Nathaniel Plumer came here in 1899.


Plumer Avenue, between Campbell Avenue and Tucson Boulevard, is named in honor of a banker who helped Tucson grow and develop.

Nathaniel E. Plumer was born in 1866 in Detroit to Nathaniel B. and Martha (Sanborn) Plumer but grew up in Boston.

Plumer's first job was as a representative with the George H. Hammond Packing Co. After several years, he went into business for himself in the same field.

He arrived in Tucson in 1899, coming from Denver in a wagon due to health issues. Here he created a partnership with Fred J. Steward and was involved in real estate and insurance for three years as a member of the firm Plumer & Steward. Their offices were at 32 N. Stone Ave., where the Steinfeld Department Store would later stand.

With Steward and other investors, Plumer organized the Southern Arizona Bank & Trust Co. in 1903 and was elected president of the corporation - a role he would hold until his death. The bank was one of the strongest in the state, and in 1913 it had resources of more than $1 million.

Plumer was deeply involved in the creation of the Tucson YMCA. He became president of the board of trustees and guided the construction of the headquarters and purchase of equipment.

He also was active in the prohibition of alcohol and gambling in Tucson.

He owned property near the University of Arizona -likely in the area bounded by East Speedway, North Campbell Avenue, East Elm Street and North Tucson Boulevard - which he organized into a subdivision. He loved to play desert golf on the land, and also to race cars down Speedway.

Plumer married Mabel Roberts of New England, and they had one daughter, Alice Plumer.

After a visit to his summer home in Oracle, he became ill and died in 1917.

Street smarts

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

Sources: Special thanks to author Jane Eppinga. Jo Conners, "Who's Who in Arizona," The Arizona Daily Star Press, 1913 Jane Eppinga, "Images of America: Tucson, Arizona," Arcadia Publishing, 2000 "N.E. Plumer Dies; Tucson Loses Able Banker and Builder," Arizona Daily Star, 1917 "Mrs. Plumer's Estate In Excess of $100,000, Probate Records Show," Arizona Daily Star, March 15, 1952