Neighborhood Spotlight: Tucson, Arizona

by Washington Federal Team on December 6, 2011

Tucson has a rich history dating back more than 12,000 years, making it one of the oldest cities in North America. Originally an Indian village called Stook-zone, which means “water at the foot of black mountain,” Tucson evolved into a vibrant city known for its celebration of cultural diversity, attention to architectural preservation and a progressive attitude toward innovation. Tucson combines the best of city living with the authentic sentiment of small-town life. A variety of unique neighborhoods make up Tucson, three of the most notable include the Catalina Foothills, Sam Hughes and Armory Park.

Catalina Foothills 

Located just north of Tucson, the Catalina Foothills area is situated in the southern portion of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Dating back to the 1920s, the community has grown to a population of more than 50,000. Known to be one of the more affluent areas in Arizona and the Southwest, housing in the Catalina Foothills comes at a pricey premium. But the area’s added value is its proximity to recreational resources, like Sabino Canyon and Bear Canyon, which feature breathtaking views, vast trail networks, and the opportunity to observe wildlife in a natural setting. If you prefer man-made attractions, the Catalina Foothills community forms the heart of Tucson’s resort corridor, and is also home to La Encantada, Tucson’s largest shopping center.

With a variety of renowned golf courses and luxurious spas, like Canyon Ranch, plus a selection of top-tier dining options, the Catalina Foothills may seem idyllic. And from a more practical point of view, the community is known for having an excellent school system and close-knit family appeal.

Sam Hughes 

One of the oldest neighborhoods in Tucson, the Sam Hughes neighborhood combines historic appeal with a downtown location where you’ll love to take walks. The neighborhood was named for Sam Hughes, a Welsh immigrant who came to Tucson as a young child and eventually helped incorporate the City of Tucson. He also served on its first city council. One of Hughes’ most notable contributions was his involvement in the establishment of Arizona’s public education system.

The Sam Hughes neighborhood was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994, and its homes, though typically smaller, feature time-honored craftsmanship that is seldom seen today. Most of the homes have been completely renovated to incorporate modern amenities, but residents have also been careful to maintain the neighborhood’s renowned sense of charm.

The tree-lined streets are closed to through traffic, a policy instituted by a previous mayor, and maintain a steady flow of bicyclists and pedestrians. A laid-back area reminiscent of times gone by, Sam Hughes is in close proximity to restaurants, shops and entertainment venues, and represents the best of both worlds. Popular for professors and students, the neighborhood is within walking distance of the University of Arizona. In addition to the university, Sam Hughes is served by the excellent public Tucson Unified School District.

Armory Park 

Originally called Military Plaza Park, Armory Park began as the home base for soldiers guarding the Presidio. Now in the heart of downtown, Armory Park is a quaint subdivision of historical homes. The neighborhood is known for lush vegetation and turn-of-the-century appeal. The majority of homes, having been built in the early 1900s, feature an eclectic mixture of modern amenities and eclectic ornamental charm. With prices ranging from $300,000 to $700,000, there is a wonderful mix of young families and older professionals living in the neighborhood.

Located a block from the Tucson Arts District, Armory Park homes are within walking distance of wonderful art galleries, charming shops and excellent restaurants. It is also the site of many events, festivals and community tributes. With shuffleboard courts and a small outdoor stage, living in Armory Park comes with great built-in entertainment.


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