On one of my recent monthly Tucson History & Libation Walking Tours, I had the distinct pleasure to meet a fellow author, although at the time I did not know it.
You see, to sign up for our Southern Arizona Guide tours, folks usually go to Brown Paper Tickets and pay via credit card. Thus registered, I have their names.
Several days before the tour, I noted with interest that one of those who registered was a local lady named Bettina Lyons. This was curious, partly because “Bettina” is an unusual name. Moreover, I knew of only one other with that first name: Bettina Steinfeld.
Not that I had ever met Bettina Steinfeld. However, I did know that she was the wife of Albert Steinfeld, one of many German Jews, such as the Drachmans, who became successful business pioneers of Tucson.
Sometime during the tour, Ms. Lyons revealed that she is the granddaughter of Albert and Bettina Steinfeld. I nearly had to catch my lower jaw before it hit the sidewalk. Standing before me was a lady whose local roots go back to 1860’s Tucson. Although she was raised in New York, she graduated from the U of A. From her unique perspective, she would undoubtedly know as much or more local history than I. My first thought was, “Boy, do I have a lot of history questions for you.”
When we reached the point of the tour where I usually tell a few stories about Albert Steinfeld and his fabulous department store and his luxurious Pioneer Hotel across the street, I asked Tina if she would share some of her family history with the tour group. And she did. What a delight!Read More