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Bob Nolan's Homes & Schools in Tucson

(Photos and most of the text by Suzette Spencer Marshall)

 

In early March, 2008, Ms. Marshall, armed with her camera and the list of addresses where Bob Nolan lived as a teenager, set out to photograph as many of the houses as remained. With the help of a long-time Tucson resident, Robert E. Fee, and an interested museum curator, she worked through the street name changes. Although new buildings have been erected over some of the properties during the last eighty years, a surprising number are till there. She also photographed the three schools he attended. (Most street addresses have  been omitted to protect the privacy of current owners. For further information, contact Ms. Marshall.)

 

       During the summer of 1919, Bob Nolan's Aunt Frances Nobles took Bob and his little brother, Earle, from Canada to Boston with her. Bob attended school in Boston for 2 years, from the Fall of 1919 to the end of June, 1921. During the summer of 1921,at the age of 13, he joined his father, Harry, in Tucson. (Earle didn't join them until three years later.)

        He started the Seventh Grade at Safford Junior High - a huge, beautifully-designed school. He remained at Safford Junior High for the Fall term only and then transferred to Roskruge which may have been closer to his father's next home.

 

 

Safford School - Bob's first school in Tucson

 

Safford School

 

Safford School

 

Safford School

 

Safford School

 

 

Safford is now a technical school at 200 East 13th Street.

 

 

        In 1921, Bob's family lived on Driscoll  and his father worked for the American Cleaning Works as a tailor.

        Today, this is a parking lot near the SW corner of Alameda and Scott Avenues.  Alameda was previously called Graveyard Street around 1915 - 1920.  Across the street there is an old rooming house, used as a warehouse now that looks like it must have been a grand old place. According to what we could find out from the city directories, this area had several large rooming buildings.  It is in the very center of downtown Tucson now.  (No actual photos of the  Driscoll home.)

        From 1922 - 1923 the family lived on East 6th. Today this is the location of the University of Arizona.  6th is a main thoroughfare and the address is very close to McKale Stadium which is part of the University of Arizona. (It covers the 1922, 1923, 1928 addresses.)

 

       Parts of the University of Arizona have been built over several of the Nolan home sites.

 

        Bob attended Roskruge Junior High from the Spring of 1922 until the summer of 1923 for the Seventh and Eighth Grades. Roskruge Junior High is now an elementary school addressed at 501 East 6th Street. It is directly across a very busy 6th Street from Tucson High School.
 

Roskruge Junior High

 

        In the Fall of 1923, Bob Nolan entered the 9th Grade at Tucson High School. He graduated on May 25, 1928, and was married less than two months later.

        In 1924 the Nolan family lived on 3rd Avenue.  Today this is an empty lot, with a small neighborhood garden on it.  It is very near Tucson High School and Roskruge Junior High School. 

        The house that used to be there was nearly an exact copy of the home pictured below, only flipped the other direction.  Photo is of the neighboring home. 

 

The lot where the Nolan home stood.

 

The house next door.

 

        In 1925 the Nolan family resided on 10th Street. This is the very last street before the highway.  Directly across the street is now a buffer between one side of town and the other.  Across this freeway is the modern downtown Tucson, and this side of the street is a lovely old neighborhood. 

        It’s a lovely row of about 5 attached little brick residences, all sweetly tended and tidy.  The area has a mix of this style of row houses, small to medium size homes and some very nice larger homes.The place appeared to be built of baked mud adobe brick, covered with plaster/stucco with the red brick front for decor/design, a very nice little place for that time period. 

 

 

 

        1926 saw the Nolan family living on South 5th Avenue. We were unable to find this exact address.  The streets have been changed and addresses re-assigned.  There just wasn’t enough time to cross reference all of the old street maps for this one, as it had been changed several times.  However, I did get photos of every house it may have been.  Also, depending on which theory I applied, there was a home on the spot that address should have been considering my ‘hunch formula’ which I didn’t have a chance to verify at the historical museum.  This was a lovely area with many very fine and well kept up large homes combined with some equally well kept smaller homes, nearby the Safford School. 

 

 

  

 

        In 1927 they were living on North 5th Avenue. This home is located in the now vibrant neighborhood of cafes, book stores, organic food markets and coffee shops.  There is a trolley rail going down 4th Avenue which is a major connecting route.  The homes are small, with many looking similar in build. 

 

 


 

        During these many moves, Bob continued to attend Tucson High School. The year before he graduated, he was on "The Tucsonian" (high school yearbook) staff.

 

  Tucson High School - is now addressed at 400 North Second Avenue
 

 

Tucson High School

 

Tucson High School

 

 

        In 1928 the Nolan family lived on East 6th, a return to the 1923 address.  There were some grand old brick buildings there before the University took over - very long, adobe brick buildings with red brick fronts that had two to three floors of apartments. There were yards between them and it was a nice section of town, as it is now.