Lady Statue Watches Over Tucson Street
TUCSON — Near the intersection of East Grant and North Country Club roads here, a faded and aging lady with protruding eyebrows and sinister eyes stands holding two bowls. She’s a sculpture, more than 15 feet tall, and she’s been standing in the same place for more than 40 years. Artist Jesus Corral sculpted the lady in the 1960s and placed it in front of a restaurant he owned.
The statue served a dual purpose. She was not only a giant greeter for those who entered, but was also the chimney. And the two bowls were fountains. The restaurant closed more than 20 years ago, and a furniture store has moved into the building. But the statue remains, although now partially concealed by trees that line the sidewalk in front.
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I ate there when I was in grad school at the UofA in the late 1970s. I think the restaurant was called “Tia Elena’s” — Aunt Helen’s…
I think you’re right, Joe. The Corral family was noted (at least to us old-timers) for very good Mexican food. In the 1960s, the Hacienda Corral, located near Scottsdale and Thomas roads, in Scottsdale, had some of the best Sonora style Mexican food around, as well as very friendly and obliging staff. It closed in the late 1960s or very early ’70s, not for lack of patronage but because, according to one of its employees at the time, because the owners were older and were to retire. Los Olivos Patio, near Scottsdale’s Civic Center, still exists. (It is still popular, IMO the food and service have never been as top notch as was that at the Hacienda Corral.) Although the restaurants were owned by the same family, I believe they were run as individual entities by different family branches. I regret that I never had the opportunity to eat at Tia Elena’s or see the statue. The idea that it’s also a chimney is cool.
Nice to see comments about my family and the restaurants my grand father, father and uncles had such a big part of. Growing up I ate in all the family establishments. To this day Los Olivos is still family owned. I never knew my grand father, but grew up with his stories, his artistic ability, wit and love for Arizona and Scottsdale history. Thanks Richard Corral JR.
I also ate many times at ‘Tia Elena’s in the early 80s. A small restaurant, very familiar serving very delicious authentic Mexican food.
It was interesting as we had to bring our own alcohol and use their refrigerator. They had no license to sell alcohol, if I can recall it well.
I remember a friend from college very excitedly telling us how she had seen Paul and Linda McCartney there one evening.
We ate there many times when I was at the U of A and later . I have a recollection that is driving me crazy. I have a clear memory of the statue having some Michelob beer bottles stuck into it at a number of locations. They don’t appear in the photo. Am I crazy ot did the bottles get vandalized?