By , 7, people lived in the city. The population increased gradually to 13, in At about this time, the U.
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Veterans Administration had begun construction on the present Veterans Hospital. Many veterans who had been gassed in World War I, and were in need of respiratory therapy , began coming to Tucson after the war, because of the clean dry air. In , the population of Pima County , in which Tucson is located, passed one million, while the City of Tucson's population was , In , when Arizona statehood became reality, the total number of different flags that had flown over Tucson now numbered five: During the territorial and early statehood periods, Tucson was Arizona's largest city and commercial center, while Phoenix was the seat of state government beginning in and agriculture.
The establishment of Tucson Municipal Airport increased its prominence. Between and , Phoenix surpassed Tucson in population, and has continued to outpace Tucson in growth. In recent years, both Tucson and Phoenix have experienced some of the highest growth rates in the United States. The United States Census puts the city's population at , with a metropolitan area population at , In , Tucson ranked as the 32nd largest city and 52nd largest metropolitan area in the United States.
A major city in the Arizona Sun Corridor, Tucson is the largest city in southern Arizona, the second largest in the state after Phoenix. It is also the largest city in the area of the Gadsden Purchase. As of , The Greater Tucson Metro area has exceeded a population of 1 million. The city is located on the Santa Cruz River , formerly a perennial river, but now a dry river bed for much of the year that floods during significant seasonal rains. Interstate 10 runs northwest through town, connecting Tucson to Phoenix in the northwest on the way to its western terminus in Santa Monica, California and to Las Cruces, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas in the southeast towards its eastern terminus in Jacksonville, Florida.
I runs south from Tucson toward Nogales and the U. I is the only Interstate highway that uses "kilometer posts" instead of " mileposts ", although the speed limits are marked in miles per hour and kilometers per hour. Similar to many other cities in the Western U. While this intersection was initially near the geographic center of Tucson, that center has shifted as the city has expanded far to the east, development to the west being effectively blocked by the Tucson Mountains.
An expansive city covering substantial area, Tucson has many distinct neighborhoods. At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, downtown Tucson underwent a revitalization effort by city planners and the business community. The primary project was Rio Nuevo, a large retail and community center that has been stalled in planning for more than ten years. Augustine Cathedral completed in As one of the oldest parts of town, Central Tucson is anchored by the Broadway Village shopping center. The shopping center was designed by local architect Josias Joesler and sits at the intersection of Broadway Boulevard and Country Club Road.
The 4th Avenue Shopping District between downtown, the university, and the Lost Barrio just East of downtown, also have many unique and popular stores. The El Con Mall is also located in the eastern part of midtown. Speedway Boulevard, a major east-west arterial road in central Tucson, was named the "ugliest street in America" by Life magazine in the early s, quoting Tucson Mayor James Corbett.
The street was called "The Speedway," from to about before the word "The" was taken out. Central Tucson is bicycle-friendly. To the east of the University of Arizona, Third Street is bike-only except for local traffic and passes by the historic homes of the Sam Hughes neighborhood. To the west, E. To the North, N. Mountain Avenue has a full bike-only lane for half of the 3. To the south, N. Highland Avenue leads to the Barraza-Aviation Parkway bicycle path. South Tucson has a colorful, dynamic history. It was first incorporated in , and later reincorporated in South Tucson is widely known for its many Mexican restaurants and the architectural styles which include bright outdoor murals, many of which have been painted over due to city policy.
A combination of urban and suburban development, the West Side is generally defined as the area west of I Starting in about , a yearly tradition developed for freshmen to whitewash the "A", which was visible for miles. However, at the beginning of the Iraq War , anti-war activists painted it black. This was followed by a paint scuffle where the "A" was painted various colors until the city council intervened. It is now red, white and blue except when it is white or another color decided by a biennial election. Because of the three-color paint scheme often used, the shape of the A can be vague and indistinguishable from the rest of the peak.
The top of Sentinel Peak, which is accessible by road, offers an outstanding scenic view of the city looking eastward. A parking lot located near the summit of Sentinel Peak was formerly a popular place to watch sunsets or view the city lights at night. North Tucson includes the urban neighborhoods of Amphitheater and Flowing Wells. Many of the city's most upscale boutiques , restaurants, and art galleries are also located on the north side, including St. The Plaza is directly adjacent to the historic St. Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church built in Also on the north side is the suburban community of Catalina Foothills , located in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains just north of the city limits.
This community includes among the area's most expensive homes, sometimes multimillion-dollar estates. La Encantada , an upscale outdoor shopping mall , is also in the Foothills. The expansive area northwest of the city limits is diverse, ranging from the rural communities of Catalina and parts of the town of Marana , the small suburb of Picture Rocks , the affluent town of Oro Valley in the western foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, and residential areas in the northeastern foothills of the Tucson Mountains.
The community of Casas Adobes is also on the Northwest Side, with the distinction of being Tucson's first suburb, established in the late s. Casas Adobes is centered on the historic Casas Adobes Plaza built in The attempted assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords , and the murders of chief judge for the U.
The Foothills Mall is also located on the northwest side in Casas Adobes.
East Tucson is relatively new compared to other parts of the city, developed between the s and the s, [ citation needed ] with developments such as Desert Palms Park. It is generally classified as the area of the city east of Swan Road, with above-average real estate values relative to the rest of the city. The area includes urban and suburban development near the Rincon Mountains. Tucson's "Restaurant Row" is also located on the east side, along with a significant corporate and financial presence.
Restaurant Row is sandwiched by three of Tucson's storied Neighborhoods: Harold Bell Wright Estates,  named after the famous author's ranch which occupied some of that area prior to the depression; the Tucson Country Club the third to bear the name Tucson Country Club ,  and the Dorado Country Club. Tucson's largest office building is East Broadway in east Tucson, completed in The first phases of Williams Centre, a mixed-use, master-planned development on Broadway near Craycroft Road,  were opened in Park Place , a recently renovated shopping center, is also located along Broadway west of Wilmot Road.
Near the intersection of Craycroft and Ft. Lowell Roads are the remnants of the Historic Fort Lowell. This area has become one of Tucson's iconic neighborhoods.
In , the Fort was abandoned and much of the interior was stripped of their useful components and it quickly fell into ruin. In , three of the officer buildings were purchased for use as a sanitarium. The sanitarium was then sold to Harvey Adkins in The Bolsius family Pete, Nan and Charles Bolsius purchased and renovated surviving adobe buildings of the Fort — transforming them into spectacular artistic southwestern architectural examples. Their woodwork, plaster treatment and sense of proportion drew on their Dutch heritage and New Mexican experience.
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Other artists and academics throughout the middle of the 20th century, including: The artist colony attracted writers and poets including beat generation Alan Harrington and Jack Kerouac whose visit is documented in his iconic book On the Road. This rural pocket in the middle of the city is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Each year in February the neighborhood celebrates its history in the City Landmark it owns and restored the San Pedro Chapel. Southeast Tucson continues to experience rapid residential development. The area is considered to be south of Golf Links Road. The Atterbury Wash with its access to excellent bird watching is also located in the Southeast Tucson area.
The suburban community of Rita Ranch houses many of the military families from Davis-Monthan, and is near the southeastern-most expansion of the current city limits. Close by Rita Ranch and also within the city limits lies Civano,  a planned development meant to showcase ecologically sound building practices and lifestyles.
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The mountain is named after 19th century botanist Sara Lemmon. She was the first documented European woman to ascend to the peak, accompanied by her husband and by local rancher Emmerson Oliver Stratton. Near the top of Mt.
Lemmon is the town of Summerhaven. In Summerhaven, visitors will find log houses and cabins, a general store, and various shops, as well as numerous hiking trails. Near Summerhaven is the road to Ski Valley which hosts a ski lift, several runs, a giftshop, and nearby restaurant.
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