La Casa Cordova

Preservation Project Has Begun

La Casa Cordova, which was built within the area enclosed by the Presidio wall, is arguably one of the oldest adobe homes in downtown Tucson.

Gabino Ortega and wife Carmen were the first known owners – they purchased the lot from James Lee for $100 in 1879, which predated the completion of the railroad when Tucson was an incorporated city in the State of Sonora, Mexico.

The home is named  after the last family to have lived in the house, headed by Maria Navarette Cordova (1896-1975). She acquired the property in 1934 from her great aunt Refugio Diaz de Rambaud, who purchased the property with her French husband Severin Rambaud.

El Nacimiento, the largest and longest-running nativity scene in the Southwest, was created in the 1970s by Maria Luisa Tena, and is located in the home.

TMA’s much anticipated preservation of La Casa Cordova is underway thanks to generous funding from Mr. and Mrs. William A. Small, Jr., founders of the Stonewall Foundation, a fund of the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona. This project has also been funded in part by a grant from the Johanna Favrot Fund for Historic Preservation of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

We thank Bob Vint of Vint & Associates Architects for his work on this project. Bob was involved with earlier renovation projects at La Casa Cordova and has applied his previous knowledge of the property to this latest effort to reopen the historic building to the public. We also thank Eric Means of Means Building, LLC whose talented crew began work on the adobe exterior in early January 2024.

La Casa Cordova is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. If all goes as planned, the historic property will reopen in time for TMA’s Centennial Block Party on Sunday, November 10, 2024. We can’t think of a more exciting way to celebrate the 100th Birthday of the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block!

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