Thursday was history and research day. We plan to return to Casa Grande Ruins next winter and in our tours we talk about Padre Francisco Kino and Juan Batista de Anza. Just a little north and east of where we are staying we visited the Tubac Presidio where Anza was captain and the San Cayetano de Tumacacori, one of the missions established by Kino.
Tubac has been maintained as an Arizona State Historic Park, the state’s first state park. Unfortunately, it is one of a number of state parks that have lost their funding due to the current budget crisis in the state. Fortunately, local supports have raised the funds to keep the park open with volunteers.
It is a wonderful historic site. Tubac was a Spanish fort (presidio) established in 1752 after a Pima Indian revolt to control the Pimas and protect the frontier from the Apaches and Seris. It was maintained till 1821, under Spanish then Mexican control. Anza was the second captain there. His greatest claim to fame was leading a group of settlers to California where they established the town of San Francisco. On the way there, he visited Casa Grande Ruins and priests with the expedition recorded information about the ruins.
Only these few adobe bricks remain of the original Presidio.
However, archaeologists who excavated the site in 1974 returned and prepared an underground archaeological display of portions of the original foundation, walls, and plaza floor.
A group of displays shows how cooking, leather work and carpentry shops might have looked during the years of Spanish control.
This park was so informative. We wanted to go on to visit Tumacacori, which is only a couple of miles down the road, even though our brains were already full of information. We didn’t spend much time at the National Historical Park, but it was interesting to see a model of the original church area
and the ruins of the church.
It was established in 1691 by Fr. Kino, a Jesuit priest from Spain who came to New Spain (Mexico) in 1887. He also established missions as far north as present-day Tucson. In 1694, 1697 and 1699 he visited Casa Grande Ruins and when he wrote about that first visit in his diary, he was the first European to leave a written record of the ruins.
We will have to return to Tumacacori to learn more. But it was a very interesting day. Along the way we enjoyed looking at the shops in the town of Tubac, which has boutiques and numerous artist galleries. It is a fun little town, but it would be hard to add one of these metal sculptures to what we carry in our RV basement.