The Boys Clubs of Tucson began on November 27, 1956 when Mr. A. H. Fahringer of Boys Clubs of America met with a committee from the Lions Club to discuss organizing a Boys Club. Through the efforts of Mr. Charles Elkins and other interested members of the Lions Club, the Boys Club of Tucson became incorporated on August 21, 1957. Judge Norman E. Green became the first president of the organization. On May 21, 1958, Mr. Robert Daru donated the property that is now the site of the Steve Daru unit. The club opened its doors in June 1963 under the direction of Mr. Ray Keating and received its charter from Boys Clubs of America on November 30, 1964.
In 1988 the original Steve Daru Clubhouse was closed and a modular clubhouse was placed in Northwest Park to house club activities. In 1992 a new clubhouse was built to replace the modular building with funds donated by Frank X. Morton. The modular building was moved to Mission Park.
In 1962, Mr. Bill Merodias rented an old building at 164 S. Main Street for boxing. With the help of the Lions Club and the Catalina Optimist Club, the Old Pueblo Boys Club became incorporated on February 8, 1963. Mr. Robert King was elected president. In 1969, because of the urban renewal program, Old Pueblo was forced to find other facilities. The club purchased the 36th Street property and started operating, under the direction of Mr. Howard Stuckey. Old Pueblo became chartered by Boys Clubs of America in February 1970.
In 1988 the old clubhouse was replaced with a new clubhouse in Pueblo Gardens Park and renamed the Holmes Tuttle Branch.
The two clubs merged in December of 1970 to become the Boys Clubs of Tucson. On January 11, 1971 they became incorporated as one organization.
At the Annual Meeting, held on February 21, 1985, the corporation, in order to properly reflect to the community the scope of services provided by the Boys Clubs of Tucson to all youngsters, voted to change the name to Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson. The name change took the format of a “DBA” (doing business as) and the legal corporate name as registered with the state remained Boys Clubs of Tucson, Inc.
In November of 1988 the DBA was dropped and the corporate name of the club was changed to Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson, Inc.
The modular buildings from Steve Daru were placed in Mission Park, refurbished and opened on November 3, 1992 as a third site of Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson. The clubhouse was named for Roy Drachman who was an honorary chairman of the capital drive in 1986 and a major contributor to the Boys & Girls Club. Frank X. Morton provided the first year operating funds for this new clubhouse. Al Lothrop and the Tucson Conquistadores provided the funding to construct the Gymnasium in 1994. In 1995 the permanent Activity Center was built through strong support from the City, County and our donors. The new facility was opened for use in 1996.
At the request of the Tribal Council, a Boys & Girls Club program was initiated on the Pascua Yaqui reservation on January 5. The program is funded by the Council and was originally housed in an existing tribal building. The Club moved into its own modular building in Torim Park in November of 1999. The Tribe plans to construct a permanent clubhouse in the future.
Frank X. Morton believed passionately in the “American Dream.” He also believed in the Boys Club because it helped him live that dream. As a young boy, Frank was a member of the Boys Club of San Francisco and credited it with helping him head down the right track by providing a safe place off the streets of the tough Mission District. When he and his wife Edith moved to Tucson in the 1970’s he once again became involved with the Boys & Girls Clubs because his grandson was a member. He saw what a wonderful opportunity the club gave not only his grandson, but other youngsters as well. Being a very direct, “down to earth” person, he chose to invest in Tucson’s future and created an endowment for the operation of the Frank & Edith Morton Clubhouse. Frank Morton passed away in 1995.
The new clubhouse, which is located on the campus of Doolen Middle School, opened in November of 2003. It is a collaboration effort with Tucson Unified School District.
Harold’s love of working with his hands led him to leave college his sophomore year and buy his first business at the age of 20. In 1946 he opened the Ashton Company, which today has grown into a very successful business employing 300-350 people. Harold supported Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson because he believed: “I am sentimental about young people now more than ever. Children develop habits, work ethics and desires that stay for the rest of their years. Organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs, which are run right, can help children develop positive patterns at an early age.”
Prior to his passing away in November 2003, Harold’s generous contribution was used to construct a new administrative space for Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson, the Harold Ashton Resource Center. His generosity also endowed future programs for the children who are members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson. The Harold Ashton Resource Center is located on the second floor of the Grant Road facility, above the Frank & Edith Morton Clubhouse.
The Jim & Vicki Click Clubhouse, on the Roberts Elementary School campus, will be the second collaborative project with Tucson Unified School District. Operating funds for the first three years have been pledged by a special group of supporters designated the Jim & Vicki Click Club “Founders Circle.” Roberts Elementary School agreed to provide space for Boys & Girls Clubs staff to run its programs at their facility during construction. The Grand Opening for this club was held April 4, 2008, and the club opened for business the week of April 8, 2008.