Crescent Tobacco Shop and Newsstand

Although the name has changed, Crescent Tobacco Shop and Newsstand is an original Tucson classic. For over a century, the "Crescent" Smoke Shop, has been a representative local business since 1900. The picture of Crescent Tobacco shop and Newsstand (left), was taken in 2017 by the local management.

From the late 1940's to the early 1980's, "Crescent Cigar Company" was one of Tucson's main tobacconists providing locals a place to come and read national news from newspapers from across the country. (Right: "Crescent Smoke Shop" 1984)

The local Tucson "Zocalo" magazine featured a historical edition with "Crescent Cigar Co" on the front page.

Humble Beginnings

(Vic Griffith in local Newspaper: Arizona Daily Star, 1948)

After venturing from Tennessee, Victor 'Vic' S. Griffith began his life in Tucson, Arizona in January 1898.  Griffith came to Tucson in the search for a better life away from the "feudin' section" of Tennessee, a portion of the state approximately 60 miles north of Chattanooga where infamous violence and rivalry existed between local clans. One famous example is the Hatfield and the McCoy clan feud. Griffith fled a feud between the Tollet and Swafford families.

Crescent "Cigar Shop" pictured above, North Stone Avenue c. 1900

Downtown Tucson circa 1900

At the time, Tucson was a small town known for keeping cattle and copper mining. Griffith could not find work in local retail at the time due to the fact that he did not speak Spanish and did not meet the weight requirement to work on the railroad. He started a peanut, fruit, and novelty stand. 

Left: Tucson Transfer Company, before Griffith's purchase in 1910

Right: Crescent Cigar Company 1949 (216 E. Congress St)

The stand did well in Tucson and later was expanded into a small store front.

The store has seen Tucson through the many historical periods throughout the 20th Century to modern day. It is one of Tucson's oldest tobacconists.

Crescent Timeline: 

1900- Store Opening  

1901- First directory listing 

1902- Crescent Cigar Co. V. Griffith proprietor (Advertisement reads: "Wholesale and Retail Cigars and Tobaccos. Pool and Billiard Hall with all Eastern and Western Papers and magazines. A nice reading and smoking room. 42 W. Congress"

1903- Crescent Cigar Co. 42 W. Congress business description remains the same but added bowling alleys while under management of V.S. Griffith

1908- Address changes to Stone Ave and Pennington

1909- Business shows same location on Sanborn Maps

1918- Crescent Cigar Co. moves location to 58 N. Stone (Corner Pennington), shared with RB Myers Cigars

1922- Crescent Cigar Co. owned by Carroll Hudson and Theodore Collins at 200 E. Congress

1927- Only Theodore Collins is listed as owner

1930- William Hudspeth and William Lewis owners after sale in August 1929

1932- Ownership transitions to Morris Cohen

1933- Ownership transitions to Thomas Dunham (Morris Cohen opens Arizona Cigar and Tobacco on N. 6th Ave.)

1941- New Owner: Louis A. Barrasso

1944- New Owner: Fred Kessler (Barrasso  now manager of the Frontier Hotel)

1948- New address listed at 216 E Congress in the Tucson Directory

1950- Name change to: "Crescent Smoke Shop"

1953- Name change to: "Crescent Cigar Store"

1957- New Owner: Michael Cosenza

1959- Directory listing changed back to "Crescent Smoke Shop"

1980- New Owner: Phil  Leone (Cosenza Retires)

1989- New Owner: Les Torok

1993-Present New Owners: Barbara and David Cantrell

Tucson Directory: Crescent Cigar Co. 1904


(Below: Crescent Smoke Shop: 1984)

(Right: Current Owner: David Cantrell tending to humidor, 2007)