The J. Knox Corbett House is a Mission Revival style two-story home restored and furnished with period pieces of furniture, ceramics, and other objects from the American Arts and Crafts era (1880‒1930). The Corbett family resided in the house until the 1960s, and the Tucson Museum of Art assumed the property in partnership with the City of Tucson in the 1970s. The house was restored in 1995.
The J. Knox Corbett House, an elegant stucco-covered brick structure built in the Mission Revival style, was completed in 1907 by David Holmes. Its primary residents, the Corbett family, lived in the home for fifty-six years. J. Knox Corbett and his wife Lizzie Hughes Corbett built the house on Main Avenue, next to the Stevens House. Petra Stevens, Lizzie’s aunt and godmother, appealed to Lizzie Corbett to live near her and gifted her land adjacent to the Stevens property. In its heyday, the Corbett House served as a social hub: the family enjoyed hosting parties, clubs, and civil meetings for many years.
Originally, the house was furnished with rich mahogany furniture and European imports. An elaborately carved buffet made by one of the Corbett’s employees still resides in the dining room. The house has a full basement which once housed a water cooling tower, one of Tucson’s first air conditioning systems. Upstairs, in a small attic room, legend has it that gin was manufactured during the era of prohibition.
Restored and refurbished in 1995, the Corbett House features an extensive collection of unique decorative objects from the Arts and Crafts era (1880‒1930). This artistic movement stood for traditional craftsmanship and use of simple forms, reacting against mass production and poor quality of decorative arts at the time. The furniture, ceramics and other objects signify the transformation of everyday objects into works of art through the use of extraordinary materials, colors, and motifs.
The J. Knox Corbett House is open each Sunday and guided tours are available. Tours are included with the purchase of general admission to the Museum and begin in the lobby.