The first known use of the land that El Encanto Estates now occupies was as part of a 160-acre homestead bounded by present-day Fifth Street, Country Club Road, Broadway and Palo Verde Avenue.
Henry J. Blaise received a homestead patent on the land from the U.S. government on April 1, 1907.
Blaise was born around 1861, in Iowa and married Agapita Saenz on April 27, 1901 in Pima County (likely in Tucson). They had a daughter, Rose, around 1902.
Blaise was involved in mining and owned at least one mine in Pima County, which he sold for $500 in 1904.
The 1910 U.S. Census lists him as a cattle rancher, 'working on his own account'. So while it seems unlikely today, this affluent neighborhood might have been, a least for a couple years, a small ranch.
In October 1910, Sheriff John Nelson seized the 160-acre homestead after Blaise failed to pay a debt of $466.30 to Albert Steinfeld & Co. The foreclosed land eventually was sold to Steinfeld's brother-in-law, Hugo J. Donau in March 1913.
Donau, born in Germany on June 18, 1870, moved around the United States before coming to Tucson in 1895 to follow his sister Bettina (Donau) Steinfeld and brother Alfred S. Donau. He worked for the merchant firm L. Zeckendorf & Co.,, which later became Albert Steinfeld & Co. He was also involved, with his brother, in the Arizona Land & Cattle Co.
Donau didn't hold the land for long, selling the 160 acres in June, 1913 to Urban Realty. The following year, that company sold a 10-acre portion at present-day Broadway Boulevard and Country Club Road to P.E. Fogle.
Around 1921, Leroy C. James was living at the corner of Broadway and Country Club and a few years later owned 10 acres of land, presumably the same parcel once owned by Fogle. On the site was a three-room cottage, believed to have been built prior to 1921 that is the oldest residence in the El Encanto Estates. The house still exists, although in an altered form, at 128 N. Country Club Road.
James was born on Sept. 13, 1879, in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He married Annette May Roper, on Dec. 16, 1908, in Columbus, Ohio, and they had a daughter, Florence in 1911. His marriage license application lists him as a salesman. By 1918 they lived in Phoenix with James employed at McArthur Brothers automobile dealership. They moved to Tucson in 1919 and James managed the McArthur Brothers' Dodge dealership at Broadway and Scott Street He later became president of L.C. James Motor Co He died in Los Angeles on May 18, 1944 but was buried in Tucson.
In 1925, Urban Realty sold the eastern 40 acres of the original 160-acre homestead to an investor in the El Conquistador Hotel. That land is now part of the parking lot of El Con Mall. The rest of the land was sold to William B. Powhatan.
Powhatan was born into a farming family in Spencer County, Ind., on April 29, 1880 and married Ethel C. around 1907. They lived for many years in St. Louis, Mo., where their daughter Betty was born, and where Powhatan was owner and manager of a theater. The family relocated to Tucson for health reasons and he became a land speculator, buying 600 acres in the Castle Rock Ranch area near Tanque Verde Road and later selling it for development. He was an avid hunter and spent his last 10 years in semi-retirement living at the Santa Rita Hotel before his death in 1959.
In 1928, William E. Guerin Jr. purchased all the land minus the 10 acres owned by James. Then Guerin, James and Powhatan, along with their wives, incorporated to form El Encanto Estates, Inc., with Guerin as president and Walter E. Lovejoy Sr., as assistant secretary.
Guerin was born Nov. 24, 1871 in Ft. Scott, Kansas. He grew up in Columbus and served in the Ohio National Guard from 1883 to 1889. He studied law at Cornell University in Ithica, N.Y., graduating in 1893. He returned home and practiced law in Ohio for many years and also served in the Ohio State Legislature. On Mar. 7, 1895, he wed Alice T. Greenleaf in Columbus and the couple had a daughter, Mary B. Guerin. Around 1928, the family relocated to Tucson, where Guerin became involved in the development of El Encanto Estates. He later had his own home built there, at 30 E. Calle de Felicidad. He died in San Diego on Jan. 8, 1960.
Lovejoy was born on Nov. 27, 1891, in Rippey, Iowa, and moved with his family to Tucson in 1906. He was in the first graduating class of 10 students at Tucson High School in 1910, then located in the building known today as Roskruge Bilingual K-8 School. After high school he worked for Nathaniel Plumer (namesake of Plumer Avenue) at the Southern Arizona Bank for many years and later was president and chairman of the board of the Arizona Trust Co. Mayor Lewis C. Murphy proclaimed April 17, 1974 to be Walter E. Lovejoy Day. He died in 1978.
Lovejoy's grandson, Walter E. "Bucky" Lovejoy III, who worked at Arizona Trust along with his father and grandfather, remembers a story that the elder Lovejoy told his wife, Hazel, that she could have any lot at El Encanto Estates that she wanted. She turned down the offer because it was too far for her son, Walter Jr., to ride his bike to University Heights School at Park Avenue and Helen Street. Instead they built a large home at 627 E. Speedway Blvd, which still stands.
El Encanto Estates advertised a contest to choose Spanish street names for the new subdivision and received more than 600 submissions. On July 29, 1928, the Arizona Daily Star announced that, "A committee of seven directors and officers (including L.C. James, W.E. Lovejoy Sr. and W.E. Guerin) of the sub-division organization made the awards."
Winning contestants were awarded $5 apiece. The article named the winners, along with the Spanish names they suggested and their English translations (although some are loose translations). Women who won were listed under their husbands' names, but their full names are included here:
Louise U. Sibley: Calle de Felicidad (Happiness Street) and Calle Portal (Entrance Street)
Milton M. Cohen: Calle Primorosa (Neat Street)
Isma C. Blacklidge: Calle Encanto (Enchanted Street)
Olivia Maxey: Calle de Amistad (Friendship Street)
Rose M. Scruggs: Calle Corta (Short Street)
Carrie G. Meyer: Calle Belleza (Beauty Street)
Juan Lujan: Calle Claravista (Clearview Street)
Bessie Strohmajer: Camino Miramonte (Mountain View Road)
Petra Diaz: Calle Conquista (Conquest Street) and Calle Mirasol (Sunny View Street)
Margaret S. Galvez: Calle Resplandor (Splendor Street)
Note: The El Encanto Estates subdivision, along with the street names, was recorded with Pima County on Aug. 1, 1928. The first house built was by a Mr. Nail in 1929 and the second was by Ralph E. Ellinwood, who was editor and co-owner of the Arizona Daily Star and wrote the book, "Behind the German Lines: A Narrative of the Everyday Life of an American Prisoner of War." He also came up with the name of the now-demolished El Conquistador Hotel, from which El Con Mall derives its name.