TPBCO workers stand in front of their product
after a hard day's work
As young historians, we are specifically profiling a few locally-owned
businesses-past and present-to show that they bring money in and put it
back into the community. The Westside neighborhoods need businesses like
these to increase their economic value in the next ten years.
Westside Builds Tucson: Brick By Brick
In the 1880s, most structures in Tucson were made of adobe; this was an
abundant material for homes in the desert. In1908, however, Quintus Monier
founded the Tucson Pressed Brick Company (TPBCO) south of Congress and west
of the Santa Cruz River. By the 1920s Tucson real estate development began
to boom. Neighborhoods began to spring up and automobiles allowed people to
commute. With the boom, brickyard businesses began to pick up. Monier's
TPBCO faced competition from two other Westside brickyards-DeVry Brickyard
(approximately where Dragon's View Restaurant is today) and Grabe's
Brickyard at St. Mary's and Grande.
(Source: Allison Cohen Diehl and Michael W. Diehl, "Building Tucson in
the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries," Archaeology in Tucson: Newsletter
of the Center for Desert Archaeology, Summer, 1996)
"My grandfather, Augustine Romero, was the foreman for the DeVry Brickyard
Company for twenty years.... In the early sixties, when I was a kid, I used
to walk with him along the river at night to the brickyard....He had to
make sure that the brick ovens were the right temperature and that the
fires hadn't gone out...I remember it smelled real good, like clay."
(Danny Romero, 7/14/97)
"My father, [R. Jacquez], was the foreman for Grabe Brickyard....
Sometimes after a building was up at the University, my Dad would take us
kids in his truck and drive us over there, and he would say see that
building? and [we] would say yeah and he would say I built those bricks."
(Lupe Jacquez, 7/15/97)
Pat's: Last One Standing
Pat's was established by a man named Henry Patterson in 1955. At the time
there were three Pat's around town. Now there is just one on N. Grande at
W. Niagara in Barrio Hollywood. Pat's has helped the Westside by giving
employment to young Hollywooders and other area kids. Carlos Hernandez,
known as Charlie by most, is the current owner. He first started at Pat's
in 1965 as a general employee, peeling potatoes and onions. In 1979, the
business was offered to him and he jumped at the chance. He is now
successful with his business and says, "This is the best crew I've ever
Charlie feels that Westside economy is growing a lot. He also feels the
crime rate is going down because he sees less violence, less drug deals.
Future plans for Pat's include possible expansion while making sure to
maintain its "original" look.
(Carlos Hernandez, 7/3/97)
Tañia's: The best deal in town
Taņias Restaurant was started by the Lira family in 1983. The mother of
Rudy Lira -- the current owner-began by making tortillas and selling them.
Taņias has created a special reputation with its affordable prices and
deals. Taņias is the only place in Tucson that sells soup and gives twice
as much for a dollar more. Taņias has also kept its prices the same for
over seven years. Taņias is also dedicated to giving back to the community.
They give out coupons to "most improved students." Also, city volunteers
get two-for-one deals. Rudy feels that the business is going in the right
direction but is nowhere near where they want to be. Presently they are
open from 5:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Their current goal is to be open
twenty-four hours. Taņias is doing a lot of things right. They're known all
over Tucson and have "the most competitive prices in town."
(Rudy Lira, 7/9/97)