Torres, Alva

This interview was recorded on December 4th, 2015 by Aengus Anderson for an unfinished personal radio documentary. As such, it does not follow the same structure as other Archive Tucson oral histories, but it is similar. Themes covered include:

b. 1932

  • Family and childhood in Tucson.

  • School at the UA.

  • Marriage in 1953 and home life.

  • Memories of WWII’s outbreak.

  • Move to east side in early 1950s.

  • Ethnicity and identity in the mid-20th century. Experiences with racism in California, but not Tucson.

  • Personal politics in the 1950s.

  • Growing interest in civic affairs as Urban Renewal changed downtown Tucson in the 1950s and 1960s.

  • Formation of La Placita Committee and attempts at historic preservation.

  • Alva’s return to living in downtown Tucson.

  • La Placita Committee organization and activities.

  • Attempts to preserve El Tiradito and block the Butterfield Expressway.

  • Attitudes of mayor and city council towards downtown re-development.

  • Buildings that got saved. Legacy of La Placita Committee.

  • Preservation of the Casa Cordova and creation of the Tucson Musem of Art.

  • The fatigue and personal challenges of activism.

  • Importance of preservation. Geography, community, and displacement.

  • Tucson identity and sense of place. Garden of Gethsemane and El Tiradito.

PeopleAengus Anderson