Above: A new Tucson skyline was emerging on May 9, 1969, as the home of Sabino Otero, middle left, was eventually destroyed and the stage set for the new convention center and the city’s march toward urban renewal. The angst over the look and direction of downtown Tucson has haunted the city for years. A major turning point was 50 years ago, in 1965, when the Tucson City Council approved a downtown redevelopment project with help from the federal government. Entire blocks of homes and businesses dating back to the early 1800s were demolished. A master-planned core of government buildings emerged, dramatically changing the city’s dynamic. Go to tucson.com/retrotucson to see our collection of photos then and now.

Right: Reuben Gold’s Furniture Store in June, 1966, foreground, and the Tucsonia Hotel on West Congress Street. Both were torn down to make way for the county government complex.