44 W 6th
Citizens Transfer and Storage Co., Inc. opened in 1907 as a cartage and drayage business, delivering goods and merchandise from the railroad, by horse-drawn wagons, to homes and individuals throughout the region. In its early days, Citizens was located on Congress Street, including a location at the intersection of Congress Street and Stone Avenue.
The first known activity by Citizens at 44 West 6th Street was in 1929 when a single-story building with a full basement was designed by Roy Place and built by Frank Putter Construction. Constructed entirely with cast-in-place reinforced concrete, the structure was designed to support up to five stories. Reinforced concrete columns were placed at a uniform twenty-one foot spacing and define a grid of five bays wide and three bays deep.
In 1984, Citizens Warehouse was sold, along with two other structures and a vacant lot, to the Arizona Department of Transportation for the proposed expansion of the Aviation Corridor (Downtown Links). Since the early 1990s Citizens Warehouse has seen new life as artists’ studios and community space.
Citizens Warehouse is a contributing structure to the Tucson Warehouse Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Place in October 1999. The Tucson Warehouse Historic District is significant for its contributions to the growth of industry and commerce in Tucson and Southern Arizona during the first half of the twentieth century. During this time, Citizens Transfer Company became one of Tucson’s most prominent storage and delivery companies, capitalizing on the growth of Tucson and through its prime location directly adjacent to the railroad tracks. Citizens Warehouse is a good example of trends in construction technology, including the use of a reinforced concrete structure.
Citizens Warehouse is also significant for being designed by prominent Tucson architect Roy Place. He designed many of the noteworthy public buildings at the University of Arizona. In 1929, the same year that Citizens Warehouse was constructed, Place designed the iconic Pima County Courthouse. Just blocks from Citizens Warehouse, the elaborate, Moorish influenced, Spanish Colonial style Courthouse is a sharp contrast to the utilitarian building Place created for Citizens. In these two buildings it is possible to understand the breadth of Place’s architectural practice and his faculties for working with different architectural styles and construction techniques. In 1929 Place’s Citizens Warehouse may have contributed as much to the region’s growing commercial infrastructure as the Pima County Courthouse contributed to its civic character.
Although Citizens Warehouse has undergone a change of use, many of its original features remain intact. Changes to the building have been in the spirit of its origins as a no-frills commercial structure.
* Excerpted from the Citizens Warehouse Building Condition Assessment Report, 2007 by Poster Frost Mirto, Inc.