former Tucson city attorney

Submitted Photo

A man whose passion was law became the namesake for Richey Boulevard, which runs north and south through midtown.

Tom K. Richey was born to George and Fannie (Gossin) Richey in Crawford County, Kan., on June 27, 1874.

Richey attended St. Johns Military Academy in Salina, Kan. His first job was hawking newspapers in Leadville, Colo., and afterward he held many different positions in different states.

He worked with a city engineering force, in a coal mine, in a printing office, and in a railway office in Pittsburg, Kan., and in a grocery store in Weir City, Kan. From 1896 to 1898, he taught in the public schools in Arcadia, Kan., and the year following he was elected superintendent of the Crawford County Schools for a two-year term.

He devoted his spare time to the study of law. In 1901, he was employed as reading clerk for the Kansas Legislature and was admitted to the bar in that state. He began working as an attorney in Lawton, Okla., where he stayed from 1901 to 1904.

Arriving in Tucson in 1905, he served as city attorney from 1907 to 1911 and became known and respected for his dedication, aggressiveness and fearlessness. He handled many important and sometimes controversial cases.

Richey married Marie Grandpre of Chicago on July 19, 1911, and they had one son, Thomas Victor Richey, and two daughters, Marie and Imogene. The Richeys were well-known in city social circles. Tom Richey was a member of the Masonic Order, the Knights of Phythias and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He also belonged to the Old Pueblo Club and the Tucson Golf and Country Club, formerly at the southwest corner of East Broadway and Country Club Road - and the source of that street name.

A 1958 Star article tells how Richey got a street named after him: "Richey Boulevard was named in honor of Tom K. Richey and Dodge Boulevard for George E. Dodge. Both of these pioneer Tucsonians were first to build palatial homes along Speedway."

Richey Avenue, which runs more or less along the same alignment as Richey Boulevard, is likely named in his honor, also.

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: James H. McClintock, "Arizona Prehistoric - Aboriginal Pioneer Modern. The Nation's Youngest Commonwealth," SJ Clarke Publishing, 1916. Jo Conners, "Who's Who in Arizona," The Arizona Daily Star Press, 1913 Lisa Sage, "Odd names fascinating for man named Smith," Arizona Daily Star, July, 1978 "Past, Present, Future," Arizona Daily Star, March 12, 1958