130 E Congress St

130 E. Congress Street (6/29)

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130 E. Congress Street…Former Site of The Chicago Store

In 1903, Anton Hittinger, a prominent mercantile, commissioned David and Jessie Holmes to design the block-long Hittinger Building to house the Los Angeles Furniture Company. The design was influenced by the Chicago School and is a good example of twentieth century Main Street commercial architecture (note: brick‑bearing walls and a cornice carried on brackets, supported by paired pilasters and capitals).

A second story was added to accommodate the offices of Epes Randolph and the growing Randolph System. The Randolph System included a series of railroad lines extending across Southern Arizona into Mexico, facilitating much of Tucson’s early trade with Cananea and Nogales and other Mexican towns to the south. According to an article in “The Tucson Citizen” in September, 2005, Epes Randolph was a railroad executive who came to the Sonoran Desert seeking relief from tuberculosis. In addition to his highly successful railroad career, he was known as one of the ablest civil engineers in the United States.

While the exterior of the Hittinger Building remains essentially intact, the interior has been changed several times. The completely glassed first floor façade, now somewhat altered, allowed maximum display of the furniture and other merchandise. The second story expresses the modular nature of the offices’ function. Note the expression of horizontality on the second level and in the iron beams which frame the glass façade on the first floor level. This was characteristic of Chicago School designs. The front façade was further opened to the street by the use of iron columns to support the over‑hanging bay.

In June, 1927, the building was redesigned by the J. C. Penny Company as Store No. 225. The redesign included the recessed storefront window configuration, the addition of yellow field tiles with black borders, and the mosaic tile entry floor. “J.C. Penny Company was inlaid into the entryway floor in mosaic.

Most recently, the building housed the Chicago Music Store, a Tucson commercial landmark. The Chicago Store has relocated to a nearby property.

Continue west and cross Scott Ave.