A Tales from the Morgue replay

Coming soon! Old Trail Dust Town

2012-09-21T08:00:00Z Coming soon! Old Trail Dust TownElaine Raines Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
September 21, 2012 8:00 am  • 

It was 1959 and developer Howard Hamm wanted Tucson to have a saloon and dance hall. In fact, he also wanted a livery stable, blacksmith shop and old west opera house. To be more precise, Hamm wanted us to have a Trail Dust Town.

In August 1959, he presented his plans for a frontier town, to be located on Grant Rd. near Tanque Verde Rd, to the County Planning and Zoning Commission. It was to be a commercial development with 28 buildings and 25 stores. There would be a museum and two saloons, one for the adults and one for the younger crowd. Cars would be kept to the outside of the U-shaped town.

At that meeting, there was only one objection. A local business was concerned about the town’s affect on future development in the area. But the zoning change, from residence-2 to heavy business, was approved by the commission. It was subject to approval from the supervisors.

There were quickly objections from some nearby neighborhoods, principally Country Club Estates. Their concerns were outdoor dancing, bright lights, noise and the affect on property values. The commission took up the issue again and this time they asked for a restudy of the general area.

But, those issues must have been resolved, because in early September 1960, ground was broken for Trail Dust Town. The project even seems to have grown from the original plan. Forty-two buildings were now planned for the 23 acres of land. Plans also called for a motel and post office.

Trail Dust Town still thrives and entertains thousands of visitors each year.

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About this blog

Tales from the Morgue is a way for the Star to share stories from the treasure trove of information held in its old files.

Johanna Eubank, aka the Morgue Lady, was a research assistant in the Star Library - also known as News and Research Services - for 18 years before becoming an online content producer for StarNet. She has had her share of sneezing fits after digging into dusty old files, so she's sure to find a few old stories to re-examine.

If you have suggestions, comments or questions about this blog, e-mail jeubank@tucson.com.

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