A Brief History of the Steinfeld Warehouse

Albert Steinfeld

Constructed in 1907 and designed by architects David and Jessie Holmes, the Albert Steinfeld & Company Warehouse was built for prominent businessman Albert Steinfeld (pictured at right). German-born Steinfeld owned a number of local businesses, including his most successful venture, Steinfelds department store. Located at 101 West Sixth Street, the warehouse was adjacent to the Southern Pacific Freight Depot, making it an ideal location for the delivery and storage of merchandise for Steinfeld’s other businesses.

In 1872, then 18-year-old Albert traveled from Denver to Tucson to work in his uncle Louis’ department store, Zeckendorfs. By 1874, under the expanded name of L. Zeckendorf & Company, Albert was made partner of his uncle’s company. Through Albert’s leadership and business acumen, the store grew to become one of the most successful department stores in the territory. Despite a devastating 12-year-long lawsuit against his uncle, Albert continued his business ventures, eventually leaving Zeckendorfs and starting his own company. Steinfeld established the city’s first modern department store (in operation for 135 years); served as president of the Consolidated National Bank, and held controlling interests in various mining ventures.  Steinfeld was one of the most successful and important Territorial Period figures, and his name and businesses once dominated downtown Tucson.

Steinfeld Warehouse circa 1940In 1898, David Holmes and his wife moved to Tucson where David had accepted a teaching position at the newly-formed Territorial University. By 1903, Holmes was a registered architectural and mechanical draftsman and he was commissioned to design his first building, Herring Hall on the campus of the new university. Two years later, his brother Jessie Holmes came to Tucson to join him. Together they formed the local architecture firm of D.H and J.H. Holmes, also known as “Holmes and Holmes”. In addition to the Steinfeld warehouse, the brothers worked on many architectural projects together, the most notable of which include the McArthur Building (1908), H.H. Rockwell House (1908), University of Arizona Science building (1909) and Arizona Hall (1913), Cheyney House (1905), and additional buildings for Albert Steinfeld & Company.

The 1907, Steinfeld Warehouse is the oldest surviving warehouse in downtown Tucson and is included on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Tucson Warehouse Historic District. The warehouse is associated with the pioneering Steinfeld family and prominent architects David and Jessie Holmes. The warehouse stands today as an early example of Victorian Commercial architecture, complete with corbelled brick details, segmented arches above door and window openings, and a 1920s-era storefront addition with two-tone, wire-cut faced brick and cast stone.

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Sources Consulted:

Lyons, Bettina. “Mr. Steinfeld is in Sole Control: The Celebrated Case of Louis Zeckendorf vs. Albert Steinfeld and the Silver Bell Copper Company.” Tucson:  Arizona Journal of History, Vol. 41, No. 2, 2000.

Portillio, Jr. Ernesto. “Steinfeld warehouse steeped in city history”. Arizona Daily Star, 18 June 2007.

Poster Frost Associates, Inc. Steinfeld Warehouse, Building Condition Assessment Report. Tucson: Poster Frost Associates, Inc., 2007.

Reider, Morgan. Arizona SHPO Historic Property Inventory Form for 101 W 6th Street. Tucson: Morgan Reider, 1995.

Sonnichsen, C.L. Tucson, The Life and Times of an American City. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987.

Tucson Daily Citizen. “Albert Steinfeld, Tucson’s Merchant Prince, Arrived Here 57 Years Ago, When City Had Only 1200 Population”, 27 October 1929.

Nequette, Anne M. and R. Brooks Jeffery. A Guide to Tucson Architecture. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2002.