Tucson’s Historic Sports Sites and Artifacts: Arizona’s first football opponents stayed at the Heidel Hotel


(Andy Morales / AllSportsTucson)

NOTE: The third in a series of searches for lost or forgotten sporting venues, trophies and artifacts in the Old Pueblo.


Now called the MacArthur Building, the Heidel Hotel was built in 1907 directly across from the train depot in downtown Tucson on Toole Avenue. The building remained a sort of hotel until 1979 – it now houses Madden Media. It was built in a “flatiron” style to suit the rectangular style of the lot.

Jean Heidel opened its hotel on February 21, 1908, with Albert Steinfeld, Herbert and Harry drachman and WJ Corbett in attendance and the history of the sport from the early days is impressive. Oh, and the hotel was also home to the first phone in Tucson.

Heidel previously owned the Cactus Saloon on the same land in 1889 and he built the Armory Plaza apartments in 1890.

J. Fred “Pop” McKale coached Tucson High to his first state championship in 1911 and his parents made a trip to Tucson a week later from Michigan to congratulate him and they stayed at the Heidel Hotel.

A few years before this visit, the Chicago White Sox came to the Old Pueblo in 1909 for an exhibition game played at Elysian Grove on March 30 and the team remained at the Heidel. Most of the University of Arizona’s football opponents stayed at Heidel until the late 1920s.

Photos from today and 1907-1910:


Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the best high school journalist in 2014, he received the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a winner of the AZ Education News award 2019 and he has been a youth, high school and college coach. for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about beach volleyball and high school wrestling. His own children have won several state high school championships and have been named to all-state teams. Participating in high school hockey, basketball, baseball and track and field, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member for the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing Arizona’s best soccer player, and he was named a Local Hero by Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon committee and he won an Amphitheater Distinguished Service award. Contact Andy Morales at [email protected]

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