Barrio Viejo, the old neighborhood, mainly consists of Tucson’s 19th century homes and commercial buildings. In the 1960’s & ’70’s, much of the old neighborhood was bulldozed to make way for urban redevelopment, including the Tucson Convention Center. Today, most Tucsonans would be happy to bulldoze the Convention Center if it would bring back the heritage that was lost.
In the 1880’s & ’90’s, this was home to a culturally diverse community of working class people from America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Many worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad. The arrival of the SP in 1880 changed Tucson from a hopelessly impoverished, dusty little Mexican village in the middle of nowhere to a growing Southwestern city of seemingly limitless opportunity.
Barrio Viejo is located just south of the Convention Center. If you go (and you should), take your camera. The images we share here are but a small representation of the old architectural styles that are now preserved by private individuals and families.