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