Photography Club Captures the Colors of Historic Tucson

Vicki Cunningham and Robert Shea

Fourteen SaddleBrooke Photography Club members spent a beautiful Sunday morning photographing the colorful buildings in both Barrio Viejo and El Presidio Historic District near Presidio San Augustine. Participating members of the newly merged SaddleBrooke Photo Clubs were Bob Shea (field trip leader), Byron Cotter, Sharon Cotter, Tom Stafford, John Triebe, Wally Behrenz, Marie Bienkowski, Mark Guinn, Paul Ellingson, Don Plapinger, Susan Dinga, Tina Moore, Ken Henry and Susan Schwartz.

The City of Tucson contains several historic neighborhoods, known as “barrios,” which date to the mid-19th century. Barrio Viejo (the Old Neighborhood, aka Barrio Historico) is known for its mariachi musicians, Mexican cantinas, hip eateries, and pubs. The El Presidio Historic District is packed with homes that some of the city’s most prominent families and notable civic leaders have known.

Barrio Viejo, located just south of downtown Tucson, is a community where you will find an amazing artistic culture. Beloved for its beautiful, eclectic vibes, the area displays a wide array of vibrant Sonoran row houses constructed of adobe blocks. Back in the day, the barrio boasted a colorful street life that reminded some of Old Mexico.

Tucson’s Barrio Viejo is considered by Condé Nast Traveler magazine as a “Top Place to Go in North America in 2024.” “Go for a historic melting pot galvanized by delicious dining and cultural Programming,” the publication says. “Sitting in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, on the ancestral lands of the Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui tribes, Tucson has always drawn travelers looking for an outdoor adventure. And now, they will have a whole new reason to visit: a revitalized downtown.” Condé Nast says, in a piece written by Amber Gibson, “In particular, Barrio Viejo, which has a significant mix of cultural influences, will receive a National Historic Landmark designation in 2024. The new designation will likely light the fuse on even more restaurant and gallery openings.”

Outstanding large murals line quiet streets in several places in Tucson. They are colorful reminders of days gone by. The diversity of this and other neighborhoods makes a fascinating walking/photographic tour.

The SaddleBrooke Photography Club has so many creative things to offer. Inspiring field trips are only a small part of what can be learned about taking pictures. Please come and visit us on a Friday morning in the SaddleBrooke TWO arts area in the Topaz Room at 8:45 a.m. There is always something interesting going on. You can sign up and join our group at to get all of the information about future events.