Originally the home of German immigrant Joseph Ferrin, the building was known as the Ferrin House and was probably constructed in the 1870s. Joseph opened a tailoring business which he operated from here while his wife, Therese Marx Ferrin, tended to the home and the children in the area that is now a bar. Therese was known as “The Angel of Tucson” because of her extensive knowledge of herbs and holistic remedies.
Therese regularly held Friday night services in her home for Tucson’s Jewish population. She was one of a group of women who helped establish Tucson’s first Jewish temple in the Arizona Territory.
Clara Ferrin Bloom, her daughter and one of Tucson’s early community leaders, was born during the time the Ferrin’s lived here.
According to Therese’s grandson, David Bloom, “Tucson … had no paved streets, sidewalks or refrigeration. The Chinese had vegetable gardens, and they came to town each morning with their fresh vegetables. The butcher came to the house each day and took the order. Since there was no ice, they used ollas, which are earthenware containers. Wheat was placed between layers of wet gunny sacks and wrapped around the olla to keep the water cool. The olla dripped water into an earthenware container and cooled the fresh-churned butter.”
This gem of a place changed hands and opened for business as the Cushing Street Bar & Restaurant in October 1972. Kelley Rollings is well known for his work in restoration and preservation. He and his wife, Sally, began buying adobe buildings in 1971. These buildings were threatened by development or neglect in the Old Barrio. The Rollings Corporation and Bacon Industries, Inc. own more than 30 buildings in the Barrio Viejo neighborhood.
The buildings were purchased and restored to their original appearance. Some of the materials were salvaged from other buildings to reach the highest level of authenticity. These properties were then leased to commercial and residential tenants.
Sections of the main dining room and the private dining rooms date to the 1860s when Arizona was still a territory. Architecture authorities Anne Nequette and R. Brooks Jeffery, coordinator of preservation studies at the University of Arizona College of Architecture, say the corner diagonal entry is “typical of Sonoran form allowing for more space for casual conversation at the front door.”
According to the Cushing Street website, the the oldest parts of the building feature original two foot walls made of thick adobe a popular building material of the 1800’s. There is an antique cut glass chandelier in the bar from an old French mansion in Mexico City. The Art Nouveau statue of Cleopatra stands in the bar area. A tall display cabinet was used in 1880 as a legal bookcase in Hermosillo, Sonora. The beautiful Steinway piano is a centennial piano made in 1876.
On Friday nights, stop by and listen to the local talent playing hot jazz. It’s an intimate venue, just perfect for those sultry summer nights in Tucson. The location 198 West Cushing Street in Downtown’s historic Barrio Viejo and don’t forget, you’re still along the Turquoise Trail.