Passing Through Many Hands

Nana Anita's childhood memories

Alicia Pérez

In 1796, Adjutant Inspector Roque de Medina, on behalf of Spain, granted "tame" Apaches land which included much of what is now known as Barrio Anita.

In 1828, Teodoro Ramírez bought the land from the Apaches for two muskets, sixteen pesos worth of tobacco, four zarapes, a horse and ten pesos (the Apaches wanted to use the money to buy gun powder). All this amounted to about one hundred pesos in value. This trade was approved by Apache chiefs Atune and Benito.

Thomas Hughes, Sr. bought the land from the Territory of Arizona on January 31, 1902.

Thomas Hughes Sr. named the land "McKinley Park" after President William McKinley was assassinated. "He was a great supporter of McKinley," said Richard Hughes, his great grandson.

Annie Hughes was the sister of Thomas Hughes, Sr. After Thomas Hughes's wife died, Annie Hughes moved in to help her brother raise his children. According to Richard Hughes, his great-grandfather named one of McKinley Park's main streets, "Annie Avenue", after his sister. It was soon after changed to ''Anita Avenue" ("Anita" is the Spanish translation for ''Annie''). From this street name, the area later came to be known as "Barrio Anita."

Hughes named the streets in McKinley Park after family, friends and colleagues who, like him, were early Anglo American settlers in Tucson: Phil Contzen, Peter Kitchen, Charles A. Shibell, Annie Hughes, Sidney R. DeLong, William Cross Davis, Peter R. Brady, William S. and Granville H. Oury, W. W. Williams, Dr. Charles H. Lord, and Nelson Van Alstyne (there's a theory that Hughes misspelled his friend's name on the plat as "Van Alstine").

Sources:

Officer, James E. Hispanic Arizona,1536-1856. Tucson, AZ:
University of Arizona Press, 1989.

Sheridan, Thomas E. Los Tucsonenses:
The Mexican Community in Tucson
, 1854-1941. Tucson, AZ:
University of Arizona Press, 1986.

Sonnichsen, C.L. Tucson: The Life and Times of an American City. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1982.

Richard Hughes interview, 6/25/98. Pima County Book of Deeds, Book 32, p.533.