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A new meaning for "Historic" 4th Avenue

Posted at 9:36 PM, Oct 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-27 00:36:10-04

Many Tucsonans have known 4th Avenue as "Historic 4th Avenue" for many years. But now, the title comes with an actual meaning that's more than just symbolic.

"We've always known that 4th Avenue is the old town, it's the historic area of Tucson," Fred Ronstadt said. "To finally have the federal government's Department of the Interior recognize this as an actual historic district is a pretty proud moment."

Ronstadt is the executive director of the 4th Avenue Merchants Association. He grew up in Tucson and says he's made many memories on 4th Avenue. With his background, he takes a lot of pride in the historic street.

"There's nowhere else like it in Tucson, in Southern Arizona," he said. "I would venture to say the world."

Many people know the street as a place with a lot of character, and a place with a lot of characters. With this new designation, Ronstadt believes more people from out of town will get a chance to experience the unique flavor that 4th Avenue brings to the table.

"A hippie area, it's a millenial area, it's a baby boomer area," he said.

Scott Cummings is owns two bars on 4th Avenue, O'Malley's and The Hut on 4th. 

"4th Avenue is truly a melting pot," he said.

The culture is a big part of the history to Cummings. However, architecture also plays a very key role to him as to why it's such a historic area.

"There's a lot of people would be reluctant to come down if they saw an overwhelming amount of new brick and mortar that had no soul or character," Cummings said.

The architecture is one of the reasons why it ended up on the National Register of Historic Places, according to Ronstadt.

He and Cummings both believe this new designation will help bring more traffic and life to 4th Avenue, increasing tourism, and the overall draw to a newly historic place in town.

"There's going to say, 'oh let's go to Historic 4th Avenue,'" Cummings said. "And it truly has some teeth behind it."