STREET SMARTS

Street Smarts: Monte helped his kids get started by opening shops for them to run

2013-05-28T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T15:34:35Z Street Smarts: Monte helped his kids get started by opening shops for them to runDavid Leighton For The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

A small street just west of downtown is named after a successful businessman, who bought the land in order to give his children a place to live.

Monte Davila was born on May 4, 1896, in Durango, Mexico. His father, Emeterio, died in 1899, and in 1900 he moved with his mother, Norberta (Huisar) Davila and his older brother, Jose, to Ray, a small Pinal County mining community that is now a ghost town.

Monte served in the Army during World War I. Around 1920, he relocated to Tucson and went to work for Litt's Drug Store at the corner of Stone Avenue and Congress Street, eventually becoming manager. He remained with the company for many years.

In 1937, he opened his own store, La Concha, at 415 S. Meyer Ave. The store featured prescription compounding, cosmetics, beer and wine, a soda fountain and a department for Mexican and Indian herbs. The store was run by sons Joseph and Gilbert for some years.

In 1942, Davila opened the Midtown Liquor Store, and after World War II, in 1948, the management of the shop was turned over to Monte Jr., who had recently returned home from military service. He still runs the store today at 339 S. Stone Ave.

In 1956, Davila helped his daughter, Bettina, a registered pharmacist and the first woman named to the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy, acquire the South Stone Pharmacy. Father and daughter became business partners. The pharmacy was located in what is now the parking lot of Casa Vicente restaurant, at 375 S. Stone Ave.

Davila bought a two-acre parcel of land in the Menlo Park Neighborhood and, in 1948, Davila Circle was officially recorded with Pima County, as part of the Davila Addition. The small street is off West Congress Street, west of Interstate 10 and just north of El Rio Community Health Center.

Davila subdivided the parcel among members of his family, and few of the family members still live on the street.

Before this, the family lived at 32 N. Linda Ave. for many years.

Monte was married twice, first to Rita Noriega in 1921, with whom he had a son, Wilfred, in 1923. He then married Mary Moreno in 1926 and had children Bettina (Davila) Lopez in 1926, Monte Davila Jr. in 1927, Joseph Davila in 1929, Gilbert Davila in 1931 and Mary Helen (Davila) Valdez in 1935.

Monte died on Sept. 10, 1962, in Tucson.

Editor's note

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 streetsmarts@azstarnet.com

Sources: Special thanks to Arizona Pathfinders Inc., a nonprofit volunteer support group of the Arizona History Museum. Mary Helen (Davila) Valdez (daughter), Monica Barbeau (granddaughter), Charles Sterling (great-grandson) and Robert M. Davila (grandson); Monte Davila biographical file (AHS) Judith Williams, "Plaza of the Pioneers," Tucson Museum of Art, 1982; Melanie McFarland, "Bettina Lopez, first minority on state board of pharmacy," Tucson Citizen, Feb. 8, 1994; Byrd H. Granger, "Will C. Barnes' Arizona Place Names," University of Arizona Press, 1985; Pima County Plat Map MP08092 Office of Vital Records - Death Certificate of Monte Davila 1931 Tucson City Directory.

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

Activate

Most Popular

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...

Retractable patio shades

Call today for more information!

Get weekly ads via e-mail