Popular neighborhood Blenman-Elm in midtown Tucson offers diverse architectural styles and history in a conveniently central area. Located in Tucson, just east of the University Medical Center, the “L” shaped neighborhood covers approximately one square mile and is bordered by Grant Road on the north, Speedway on the south, Country Club on the east and Campbell on the west. The neighborhood wraps around the Catalina Vista neighborhood, which is also a historic district.
The district is composed of four subdivisions Olsen Addition (1903), Blenman Addition (1926), New Deal Acres (1934), and Blenman Annex (1939) and was designated to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Blenman-Elm is serviced by these TUSD schools: Blenman Elementary, Doolen Middle, and Catalina High.
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Development dates back to 1900 when developer Andrew Olsen built a home at the NE corner of Helen St. and Plumer Avenue. Growth was slow until a boom occurred in 1936. Peak growth was in 1955. By 1960 the area was mostly built out.
Who is the Blenman neighborhood named for?
Charles Blenman was an Oxford-educated lawyer who came to Tucson and became a well-respected judge, as well as a land speculator.
Blenman was born in the seaside town of Torquay, England in 1859. Prior to coming to Tucson, Blenman’s first stop in the US was San Francisco before eventually going to Tombstone, Arizona. He practiced law in Arizona, defending the notorious outlaw Bill Downing.
Blenman made his way to Tucson, moving to the area in 1891. He became a judge in Tucson, then went into land speculation. In 1903, he homesteaded a portion of the land that later became the Blenman-Elm neighborhood.
Blenman owned a home, which was also his law office, in the Armory Park neighborhood that is currently occupied by a bed and breakfast.
Blenman is credited with bringing affordable homes to Tucson. When it was initially developed it was in considered a suburb. Many of the smaller homes sold for only $4000 at the time. Now this neighborhood is popular due to its close proximity to the University of Arizona and UMC.
Twenty-one of the homes in the neighborhood were designed by Swiss born architect Josias Joesler. Historical Landmarks in the neighborhood include; Arizona Inn (1930), Peter and Paul Catholic Church (1931) and Blenman Elementary School (1942).
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