I just love to take short trips to historic sites, and Tumacacori National Historical Park in Tubac, Arizona, was no exception. Getting to go with our friends, Leslie and Jay, made it even more special. Tumacacori is near Tubac, in southern Arizona, about 19 miles from the Mexican border. It is an area filled with history and art.
This is the ancient land of the O’odham. They farmed, hunted and lived in extended family villages. In 1691, the first Spanish priest, Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, came to Tumacacori. The O’odham began to follow the Spanish priest’s methods of farming and caring for livestock. In 1757, a mission, vista, without a resident priest was begun.
Jesuit priests helped protect the O’odham culture, but when the Jesuits were expelled from Spain, caring for the mission fell to the Franciscans. The Franciscans began the foundation for a new church in 1800. The church and mission were completed in 1824. Heavy timbers were carried 35 miles to provide support for the roof, and walls were raised with mud adobe and plastered with lime.
It was more than a church. It was designed as a community with orchards, wineries, fields and homes supporting several hundred people. The O’odham worked three days a week for the mission, attended mass daily and made their home within the safety of the mission.
Mexico achieved independence from Spain in 1821, and in 1828, Mexico expelled the Spanish priests from Tumacacori. By 1856, at the end of the Mexican/U.S. war, the O’odham peoples left the mission and it was abandoned.
It is a place steeped in history. As I walked the paths and visited the ruins, I could feel the ground holding the footsteps of many before me.
If you’re in the area, or even if it’s just a little out of your way, plan a trip to the Tumacacori National Historical Park. It’s worth it.
I’ll add it to my list. It looks like just a few miles from the Titan Missile site – another cool attraction.
This is a stunning area of Arizona. Thanks for writing about it. Plan to make a lunch trip with an easy 90 minute drive to Tombstone.
We very much enjoyed going with you Nanci! We have visited this site many times, weekends have special people that come in and demonstrate ancient skills, but going with you was special. Your very enthusiastic and inquisitive mind made it even better.
Looks like something straight out of an early Clint Eastwood movie!
We love to visit historical sites like this. Thx for the nice review. 🙂