It is a sanctuary for all things kinetic, potential and creative, it’s my favorite spot in the world right now and it’s hands down the best venue in Arizona.
— Dominic az Bonuccelli
Whistle Stop Depot is a unique property located in the historical Dunbar Spring Neighborhood in Tucson. Near downtown, it is part of the city’s urban-chic Arts & Entertainment District. It embodies Tucson’s downtown revitalization on many levels. The building is a former transport company warehouse built in the 50s, and is adjacent to the railroad tracks. Train whistles can be heard loud and clear as they clatter by several times a day.
The 5,200-square-foot building was completely uninhabitable when owners Nancy Bender and Carl White stumbled upon it. But they had a vision. In 2007 Bender and White closed on the property. Ironically, the structure burned during escrow. Such a tragedy may have halted many in their tracks. Instead, Bender and White forged ahead, and the scorched structure has risen from the ashes over a multi-year rebuilding process.
The Whistle Stop Depot has now been reborn into an iconic Tucson Events Venue made from recycled, repurposed, reclaimed, and hand made materials. The building’s profile is dominated by a 42-feet-high tower that holds a solar chimney. It signals to all that this is a center for funky, fun creation. Bender and White have built the space, and now they invite the public to breath their own creativity into it.
Dubbed “a space of endless possibilities”, it has also become Tucson’s largest piece of art sculpture. While its exterior has much to marvel, stepping inside surprises at every turn. The extraordinary center attracts a a diverse and eclectic range of events. The Whistle Stop Depot has become a venue for art shows, art auctions, weddings, business mixers, fundraisers, parties and more. It is also a fresh performance venue for concerts, theater and festivals.
Some highlights of its sustainable and repurposed motif include the airplane fuselage front doors and interior moveable wall sections made from food-service shelves. The bathrooms are decorated with recycled tile, copper pipes and pressure gauges. A wall of toilet tank lids set in mortar separates the bathrooms from the event space.