Historic downtown Tucson building to become a restaurant, shop | Subscriber

A historic downtown duplex built in 1907, that once housed an unlicensed fortune teller, has been renovated for its new life as a restaurant and candle shop.

Known as The Duplex, the 1,400-square-foot building at 198 and 200 N. Court Ave., has been vacant for years.

Its last resident, Jose Lee, left the home to the Tucson Heritage Foundation in 1976, stating in his will:

“The property must be retained as a historical site.”






Built in 1907, the historic Tucson duplex has sat vacant for years.




It was bought by the Rio Nuevo district in 2001 for an improvement project.

Because of the state of the building and the then-newly formed Rio Nuevo still in flux, it sat empty.

Last year, renovation began with the support of Rio Nuevo, the Presidio San Agustin del Tucson Museum and the Southwestern Foundation for Education and Historical Preservation.

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Amy Hartmann-Gordon, executive director of the Presidio Museum, said after the museum opened in 2008, talk turned to what would become of “this little leftover piece.”






A 115-year-old former residence in downtown Tucson is being renovated and will open a restaurant and candle shop.




“We had a lot of community conversations,” she said. “Because it’s within the Rio Nuevo district we were trying to find a way to generate tax revenue in a way that blended with cultural heritage.”

The restaurant will be operated by the Schneider family, who own La Cocina restaurant (or LaCo) at 201 N. Court Ave. The family plans to expand its Ceres Pasta concept in the new location.






Among the previous residents of the 115-year-old former duplex in downtown Tucson was an unlicensed fortune teller who was fined by the city.




The retail portion will be Candle with a Cure, a local shop selling handmade candles and soaps that include CBD products.

The shop will also offer classes on making candles.

“This ties back to what we do at the museum,” said Hartmann-Gordon. “We like to offer demonstrations.”

The plan is to open both businesses in September.






A 115-year-old former residence in downtown Tucson is being renovated and will open a restaurant and candle shop.




Storied history

The Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum is on the northeast corner of the original Presidio at 196 N. Court Ave., and is a reconstruction of the original Tucson Presidio built in 1775. Tours give visitors a glimpse of what life in the Presidio was like for soldiers and other residents.

The Duplex, according to the 1910 Census, was occupied by R.D. Walters, a 35-year-old Missouri native who worked for the railroad as a brakeman and his 31-year-old wife, Maude Walters, a native of Canada. Nell Terrant, 34, a widow from Wisconsin, also lived in the home and turned hair combings into switches as a hobby.






A 115-year-old former residence in downtown Tucson is being renovated and will open a restaurant and candle shop.




Many residents would come to occupy the home, including a decorator at Steinfeld’s Department Store, a postal carrier, and a fortune teller, Sara Valencia, who, in 1961, was fined $200 by the city of Tucson for telling fortunes without a city license. She was sentenced to 20 days in jail.






A 115-year-old former residence in downtown Tucson is being renovated and will open a restaurant and candle shop.




Contact reporter Gabriela Rico at [email protected]