Cecil H. “Cookie” Moore was an architect and builder born in 1913 and active in Tucson during the early and mid 20th century. He worked in the offices of Merritt Starkweather and Henry Jaastad after his arrival to Tucson in 1926. In 1935 he established his own design/build firm becoming a registered architect in 1936.  During his 40 year career, Moore designed over 350 projects in Tucson.  In his work, he experimented with an eclectic array of architectural styles including: Spanish Colonial Revival, Art Deco/Streamline, Modern, Ranch and Pueblo Revival.

After obtaining an architecture license Moore was hired in 1936 by Leonie C. Boutall to design major residential project, a rambling “Mexican Type” home called Rancho Nezhone in the Los Ranchos Palos Verdes area north of tucson in the thermal belt.  The property would become an iconic Tucson guest ranch that would host thousands of guests during the years of operation.

By 1937 his architectural signature began to emerge. Moore used a combination of exposed and painted brick, terracotta roof tiles, and steel casement windows to design buildings with a distinctive character and quality.  These buildings combine simplified revival idioms characteristic of the post depression era with a flavor of the early ranch house. His 1937 triplex building at 847 North 2nd Avenue is an example of this emerging motif.

  • Clapp House, 1937, Cecil H. “Cookie” Moore
    photo courtesy: Current Owners
  • Rancho Nezhone drawing, 1936, Cecil H. “Cookie” Moore

By 1939 Moore had formed a business relationship with developer Simon Kivel to design the Service Station and Warehouse for the Apache Tire Company on the north west corner of Stone and Fifth Street.  The modernist deco building included graphic neon clad tower visible from a distance.  During this period he built numerous Motel Courts along Tucson’s highway (US Route 80) and designed a number of art deco service stations including the iconic Esses Super Service Station at 648 North Stone Avenue.

During the late 1930s and 1940s Moore continued to design and build commercial and residential projects primarily in midtown Tucson. In 1939 he designed the Dr. Robert Alan Hicks Building at the Tucson Blvd and East Sixth Street, in 1944 the Utt Property Apartment Court on the 2800 block on East Eighth Street; and in 1946 the International-styled four-plex apartments at 2809-21 East Sixth Street and the C.H. Chuck Abbott Photo Studio on Broadway Blvd.

During this period Moore was hired by Tucson fashion designer Dolores Gonzales to create a new downtown store and showroom for her dress shop called Dolores Resort Wear.  The building was located at 140-144 North Stone Avenue and Moore designed both the building and the interior layout.

Moore’s work began to garner attention, and in the mid-1940s architectural photographer Maynard Parker photographed Moore’s own home located at 945 North Campbell Avenue,the Walter J. Clapp House in the San Clemente Neighborhood, and Rancho Nezhone.

Moore’s home was a redesigned bungalow and was featured in the November 1947 issues of Better Homes and Gardens.

Moore took over his father’s (Scruggs T. Moore) contracting company after his death and in 1948 Moore designed and built a group of 15 speculative homes in Encanto Park the model homes were located at 3416-24 East Edgemont Street. The same year he designed the Save A Nickel Super Market at Campbell and Grant Avenue for the Kivel family and moore moved to one the the Encanto Park homes at 3440 East Edgemont. In April he was elected to the charter board of the Arizona Building Contractors Tucson Chapter.  

His ongoing partnership with the Kivel Family continued with the design and construction of the El Rancho Plaza at 3380 East Speedway. Built at a cost of $330,000 the first phase of the project included a grocery store that opened in July 1949.  Moore designed numerous additional buildings for the early strip-mall including the 1952 “Sud-n Service – The Wash Well” dry cleaning at 3344 East Speedway (demolished 2016); the 1956 El Rancho Center McLellan’s Store with two “ultra modern” floors; the 1958 El Rancho Center Korby Department Store expansion and the 1959 Bel Aire Casuals.  

In 1953 Moore was hired to design the Hiram Banks four room elementary school and in 1956 he worked with Los Angeles Architect Ragnar Qvale to the design and build of the Paulin Motor Company on East Broadway between Plumber and Olsen.

Into the 1960s the Kivel partnership continued to yield distinctive projects including the 1960 Food-O-Rama at 5560 East Broadway.  During this period Moore began shifting away from design and more towards construction.  In 1961 his firm was hired in joint venture with Salt Lake City based Cannon – Papanikolas Construction Company to build the El Con Mall. Moore built numerous stores within the mall including the Grunewald & Adams Jewelry Store designed by architectural firm of Cain, Nelson and Ware; the Porter’s Store, and Bloom and Sons.

In 1965 he served as the contractor on the Tucson Country Club expansion and in 1975 Moore was the prime contractor on the construction of the Park Mall.

Moore designed and built many of the distinctive custom homes near the El Conquistador Hotel. These Spanish Revival properties can be seen in the National Register of Historic Places listed subdivisions of El Encanto, El Montevideo, Colonia Solana, and San Clemente. He designed buildings for Southern Arizona Bank and the Anshei Israel synagogue on 5th Avenue, later demolished and replaced with a practice field in 2000 by the University of Arizona.  

Described by University of Arizona architectural historian R. Brooks Jeffery in the unpublished Anshei Israel Synagogue Documentation Report: “His mark on Tucson is subtle, but one which is mature and appreciated for its design sense, stylistic variety and experimentation.” Moore died at the age of 96 in 2009.

Noeted Buildings

1936 Rancho Nezhone, residence of Leonie C. Boutall, Rancho Palos Verdes, Orange Grove

Road (demolished)

1937 Triplex apartment building, 847 North 2nd Avenue

1939 Dr. Robert Alan Hicks Building at the Tucson Blvd and East Sixth Street.

1946 C.H. Chuck Abbott Photo Studio, 821-831 East Broadway Blvd.

Abbott Store Building, 50 Pennington Street

1948 The Save A Nickel Super Market, 2344 North Campbell Avenue   

1948 5 speculative homes in Encanto Park, 3416-24 East Edgemont Street

1953 Hiram Banks Elementary School

1955 Sparkle Cleaners, 2-16 W. Drachman

1956 El Rancho Center (architect and builder), Speedway Blvd. (remodeled)

1956 Paulin Motor Company (builder), 2121 East Broadway Blvd. (demolished)  

1961 El Con Mall (builder), 3601 East Broadway Blvd (demolished)  

1964 Southern Arizona Bank & Trust Co, Branch, 8315 East Broadway Blvd.

1958 Boy Scout Headquarters, 250 North Campbell Avenue

1970 Park Mall (builder), 5870 East Broadway Blvd. (remodeled)  

Art Deco Buildings

Meneham Shell Oil station, 6th Street and Park Avenue

Solot Service Station, 201 – 217 North Park Avenue

Esses Super Service Station, 648 North Stone Avenue

Kivel Super Service Station, Stone and W 5th

Auto Courts

McGlamery Auto Court (US 80)

Hoffman Auto Court (US 80)

Kivel Auto Court (Beacon Tourist)

Sprunt Desert Motor Hotel

Staples / Briney Tourist Hotel

Desert Lodge

Carmona Tourist Court, West Drachman Street

Restaurants and Commercial Buildings

Boutall Chicken Hosue

One’s-A-Meal #2, Broadway and Campbell

Baugh Restaurant, East 6th Street

Cliff’s Tavern, 3118 East Speedway (Curley’s Tavern, The Elbow Room, 1952)

Martin Drug Building, Speedway and Country Club  

Dolores Resort Wear, 140-144 North Stone Avenue

Kivel Store Building, 2348 North Campbell Avenue

Bass Residence, 3464 East Edgemont, Encanto Park

Encanto Park Residence #6, 3431 East 4th Street

12-unit Spanish Colonial Revival Gamma Apts., 1508-30 E. Sixth Street (demolished)

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