Best Of Tucson®

Best Vanished Landmark

UA Student Union

STAFF PICK: Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. Every year the wrecking ball, either literal or metaphorical, takes away another sui generis Tucson landmark rising defiantly above the burgeoning fast food outlets, strip malls and stucco housing developments that increasingly define the city's homogeneous character. This year's model: the student union at the University of Arizona, declared "unsafe" by university officials and replaced by a more modern, efficient and characterless complex. Gone forever is the iconic clock tower, the phallic recipient of many charming student pranks, and whose incessant and militarily-precise quarter-hour chiming belied the random time displayed on its clockface. Gone, too, are the Gallagher Theatre, where nearly first-run movies were shown at discount prices; the venerable Student Union Cellar, birthplace of Comedy Corner (which itself has spawned a number of performers and writers who have gone on to fame with Nickelodeon and Comedy Central) and the site of innumerable local and out-of-state music performances; Sam's Place; the Junior and Senior Ballrooms; and, of course, Louie's Lower Level, the restaurant wherein Joyce the Cashier, matriarch of subterrania, served as the surrogate mother for generations of homesick UA students. And we thank you, Joyce; may your spirit find solace and repose among the soulless Taco Bells and travel agencies that now occupy the land where you once reigned.

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