“Tucson: A Drama in Time,” by John P. Warnock, professor emeritus of English at the University of Arizona, will soon be published, but it has its beginnings as a volume of the Journal of the Southwest.
We are publishing excerpts on the fourth Monday of the month.
Many people managed to farm land in Southern Arizona successfully, but some used the Homestead Act for different purposes. From “Tucson: A Place-Making,” Volume 58, Number 3, Autumn 2016, of the Journal of the Southwest:
1880s and after
Residents and new arrivals are taking advantage of the Homestead Act, usually with no intention of farming the land.
Five people homestead the almost entirely vacant section of land east of what is to become the University of Arizona, between what will become the streets of Speedway and Broadway and west of what will become Country Club.
These homesteaders are Louis Mueller (who patents 40 acres in the southwest of the section in 1889), Eugene Brunier (who patents 120 acres east of Mueller’s land in 1890), William H. Campbell (patents 160 acres in the northwest of the section in 1898, and after whom Campbell Avenue will be named), Charles S. and Alvina Himmel Edmondson (who come to Tucson from New Orleans in 1897 and patent 160 acres in the northeast of the section in 1900), and Hugh Byrne (patents 160 acres in the middle of the section in 1906). The homesteads will later be sold or developed into subdivisions. Alvina Himmel Edmondson, who is divorced from Charles in 1927, will sell part of their homestead to the city in 1934 or 1935 to be made into a park named for her parents, the Himmels.
Anna Marie Stattelman (age 26, b. Germany 1871, who had arrived in Tucson by train in 1889 with her parents and a sister) homesteads a large tract of land extending from Park Avenue to Cherry Avenue and from what is now Lester Street to Grant Road (then called North Street). Later this year, she builds a home near North Santa Rita Avenue and East Lester Street.
She will name most of the streets in the area after trees, perhaps even including Elm Street, Walnut Street (now Cherry Avenue), Pine Avenue (now Warren), Maple Avenue (now Martin), and Oak Street (Now Campbell Avenue). In 1899, she will marry Frank Lester, superintendent of the Mammoth Gold Mines. She builds several Craftsman bungalows in the area, and is one of the first people to rent homes to UA students.