Carlotta Parra Rodriguez was born in 1913 on a ranch homesteaded by her parents near North Campbell Avenue and East River Road.
Her parents, Francisco V. and Maria (Parra) Rodriguez, had married in St. Augustine Cathedral in 1902. Around 1916, the rancho was sold and the Rodriguezes moved to present-day Barrio Anita (originally called McKinley Park).
Carlotta was one of 13 children. After graduating from eighth grade at Roskruge School, she went to work with her sister Antonia at the F.H. Keddington Print Shop, 20 N. Scott Ave., and later worked at Oury Park teaching crafts and hobbies.
Carlotta and her future husband, Roberto Padilla Sotomayor, began dating around 1936, going to places like the Fox Theatre, the Blue Moon Ballroom and the Wetmore amusement park. They married in 1938 and went on to have 10 children. Roberto was born in 1905 to Manuel and Santos Sotomayor in Tucson. His ancestors had come to the area from Sonora, Mexico, in the 1800s and homesteaded the land that is bordered by Ina Road, La Cholla Boulevard and south of Oracle Jaynes Station Road. Manuel and his brother Florencio were the original homesteaders.
Florencio farmed south of Oracle Jaynes Station Road, while Manuel had cattle north of the road. In 1946, Manuel died, leaving the land to his children. Roberto bought much of the land from his siblings, and in 1950 the family moved from town to the rancho.
The 80 acres south of Oracle Jaynes Station Road was sold, and the proceeds were used to build a stone house on a hill overlooking the rancho in 1961. The family cultivated chile, squash and watermelon.
Roberto died in 1992; Carlotta lived until July of this year.
When developers bought the last 32 acres of the old homestead, Carlotta struck a deal to ensure that a subdivision would be named Rancho Sotomayor. The streets in this neighborhood, southwest of West Orange Grove Road and North Shannon Road, are named for the family:
Camino de Sotomayor (the family in general), Calle Senor Manuel (Roberto's father, Manuel Sotomayor), Calle Senor Roberto (Carlotta's husband, Roberto Sotomayor), Calle Don Florencio (Roberto's uncle, Florencio Sotomayor), Camino Dona Carlota (Carlotta Parra Rodriguez Sotomayor), and Camino Dona Santos (Roberto's mother, Santos Sotomayor).
Each week the Star tells the stories behind Tucson street names. If you have streets to suggest or stories to share, contact writer David Leighton at email@example.com
Special thanks to readers Victor and Mary Cortes for suggesting the streets. Sources: • Interview with Cecilia Sotomayor Medina • Carmen Duarte, "Early Tucsonan Carlotta Sotomayor dies at 97," Arizona Daily Star, Aug. 1, 2012 • Patricia Preciado Martin, "Beloved Land: An Oral History of Mexican Americans in Southern Arizona," The University of Arizona Press, 2004 • City of Tucson Directory 1923