Monday, September 30, 2013

Epes Randolph Memorial

At the northeast corner of Reid Park, and the west edge of Randolph Park — is this memorial to railroad man Epes Randolph. A big man in Tucson history, he lived from August 16, 1856 to August 22, 1921.

Epes Randolph Memorial, Tucson, Arizona - from the south


Between the train wheels are benches.

Mr. Randolph and a plaque about this memorial:

Epes Randolph sculpture in Tucson, May 2013

Plaque at the base of the Epes Randolph sculpture showing railroad map of the Tucson-railroads that Epes Randolph commended

You can read more — and see a lot more photos — on the page about this memorial at The Historical Marker Database.

American-born sculptor Nicholas Lowell Burke, who was born in 1957, is listed as artist (on a plaque there). The project was funded by the City of Tucson; it's dated 2006.

Location: Northwest corner of Camino Campestre & Randolph Way.

Hours: Open 24 hours, though it's not well-lit at night.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cancer Survivors Plaza

This week’s pocket park is actually part of a big park: Reid Park. It’s on 22nd Street just south of the entrance to the zoo. But this little plaza has so much charm… and, whenever I drive by, I hardly ever see anyone there to enjoy it.

Once you see photos, you’ll probably recognize the place (if you don’t know it already):

Cancer Survivors Plaza and sign Plaque at Cancer Survivors Plaza
Cancer... There's Hope - front view Cancer... There's Hope - rear view

The whole name is The Richard & Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Plaza. It’s a small plaza surrounded by greenery and brightly-painted columns, with benches for sitting and a fountain (which, whenever I’ve visited, has always been dry). The main features are informative and inspiring plaques (if you have cancer or have had it, stop by to read these!) as well as the sculpture Cancer… There’s Hope by Victor Salmonfs.

There’s a big parking lot just west of the Plaza.

Location: 22nd St. at Lake Shore Lane (click for a satellite view and map from Google).

Hours: Always ready to welcome you.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Springerville (but not in Springerville)

This week's pocket park is not far south of downtown on a residential street that’s artsy and fun. “Springerville,” a passing cyclist told me, is the name (his name, at least) for a set of family-sized chairs (some chairs tall, some short) around a table:

There’s a closeup of one of the chairs in the public art section of

I'm guessing that the name is at least partly a play on the community of Springerville in east-central AZ? But then there are those springy chairs...

Location: East side of Meyer Ave. just north of 19th St. (between 851 and 871 S. Meyer). Here's a satellite view from Google Maps; from there, you can also use the Street View feature to scan around the area.

Hours: You're in a neighborhood, between two homes, on a narrow street. People need their ZZZs. There may not be much light (except porch lights). So I'd suggest being there only between 9 or 10 AM and sunset... maybe a bit later on summer evenings and weekends? (Please feel free to leave comments below — especially if you live on that part of Meyer Street!)

Note: People living nearby need their peace and quiet. Please be extra-respectful in this tiny “park.” Thanks.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tucked away at Congress & Scott

If you spend much time downtown, you may already know about this shady nook at (actually, below) the northeast corner of Congress & Scott. Or, if you don't visit downtown much, maybe — now that downtown is opening back up (after endless streetcar construction) — you'll want to come in to see all that's new in the past year or two... and take a break down under?

I spotted this park (but didn't go in because I didn't have my bicycle lock with me) July 28th.

Location: The park is west of the building at 97 East Congress, The Partnership: Pima County Teen Court. (Click there for a satellite view from Google Maps.)

Hours: Confusingly, one sign on the fence says "Park closed sunset to 7 AM." Another sign (not shown here) said "Park closed dusk to dawn." But I'd guess that the only time you can get in is when the building is open... so you can go downstairs, then head outdoors into the park. If you have more details, please leave a comment below or send me email.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Plaza of the Pioneers

Welcome to this new blog about small Tucson parks. You'll find them in neighborhoods, on corners of buildings, and other places that you might not look. (Actually, I find these little parks as I ride my bicycle around Tucson, looking for other kinds of art while I get some exercise… and I’m glad to pass the word on to you! Some of the parks are so tiny — maybe just a few chairs and a table in the “traffic circle” that's in many Tucson intersections — that I'll ask neighbors if it's okay for me to spread the word about the spot. (I've been planning for this blog — and collecting photos — for quite a while now.) Today is Labor Day; it's a perfect time to start a blog about places to relax and enjoy life, yes?

This first “pocket park” is no secret... a lot of people already know about it... though it can be a bit hard to find if you haven't been there before:

Downtown, just north of the well-known El Presidio Plaza — which is behind the famous domed Old Pima County Courthouse — is the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block. The museum buildings are grouped around a plaza (a.k.a. a courtyard) — The Plaza of the Pioneers.

Naturally enough, it's filled with sculpture, a fountain, and (as you can see above) some places to sit. There are shady benches (for the summer) and open ones (for the winter, or for summer evening events at the Museum (as in the photo below, which I took while I was a (volunteer) event photographer for the Museum... what a wonderful “job” :))):

On the west side of the plaza is the fabulous (and cleverly named) Café à la C’Art, which used to be the location of Janos’ first Tucson restaurant.

Outside the restaurant is a gorgeous mosaic mural that wraps around the outdoor dining area. You can see it on today's Tucson Murals Project post (click there). Near the northern (right-side) entrance to the dining area is a plaque about the Pioneers:

(That's an evening view, when the plaque is floodlit from below.)

Let's wrap up with a summary:

Location: 150 N. Main Avenue (a bit hard to find; see the description above and/or use this Google Maps satellite view showing the plaza in the center).

Hours: The plaza is open during Museum hours (visit their website or call 520-624-2333 for current hours). I believe it's also open when Café à la C’Art is open; they (currently, at least) are open during times the Museum isn't. (The gates to the plaza are fairly new; the plaza used to be open all night. If you know more, please leave a comment below!)

Best times to visit: Summer daytimes can be hot. Anytime you go to the cafe is nice for a stroll to see the (mostly contemporary) sculpture and to admire that mosaic mural I mentioned above.

I'm hoping to post one Pocket Park per week. Please check back and/or subscribe or follow (see the top right part of this page). Once this blog is established (today's post — on Labor Day, 2013 — is the first) you can also use the links at the right side, or the search box, to find more parks.

See you next time!