1940s

Grand Tortilla Factory

Photo of vintage neon sign

The store was founded in Barrio Hollywood in Tucson, Arizona, 1947 by Frank and Armida Pesqueira. Since  family lived just behind the store, soon all  six children began helping out with the store’s daily functions. Family and friends joined in.

Both sons, Frank Jr. and Art Pesqueira, recall peeling corn with their sisters and friends for long hours in the summer. The two brothers grew up and eventually took over the business in 1975. They expanded the business, tore down the horse stables next to the building, and paved a parking lot there.

For more than 60 years, the Pesqueira family served authentic homemade Mexican food and ran the store that ended up doing additional service as a neighborhood and family gathering place. In 2009, Frank Sr. passed away at the ripe old age of 99.  “The Grande Tortilla Factory closed its doors in March of that year. The family legacy will always be remembered with a tiled mural, showing Frank and his two sons, which sits beneath the I-10 underpass at St. Mary’s Road in Tucson, Arizona.

Photo of vintage neon sign

Reference: Arizona Public Media, story by Mathew Felix, June 30, 2010, https://www.azpm.org/s/4286-grande-tortilla-factory/

Horse Shoe Cafe 1940s map Benson, AZ

horse shoe cafe

Originally a diner the size of a railroad car, Bostic and Mable Williams bought this cafe in 1937 for $450. It was soon purchased by Lorene Waley’s family, who ran the restaurant right up until the last several years. This building dates to the 1940s. As it was being built, several local ranchers burned their brands with a running iron into three center posts in the dining room. A running iron was a tool used by cattle rustlers to alter brands so they could steal the steers.

The juke boxes and the neon horseshoe on the ceiling date to the 1940s. The neon sign with a horse head out front has been a focal point of the town since the end of World War II. According to a local patron, the upstairs living area, now empty, is haunted by the previous owners who once lived upstairs. The ghost turns the lights on and off in the restaurant  randomly, and doors open and close on their own. Some employees have even quit their jobs because of the haunting.     References: The thesis of Peter B. Wilharm (1985), The Cococino Weekly Sun, Arizona Weekly Sun, http://www.chroniclingamerica.loc.gov

Valencia Market  194? map Tucson, AZ

valencia market

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