During the early 1980s, a growing concern over the continual demolition of historic buildings sparked the conception of a non-profit organization that could actively protect and advocate for Tucson's historic built environment.
In March of 1985, the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation was established for the purpose of acquiring, maintaining, and preserving endangered historic properties in the Tucson area. The Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission was instrumental in helping organize the Foundation.
Judge Norman S. Fenton, the first president of the new non-profit, said: "The Foundation was created by those who felt frustrated at having to stand helplessly by on many occasions and see historical buildings and part of Tucson's heritage destroyed because there was not an appropriate organization available for their acquisition and preservation."
Ironically initial funding for the Foundation came from the sale of salvageable materials donated by Frank McClure and Homes Tuttle Ford from the demolition of the Spanish Revival Mansion "Avalon House" on Oracle Road.
The Foundation's primary goal was to establish a solid financial base that would enable THPF to act quickly, if necessary, to save endangered historic buildings.
Although the foundation never fulfilled it intended mission, it did influence the protection and stabilization of many Tucson Historic Properties. Funds from the Foundation were loaned to Fort Lowell Neighborhood Association to preserve the Historic San Pedro Chapel.
In the early 1990s, the Foundation became dormant. In 2008 the organization was restructured and a new board established.