that they start with the theological content.” He adds that May Day 2008, with its financial theme, is the most compelling message. Another big clue is the May Day 1989 message featuring Oliver Cromwell, the 16th-century English military and political leader. Hungerford also revealed the puzzle’s previously unknown roots. “The mystery stems from a 1960s movement, with August 1969 being a very significant date,” he says. “There were earlier messages than Below: May Day, 1981 ad in The Daily Wildcat. Left: May Day, 1997 ad in The Daily Wildcat.

the first one printed in 1981, but they were in a different medium which I’m not at liberty to disclose.” Hungerford says there’s no need to find the previous messages to solve the mystery, however. Of course, there’s the possibility that Hungerford is the sole initiator behind the May Day Mystery, a question that the attorney declined to comment on. At the Wildcat, the May Day Mystery remains an oddity, though it’s more folklore than a subject of debate, according to former editor-in-chief Sam Gross. “Those of us who’ve been here awhile like to keep

the legend alive,” Gross says. “The running conspiracy theory is that it’s some new world order or Illuminati group, but that’s more office joke than actual theory.” For those who dare explore the compelling conundrum, Hance offers a caveat. “I’ve ruined a lot of people’s productivity by introducing them to the May Day Mystery,” he says. There’s now a Facebook group devoted to the mystery. But on the upside, those who venture down the rabbit hole might be the recipient of some interesting correspondence.

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Nov-Dec 2020

Building on the Past

1966: Taking Tucson’s Pulse


building rose to provide for the city’s future and simultaneously served as a home to its past. In 1966, a grand opening crowd of 8,500 visitors greeted the 20-story, Tucson Federal Savings Tower, the city’s tallest building. The $4.5 million structure of tinted glass, gold anodized aluminum grille work, and glazed blue brick was designed by Place & Place, Architects, and built by M.M. Sundt. The International-style skyscraper cantilevered over an existing building above the fourth floor. Tucson Federal, founded in 1937, was the building’s primary tenant. The two penthouse floors were occupied by the venerable Old Pueblo Club that was founded in 1907 as a “gentleman’s club for social purposes.” Over the years, the club hosted dignitaries ranging from presidents to Hollywood stars to aviator Charles Lindbergh. In

1927, four months after his solo trans-Atlantic flight, Lindy stopped in Tucson to dedicate the nation’s first city-owned airport. The club’s new penthouse quarters included a cocktail lounge and a glass-walled dining room surrounded by a promenade for viewing the city. The tower didn’t bring much luck to either of its major tenants. Tucson Federal’s name was soon lost in acquisitions, first by Home Federal, and later by Great American. Pima County’s purchase of the building in 1987 displaced the Old Pueblo Club to the nearby Samaniego House in 1990. Only four years earlier, the club first began admitting women. The club was dissolved in 1992 after it filed for bankruptcy and auctioned its assets, a casualty of changing times. Now called the Pima County Legal Services Building, there’s interest in bringing

one of the tower’s original features to life. The Skymaster Time and Temperature indicator is a light-bulb rooftop sign that alternated the time, temperature, and the name “Tucson Federal Savings” in letters 10-feet tall, every 5 seconds, 24 hours a day. The Skymaster was initially installed in 1958 at another bank location and moved to the tower upon its completion in 1966. The county unplugged it because of maintenance costs in 1987. Adapting the sign for LEDs and renting advertising space might allow the building to broadcast to the city once again. Images courtesy of THPF/Bill Sears Collection

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Architect’s Perspective: Bernard J. Friedman, AIA: Recognized Talent Doug Sydnor, FAIA


ince World War II Tucson has developed a rich contemporary architectural heritage by creating an inspiring body of work. A dozen key figures were responsible for bringing this design approach and motivating future generations of architects. One of them is architect Bernard J. Friedman, AIA, who became a Tucson resident in 1940 and stayed 66 years until his death on June 21, 2012, at the age of 96. Friedman was raised in Chicago and in 1938 received his Bachelor of Science degree in architecture at the University of Illinois. He enlisted during World War II and served as a construction officer with the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps. Friedman returned to Tucson and, shortly after that, married Irma Rumizen. He joined the firm, Green and Friedman, and then started his own architectural practice in 1948. Friedman was called back to Washington, D.C. during the Korean conflict and served as sixty eight

the Coordinator for the Engineering & Technical Services Division, Bureau of Yards and Docks. In 1953 he reopened his practice in Tucson. Three years later a classmate, engineer Fred H. Jobusch, joined him as a principal of Friedman and Jobusch Architects & Engineers. The firm was prolific for more than 40 years, designing commercial, educational, religious, hospitality, and governmental commissions. Friedman was especially proud of their University of Arizona projects, which ran from the late 1940s-1970s. These buildings include Agricultural Sciences, Physics-Math-Meteorology, and the College of Medicine. His firm’s strength in educational facilities extended to Pima College, Canyon del Oro High School, and a series of public elementary schools. Government commissions included the Tucson City Hall, Tucson Community Center, and Kitt Peak National Observatory facilities. The firm’s portfolio included commercial projects such as the

Images courtesy of Author

Temple Emmanuel-El Auditorium.

El Con Shopping Center, The Plaza International Hotel, and a Valley National Bank. Places of worship included St. Albans Episcopal Church, St. Marks United Methodist Church, and Streams in the Desert Lutheran Church. The Tucson architect was active with civic and professional groups. Friedman’s resume includes presiding as president of the AIA Southern Arizona Chapter and architectural advisor to the Tucson Jewish Community Center. He served on numerous boards including the Tucson Chamber of Commerce, Tucson Festival Society, the Pima County Architectural Advisory Council, and City of Tucson Building Code Review Committee. He was also a member of the University of Arizona Foundation, the President’s Club, and the Wildcat Club. Friedman was confident, enthusiastic, and social, which served him well when pursuing architectural commissions. His firm was also known for training staff that later founded their own firms. Friedman & Jobusch also had a keen eye for attracting architectural design talent, who added to the firm’s creative work. A few Tucson projects are featured here. One of Friedman’s earliest religious projects is the 1949 Temple Emanu-El Sy Juster Auditorium located at 225 North Country Club Road. The synagogue was Nov-Dec 2020

the first in the Arizona Territory, and Friedman was a temple member. The structure is an early phase of this evolving campus and provides seating for 650. After almost 70 years, it has held up exceptionally well given the original materials, detailing, and maintenance. There is evident respect for the architecture as it has not encountered insensitive changes over the years. The auditorium has a strong street presence with its two-story scale, symmetrical façade, and sculptural qualities. At ground level, there is a slightly raised planter. The lower, one-story element has a solid brick wall and curves as embracing arms to the community. The north and south sides have recessed glazing with precast-concrete columns and roof fascia to partially shade the glass. Stained-glass panels are set just inside to admit a colored-light effect. The upper auditorium has angled sides that extend beyond the curved wall and has precast concrete panels that break the roof edge and alternate with glass inserts. A retail project that demonstrates the firm’s design skills brought to a small endeavor is the 1954 Hirsh’s Shoes at 2934 East Broadway Boulevard. Slipped within a series of retail stores is a narrow property

that provides for a shoe store that was family owned for decades. The design is defined by a pair of brick side walls, and a recessed transparent glass front activated with a series of flanking display cases. This entry transitional zone is capped with a dramatic canopy flaring up toward the street. The canopy has integrated skylights

to provide shafts of natural lighting to what otherwise would have been a dark entry. The front canopy receives the Hirsh’s Shoes neon signage and, by its design, softens this edge. The composition does speak directly to retailing strategies to sell shoes, but its sculptural nature adds visual relief and interest to this purely commercial corridor. The firm’s education projects include the impressive University of Arizona Main Library at 1510 East University Boulevard, completed in 1976. With 7 million volumes, it is at the heart of university life. The structure is composed of square concrete columns and two-way reinforced waffle slabs. This exposed structure receives infill panels of a warm-colored precast concrete panel with an exposed aggregate finish or glazing with dark bronze finished frames. Some would describe the character as ‘Brutalist,’ which was very popular in the 1960s and 1970s. Given the design path taken, it is skillfully handled by breaking down the overall building scale with projecting bays, recessed glazing, and shifting column details. Some upper glazing has vertical fins and horizontal blades called ‘brise-soleil’ to shade the glazing while providing a visual depth to the elevations. The library remains strong, confident, and unapologetic architecture. In preparation for this column, I toured approximately 20 built projects in Tucson and Nogales. It was a special treat to experience such a diversified representation of Friedman & Jobusch’s beautiful architecture over the decades. Their body of work has had a profound impact on these communities.

Top: Hirsh’s Shoes. Right: University of Arizona Main Library.

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Images courtesy of Author

Rillito Park Grandstand.

Some Friedman and Jobusch Projects in Tucson: • 1953 Rillito Park Grandstand, 4501 North First Avenue • Circa 1950s Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority House, 1070 North Mountain Avenue • Circa 1950s and 1960s the University of Arizona Agricultural, Physics-MathMeteorology, Pharmacy-Microbiology, Chemistry, and College of Medicine buildings • 1957 Katherine Van Buskirk Elementary School, 725 East Fair Street • 1960 El Con Mall Complex with Albert C. Martin and Associates, LA, CA • 1964 Canyon Del Oro High School, 25 East Calle Concordia, Oro Valley • 1967 Tucson City Hall, 255 W Alameda Street • 1968 Sahuaro High School, 545 East Camino Seco • 1971 Tucson Community Center, 260 South Church Avenue • 1971 Valley National Bank Branch, Broadway & Country Club • Circa 1977 The Plaza International (now Aloft) Hotel, 1900 East Speedway Boulevard • St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 1431 West Magee Road Top left: Canyon del Oro High School. Top right: Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority House. Above: University of Arizona Physics-MathMeteorology Building. Seventy

Douglas B. Sydnor, FAIA, is Principal at Douglas Sydnor Architect + Associates, Inc. and author of three architecture books. Nov-Dec 2020


KE&G is a respected 100% employee owned company committed to delivering safe, high quality projects that exceed the expectations of our clients.


SIERRA VISTA: 1601 Paseo San Luis # 202  Sierra Vista, Arizona 85635  520.458.9594  TUCSON: 3949 East Irvington Road  Tucson, Arizona 85714  520.748.0188 

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Arizona Contractor & Community

New Pueblo’s I-19 Construction William Horner


hen the conversation turns to “Tucson construction,” there’s one company that is inevitably discussed: Karl Ronstadt’s and Howard King’s New Pueblo Constructors. New Pueblo advertised itself as “a company with young management and with old ties to the region it serves,” when it began in 1959. The firm was active until the mid-1990s and left its footprint across the Southwest. If you’ve ever stopped for dinner in Green Valley, flown into Albuquerque, fished in Lake Patagonia, spent the night at Rio Rico, or scored a birdie at Tucson National Golf Course, you’ve enjoyed the work of their company. Although retired, Ronstadt keeps up-to-date with current construction and is a valuable resource about past contractors and projects. Ronstadt is also a longtime friend of Arizona Contractor & Community magazine, which spotlighted New Pueblo in its first issue devoted to Tucson Top: New Pueblo’s equipment lineup after a shift working on I-19, 1967. Right: Bridge under construction at the Esperanza and I-19 Interchange, 1969. Seventy two

in Winter 2013. For this follow-up Tucson issue, I’m highlighting New Pueblo’s extensive highway work, focusing on Interstate 19 that runs 63 miles south from Tucson to Nogales. Construction of I-19 started in 1962 and was finished in 1978. A unique attribute of

Images courtesy of New Pueblo

Digging Through the Archives:

the freeway is that signage was provided in kilometers rather than miles. The metric system was used since it was close to the border and the U.S. was pushing its adoption at the time. New Pueblo was the low bidder on 4.5 miles of I-19 in August 1966. Ronstadt stated, “We started around Rio Rico Drive and headed south past Ruby Road, Mariposa Road, and into Nogales. Mariposa and I-19 went south to the border to Arroyo Boulevard and Grand Avenue. We also had another contract for three miles of new road from Mariposa Interchange to the border.”

Nov-Dec 2020

Image courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

Top left: New Pueblo Cat crawlers pushing 631 scrapers on I-19, 1967. Top right: Henry Redondo, New Pueblo project superintendent on the I-19 project, 1968. Above: New Pueblo Cat 651 push scraper and D9G Dozer.

Arizona Contractor & Community

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community Image courtesy of New Pueblo

Top: New Pueblo paving crew at Green Valley: (l-r) Frank Margotta, Paul Shepard, Wayne Haught, and Don Trim, 1970. Above: New Pueblo Arroyo Blvd-Nogales, 1960s. Seventy Four

Nov-Dec 2020

Image courtesy of Bill Rucker

The project faced an odd problem that winter. “Pre-wetting operations, struck by falling night-time temperatures (as low as 12 degrees) froze over, clothing desert cactus and scrub brush in a paradoxical icy armor…becoming a fairyland of ice,” reported Arizona-New Mexico Contractor & Engineer in 1967. “Shutterbugs and the plain curious nearly caused a full-scale traffic jam as they flocked from Tucson and Nogales to see the spectacular sight. Daytime temperatures, however, which soared back up to the high 60’s soon melted the ice and restored order.” The publication noted that the cold

Image courtesy of New Pueblo

Above: Paving I-19 at Green Valley, 1969. Top right: New Pueblo’s new CMI grading machine used on I-19 in Nogales and Green Valley. Below: New Pueblo crew paving on I-19 near Green Valley, mid 1970s.

weather had halted work. “All work has been completed there except a road mix surface, which requires 70-degree temperatures for the go-ahead.” Besides the low temperatures, Ronstadt said there were other challenges. “One bridge was slanted and curved with a skewed elevation, making the rebar skeleton a nightmare to install,” he says. Despite the difficulties, New Pueblo completed the project by its October 1967 deadline. This accomplishment was aided by New Pueblo’s second construction office and commercial ready-mix plant on the east side of I-19 at Ruby Road. “We started another phase of I-19 at Duval Mine Road, running about 5 miles to Canoa Ranch Road,” recalls Ronstadt. “At the Santa Cruz River at Florida

Canyon Wash, we operated the Green Valley gravel pit on the east side of the freeway supplying aggregate and asphaltic concrete.” Ronstadt says they called it the FICO plant because the land was owned by the Farmers Investment Co., headed by Keith Walden. “We paid FICO a royalty for every ton mined from the Green Valley gravel pit,” he says. “We provided concrete to the Duval and Anaconda mines and concrete read-mix to local contractors from Tucson to the Mexican border.” The project called for some untested equipment. “We initially rented a CMI Autograde machine, which we later purchased,” Ronstadt says. “This was the first time a CMI was used on highway work in Arizona. We had to prove to the state that it was the best method for grading the final pass of ABC.” Ronstadt specifies the advantages of using the CMI. “The scrapers would make all the rough cuts for subgrade, with blades finishing the subgrade,” he says. “The blades would then knock down the select material and two courses of ABC getting it close. The CMI would follow behind, making the perfect grade.” Ronstadt adds that New Pueblo used it on both I-19 projects at Green Valley and Ruby Road. “They were by far the smoothest stretches of I-19.” New Pueblo’s last work on I-19 was their most extensive, stretching 11 miles north of Rio Rico, from the Palo Parado to the Agua Linda interchanges. While the construction of I-19 is more than 40 years old, the project remains fresh in Ronstadt’s mind. “Even today, when I drive the interstate to Nogales, every few miles, I’m reminded the headaches given and major problems that needed solving along that road,” he says. Arizona Contractor & Community

Bid Results - Sept/Oct 2020

Nov/Dec 1960

10/15/2020 SRP Service Line Relocation Lehi Rd Mesa Dr FPS Civil $1,058,561

9/18/2020 Bob Stump Happy Valley Pky (303-A-(227)T) Sunland Asphalt $20,326,911

District Paving Improvement Irvington Rd., Park to Campbell San Xavier Rock & Sand Co., Tucson $26,676

10/6/2020 Bison Channel Perco Rock Co. $1,397,019

9/17/2020 Thomas F Allt Utilities Complex Pilkington Commercial Company Inc. $5,096,166

District Paving Improvement Tucson High School Additions Const. Materials Co., Tucson $25,911

10/2/2020 (CMAR) Adonis Rd Ext PH I Grier Rd Tangerine Granite Construction $2,500,000

9/17/2020 Snyder Hill Pump Station Rehabilitation Archer Western Walsh Contractors $5,399,000

Seal coating 14.5 Mi. on U.S. 80-89 M.M. Sundt Const. Co., Tucson $35,778

10/1/2020 Williamson Valley Rd Box Culvert Ext Capital Improvements $188,000

9/17/2020 Moonlight Subdivision Waterline Star Valley Sellers & Sons Inc. $169,490

5-Span Steel Girder Bridge Ocotillo Rd. Crossing, Queen Creek Martin Const. Co., Tucson $81,030

9/30/2020 Alley Rehabilitation PM10 Dust Emissions Cactus Asphalt $2,077,524

9/10/2020 Site 43 1 MG Reservoir Haydon Building Corp. $2,260,650

Rebuilding, Grading, Paving 8.2 Mi. on U.S. 80 at Yuma Ashton Co., Tucson $1,219,932

9/30/2020 (CMAR) Waterline Tankersley Replacement B&F Contracting $3,950,000

9/9/2020 West Cooley 4th Ave Roadway Reconstruction McCauley Construction $310,825

Building New Alignment State 95 N.E. of Yuma Kenneth A. Ethridge Co., Tucson $334,229

9/25/2020 Pavement Preservation 2021 Sunland Asphalt $1,470,073

9/8/2020 Coronado Drive Pavement Replacement KE&G Construction $711,453

9/22/2020 PSHIA TERM 4 S 1 Concourse Concrete Apron Pulice Construction $9,973,348

9/4/2020 Nogales Tombstone Hwy (082-A(207)T) Granite Construction $685,530

U.S. Air Force Titan II, 18 Launch Sites Joint Venture of Three Firms. J.A. Jones, Charlotte, NC Nello Teer Co., Durham, NC D.W. Winkleman Const., Syracuse, NY Tucson, Low Bid of $27,770,000 (Lowest of 10 Bids)

9/21/2020 (CMAR) Cave Creek WRP Rehabilitation Sundt Companies $120,000,000

9/4/2020 Nogales Tucson Helmet PK (019-A-(237)T) (238) Fisher Sand & Gravel $13,121,110


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