San Rafael Estates is a small mid-century neighborhood consisting of only 69 homes on the northeast corner of Broadway and Wilmot. The neighborhood was developed by the Lusk Corporation in 1954 and due to rapid demand the neighborhood was sold-out in 1956. The design of San Rafael Estates earned the coveted Award of Merit from the National Association of Home Builders. Lusk Corporation was the only company to win this award for 5 consecutive years, 4 of these awards were for Tucson based projects. In 2013 the neighborhood was added to the National Register of Historic Districts. This allows a significant property tax savings for eligible properties in the neighborhood.
The 40 acres of land was purchased by Lusk Corporation from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The neighborhood and the streets were named for Catholic Saints, with San Rafael being known for his healing powers.
San Rafael was made up of 3 floor plan models called the Lanai, Monterrey, and Home For All America. Lusk’s designer Arthur H. Rader designed the Lanai and Monterrey models. The Home For All America plan was adapted by Rader from Robert A. Little’s prototype design featured in Better Homes & Gardens. Each of these Modern Ranch style homes were offered with several different elevations along with different material and color choices to guarantee that no 2 homes looked identical.
The inward-facing San Rafael neighborhood is unique because of the low profile, horizontal front elevations, asymmetrical façade, ribbon windows and/or walls of windows, and burnt adobe construction. Each of the homes was originally 1600-1900 SF with 3-4 bedrooms and a single or double carport. Many of the homes were oriented to take advantage of views of the Catalina Mountains and to limit sun exposure in the windows. The neighborhood is centered around a community pool. San Rafael Estates is is serviced by these TUSD schools: Sewell Elementary, Utterback Middle, and Rincon High.
Are you interested in learning more about Lusk Corporation? Take a look at a blog I wrote about this Tucson based company that became the 5th largest home builder in America in the 1950s.
Would you like to know more about mid-century homes and neighborhoods in Tucson? Check out my Tucson mid-century home guide here!
Do you own a San Rafael Estates home that you would like to sell? Are you interested in homes for sale in San Rafael Estates? Contact Nick at 520-975-8956 or Nick@RealTucson.com
Or visit: longrealtyapp.com/nicklabriola from any mobile device
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