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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A History of Tucson Arizona, Pima County

The Old Pueblo of Arizona
By A. H: CONDRON, secretary Tucson Chamber of Commerce
From Progressive Arizona 1925
THE history of Pima County, as recorded in the chronicles of los conquistadores, reads like a romance. if space would permit, a most interesting’ history could be told.. The accounts of the wanderings of Alvarez Nnez, passing through this country a quarter of a century before the Spaniards founded St. Augustine, and the expedition of Padre Marcus de Niza, made for the purpose of verifying Nuez’s stories of the Seven Cities of Cibola, furnishes material for many lengthy chapters, and the story of the march of Coronado (the following year~ 1540) from Culiacan through the country of the Pimas, down the valley of the Santa Cruz, by the present site of Tucson, and across the Pima settlements to the Gila River, has made an interesting volume by McClintock in his “History of Arizona”. The records of Spain show that the King of Spain granted a charter for the Pueblo del Tucson in 1552. A story will soon be told which will probably establish .IEuropean occupation of Tucson about the eighth century. The greatest story of all recorded is the coming of Padre Kino, who came out of Mexico and founded missions a day’s journey apart far into the interior of what is now the State of Arizona; in 1692 this worthy Jesuit established San Xavier del Bac, the most wonderful mission on the American continent. This Mission today is in excellent state of preservation, and services have been held there almost continuously since its founding. This shrine is located nine miles south of Tucson and is visited annually by tourists. Architectural students from all over the world come in order to study the distinctive architecture of this edifice.
About the middle of the eighteenth century, the Apaches arose in revolt, after which the Spanish government erected a presidio at Tucson and maintained a garrison here for the protection of their people. Tucson remained a walled village until 1847, giving our city the distinction of being the only walled city in the United States. A part of this wall still remains as evidence of this period. In 1853 Arizona became a territory of the United States by the Gadsden Purchase, and for years Pima County was protected by the United States troops garrisoned at Tucson. One of the cherished landmarks remaining is old Fort Lowell.
The development of Tucson during the territorial days was very slow. In 1910 the population was less than 13,000. However, since that time there has been an increase of 150%, and today Tucson has a population of 33,000, largely made up of the former residents of every state in the Union and from many foreign countries. There is probably no city in the Southwest which has a more cosmopolitan population, and this fact probably bespeaks the reason for its rapid development during the last ten years.
Back in the territorial days a trip to Tucson was tedious and exceedingly dangerous because of the frequent raids of roving bands of savage Indians. These trips had to be made by the old stage coach, The Butterfield Stage brought passengers and mail by relay from Kansas City to Yuma, practically passing over the present Bankhead Highway and part of the Old Spanish Trails. This mode of travel did not invite a great influx of settlers to this land of sunshine. Those who did come were mainly the hardy pioneers who were seeking new western locations in the quest of gold or other rich minerals known to exist in the mountains of Arizona. Contrast that means of transportation with the present excellent’ improved highway, “The Main Street through Arizona,” which entices over 20,000 out of the state cars, with over 100,000 tourists to enjoy Arizona’s wonderful highways and to be brought in touch with our romance, scenic and historic points of interest and to learn of the unbelievable development of the resources of our great Southwest, further to realize the great future of the City of Sunshine as the hub of the Southwest and the Gateway to the West Coast of Mexico. It is no wonder that the coming of the Southern Pacific in 1880 was heralded as one of the greatest factors of development for Tucson, as it meant the safe and easy transportation not only for the settler, but for the shipping of mineral wealth, cattle and agricultural products of Pima County-but also afforded a means of comfortable transportation for the settler who came from the east and developed the country through its last forty-five years of progress. In the last twelve years, the Southern Pacific has expanded its trade territory out of Tucson and is now working on its program of completing its system down the west coast of Mexico via Nogales, Arizona, and on to Mexico City, thus tapping the rich coastal plain of our sister Republic. The rail development has indeed been an important attribute to the development of the West - and Tucson has enjoyed its full share of this good fortune. The Old Pueblo is now actively engaged in the program of aerial mail extension and commercial and military aviation. With a vision of aviation’s future as a means of transportation, the city has been assisting our government in its aviation program by donating land which is leased to the government and equipped as one of the best aviation fields between El Paso and San Diego. The future program calls for a 1280-acre field valued at approximately a quarter of a million dollars on which an extensive construction program will be carried out to make the air port at Tucson the aviation base of the Southwest.


Arizona, a state only since 1912, with an area of 113,956 square miles and comparatively small population, but with a percentage of increase equal to the most progressive western states, has not lost sight of its educational program. The taxpayers have been generous in this respect and our school system is rated as the second in the United States. The University of Arizona, located at Tucson, has achieved national recognition and stands as one of the leading state universities. Its College of Mines and College of Agriculture have been largely responsible for the development made in these industries and are rated as among the best in the country. The campus of the University is a garden spot - the buildings are modern and fully equipped. The new library, just finished, is without a doubt the finest building in Arizona. The enrollment has shown a steady increase-this semester, about fourteen per cent-which brings the total year’s enrollment up to about twenty-eight hundred students. The Old Pueblo has kept abreast with the state educational program in its city schools, Of the fourteen grammar schools, eight were constructed during the past three years at a cost of $400,000.00 and a new High School, costing $750,000.00, was dedicated last Fall.. The Admirably located at the foot of the beautiful Rincon Mountains is the famous Evans School for Boys. There are also several parochial schools located in our city.
Tucson has excellent transportation facilities for industrial development, but, to date, the city cannot ma e many claims in comparison with some of the other western cities famed for their industries. However, such industries that have been established are of a sound nature. The further development of the natural resources adjacent to Tucson will bring about the establishment of other industries; this year: through the three years of cotton growing in Pima County, has been established a cottonseed oil mill and a large cotton compress. One of the large farm companies is making an investigation for the location of a large cold storage plant and a creamery. Progress has been made for the construction of an ore sampling works to handle the output of small prospectors; there are 17,000 mining claims recorded in Pima County, and many of these could be put into operation, bringing in good returns from the smelting of lead, zinc, silver and copper ores.
The outlook in mining, with the steady increase of metal prices, is very promising. Arizona produces about one-half of the copper in the United States. At Ajo, in the western end of Pima County, is located the New Cornelia Copper Company, which is one of the largest producers in the state. A radius of 150 miles from Tucson incloses all of the largest copper mining companies in Arizona with the exception of one. This has long since placed Tucson as the center of the mining industry of our state. The early days of Arizona were practically given over to mining, followed by cattle raising and agriculture. Some of the finest cattle breeding grounds in the United States are located in southern Arizona. Recently, several of the foresighted cattlemen have gone into the breeding of high-bred stock and are thereby doing their bit to build up the ranges. The cutting up of the ranges into small cattle ranches has caused intensified development of irrigable agricultural lands in this county with the result that today Pima County is taking its place with other counties in Arizona in a high yield per acre in cotton, alfalfa and truck garden products. The figures of the record in agricultural production in the county best shows strides in this development: In 1920 there was not a bale of cotton grown; today the crop is 10,000 bales. Previous to 1913 there was only one small dairy in existence; today the dairy industry is valued at three-quarters of a million dollars. The poultry industry, back in 1912, was a failure, as practically all of the eggs at that time supplied in Tucson were shipped in and local production received no recognition ; today poultry offers one of the greatest agricultural possibilities, with a local market valued at a half million dollars, and has, this year, already netted a very few poultrymen about a hundred and twenty thousand income. Fruit raising has been conducted in an experimental stage, with a result that grapes and peaches have proven their worth as horticultural crop.
Besides being the hub of the mining and cattle raising industries of southern Arizona, Tucson has become recognized as one of the leading resort sections of the county. This is mainly due to its unexcelled climate-coupled with its background of history, romance and scenic attractions. A recent writer of authority from the east paid tribute to the Old Pueblo in stating that it was the hub of the scenic beauty and historic lore of the Southwest. Tucson climate has been written in the Encyclopedia Britannica as comparable to that of Egypt, and this has-by the aid of properly prepared publicity and literature-attracted thousands of newcomers to our City of Sunshine and has likewise awakened our leaders of vision to interest the community in its own tourist hotel "El Conquistador" which is under construction at a cost of half a million dollars.
The community leaders have foreseen the future Tucson and the citizens have responded to their progress of civic development. In the past four years. twenty miles of paving has been laid with in the city, two million and quarter dollars have been spent under the city improvements act since 1912 four new church buildings have been erected. a new music temple has been projected.. Park and street beautification has received the attention of the city administration, and a practically new water system has been installed ( furnishing an excellent supply of pure water from deep wells and assuring an ample and good supply for the city ). The city has offered its co-operation in giving a site to the government for a three quarters of a million dollar Federal building, badly needed to adequately quarter the Post office and other Federal offices established here, and a site has also been offered the Government for its permanent and enlarged hospital.