Street Smarts: Street names in downtown neighborhood reflect area's history

2013-12-17T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T15:33:23Z Street Smarts: Street names in downtown neighborhood reflect area's historyBy David Leighton For the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 17, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The streets of the solar-inspired Armory Park del Sol development downtown reflect the history of the area.

The subdivision, on the northeast corner of South Third Avenue and East 16th Street, was developed by Tucson builder John Wesley Miller.

A graduate of Tucson High School and the University of Arizona, Miller got his start in the construction business as a teen, working for his father as a carpenter for Miller Construction Co.

He built his first house at 2222 E. Beverly Drive in 1953, and started his own business in 1967. John Wesley Miller Cos. focuses on solar-energy homes and buildings. He recorded Armory Park del Sol and the following streets with Pima County on Oct. 4, 2000:

• Ott Avenue: In 1872, Tucson townsite surveyor S.W. Foreman renamed a small street — then called Calle De La Plaza, running east from Calle Real (now Main Avenue) to the present-day Church Avenue, through the old presidio — to Ott Street in honor of Sheriff Hylor Ott.

The street was abandoned in the 1960s or 1970s and the old black-and-white street signs were given to Ott’s descendants. In 2000 Miller brought back the name to honor Ott and his descendants, including Mary Ott, former Tucson High School Spanish teacher; Charlie H. Ott III, former University of Arizona swim coach; and Frank E. Ott, former principal of Wakefield Middle School.

• Codd Street is named in honor of the Codd family. One member of the family, Bill Codd, grew up in the Armory Park neighborhood and attended the UA, where he played baseball and football. He later moved to New York to work as an engineer but has returned home to Tucson to retire.

• Laos Street gets its name from Roy and Annie Laos. Roy ran the well-known Arizona Pharmacy at 647 S. Sixth Avenue, and Annie was a catalyst in getting the Armory Park Neighborhood designated as Tucson’s first historical neighborhood.

• Historico Street emphasizes the historic aspect of the Armory Park neighborhood.

Similarly, Miller selected the name Downtown Street so his subdivision would tie in with the downtown area.

• Anatole Street harkens back to a day when Miller was staying at the Hilton Anatole hotel in Dallas and thinking about street names for his planned subdivision that were connected with solar-home development. “Anatole” is derived from Greek and means “Sunrise.”

• Southern Pacific Avenue gets its name because Armory Park del Sol is built on the site of company housing for the Southern Pacific Railroad Co. A railroad administrator told Miller a company store and pharmacy and a medical clinic for employees only were on the site. The man said he had been in charge of auctioning off the homes on the site, which were then moved to other places.

• Union Pacific Avenue was a nod to Southern Pacific’s becoming part of the Union Pacific Railroad Co., and the continued connection between the railroad and the Armory Park neighborhood.


Interview with John Wesley Miller, Aug. 27, 2013

Emails from Chuck Ott IV

Pima County plat map MP53098

Julieta Gonzalez, “My Tucson: Armory Park lives on,” Tucson Citizen, Mar. 18, 2008

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