top of page

Tucson Tours - Sonoran Row House Architecture

On our Strolls and Stories Tucson Tours we walk past many historic Sonoran Row Houses in the historic Barrio Viejo and El Presidio neighborhoods. These structures largely date from the 1840s to 1880s. The Sonoran Row Houses were built using mud adobe blocks with the walls two feet thick to keep out the harsh daytime heat.

On our Tucson Tours you will notice these Sonoran Row Houses have very tall ceilings for one story buildings...that is Spanish Moorish design to allow the heat inside to rise keeping it cooler near the floor surface.

The structures that date to 1840 featured a flat room with water canals protruding from the roof to quickly drain the heavy monsoon rains off the roof. In about 1863 the Transformed Sonoran Row House starts to appear with a pitched roof. Interestingly in 1854 the Gadsden Purchase makes Tucson and Southern Arizona part of the United States...and with that comes an influx of Midwesterners and East Coasters to Tucson who bring with them their pitched roof building design! The Sonoran Row Houses would undergo another change in design with the arrival of the railroad in 1880. At this time we start to see the Territorial Styled Sonoran Row House with a small front porch and at times a small front yard!

On our Strolls and Stories Tucson Tours of Barrio Viejo we see some beautifully renovated and restored Sonoran Row Houses. We also see Sonoran Row Houses in a vintage state and still others in more a state of ruin. It is the Sonoran Row Houses in a state of ruin that offer a glimpse into the building design and structure of these the limestone plaster has cracked back revealing the original mud adobe blocks!

The Barrio Viejo Tucson has gained National Historic Landmark District Status in 2024 as it features the largest collection of Mud Adobe Structures found anywhere in the United States! In fact, Conde Nast has named the Barrio Viejo one of the Top Places To Visit North American 2024!

Join me on a Strolls and Stories Tucson Tour of the Barrio Viejo and El Presidio neighborhoods to learn so much more about these Sonoran Row Houses and how they were constructed. Plus, hear the fascinating history and tales of the neighborhoods! Some of the stories are incredible!! It's a fun stroll with Strolls and Stories Tours! Book today at


bottom of page