Thu Oct 10th, 2019
Jeremy Wade Shockley
The Southern Ute Drum
Categories: Top Stories
Amador Tucson, best known for his role as the longtime owner and operator of the downtown barbershop — Tucson’s Barber & Styling, was recognized by the annual program titled Durango Native Stories, focused on living histories. Tucson is a Southern Ute descendent who comes from the small La Posta community. Tucson established his barbershop business in downtown Durango almost fifty years ago, where he still works alongside his son Isadore “Izzy” Tucson. Tucson’s is truly a classic barbershop to experience, steeped in history; the walls are filled with photographs and newspaper clippings. Memorabilia from decades gone by round out the retro decor.
Hosted at the historic Henry Strater Theatre, this year’s Durango Native series featured a variety of personalities that contributed greatly to the heritage of Durango and La Plata County. Amador Tucson and Peryl Kelly Schaaf were both recognized for the 2019 program. “The barbershop quartet gave the family a song,” Isadore Tucson beamed, recalling the event. Durango Native Stories are living histories – personal stories told by locals who have called the area home for generations. Each presentation included first-hand recollections and historic family photographs, many more than a century old.
The Tucson family ran a farm in La Posta, on the Southern Ute Reservation near the border of New Mexico. All three of the La Posta schools were situated on property held as a tribal allotment by the family of Maria Antonia Head Tucson Vasquez. “Over the years, the Tucson family remained influential in local school affairs,” according to a book on regional school houses, “Mrs. Maria Antonia Head Tucson Vasquez was one of the leading citizens of La Posta. Called simply, Mrs. Head by her neighbors.”
Mrs. Head is the great-great grandmother of Amador Tucson. “She taught bilingual,” Amador recalls. “She taught some Spanish, some English. Boy…she started that school and she was a real smart lady,” he said. Amador left the family farm when he was 22 years old. His father was Hijinio Head Tucson, and his mother, Ernestina Tucson — his mother gave birth to him in 1939 at the old Taylor Hospital in Ignacio. “Back in those days, we got a lot of rains, and raised a lot of hay,” Tucson remembers.
It was in 1972 that he purchased the barbershop in downtown Durango on Main St., previously operated as the Silver Dollar Barbershop. “I first became a barber in 1969,” Tucson explained, having to complete some training, before taking on his own business. Together, with his son, they have managed to run a successful business in the heart of historic Durango for decades; overcoming obstacles along the way. It wasn’t always easy recalls Isadore, who explained that racism was something that would come up over the years, as his father worked to establish himself in a predominantly white business district.
Today, Tucson’s Barber & Styling is a staple along Durango’s historic thoroughfare. Known for their commitment, hard work and reliable schedule…the barbershop gets a mix of regular customers and tourists, stepping back in time long enough to get their hair cut and trade a story or two.
The Tucson’s have a saying, “Who you see here, what you hear here…when you leave here — let it stay here.”