Friday, April 08, 2011

South--to the Border

Since January, we have been living south of the Gila River. This part of Arizona did not become part of the United States until 1853, when the Gadsden Purchase was completed, moving our southern border from the Gila River to it's present location. For three months we were teaching about the history of this area. Since leaving Casa Grande Ruins, we have been exploring more history. We are currently staying south of Green Valley, about 30 miles from the Nogales border crossing. We have visited Tumacacori National Historic Monument and the small town of Tubac.

We had visited Tumacacori last year, but returned this year to take a guided tour and learn more about this special place. Padre Eusebio Kino, a Jesuit, established a mission at Tumacacori in 1691. The church that is part of the Monument was built about 1800 by Franciscans. It was finally abandoned after the war between Mexico and the U.S. in the 1840s. This is how it looks today, after some restoration by the National Park Service.

Our tour guide was a young park ranger who is a historian. He shared a lot of excellent information with us.

The park service preserves old damage to historic sites. At Casa Grande Ruins we had a book listing all the graffiti found on the ruins. Here they preserve bullet holes in the church interior, possibly from soldiers who camped out in the church after it was abandoned. In this photo you can also see the adobe brick walls (which are up to 9 feet thick) and the thick plaster on the church interior.

Many of the photos John takes include people. I often take "artsy" pictures. Here are two of those.

The Tumacacori Mission included farm fields, an orchard, workshops and a granary. That granary has been restored and the historians think clay pots were used to store the seeds for planting the next year. This is one of the pots--though I'm not sure if it is historic or new.

Another day this week we visited the nearby town of Tubac, where Spain built a presidio or fort in 1753. I blogged about our tour of the historic fort last year. This year we stopped for lunch in the Old Tubac Inn and did some shopping (but no buying). I enjoyed this old cowboy.

This delightful garden displayed merchandise for sale at the Graham Bell Gallery. The gallery includes some impressive photos of cowboys in rodeos and doing ranch work.

Arizona really is part of the Old West. Look at two of the restaurants near our RV park.

We also encounter some of the issues of the new west here. About 4 km from our park (why is I-19 south of Tucson the only road in the Interstate system that is in metric measurement?), we saw this camera stand. We guess it is operated by the Border Patrol and may be part of a virtual fence.

The camera is less than 1 km from this Border Patrol Check Point on northbound I-19.

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