Southern Arizona is home to some very interesting early American history. We visited both the Tumacácori Mission (now a National Historic Park) and the Tubac Presidio (an Arizona State Park). These two buildings have a related history, with the mission dating back to Father Kino’s expansion into what is now Arizona back in 1691. It is the oldest mission site in Arizona history and helps tell the story of how Spanish history, indigenous history, and Mexican history, all came together in this desert landscape.
After Father Kino established the mission, Spanish colonists began to settle in the area, establishing the settlement, Tubac nearby. In 1751, about 20 years after Tubac was created, there was a bloody revolt with the Pima Indians who lived in the area. Tubac was destroyed. The Spanish military then built the Presidio as a way to protect the colonists and also serve as a base for further expansion in the area. In later years, after Arizona became a United States Territory, a schoolhouse was built on the site of the now defunct Presidio and it is tied as being the oldest schoolhouse in Arizona.
Both of these historic sites are made available to the public with enormous help from local volunteers. Thank you to the volunteers who keep these sites preserved and open for visitors.