Through Our Parents Eyes
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A Journey to My Neighborhood

I am 6 months old in this picture. This sign was outside the house for many years.
I am three and a half months old in this picture. This sign was outside the house for many years. PPS

This website is of interest to the reader who lives in or visits Tucson and wants to know more of the history of the University and adjoining area developed by Louise Henriette Foucar (1864-1956). She came to the University as a graduate student in the academic year of 1898-1899; she became an instructor the next year and an assistant professor the following year. In the 1901-02 school year she was the first, and indeed the only, woman full professor (as listed in the Register, the UA annual catalogue) at the University in the first two decades of the University of Arizona. Professor Louise Foucar resigned in June 1903 to pursue business interests and real estate investments in the neighborhood.

She was instrumental in the development of the area and continued to be a major influence for many years. Her investments in real estate enabled her to have the finances to help others, one of her major goals. She was particularly interested in assisting young women students.

In 1926 Louise's rental properties, duplexes, houses and apartments, were mostly located near the northwest comer of the University from Euclid Avenue to Palm Road and along First and Second Streets. The Santa Catalina Apartments are at 803 and 811 East First Street (built by Professor Foucar in 1903); my family home was at 819 (built in 1926). Her property included rentals for forty families as well as the University Square stores (1922) on the northwest comer of Park Avenue and University Boulevard at the main entrance to the University.

My parents were living at 819 East First Street before I was born and continued to live there long after I graduated from the University of Arizona and was married.

Ivan Peters, 1927, at the front door to 811 E. First Street.
Ivan Peters, 1927, at the front door to 811 E. First Street. The door
to the right leads to my parents' one room apartment

In 1930 she established the Marshall Foundation "to carry on our charitable work when we are gone". My father, Ivan Peters, was Marshall property manager for forty years, Foundation vice president at its inception, then president about twenty-five years. Our family has had no connection with the Foundation since 1967.

The story of Louise Foucar Marshall is an essential, but little known, part of Tucson history and I have many unpublished, original sources.

In 1956 Louise Marshall's will stipulated that her personal property be given to my mother, Wilma Peters. Included were 250 personal letters received over a fifty-year span from her family and college friends; diaries written by Louise and her husband, Thomas Keith Marshall; journals and business letters. There were many photographs. The earliest of Louise were taken in 1866, hundreds were taken by Tom in Tucson starting in 1899. Three hundred of these are 4x5 inch negatives circa 1910, a dozen glass-plate negatives and hundreds of smaller pictures. My mother gave these to me in January 1987. At this time she also gave me my father's records, letters, and diaries dating from 1928-67, as well as the personal account books and copies of the annual reports he kept of all the rental property.

This website shows in pictures the story of Louise Foucar Marshall's time at the University (1898-1902) and the neighborhood she built (1901-1952); a complex person, she combined the talents of a modern business woman, the personality of a formal and very reserved Victorian with a genuine concern for others. Always a teacher at heart, she thought assisting women to be able to get an education by giving scholarships was a way to improve not only that person, but that person in turn could help others; their family and the whole community would be improved.

Patricia Ann Peters in May 1930 at age twenty-two months in front of the family home at 819 E. First Street.
Patricia Ann Peters in May 1930 at age twenty-two months in
front of the family home at 819 East First Street. The metal sign for
the home-rental office was in front of the house for thirty-five years.
819 East First Street is now home to the UA's Roy P. Drachman Institute
for Land and Regional Development Studies

The story in this website is important to me because it is a personal journey through time. It concerns me and my family, and particularly the neighborhood bordering the northwest corner of the University at the close of the nineteenth century. It includes facts about the development of Tucson and the University of Arizona during these years and is also the story of Louise Foucar Marshall whose indomitable spirit, foresight and strong character made this neighborhood development possible. I would like to take you on this journey.

My mother, Wilma Peters, was a Marshall Foundation board member 1936-1946, several times was interim secretary and was nominated secretary by Louise on December 16, 1943. My mother did not want to work as a full-time secretary although she had secretarial training and had been employed by Tucson Title Company (1926-28). Since the rental office was in our home, she already had a part-time unpaid position of answering the doorbell, showing apartments, taking telephone messages and writing rent receipts. Most of the renters were neighbors who brought the money in person. I can remember helping with these chores by the time I was ten years old.

The pictures in this website are arranged chronologically to show the development of the University area from 1889 to the present.

The geographical areas are the original forty acres of the University, and includie the north side of Second Street from Mountain Avenue west to Park Avenue, the north side of First Street to Euclid Avenue, south on Euclid to University, east on University to the main gate at University (Third Street) and Park Avenue, and the land inclosed within this area.

Continue with An Early History of Tucson and the University