Wouldn’t it be excellent if one could convey eternal respect and venerated consideration to some of our long established architectural treasures within the community?
Too often some beloved property is irretrievably targeted, bladed over, and altered into a new neighborhood Walgreens, strip mall or “Chew & Choke.” More frequently nowadays, it seems that the dearest desert isn’t the only thing being sacrificed for the sake of the 21st century and beyond.
In September 2016 it was announced that the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration were going to be closing their monastery located at 800 N. Country Club Road in Tucson in two years and consolidating their efforts back to Clyde, Missouri. Among numerous entities, even beyond the Catholic community, this has been cause of some concern both for the investment toward devotion relevant to the residents at the monastery, as well as the realization that the architectural significance of this facility to the city of Tucson is immeasurable.
There are certainly older structures throughout the Tucson valley, but not many as structurally sound and unique in appearance as the Benedictine Monastery.
It also serves as part of the record of the architectural vision of the prolific Roy Place who left quite the legacy with his Spanish Colonial Revival style nearly 100 years ago. Might it be Place’s mark that contributed somewhat to the moniker for Tucson as “The Old Pueblo”?
There are numerous buildings around Tucson that were instigated by architect Place — the Pima County Courthouse (1929); the Veterans Administration Hospital (1929); Mansfeld Junior High School (1930), among others; in addition to Centennial Hall (1936-1937) at the University of Arizona, and other structures on that campus.
Completed in 1940, the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Monastery is, to be sure, a superb example of mission style architecture. But more than that, nestled as it is in the very middle of Tucson, it certainly deserves to be protected and preserved from deleterious action that might come about through a sale of the property that could end up in the hands of some party/parties having ulterior motives other than insuring this iconic building a permanent place in Tucson’s historic sense of space.
One need not be a theologian or a devout parishioner of the diocese in order to appreciate the grand and unique construction of the Benedictine Monastery which embellishes our local architectural temper. Nary is it a necessity to hold any academic degree in structural design to appreciate the unique addition this facility contributes to the city’s landscape.
In conjunction with, yet beyond, this holiday season, potential good will, and the hopes for peace on Earth, the presence of this amazing building should be protected for eternity.
Tragic it would most assuredly be, if this noble structure were relegated to the collective memory as just some simple postcard and/or faded photographs. Yes, life will move forward through the 21st century with various forms of progress being created, but what will be lost if unique architecture standing as sentry to concept and characters from Tucson’s past passes away and is confined to dust?
For those that are concerned about the legacy of what Tucson is, it is our place to make sure this significant building is retained in its current condition and most respectfully preserved in perpetuity.