STREET SMARTS: RANDOLPH WAY

Street Smarts: Influential railroader gave name to midtown Tucson street

2013-07-16T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T15:34:33Z Street Smarts: Influential railroader gave name to midtown Tucson streetDavid Leighton For The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Just south of El Con Mall, between Reid Park and Randolph North Golf Course, is Randolph Way, named in honor of the man who donated much of the land for public use.

Epes Randolph was born in 1856 in Lunenburg County, Va., to Eston and Sarah (Epes) Randolph, both from Virginia. He is a descendant of the famous Randolph family of Virginia as well as Pocahontas - he named his expensive car in honor of her.

Randolph influenced the development of the railroad in the United States. From 1876 to 1885 he helped to locate, build and maintain railways in several southern states and Mexico. He was with various companies during these years as an assistant, resident or division engineer.

He was actively engaged in the building of hundreds of miles of track in Texas, Kentucky, Georgia and Mexico. He married in January 1886, while living in Ohio, to Eleanor Taylor. In 1894, he resigned from his work due to ill health, most likely tuberculosis.

In 1895, Randolph once again returned to railroad work, this time as superintendent for the Southern Pacific Railroad, which was headquartered in Tucson, and oversaw Arizona and New Mexico. He worked in this capacity until 1901 when he accepted a position as vice president of the Pacific Electric Railway Co. and supervised the building and operation of 700 miles of electric lines.

In the fall of 1904, Randolph returned to Tucson as president of the Gila Valley, Globe & Northern Railway Co., and the Maricopa & Phoenix and Salt River Valley Railroad Co.

He financed the downtown Santa Rita Hotel with Levi H. Manning at the turn of the century. He also invested in banks, railroads and mines across Arizona and Mexico. He was a member of the Board of Regents from 1919 to 1921, and rose to honorary 33rd degree Mason.

Randolph died in August 1921 in his apartment at the Santa Rita Hotel.

Editor's note

Each week Street Smarts tells the stories behind Tucson street names. If you have streets to suggest or stories to share, contact writer David Leighton at streetsmarts@ azstarnet.com

Sources: Special thanks to Dennis McDermott of the Arizona Historical Society. James H. McClintock, "Arizona Prehistoric - Aboriginal, Pioneer, Modern. The Nation's Youngest Commonwealth," SJ Clarke Publishing,1916. William D. Kalt III, "Tucson Was a Railroad Town," VTD Rail Publishing, 2007 Otheman Stevens, "Being the Portraits and Biographies of the Progressive Notables of the West," International News Service, 1915 Will C. Barnes, "Arizona Place Names," University of Arizona Press, 1985 (Reprint) Epes Randolph Statue website: www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMA1CQ_Epes_Randolph_Tucson_AZ Pima County Library Online Files: www.library.pima.gov/librarianfiles/?kbid=660 Special thanks to Dennis McDermott of the Arizona Historical Society

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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