Last Updated on June 14, 2021 by Kim Labriola
Rincon Heights Historic District near UA Campus
The Rincon Heights volunteer neighborhood association’s tagline is “Middle of Everywhere”. And that’s so true.
Rincon Heights is a historic district that’s located south of University of Arizona (6th St.), and north of The Sunshine Mile (Broadway Blvd.) between Park Avenue and Campbell Avenue. This location makes it convenient to shopping, restaurants, downtown Tucson, University of Arizona, and more.
Rincon Heights Homes for Sale
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Rincon Heights map
Rincon Heights Architectural Diversity
Rincon Heights is considered the most architecturally diverse neighborhood in Tucson. What’s unique about the neighborhood is the wide variety of types of homes built here as well as styles of homes.
Single family homes sit next to duplexes and triplexes, which sit next to multi-family bungalow courts and apartments. One of the apartments in the neighborhood was turned into a condo complex that is popular with UA students.
Due to its proximity to UA campus, many homes have their original free-standing garages turned into rental housing for students. More recently, some of the homes and casitas in the area have been turned into successful Airbnb or short-term rental properties.
What caused this diversity in styles and types of homes?
The neighborhood had a long build-out time. Most homes were built between 1920s to the 1970s which brought with it a wide variety of architectural styles. Spanish Revival, Pueblo Revival, Tudor Revival, and Craftsman Bungalows were popular in the 1910s-1940s. Ranch style homes became the norm post WWII.
During this time car usage also changed dramatically, which impacted architecture. Prior to WWII many homes had garages built in the back, or simply parked on the street. Post war, homes started featuring carports to proudly show off the new shiny vehicle.
Being close to the university also impacted the types of buildings constructed with multi-family homes such as duplexes, apartments, and bungalow courts being a great option for students to live.
The neighborhood also had more diversity in the residents because it was one of the few neighborhoods that did not have deed restrictions limiting who was able to live here.
Rincon Heights streets are laid out in a grid pattern. Most homes face north or south. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) added some sidewalks and improvements to the High School Wash in the 1930s.
In recent years, the neighborhood has implemented a plan to use street runoff to water newly planted trees that shade the sidewalks. They’ve planted hundreds of drought tolerant trees so far.
Rincon Heights History
A portion of neighborhood was first developed in the 1880s but proved to be far ahead of its time. Less than 12 lots sold in the first 5 years. The lag time was due to the lack of public transportation that made it difficult for would-be residents to access town services. In fact, 9th and 10th Streets are wider because they were designed for a streetcar that never came to be. It was one of the first suburban neighborhoods for Tucson.
In 1885 Tucson was granted the territory’s only university by the 13th Territorial Legislature (which was considered less desirable than the insane asylum, normal school, and prisons that Phoenix, Tempe, and Florence got, respectively). Two gamblers and a saloon keeper donated the land for the University. The university’s location encouraged eastward growth.
Bike friendly and walkable
Nowadays, the neighborhood has a high walkability and bikeability scores. 3 bike boulevards are in planning stages (9th St., Park Ave., and Warren Ave.). A Tugo bike rental station is at 9th St east of Park Ave. A signaled bike and pedestrian crossing has been installed on 9th Street to cross Campbell to access the southern part of neighboring Sam Hughes neighborhood.
Community Garden, Pocket Park, and Little Free Libraries
There’s a community garden that any Tucsonan is welcome to join near Fremont and 8th St. There’s a pocket park (at 8th St and Warren) called Feld Davis with a little free library. A few other little free libraries are sprinkled throughout the neighborhood.
Volunteer Neighborhood Association
The Rincon Heights Neighborhood Association is a volunteer association which holds meetings regularly. They work together to make their neighborhood a better place for all residents and have completed many successful projects.
Broadway and 6th Street have lots of shopping and restaurants. The highly anticipated Bungalow Block features 7 historic homes that were moved to avoid demolition during the Broadway widening road project. These homes will be turned into shops and/or restaurants with inviting courtyards.
Good Eye Design located on Park Avenue is a locally owned retail shop featuring furniture and furnishings is located within the neighborhood. Rocco’s Little Chicago, located on Broadway, is a neighborhood favorite.
The University of Arizona Rec Center is in the northern part of the neighborhood at 6th Street and can be utilized by UA students, staff, alumni, or the general public for a fee.
Rincon Heights is serviced by schools in the Tucson Unified School District. The default elementary schools are either Sam Hughes or Roskruge. Mansfield and Tucson High are the default middle school and high school, respectively. Other public school options may be available through open enrollment. Charter schools and private schools are other schooling options.
Mansfeld Middle School
Mansfeld Middle School is at the northern part of the neighborhood. This distinctive pink, Spanish Colonial Revival building was designed by noted architect Roy Place in 1929. Place designed many iconic buildings in Tucson including the historic Pima County Courthouse and the El Conquistador Water Tower.
The land for Mansfeld school was donated by the family of Jacob Mansfeld. Jacob Mansfeld owned the first bookstore in Tucson, which also became Tucson’s first circulating library. He also established the first public library in the territory in 1883. Mansfeld was named the first Arizona Board of Regents for the University of Arizona. He helped persuade the previously mentioned land owners (a saloon keeper and 2 gamblers) to give 40 acres to the regents for use as the University of Arizona.
Neighborhood Historic Designation
Rincon Heights became a registered historic district in 2013. This designation can save those who own contributing properties about 45-50% on their property taxes for maintaining the original exterior look of their home.
The neighborhood borders 2 other historic districts: Pie Allen to the west and Sam Hughes to the east.
Favorite things about Rincon Heights:
- Location is ‘In The Middle of Everywhere’
- Easy access to UA campus
- Wide variety of housing types available to meet many budgets
- Native trees that shade the sidewalks
- Highly walkable and bikeable
- The voluntary HOA is very active