Tucson's Sam Hughes Neighborhood
Outsiders may not recognize Sam Hughes as one of Tucson's core communities. On peaceful, tree-lined avenues, turn-of-the-century territorial style houses and mission-style bungalows painted in browns, purples, and sage greens sit within walking distance of stores, restaurants, and parks. It's also near to the University of Arizona and Tucson's cultural district, Downtown. The neighborhood, named after an early civic leader, is constantly being revitalized as new residents move in to restore older homes. Housing costs range from $200,000 to $1.5 million, attracting a wide range of people.
Everything from university professors to hungry students, lawyers and political leaders to musicians, young families to professional sports stars — a cross-section of the community lives here.
Sam Hughes is a blend of leafy streets lined with mid-century modern homes and a humming college community focused on brewpubs and boisterous sports bars with happy hour specials. From upscale pizzerias to vibrant Mexican cantinas offering authentic tamales and enchiladas, there's plenty for everyone. Himmel Park has jogging and bike paths lined with trees, as well as a summer pool and a fall open-air theatre.
The Sam Hughes area, which is a square mile in size and is bordered by Speedway Boulevard, Broadway Boulevard, Campbell Avenue, and Country Club Lane, was designated as a national historic district in 1994. According to the Sam Hughes Community Association, the neighborhood is named after Sam Hughes Elementary School, which is located in the original quadrant.
Samuel C. Hughes was a Welsh refugee who arrived in the United States when he was eight years old. Fearing death from an advanced case of tuberculosis, he traveled from California to Tucson in 1858 to convalesce in the dry air, convinced that his life was limited. The desert climate, like many others before and after him, proved to be the cure he wanted.
Hughes set about opening a butcher shop and settling down in Tucson after his health was restored. He had 15 children with Atanacia Santa Cruz, a local teen, and was a real community leader. He founded the first bank, served on many city councils, and was a driving force behind the creation of a public education system, which he called "the pride of my life."
The area that bears his name was built in 1921, and the homes are still revered for their originality and heritage with a semi-annual neighborhood association-led walking tour nearly 100 years later. Sam Hughes is a community of homes, teachers, and a fantastic public library... and it's still a well-preserved example of our culture.
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