Link to YouTube Link to Live Stream Link to Instagram Link to Pinterest Link to Twitter Link to Facebook


Rose and Expansion 1920 - 1930 - Part 1

C. E. Rose, who succeeded F. A. Nims as superintendent in the spring of 1920, recognized the need for more schools in District 1 immediately upon his arrival from Boise City, Idaho.

Not discouraged by the disaster that befell Nim's $375,000 bond issue, he asked the Board to call for a $350,000 bond issue in 1920, which passed 337 to 22; a $750,000 issue in 1921, which was approved 880 to 224; one for $210,000 in 1927, which asked for $162,000 for buildings, passing 1,185 to 201, and for S48,000 for school sites, passing 998 to 359; and one for $500,000 in 1929, which was approved 942 to 88--to round out the decade, 1920-30.

With the exception of the 1929 bonds, which were used in the 1930-40 decade, the issues built Miles, Ochoa and Roosevelt Elementary Schools in 1921, Tucson High School completed in 1924, Mission View Elementary School in 1922, and Lizzie Borton and Sam Hughes Elementary Schools in 1927. They also provided classroom additions, enumerated previously, to University Heights, Menlo Park, Davis, Ochoa and Miles Elementary Schools. Building fund money also helped start Pasqua School, the forerunner to Richey School, which in 1923 was built to educate the Yaqui Indian Children at Pasqua Village. Address of the present Richey School near the village is 2209 N. 15th Avenue.

Also under operation for a short time in 1920-21, was a school called the "Twenty-Fourth Street School," which was not located on 24th Street. Actually, it was located on the southwest side of Tucson on the north side of Papago Street between 9th and 10th Avenues.

And in 1928, the District "inherited" a small school building with the annexation of the Davidson School District, No. 18.

In his first appeal to the Board for the initial $350,000 bond issue, Rose pointed out that there were 1,200 students on half-day sessions out of a total of 4,120 students enrolled in the spring of 1920.

With a graphic need displayed for the issue, the newspapers endorsed it and it was passed with scarcely any opposition.

The Board set about immediately to provide for the construction of Roosevelt, Ochoa and Miles Schools.

On December 30, 1920, Jay J. Garfield submitted the low bid for the Roosevelt School of nine classrooms at $38,122. An economical builder, he also was awarded the bids for Ochoa and Miles with the Ochoa School to cost $46,784 and Miles to be constructed for $38,877.

Lyman and Place designed Roosevelt and Miles Schools.

Eugene M. Durfee designed the Ochoa School.

Roosevelt, completed in 1921, was named for President Theodore Roosevelt.

Roosevelt visited Tucson on September 17, 1912, where he spoke in the old Elysian Grove building which stood on the site now occupied by Carrillo School, 440 S. Main.

Campaigning, he said: "You men and women of Arizona, I felt that I must come in this campaign to Arizona because I believe so much in your people. It was from Arizona that I got my own regiment in the Spanish War."

That, probably, was the reason that on January 10, 1921, the Board decided to honor Roosevelt by naming the school after him. However, on March 3, 1921, the Board changed its mind--at least temporarily.

At that time, Col. C. C. Smith presented a petition to the Board asking that the name of Roosevelt School be changed to "Oury," for William S. Oury, one of the original Board L members in 1867 and discussed earlier in this text.

Chairman Mose Drachman made a motion that Smith's petition be honored, saying that the change should be made "in honor of an Arizona pioneer who was too busy making history to write one." The Board approved the motion.

The name, "Wm. S. Oury School" appears on the plat of Highland Addition, in which Roosevelt School was located, when it was filed shortly thereafter.

But on June 3, 1921, the Board changed its mind again and renamed the school "Roosevelt."

Roosevelt remained as it was until 1949, when two classrooms, a community room, administrative offices and a nurse's room were added and the school was completely remodeled. Contractor was F. B. Pacheco Co., at $115,945.64. Present Principal is Mrs. Ethel P. Wilbur.

Ochoa School, originally of seven classrooms, was named for Estevan Ochoa, mentioned earlier as a pioneer Board member.

He was born March 17, 1831, in Chihuaua, Mexico. He was educated in Independence, Missouri, and upon coming to Tucson he engaged in a profitable business of freighting until the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad on March 22, 1880. In this business, he was associated with Charles H. Tully. Between 1860 and 1870, the firm suffered heavy losses from attacks by Apache Indians.

When Confederate forces rode into Tucson under Capt. Sherod Hunter, Hunter told Ochoa would have to take an oath of fidelity to the confederacy. Ochoa, according to newspaper clippings, said, "I owe everything I have to the government of the United States and it would be impossible for me to take an oath supporting a hostile power." He was allowed to leave Tucson, but returned when Union soldiers occupied the town after a short battle at Picacho Peak, some 45 miles northwest of Tucson.

Ochoa was mayor of Tucson in 1875 and served in the Fifth and Sixth Territorial Legislatures. Ochoa, also, pioneered in cotton growing in the Santa Cruz valley in 1874.

He was married November 6, 1871 to Altagracia Salazar in San Augustin Church in Placita de la Mesilla.

After the arrival of the railroad, Ochoa, his wife, and his son Estevan Ochoa II left Tucson for El Paso and then went to Las Cruces, New Mexico. He died on October 28, 1888, and was buried in Las Cruces. A grandson, Steve Ochoa, of Tucson, had the remains brought to Tucson in 1940 where they were reinterred in the Catholic Cemetery beside the grave of Estevan's wife.

Two rooms were added to Ochoa School in 1927 and in 1931 at a cost of $34,735 and $12,136. Three classrooms, a community room and complete remodeling were done in 1949 by Architect M. H. Starkweather and Contractor Frank A. Putter at a cost of $117,000. Ochoa was the first school in District 1 to make use of portable classrooms when three were placed on the grounds in 1962. An odd fact concerning the school is that the dividing line between the City of Tucson and the Town of South Tucson runs through the Ochoa building and playground. Principal of Ochoa School at present is Edwin P. Appleman.

Miles School, of nine rooms, was named after Nelson A. Miles, Union general, who has probably received too much credit for the capture of the Apache Chief Geronimo in 1886.

Brig. Gen. Nelson Appleton Miles, a onetime clerk in a Boston crockery shop, was honored in Tucson, November 8, 1887, by the presentation to him of a "sword of gold--the most artistic weapon ever made in the United States." Miles thanked the crowd and somewhat modestly assured it that he received the sword "not alone for himself, but in behalf of the noble men who labored with him in putting down the Apaches." The celebration lasted two weeks.

Historians, some of them, have had doubts that Miles did much toward the capture of the Apache Chief. They give credit to Gen. George Crook, Capt. Lawton and Lt. Charles B. Gatewood for doing the preliminary chasing. The Apaches surrendered to Lawton.

Originally, Miles School was a duplicate of Roosevelt. In 1928, two rooms were added at a cost of $11,978 and two more were added in 1930-31 at a cost of $12,719. In 1949, Bailey Construction Co. was awarded a $113,002 contract to add two more classrooms, a community room, nurse's room, workroom and storage room.

Lyman and Place were hired as architects in March, 1921, following the successful $750,000 bond issue for the new Tucson High School.

The first designs submitted were to be for a school housing 1,000 students, but revised estimates of school population raised this figure to 1,500.

The site was selected by the School Board--or Board of Education as it is known when applied to the High School District (and Board of Trustees when applied to the Elementary School District)--September 13, 1921. It was to be located on the block between Second and Third Avenues and Sixth and Seventh Streets, used at the time as a playground and athletic field for the old high school and Roskruge School.

But a clamour arose because residents on the owing north side wanted the high school placed there. They had in mind the "Blake" site which was bounded on the West by Park Avenue, the East by Olive Road, on the North by Speedway and on the South by Seventh Street. The Blake site was up for sale at $47,000, which the Board resisted paying since the selected site (on which was located the Holladay School ) was owned by the Elementary School District and could easily be transferred to the High School District without cost.

Somewhat jumpy over past newspaper criticism, the Board decided to hold an election January 14 of the qualified voters in the District to decide. When the balloting was ended, the Holladay School site was selected by a vote of 1,926 to 1,463 for the Blake site. Two write-ins crept in, the "Stone Avenue" site (not defined in the Board minutes) which received a total of 7 votes and the "Steinfeld site" (not defined by the minutes) which was given nine votes.

The Tucson Citizen had been editorializing that the $750,000 price tag for the new high school was an inflated one, stating that building costs had "materially reduced" since the voting on the issue. The Board then resolved that it would try to build the high school for under $650,000 including furniture and equipment with anything left over to go toward retiring the bonds. After tossing away one bid call because the bids were above the estimates, a low bidder within the estimates was declared on April 10, 1923, after plans and specifications were altered. Low bidder for the 51-room construction was E. C. English, at $469,050.

Other low bidders were: plumbing, W. J Corbett, $29,995; for steel lockers, $7,466.45 electric wiring, New State Electric Supply Fixture Co., $19,548; heating, W. J. Corbett, $62,889. The total was $588,948.45 leaving a fairly good margin for furniture if the $650,000 figure was going to be held as a ceiling.

The cornerstone for the new building was laid on November 12, 1923, with a ceremony put on by the "Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Arizona"--the Masons being traditional cornerstone layers of the age. The Masons met at the Scottish Rite temple in full uniform--with the colorful George J. Roskruge, Grand Secretary of the Lodge, in attendance. A procession followed to the high school site where with music and speeches the cornerstone masonry work was completed.

The building was completed in 1924. In 1925, the grandstand on the athletic field to the west of the school was constructed by R. H. Martin at a cost of $10,950.

In 1939, the annex to Tucson High School was constructed at a cost of $273,346 and it underwent two remodeling projects, one in 1945 at $18,392 and the other in 1951 at $86,795.

The cafeteria was constructed in 1945 at a cost of $19,585.85 and the old gymnasium was, remodeled into classrooms in 1948 on a contract for $47,900.90

The Tucson High School Vocational building of 48 rooms and 13 shops was built in 1950 for $1,396,332. Principal at THS from 1950 to 1967 was Andy Tolson, who retired at the--end of the 1966-67 school year.

The library and music room addition was constructed in 1964 at a cost of $381,245 and in 1966 three science laboratories were remodeled and cabinet work installed in the high school building for $48,765.

On April 10, 1920, residents of Mission View Addition in the vicinity of 2600 S. 8th Avenue (where the Mission View School is located) presented a petition to the School Board king for a new school building. The Board received the petition, filed it, and on January l, 1921, decided to build a two-room school on a half-block of land to be leased from the Arizona Children's Home Association. Considered at first, was the idea that "Mr. Seller's Carpentry Class" might put up the building but the idea was abandoned. M. H. Starkweather as named architect for the building and on February 13, 1921, John C. Hale was awarded the contract for constructing Mission View school on a low bid of $8,200.

The building was accepted by the School Board on January 4, 1923.

Additions were made at two rooms each in 1930, costing $20,631; 1931, $6,875; 1939, 1,361; and 1941, $15,619. (Cost differences probably indicate the difference in sizes of the rooms). Four rooms were built in 1946 at a cost of $36,213 and in 1948, five rooms, plus a community room and kitchen costing $102,722 were constructed. The school began to use portable classrooms in 1962.

Architect Roy Place was appointed to draw he plans and specifications for Sam Hughes at 700 N. Wilson Avenue, and Henry O. Jaastad was named architect for the Elizabeth Borton School (or, Lizzie Borton as the Board minutes refer to her), at 700 E. 22nd Street on March 14, 1927. The contract for the construction of the four-room Borton School was let to Nealy A. Pennington for $18,805 the following April 29, and the Sam Hughes construction contract was given to A. Jacobson a few weeks later at a cost of $49,091. The schools were completed in time for the fall semester.

Lizzie Borton, mentioned a number of times in this text, served a total of 35 years as teacher, principal and assistant superintendent in District 1.

Miss Borton was born in New York City in 1856. While she was still a child her family moved to Portland, Oregon. In 1874, the Bortons and their three daughters and two sons moved to Tucson.

Lizzie Borton graduated from St. Joseph's Academy (the private Catholic girls' school mentioned earlier) in 1878 and, according to Ida Myrtle Duffy, she began her teaching career in a little adobe school at or near the present site of Reddington in the Rincon Mountains.

She began teaching in Tucson at the Congress Street School in 1881. She retired in May, 1916, and was given a farewell party by the teachers and students of Drachman School, of which Miss Borton was principal.

The Arizona Daily Star had this to say of her on May 18, 1916:

"When one has done well something worthwhile for thirty-five years, everybody pauses long enough to grasp the magnitude of such a thing, but when one's life has been associated for thirty-five years with the lives of countless little children, then the realization becomes keener. Now that Miss Elizabeth Borton has severed her long, active connection with the Tucson schools, all sorts of good wishes are being mingled with sincere regrets."

Miss Borton remained in Tucson until her death on May 21, 1926.

Two rooms were added to the Borton School in 1930-31. The school was completely remodeled in 1948-49 and six classrooms, a teachers' rest-work room and a community room were added at a total cost of $146,046.49. In 1948, additional land was purchased at the site to provide adequate recreation areas.

Samuel Hughes was born in Pembrookshire, Wales, on August 28, 1829. The family came to the United States in 1837 and resided in Pennsylvania. Hughes went by wagon train to California in 1850, where he worked as a cook and invested his savings in cattle, real estate and mining.

Following a lung injury, he was told to find a milder climate and he arrived in Tucson on March 25, 1858. Here, he opened a butcher shop and later enlarged it into a general store. When the Civil War came, Hughes engaged in furnishing supplies for government forces.

In public life he held the office of Adjutant General of the Territory of Arizona, County Treasurer, Territorial Treasurer and Alderman for the City of Tucson.

On May 27, 1862, Hughes married Atanacia Santa Cruz, a member of an old Mexican family in Tucson. The couple had 15 children, eight of whom reached maturity.

Hughes led an active life until he was 78. He died June 20, 1917.

The school enrollment at Hughes increased rapidly after its construction and six rooms were added in 1930 at a cost of $38,159. Six more classrooms were constructed in 1939 at a cost of $43,995 and another was built in 1949 at a cost of $13,635. In 1953, a multi-purpose room was contracted for at a cost of $52,314. Remodeling of the school was done in 1960 by M. L. Abplanalp on a low bid of $117,606.

In 1920 while awaiting the construction of Ochoa School, it was found necessary to set up a temporary school in the Ochoa area. Not far from Ochoa had been located the federal Indian Service School which taught Papago Indian children living in the area.

There were two buildings on the site on Papago Street. Since the federal government had closed the school, it offered the use of one of the buildings to the School District. This was a three-classroom brick structure called the "Twenty-Fourth Street School in the vicinity of 24th and 25th Streets. Superintendent C. E. Rose, who meticulously kept enrollment records of the district's schools in a small black notebook, listed the "24th Street School" in the 1920-21 school-year figures. It opened September 20, 1920 with 42 students and reached a high of 191 on April 4, 1921.

The following fall, the school was closed since Ochoa had opened for business. The September 13, 1921, School Board minutes records that, "A request from Mrs. Wood, head teacher at Ochoa School, that she might get a decent white family to live in the Twenty-Fourth Street school building to care for the property free of rent was presented by Mr. Rose. The request was granted."

Miss Loy Ballfinch, former principal at Ochoa School and now retired, recalls using the classrooms of the school as overflow space. Later, the buildings were demolished. The volcanic rock retaining walls in front of the buildings are still standing at the site.

Miss Ballfinch, incidentally, was honored on April 8, 1960, by the Board which voted to name a future school after her. The area selected was "Site 95" in the northeastern part of the district. Plans for the 12-room elementary school have been drawn by Nicholas Sakellar. When the population demand dictates, the school will be located on a 10-acre site north of Tanque Verde Road between extensions of Camino Seco and Houghton Road.

Miss Ballfinch was born October 9, 1888, in Rich Hill, Missouri. Following elementary and high school education there, she became certified by the Butler County Superintendent of Schools to teach in rural schools. She taught in Missouri and Colorado and in 1911 came to Tucson to teach grades one through three at Holladay and Ochoa Elementary Schools.

First Hundred Years, By James F. Cooper, Edited by John H. Fahr, Tucson, Arizona, 1967