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Labelled with ICRA
Minerals Fossils and Artifacts Tucson Mineral and Gem World
Family owned and operated in the same location since 1968
2801 South Kinney Road, Tucson, Arizona 85735 Phone: 520-883-0682
for information e-mail me at tmgw883@msn.com

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Click here for MAP and driving directions from down town Tucson.

TUMACACORI MISSION:


A GREAT DAY TRIP

COURTESY OF DESERT TIMES / MONUMENT NEWS
by Ron Ratkevich

Tumacacori Mission was originally founded by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino in the late 1600's. The Mission's central large structure is the Franciscan-built church dating back to the early 1800's. The visitor center is also a historic building completed in 1937. Exhibits in the visitors center museum include dioramas, santos(carved wooden saints) and other information and objects related to the Kino missions, the Spanish, and the indigenous native peoples. A 14 minute video gives the visitor a good understanding of what life was like at Tumacacori in the early 1800's.
Visitors appreciate this special place for the opportunity to tour the mission church, cemetery and outlying structures and grounds in a peaceful and quiet atmosphere reminiscent of the period in which they were established. Photographers especially enjoy the earth colors and shadows of the mission buildings. The mission courtyard and garden just off the visitor center provides a peaceful, quiet place to relax and reflect. Many bird species are seen at the mission due to its proximity to the Santa Cruz river. A short quarter mile hike to the river could be rewarding to bird watching enthusiasts.
A traditional High Mass is conducted twice a year in the mission church in spring and winter. Reservations are required. Advance notice is appreciated from large groups wishing ranger-guided tours or living history demonstrations. Weddings and other religious services, commercial filming, and similar activities require an appropriate permit, which must be secured in advance.
Preservation on the adobe mission church and adjacent structures is an ongoing concern. The Park Service continuously tries to balance the need to protect and preserve: and at the same time, allow the public to enjoy the rich history of places like Tumacacori. Public understanding and cooperation is important if we are to maintain Tumacacori for the future. in 1990, two units were added to the park: the mission ruins at Guevavi and Calabazas. Due to limited staff and budget, these sites are not open to the public. Historical preservation and stabilization at Tumacacori is a never ending task. Over 2,000 man-hours per year are required to maintain the authenticity and safety of the ruins. In the preservation process, the experts use only historically authentic materials such as clay, silt, and gravel made into adobe bricks and covered with limestone plaster.
Apparently area settlers utilized Tumacacori for non-religious purposes from mid 1861 to the 1880's. The Santa Rita Mining Company evidently transformed the cemetery into a corral about 1860. After the area was abandoned in mid 1861 in probably only occasional prospectors who were looking for the "Jesuit mines" Some of these men undoubtedly camped in the sacristy where they built fires as attested by the soot on the room's ceiling. by the 1800s the cemetery again served as a corral. Cattle from the Otero ranch were gathered in the cemetery for branding in a community round up in 1884.
Sporadic liturgical use of the mission revived in the 1880's. In the mid-1880's, a priest invited Tom Bourgeois, who lived in Douglas, Arizona, to live at Tumacacori as a caretaker. Although he spent much of his time prospecting the area, he did help a priest perform an occasional wedding or baptism. Bourgeois was evidently replaced in the 1890's by Pedro Calistro who then served as a self appointed caretaker. Calistro, a Poata Indian from the Cucurpe Valley in Sonora, converted the corridor east of the sacristy into living quarters. Neighbors helped him clean the church. Calistro filled a big hole high on the north wall of the sanctuary above the main altar. He tried, but failed, to make treasure hunters stop digging into the mission. Each Easter Calistro conducted a semana santa or religious festival at the mission. These yearly celebrations continued until Calistro's death in 1929.
Since the early 1930's, restoration work continues. Not only did treasure hunters ravage the building, but souvenir hunters made off with fresco artwork that covered many of the walls: and, of course, many of the carvings and statues were long ago removed.
Tumacacori National Historical Park, including the missions of San Jose de Tumacacori, Los Santos Angeles de Guevavi, and San Cayetano de Calabazas, are located only 48 miles south of Tucson off I-19, exit 20. For more information call (520) 398-2341. Mailing address is Tumacacori National Historical Park, 1891 E. Frontage Road P.) Box 67, Tumacacori, AZ 85640. Operating hours are from 8 A.M. to 5:00 PM daily, except Christmas and Thanksgiving. Entrance fee is $2 per person or $4 per carload. The National Park Service Golden Passport is honored and available at Tumacacori. Approximately 60,000 people visit Tumacacori each year. Special thanks to the National Park Service for the information included in this article. Day trip

Tubac Presidio State Historic Park

COURTESY OF DESERT TIMES / MONUMENT NEWS
by Ron Ratkevich

Located 45 miles south of Tucson off interstate 19 near the town of Tubac, Tubac presidio was established as Arizona's first state park. Jesuit Priest Eusebo Francisco Kino established a mission farm and ranch at Tubac, the site of a small Piman village. Spanish began settling the area in the 1730s raising cattle along the Santa Cruz River.
Prompted by many grievances, Pima Chief Luis of Saric led a bloody rebellion destroying the Spanish settlement of Tubac that was established in 1752. Fifty soldiers were garrisoned here to discourage further rebellion, protect Spanish colonists and explore the Southwest.
Juan Bautista de Anza, a second commander of the presidio led overland expeditions to California from Tubac, resulting in the founding of San Francisco in 1776. (Part of this rout is now on the National Historic Trail.) Upon de Anza's return, the garrison was moved to Tucson until it returned in 1781 to protect against Apache raids.
After it became part of the U.S. with the Gadston Purchase of 1853 Tubac was resettled by eastern entrepreneurs and land owners. Charles D. Poston formed the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company and took over the former Commandant's quarters as his office. In 1859, Tubac published Arizona's first newspaper. By 1860, Tubac was the largest in Arizona. But the American Civil war drained the region of troops leaving the region open to Apache raids. Although resettled after the war and routing of the railroad to Tucson,left Tubac in the backwaters of Arizona Development.
Tubac Presidio State Historic Park features a great museum, a unique underground archaeology display, living history displays, picnic areas, and several historic sites. Admission rates are $2.00 per person; $1 for people ages 12-17, and is open year round except for Christmas day. The hours are from 8 am to 5 pm.
If you are not quite a history buff, the village of Tubac is also a haven for artists and craftspersons and offers over 80 shops, studios, galleries and restaurants. You will be able to browse to your hearts delight and you might even find something you can't do without including pottery, carvings, metal work, jewelry, fine art, Mexican imports and every other form of craft and art. If you can't find what you're looking for in Tubac, it probably isn't to be found anywhere else in Arizona.
Getting to Tubac or the historic site is easy. Take Interstate 19 south for 42 miles. From there signs will direct you to Tubac and the Presidio State Historic Park. For more information call 520-398-2252
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Last Updated: April 11,2006