Arizona Inn

Historic Building Fact Sheet

arizona inn tucson

The courtyard at the historic Arizona Inn in Tucson. (2018) Photo credit: Carol M. Highsmith

Need to Know Info

Address 2200 East Elm Street
Tucson, Arizona
Coordinates32°14’31.0″N 110°56’19.0″W
Date Added to NRHPFebruary 19, 1982

The Arizona Inn is a historic Tucson hotel built in 1930 that has retained its Spanish Colonial architecture and ambiance through gradual upgrades over nine decades, remaining a beloved destination for guests drawn to its tranquil gardens, gracious staff, and timeless elegance.

Though updated with amenities, the Inn’s fundamentals connect back to founder Isabella Greenway’s original 1930s vision.

The In-Depth Story

The History and Evolution of the Arizona Inn

The Arizona Inn is a historic hotel located in Tucson, Arizona that has continued operating for over 90 years. It was built in 1930-1931 by Isabella Greenway, who later became Arizona’s first female representative to the U.S. Congress in 1932.

The main Spanish Colonial Revival style building that houses the lobby, reception rooms, dining room, kitchen, and offices was designed by Tucson architect Merritt Starkweather. The architecture features the signature pink stucco walls and blue details found throughout the property. The entire 14-acre complex contains 25 structures, 21 of which contribute to the historic district designation. Landscape architect James Oliphant designed the gardens on the grounds, mainly using native Arizona plants.

On December 18, 1930, the Arizona Inn opened for the first time with a dinner dance attended by 25 couples from the University of Arizona. Greenway conceived of the hotel as a respite during the difficult economic times of the Great Depression. In its early days, guests would arrive with steamer trunks by train and stay for months at a time. Room rates started at $12 per night.

Over the decades, the Inn has gone through several major upgrades while retaining its original charm and ambiance. The swimming pool and tennis courts were added in 1937. An annex was built during World War II to accommodate an influx of soldiers. In 1972, the main building was remodeled and air conditioned, with a gift shop and “Tucson Room” for banquets added. The hotel began operating year-round in 1974 after previously closing in the summer months. Most recently in 2006, the Spalding House was renovated to provide 9 additional guest rooms.

Today, the peaceful 14-acre property contains 95 rooms and suites. Mature gardens provide shade and the buildings exude a sense of timeless elegance. While updated amenities and renovations have been made, the fundamentals remain consistent with Greenway’s original vision over 80 years ago. The Inn is renowned for the gracious hospitality of its staff and historic, tranquil setting that draws guests back year after year.

NRHP Reference #: 88000240