Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tubac and Tumacacori

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Sunday March 2, 2014

Having Marla and Kermit here at the same time we are has turned out to be very beneficial.  We find that we enjoy the same things and it has spurred us to get out and see a lot of what this area has to offer.  Marla and Kermit (M&K) have lived, and explored in this area in the past and are a good sounding board for the good and the interesting.

Today we headed out for the city of Tubac and the Tumacacori Mission on the way.  Joan and I drove over to Patagonia, where M&K are staying at the Stage Stop Inn.  This is the gas station across the street from their hotel

From Patagonia we piled into M&Ks car and all drove down to Nogales on the Arizona Border with Mexico.  We drove through on our way to hook up with Interstate 19 and go north again to the Tumacacori  National Historical Park.

They have a beautiful visitors center that was built for the Park HQ. The building, though modern, was built in the style of the early spanish colonial. 

A Jesuit missionary Father Eusebio Francisco Kino established a mission here in January of 1691, Three hundred and twenty-three years ago!  The low foundation walls in the distance are all that remains of that early church and adjacent residence.

This is a picture of the store room on the mission grounds.  It has been lightly restored to give the idea of how it was built.  the steps in the center left of the photo would have gone up to a second floor deck

It's amazing if you think about the obstacles that had to be overcome to establish a mission miles from any support.  The church nor the Crown sent any support, on the contrary they both expected the missionary to extract riches and send them back to Spain.  Water canals were dug and improved, crops were planted, orchards planted, fortifications were built, houses,  a church, a blacksmith and carpentry shop.  The mission became an entirely self supporting entity.  

The natives of the area built their traditional homes near the mission for the protection and access to water and food that it offered.  The traditional homes were made of dab and wattle- basically mud and straw mixed and formed into walls.  When it rained the walls would soften and sometimes collapse.
The shade structure to the left of the house is the ramada where most of the family activity took place. The "house" was mostly for storage and sleeping.

Father Kino became a friend and an advocate for the natives and when he took their side against the Crown- he was cut off and banished.  (As were all Jesuit Priests)  Franciscan Priests were sent over to take over the missionary effort because they would follow the orders of the Crown.   

A new more grandiose mission building shown above was started by Franciscan missionaries in 1800. The walls were 3-4 feet thick of adobe brick and progress was painfully slow.

Hostile natives, disease, encroaching settlers, and lack of government support all hindered the mission.  In the end a Mexican decree in 1828 forced all Spanish born residents to leave the country and Tumacacori lost it's last resident priest.  By 1848 a hard winter and a series of Apache raids drove out the last residents.  In 1853 the site became part of the United States in the Gadsden Purchase.   President Theodore Rosevelt proclaimed Tumacacori a National Monument in 1908, and buy 1918 preservation had begun to stabilize what still existed of the mission, and associated buildings.

From Tumacacori we drove further north on the frontage road paralelling I-19 to the historic town of Tubac.

This is where the original Spanish Colonial Garrison for what later became the Arizona Territory was located.  It was 2 PM by now and we were hungry so we skipped a visit to the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, and instead sought out a table at Shelby's Bistro for lunch.  It was a fortunate choice as the patio dining was beautiful and the weather very comfortable.  Did I mention that the food was excellent too?

After lunch we spent some time browsing the local galleries and shops.

By the time we had seen Tubac's old down town it was getting late and we headed back to the RV.  The Coronado National Forest and the Santa Rita Mountains stood between us and Huachuca City and we could either go north to Shauarita and and go around the north end of the mountains or we could back- track to Nogales the way we had come.  We chose to see some new country and headed north.  Our route would take us north on I-19 to Sahuarita then south and east on Arizona 83, through the valley between the Santa Ritas and the Whetstone mountains- very pretty country.  At Sonoita, the heart of Arizona's wine country, we turned east on  AZ route 82 to Huachuca City.  We decided we will have to come back and sample the wines when we have more daylight.

Joan and I were very fortunate to have Marla and Kermit as our tour guides, we had only to look out the windows of their large and comfortable Toyota Highlander.  The conversation made the miles melt away and before long we were being dropped off at the RV tired and happy!

Your Traveling Friends

Joan and Jeff

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