The most common complaint I hear about Tucson is the awful condition of its roads, particularly the proliferation of potholes. Every time this subject comes up I recall that Tucson's two main streets, Congress Street & Main Avenue, were not even paved until 1912-13; about the time Arizona became a state. From myriad accounts by travelers in those early years, any pavement was better than no pavement.
Those of you who have read some of my brief histories on Southern Arizona Guide know that I sometimes refer to Tucson before the coming of the railroad in 1880 as “a dusty little Mexican village”. Even though Tucson legally became an American town with the Gadsden Purchase in 1854, most of the 600 or so residents at that time were Mexican and Papago (now known as the Tohono O'oohdam) Indians. At that time, the biggest barrier to Anglo settlement was the negative attitude of certain Apaches, among them Geronimo.
Even when the Southern Pacific steamed into town, Tucson’s population was only about 7,000.