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Tucson (pronounced /ˈtusɑn/, Spanish: Tucsón) is a city and the seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States, located 118 miles (188 km) southeast of Phoenix. As of July 1, 2005 a census estimate put the city's population at 521,605, and the metropolitan population at 931,210. By 2008 the city population is expected to exceed 610,000, while the metropolitan population is expected to exceed 1 million by spring 2007. In 2005 Tucson ranked as the 32nd-largest city and 52nd-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. It is the largest city in southern Arizona, and the second largest in the state after Phoenix, Arizona.
Major incorporated suburbs of Tucson include Oro Valley and Marana northwest of the city, South Tucson (surrounded by Tucson), and Sahuarita south of the city. Communities in the vicinity of Tucson (some within or overlapping the city limits) include Casas Adobes, Catalina, Catalina Foothills, Flowing Wells, Green Valley, Tanque Verde, and Vail.
The name Tucson originates via Spanish from the O'odham, Cuk Ṣon (pronounced [ʧʊk ʂɔn]; roughly, "chuk shon"), meaning "Black Base," a reference to the mostly volcanic mountains on the west side of the city. The most notable of these mountains is Sentinel Peak, better known as "A Mountain" because it sports a large letter A in honor of the nearby University of Arizona, situated in west central Tucson. Tucson is sometimes referred to as "The Old Pueblo."
2 Geography and climate
2.1.1 Environmental impact
2.2.1 Earliest neighborhoods
2.2.3 Central or Midtown
2.2.4 South Side
2.2.5 West Side
2.2.6 North Side
2.2.7 East Side
2.2.8 Southeast Side
2.2.9 Northwest Side
6.1 Post-secondary education
6.2 Primary and secondary public education
7 People and culture
7.1 Annual cultural events and fairs
7.1.1 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show
7.1.2 Tucson Folk Festival
7.1.3 Fourth Avenue Street Fair
7.1.4 The Tucson Rodeo (Fiesta de los Vaqueros)
7.1.5 Tucson Meet Yourself
7.1.6 All Souls Procession
7.2 Museums, art collections, and other attractions
7.3 Parks and outdoor attractions
7.4 Performing arts
12 See also
13 Sister cities
15 Further reading
16 External links
Stone Avenue in Tucson, 1880Tucson was probably first visited by Paleo-Indians, known to have been in southern Arizona by about 12,000 years ago. Recent archaeological excavations near the Santa Cruz River have located a village site dating back 4,000 years ago. The floodplain of the Santa Cruz River was extensively farmed by people during the Early Agricultural period, circa 1200 B.C. to A.D. 150. These people constructed irrigation canals and grew corn, beans, and other crops while gathering wild plants and hunting animals. The Early Ceramic period occupation of Tucson saw the first extensive use of pottery vessels for cooking and storage. The groups designated by archaeologists as the Hohokam lived in the area from A.D. 600-1450 and are known for their red-on-brown pottery.
Jesuit missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino visited the Santa Cruz River valley in 1692, and founded the Mission San Xavier del Bac about 7 miles (12 km) upstream from the site of the settlement of Tucson in 1700. The Spanish established a presidio (fort) in August 18, 1775 and the town came to be called "Tucson." Tucson became a part of Mexico after Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. Following the Gadsden purchase in 1853, Tucson became a part of the United States of America. From August 1861, until mid-1862, Tucson was the capital of the Confederate Territory of Arizona. Until 1863, Tucson and all of Arizona was part of the New Mexico Territory. From 1867 to 1879, Tucson was the capital of the Arizona Territory. The University of Arizona, located in Tucson, was founded in 1885. By 1900 7,531 people lived in Tucson. At about this time, the US Veterans Administration had begun construction on the present Veterans Hospital. Many lung ailment afflicted veterans started coming to Tucson at this time. The population increased gradually to 13,913 in 1910, 20,292 in 1920, and 36,818 in 1940.
Geography and climate
Tucson as seen from spaceTucson is located at 32°12′52″N, 110°55′5″W (32.214476, -110.918192)GR1.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 505.3 km² (195.1 mi²). 504.2 km² (194.7 mi²) of it is land and 1.1 km² (0.4 mi²) of it (0.22%) is water.
The city's elevation is 2,389 ft (728 m) above sea level. Tucson is situated on an alluvial plain, surrounded by five minor ranges of mountains: the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Tortolita Mountains to the north, the Santa Rita Mountains to the south, the Rincon Mountains to the east, and the Tucson Mountains to the west. The Santa Catalina Mountains feature 9,157-foot-high Mount Lemmon, the southernmost ski destination in the continental U.S., while the Tucson Mountains include 4,687-foot Wasson Peak.
The view of Tucson from Windy Point, at elevation 6,580 feet on Mt. Lemmon.The city is located on the Santa Cruz River, a dry river bed much of the year that floods during significant seasonal rains. (The Santa Cruz becomes a subterranean stream part of the year although it may appear dry.)
Tucson is located along I-10, which runs through Phoenix toward Santa Monica, California in the northwest, and through El Paso, Texas toward Jacksonville, Florida in the east. I-19, runs south from Tucson toward Nogales and the U.S.-Mexico border.
In 2006 the City of Tucson was ranked overall number 20 of 50 U.S. cities by the organization SustainLane on quality of life and economic factors that affect personal sustainability. The complete study is available online at www.sustainlane.com .
Tucson can point with pride to numerous public/private projects which have made the Tucson metro area a national leader in conservation/sustainable living evolution.
While Tucson is a "natural" for development into a solar community, there is a long way to go. Perhaps the biggest sustainability problem is potable water supply: although agriculture in Arizona uses far more water than the city itself, and Tucsonans find lawns and swimming pools less acceptable than their neighbours in Phoenix, massive drawing down of groundwater resources over the last 100 years has occurred, visible as subsidence in some residential areas.
Tucson's new reliance on the CAP canal, passing more than 300 miles across the desert from the Colorado River, cast doubt over "sustainability" claims even at current population levels. This points to the need for further efforts at re-use and recycling, prompted by Pima County and the city in numerous outreach campaigns, and halt to urban growth into the fragile ecosysems of the surrounding Sonoran Desert.
While the Santa Cruz river once flowed nearly year-round through Tucson less than 100 years ago, the city's water has been slowly disappearing since then, causing Tucson to seek alternative sources.
Until 1887, Tucson residents purchased water for a penny a gallon from vendors who transported it in bags draped over burros' backs. After that, water was sold by the bucket or barrel and delivered door-to-door in wagons.
In 1881 water was pumped from a well on the banks of the Santa Cruz River and flowed by gravity through pipes into the distribution system.
Tucson currently draws water from three main sources: Central Arizona Project (CAP) water, effluent (treated wastewater), and groundwater. In 1992, Tucson Water delivered CAP water to some customers that was referred to as being unacceptable. This problem led Tucson to modify its water resources plan to allow more study of the best use of CAP water. While currently dependent on groundwater, Tucson is making use of CAP water by selling it to local farmers, and is developing several recharge projects to augment groundwater supply.
Similar to many cities in the Western U.S., Tucson was developed on a grid plan, with the city center at Stone Avenue and Broadway Boulevard. While this intersection was initially near the geographic center of Tucson, due to urban development the intersection is presently located in the west-central part of town. As an expansive city covering substantial area, Tucson features many distinct neighborhoods.
Tucson's early neighborhoods (some of which are covered by the Tucson Convention Center) include Barrio Libre; Barrio Anita, named for an early settler; Barrio Tiburón (in the present Fourth Avenue arts district), designated in territorial times as a "(red light) district"; El Jardín, named for an early recreational site, Levin's Gardens; and El Ollo, named for a lake that was part of the gardens. Up until the building of the Tucson Convention Center (or TCC), El Ollo referred to this part of the city, which was inhabited mainly by Mexican-American citizens and immigrants from Mexico. Other historical neighborhoods include Armory Park, south of downtown, the Sam Hughes neighborhood (named after an instigator-hero of the Camp Grant Massacre), located east of the University of Arizona, and Menlo Park, situated adjacent to Sentinel Peak.
Downtown Tucson is undergoing a revitalization effort by city planners and the business community. The primary project is Rio Nuevo, a large retail and community center. Downtown is generally classified as north of 12th Street, east of I-10, and southwest of Toole Avenue and the Southern Pacific Railroad. Downtown is divided into the Presidio District, Convention District, and the Congress Street Arts & Entertainment District.
UniSource Energy Tower (center) as seen from midtown looking westTucson's tallest building, the 23-story UniSource Energy Tower (also called the Bank Building) is situated downtown and was completed in 1986. The proposed Century Tower for downtown would surpass the Bank Building at 27 stories. Other high-rise buildings downtown include Bank of America Plaza, and the Pioneer (completed in 1914).
Attractions downtown include the historic Hotel Congress designed in 1919, the Art Deco Fox Tucson Theatre designed in 1929, the Rialto Theatre opened in 1920, and St. Augustine Cathedral completed in 1896. Included on the National Register of Historic Places is the old Pima County Courthouse, completed in 1927 .
Central or Midtown
As one of the oldest parts of town, Central Tucson is anchored by the intersection of Campbell Avenue and Grant Road. The University of Arizona, chartered in 1885, is located in midtown and includes Arizona Stadium and McKale Center. Historic Tucson High School (designed in 1924), and the Arizona Inn (built in 1930) are also located in Central Tucson.
Tucson's largest park, Reid Park is located in midtown and includes a zoo and Hi Corbett Field. Local retail in Central Tucson is concentrated along Fourth Avenue and also Main Gate Square on University Boulevard near the UA campus. The El Con Mall is also located in midtown.
South Tucson is administered largely by the city that shares its name. The South Side of Tucson is generally defined as the area north of Los Reales Road, east of I-19 and southwest of Aviation Parkway. While the South Side has lower real estate values than most other Tucson neighborhoods, it supports a vibrant culture influenced by Mexico. The Tucson International Airport and Tucson Electric Park are also located on the South Side.
West Tucson is a combination of urban and suburban development. Generally defined as the area west of I-10, West Tucson encompasses the banks of the Santa Cruz River and the foothills of the Tucson Mountains. Attractions in West Tucson include Saguaro National Park West, Sentinel Peak, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Old Tucson Studios, and the Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa.
North Tucson includes the urban neighborhoods of Amphitheater and Flowing Wells. Usually considered the area north of Fort Lowell Road, North Tucson includes some of Tucson's primary commercial zones (Tucson Mall and the Oracle Road Corridor). Many of the city's most upscale boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries are also located on the North Side including St. Philip's Plaza. The Plaza is directly adjacent to the historic St. Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church (built in 1936).
Also on the North Side is the suburban community of Catalina Foothills, located in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains just north of the city limits. This community includes among the area's most expensive homes, commonly multi-million dollar estates. The Foothills area is generally defined as north of River Road, east of First Avenue, and west of Sabino Creek. Some of the Tucson area's major resorts are located in the Catalina Foothills, including the Westin La Paloma Resort, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort and Canyon Ranch Spa. La Encantada, an upscale outdoor shopping mall is also in the Foothills.
East Tucson is relatively new compared to other parts of the city, developed between the 1950s and the 1970s. East Tucson is generally classified as the area of the city east of Swan Road, with above average real estate values relative to the rest of the city. The area includes urban and suburban development near the Rincon Mountains. East Tucson includes Saguaro National Park East. Tucson's Restaurant Row is also located on the East Side, along with a significant corporate and financial presence. Tucson's largest office building is 5151 East Broadway in East Tucson, completed in 1975. Park Place is also located on the East Side.
Situated between the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Rincon Mountains near Redington Pass northeast of the city limits is the community of Tanque Verde. The Arizona National Golf Club, Forty-Niners Country Club, and the historic Tanque Verde Guest Ranch are also in Northeast Tucson.
Southeast Tucson continues to experience rapid residential development. The area includes the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The area is classified as south of Golf Links Road. The suburban community of Vail is also located on the Southeast Side.
Much of the Northwest Side is single-family residential areas, as seen from the northeastern foothills of the Tucson Mountains.The expansive area northwest of the city limits is known as the Northwest Side. The Northwest Side includes significant economic diversity ranging from the rural communities of Catalina and parts of the town of Marana, to the affluent town of Oro Valley in the western foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, and residential areas in the northeastern foothills of the Tucson Mountains. The community of Casas Adobes is also on the Northwest Side, with the distinction of being Tucson's first suburb, established in the late 1940s. Casas Adobes is centered around the historic Casas Adobes Plaza (built in 1948). The Foothills Mall is also located on the Northwest Side.
Many of the Tucson area's golf courses and resorts are located in this area, including the Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort in Oro Valley, the Omni Tucson National Resort & Spa, and Westward Look Resort. Catalina State Park and Tortolita Mountain Park are also on the Northwest Side.
Snow on Wasson PeakTucson has two major seasons, summer and winter; plus three minor seasons: autumn, spring, and the monsoon (Tucson's primary "rainy season").
Summer is characterized by low humidity, clear skies, and daytime high temperatures that exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The average overnight temperature ranges between 68°F and 85°F.
Monsoon clouds blanket the Catalina Mountains, August 2005The monsoon can begin anytime from mid-June to late July, with an average start date around July 3. It typically continues through August and sometimes into September. During the monsoon the humidity is much higher than the rest of the year. It begins with clouds building up from the south in the early afternoon followed by intense thunderstorms and rainfall, which can cause flash floods. Large areas of the city do not have storm sewers, so monsoon rains flood the main thoroughfares but usually only for a few hours. A few underpasses in Tucson have "feet of water" scales painted on their supports to indicate whether they can be safely forded by an automobile during a rainstorm. The evening sky at this time of year is often pierced with dramatic lightning strikes.
Autumn lasts from late October to November or December. It is much like summer, and similarly dry, with days above 100 degrees typical into early October. Average daytime highs of 84°F, with overnight lows of 55°F, constitute typical fall weather.
Winters in Tucson are mild relative to other parts of the United States. Daytime highs in the winter range between 64°F and 75°F, with overnight lows between 30°F and 44°F. Although quite rare, snow has been known to fall in Tucson, usually a light dusting that melts within a day. The photo, left, shows snow on 4,687-foot Wasson Peak on Tucson's northwest side.
Spring begins in late February or March, and is characterized by rising temperatures and several weeks of vivid wildflower blooms. Daytime average highs range from 72°F in March to 88°F in May with average overnight lows in March of 45°F and in May of 59°F.
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Extreme High °F 87 92 99 104 107 117 114 112 107 102 90 84 117
Avg High °F 64 68 73 81 90 100 99 97 94 84 73 65 86
Avg Low °F 39 41 44 51 58 64 74 72 67 57 45 39 55
Extreme Low °F 16 20 20 33 38 47 59 61 44 26 24 16 16
Avg Rainfall in. 1.0 0.7 0.7 0.3 0.2 0.2 2.3 2.3 2.4 0.9 0.6 1.0 11.7
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 486,699 people, 192,891 households, and 112,455 families residing in the city. The population density was 965.3/mi² (2,500.1/km²). There were 209,609 housing units at an average density of 415.7/mi² (1,076.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 70.15% white, 4.33% black or African-American, 2.27% Native American, 2.46% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 16.85% from other races, and 3.79% from two or more races. 35.72% of the population were Hispanic of any race. The Native American inhabitants in the area include primarily Tohono O'odham (formerly called the Papago), living in the city, on the nearby San Xavier reservation, and in the Tohono O'odham Nation, who may be descendants of the prehistoric inhabitants, as well as 6,800 Yaqui, living in the city (largely in the Old Pascua and Barrio Libre neighborhoods), on the nearby Pascua Yaqui reservation, and in the Yoem Pueblo in the town of Marana.
There were 192,891 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.7% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.7% were non-families. 32.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the inner-city, the population has 24.6% under the age of 18, 13.8% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 19.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,981, and the median income for a family was $37,344. Males had a median income of $28,548 versus $23,086 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,322. About 13.7% of families and 18.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.6% of those under age 18 and 11.0% of those age 65 or over.
Tucson Police logoTucson follows the "weak mayor" model of municipal government (see Mayor-Council government). The 6-member city council holds exclusive legislative authority, and shares executive authority with the mayor, who is elected by the voters independently of the council. An appointed city manager, meanwhile, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city.
Both the council members and the mayor serve 4-year terms, and none face term limits. Council members are nominated by their wards via a ward-level primary held in September. The top vote-earners from each party then compete at-large for their ward's seat on the November ballot. In other words, come election day, the whole city votes on all the council races up for that year. Council elections are severed: Wards 1, 2, and 4 (as well as the mayor) are up for election in the same year (most recently 2003), while Wards 3, 5, and 6 share another year (most recently 2005).
Tucson is well-known for being a trailblazer in voluntary partial campaign finance. Since 1985, both mayoral and council candidates have been eligible to receive matching public funds from the city. To become eligible, council candidates must receive 200 donations of $10 or more (300 for a mayoral candidate). Candidates must then agree to spending limits equal to $.33 for every registered Tucson voter, or $79,222 in 2005 (the corresponding figures for mayor are $.64 per registered voter, or $142,271 in 2003). In return, candidates receive matching funds from the city at a 1:1 ratio ($1 in public money for every $1 in private donations). The only other limitation is that candidates may not exceed 75% of the limit by the date of the primary. Many cities, such as San Francisco and New York City, have copied this system, albeit with more complex spending and matching formulas.
Much of Tucson's economic development has been centered around the development of the University of Arizona, which is currently the second largest employer in the city. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, located on the southeastern edge of the city, also provides many jobs for Tucson residents. Its presence, as well as the presence of a US Army Intelligence Center (Fort Huachuca, the largest employer in the region in nearby Sierra Vista), has led to the development of a significant number of high-tech industries, including government contractors, in the area. Today, there are more than 1,200 businesses employing over 50,000 people in the high-tech industries of Southern Arizona.
The City of Tucson, Pima County, the State of Arizona and the private sector have all made commitments to create a growing, healthy economy with high-tech industries as its foundation. Advanced technology companies like Raytheon Missile Systems, Texas Instruments, IBM, Intuit, Inc., America Online, Universal Avionics, Misys Healthcare Systems, Sanofi-Aventis, Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., and Bombardier all have a significant presence in Tucson. Roughly 150 Tucson companies are in the optics industry, earning Tucson the nickname "Optics Valley".
Tourism is another major industry in Tucson, which has many resorts, hotels, and attractions. A reckonable economic force is middle-class and upper-class Sonorans, who travel to Tucson to purchase goods that are not readily available in Mexico. In addition to vacationers, a significant number of winter residents, or "snowbirds", are attracted by Tucson's mild winters and contribute to the local economy.
University of Arizona: established in 1885; the second largest university in the state in terms of enrollment with over 37,000 students.
Pima Community College: located in the Tucson area with five campuses.
University of Phoenix has three Tucson campuses.
Primary and secondary public education
Primarily, students of Tucson residents attend public schools in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD). TUSD encompasses the central Tucson valley, including the lower Catalina Foothills and segments of the Tanque Verde Valley.
Other school districts in the Tucson metropolitan area include:
Altar Valley School District: located southwest of the city, primarily serving Three Points.
Amphitheater Public Schools: serves segments of the North Side, Casas Adobes, Catalina Foothills, and the communities of Oro Valley, eastern Tortolita and Catalina northwest of the city.
Catalina Foothills Unified School District: serves the upper Catalina Foothills north of the city.
Continental School District: serves the rural area south of Sahuarita.
Flowing Wells Unified School District: serves segments of the North Side and the Northwest Side along I-10.
Marana Unified School District: serves the town of Marana, Picture Rocks, Avra Valley and western Tortolita northwest of the city.
Sahuarita Unified School District: located south of the city and serves Sahuarita and Arivaca.
Sunnyside Unified School District: serves the far South Side and segments of the Southwest Side.
Tanque Verde Unified School District: serves the far Northeast Side, including the community of Tanque Verde.
Vail School District: serves the far Southeast Side, including the community of Vail.
People and culture
Annual cultural events and fairs
Tucson Gem and Mineral Show
The Tucson Gem & Mineral Show is held every year in February for two weeks. It is one of the largest gem and mineral shows in the world, and features many of the finest mineral specimens. There is no single location for display of minerals, but rather dozens of locations spread across town. The show has an estimated attendance of more than 50,000 people from over twenty countries. Attendees frequently include the general public, experts, beginning collectors, museum employees, dealers, retailers, and researchers. Many museums and universities, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Sorbonne, have displayed materials at the show.
Tucson Folk Festival
For the past 21 years the Tucson Folk Festival has taken place the first Saturday and Sunday of May in downtown Tucson. In addition to nationally known headline acts each evening, the Festival highlights over 100 local and regional musicians on four stages in one of the largest free festivals in the country. Organized by the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association, volunteers make this festival possible. Arizona's only community radio station KXCI 91.3-FM, is a major partner, broadcasting from the Plaza Stage throughout the weekend. In addition, there are numerous workshops, events for children, sing-alongs, and a popular singer/songwriter contest. Musicians typically play 30-minute sets, supported by professional audio staff. A variety of food and crafts are available at the festival, as well as local micro-brews. All proceeds from sales go to fund future festivals.
Fourth Avenue Street Fair
There are also two Fourth Avenue Street Fairs, in December and March, staged between 9th Street and University Boulevard, that feature arts and crafts booths, food vendors and street performers. The fairs began in 1970 when Fourth Avenue, which at the time had half a dozen thrift shops, several New Age bookshops and the Food Conspiracy Co-Op, was a gathering place for hippies, and a few merchants put tables in front of their stores to attract customers before the holidays.
The Tucson Rodeo (Fiesta de los Vaqueros)
Team Roping competition at Tucson's Fiesta de los Vaqueros.Another popular event held in February, which is early spring in Tucson, is the Fiesta de los Vaqueros, or rodeo week. While at its heart the Fiesta is a sporting event, it includes what is billed as the world's largest non-mechanized parade. The Rodeo Parade is a popular event as most schools give two rodeo days off instead of Presidents Day. Western wear is seen throughout the city as corporate dress codes are cast aside during the Fiesta. The Fiesta de los Vaqueros marks the beginning of the rodeo season in the United States. Fiesta de los Vaqueros, the premier event of the rodeo year, is held at the beginning of the rodeo season.
Tucson Meet Yourself
Every October for the past 30 years, Tucson Meet Yourself has presented the faces of Tucson's many ethnic groups. For one weekend, dancing, singing, artwork, and food from more than 20 different ethnic heritages are featured in the Downtown area. Anthropology professor "Big" Jim Griffith and a few friends came up with the idea and it has grown steadily over the years. All performers are from Tucson, in keeping with the idea "meet yourself".
All Souls Procession
One of the largest festivals celebrated is the All Souls Procession, held since 1989 on the first Sunday in November. Modeled on the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), it combines elements of African, Anglo, Celtic, and Latin American culture. At sundown, thousands of people garbed in myriad costumes, mostly of the deceased, gather near the corner of Fourth Avenue and University Boulevard. In 2005, the Tucson Police Department estimated that 7,500 people participated in this event. The organization Many Mouths One Stomach (see website) hosted the gathering to acknowledge, mourn and celebrate deceased loved ones, and the "grand mystery" of death. Starting in 2006, the All Souls Procession will become a weekend-long event.
Museums, art collections, and other attractions
The Arizona Historical Society, founded as the Pioneer Historical Society by early settlers, has a collection of artifacts reflecting the city's history--many focusing on the era before statehood was attained in 1912--as well as a fine collection of original documents in its library, including many interviews with early residents.
The Fremont House is an original adobe house in the Tucson Community Center that was saved while one of Tucson's earliest barrios was razed as urban renewal. Originally named the Fremont House after Gov. John C. Fremont, who rented it for his daughter, it is now known as the Sosa-Carrillo-Fremont House to more accurately reflect its Latin heritage
Fort Lowell Museum is located on the grounds of a military fort, established in 1873 during the "Indian Wars" period and abandoned in 1891.
The Tucson Museum of Art was established as part of an art school. It contains nearly 6,000 objects concentrating on the art of the Americas and its influences. The museum also operates several historic buildings in the neighborhood, including La Casa Cordova, the J. Knox Corbett House, the Edward Nye Fish House and the Stevens/Duffield House.
The University of Arizona Art Museum includes works by Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko as part of the Edward J. Gallagher Memorial Collection, a tribute to a young man who was killed in a boating accident. The museum also includes the Samuel H. Kress Collection of European works from the 14th to 19th centuries and the C. Leonard Pfeiffer Collection of American paintings.
The UA campus also features the Center for Creative Photography, a leading museum with many works by major artists such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston.
The Mission San Xavier del Bac is a historic Spanish mission, located 10 miles (16 km) south of the city. It was founded by Father Kino in the 1660's as a mission which included a chain of other missions, many of which are located south of the border. The present building dates from the late 1700's. The mission, which still actively functions, is located in the Tohono O'odham nation reservation southwest of Tucson off of I-19.
Old Tucson Studios, built as a set for the movie Arizona, is a movie studio and theme park for classic Westerns. It was partly destroyed in 1995, allegedly by arson, but has since been rebuilt.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a non-traditional zoo devoted to animals and plants of the Sonoran Desert. It is located west of the Tucson Mountains.
The Pima Air & Space Museum, featuring over 250 modern and historical aircraft, is located to the southeast of the city near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
The Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC) is a facility where the federal government stores out-of-service aircraft. Bus tours are conducted regularly from the Pima Air & Space Museum.
Titan Missile Museum is located about 25 miles (40 km) south of the city on I-19. This is a Cold War era Titan nuclear missile silo (billed as the only remaining intact post-Cold War Titan missile silo) turned tourist stop.
Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum has an inventory of 150 vehicles, ranging from small buggies to wagons, surries, and coaches. Historic artifacts from pioneer days and a re-created Western Main Street represent what early Wild West Tucson looked like, and what it offered in terms of businesses and services.
The Museum of the Horse Soldier includes artifacts and ephemera detailing Western cavalry and dragoon military units.
Parks and outdoor attractions
Saguaro National Park is near Tucson
The road up the "back side" of Mt. Lemmon is a favorite for riders of off-road motorcyclesThe city is home to more than 120 parks, including Reid Park Zoo. There are five public golf courses located throughout the area. Several scenic parks and points of interest are also located nearby, including the Tucson Botanical Gardens, Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon, and Biosphere 2 (just north of the city, in the town of Oracle).
Tucson is a popular winter haven for cyclists, and is one of only eight cities in the U.S. to receive a gold rating or higher for friendliness to cycling from the League of American Bicyclists. Both road and mountain biking are popular in and around Tucson with popular trail areas including Starr Pass and Fantasy Island. Maps can be found online for both road and mountain bikers. Tucson is the home to the Tour de Tucson, a famous cycling event held annually in November.
Fourth Avenue, located near the University of Arizona, is home to many shops, restaurants, and bars, and hosts the annual 4th Avenue Street Fair every December and March. University Boulevard, leading directly to the UA Main Gate, is also the center of numerous bars, retail shops, and restaurants most commonly frequented by the large student population of the UA.
El Tiradito is a religious shrine in the downtown area. The Shrine dates back to the early days of Tucson. It's based on a love story of revenge and murder. People stop by the Shrine to light a candle for someone in need, a place for people to go give hope.
Trail Dust Town is an outdoor shopping mall and restaurant complex that was built from the remains of a 1950 western movie set. Trail Dust Town contains a number of historical artifacts, including a restored 1920s merry-go-round and a museum dedicated to Western cavalry and dragoon military units.
Mt. Lemmon, 5 miles north and over 6,700 feet above Tucson, is located in the Coronado National Forest. Outdoor activities in the summer include hiking, birding, rock climbing, picnicking, camping, sky rides at Ski Valley, fishing and touring. In the winter, skiing and/or sledding is sometimes available at the southernmost ski resort in the continental U.S. Summerhaven, a community near the top of Mt. Lemmon, is also a popular destination. Shops in Summerhaven offer such items as jewelry and other gifts, pizza, and fresh-fruit pies. The legacy of the Aspen Fire can be seen in charred trees, rebuilt homes, and melted beads incorporated into a sidewalk.
Musical groups include the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1921, the Arizona Opera Company, founded as the Tucson Opera Company in 1971, the Tucson Boys Chorus, Tucson Girls Chorus, Southern Arizona Symphony and Civic Orchestra of Tucson.
Theater groups include the Arizona Theatre Company, which performs in the Temple of Music and Art, a mirror image of the Pasadena Playhouse; the Invisible Theatre; and the Gaslight Theatre, which performs melodramas. Additionally, many bands perform at the numerous local clubs.
Tucson is home to the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus. They have been Arizona's "Ambassadors in Levi's" since 1930. A chorus of mostly pre teen boys with exceptional singing skills, they have toured the USSR, China, Japan, Singapore, and all over the world.
The University of Arizona Wildcats sports teams, most especially the men's basketball and women's softball teams, are often the subject of national attention as well as stong local interest.
Tucson is home to the Tucson Electric Park, the spring training location of the Arizona Diamondbacks (NL), and the Chicago White Sox (AL). The Colorado Rockies (NL) practice at nearby Hi Corbett Field. These teams, along with the nine that practice in nearby Phoenix, make up the Cactus League.
The Tucson Sidewinders, a triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, won the Pacific Coast League championip and unofficial AAA championship in 2006. The Sidewinders play in Tucson Electric Park and are in the Pacific Conference South of the PCL.
Tucson Raceway Park hosts NASCAR-sanctioned auto racing events and is the only asphalt short track in Arizona.
The English Premiership soccer of Charlton Athletic club recently opened a youth academy in Tucson in May 2005.
Arizona Daily Star: A morning daily paper. Sold in 2005 by Pulitzer, Inc. to Lee Enterprises.
Tucson Citizen: an afternoon daily paper. The Tucson Citizen is the oldest continuosly published newspaper in Arizona, established in 1870 as the Arizona Citizen. It is owned by Gannett.
Tucson Weekly: an alternative publication that is distributed free at numerous locations around Tucson. Other alternative weeklies from the past include the Frumious Bandersnatch, published in the 1960s and 70s by Hugh Holub, and the defunct Mountain Newsreal.
Explorer: a free weekly newpaper for residents of the suburban communities north of Tucson, including Oro Valley, Marana, Catalina Foothills, Tortolita and Catalina. The Explorer attempts to cover many aspects of suburban Tucson life, including high-school sports and preformances, cultural events, and stories of political interest.
Downtown Tucsonan: A free monthly magazine published by the Tucson Downtown Alliance. Editorial coverage focuses on issues pertinent to downtown - including revitalization efforts, arts, entertainment, history and events.
The DesertLeaf A free monthly publication serving primarily the Catalina Foothills. Founded in 1987, it has a circulation of 50,000.
Tucson Lifestyle Magazine A monthly magazine featuring local architecture, decor, fashion, arts, business people, etc. Now has several niche sister publications.
The Frumious Bandersnatch, long-time Tucson newspaper publisher Hugh Holub's now on-line satirical publication.
Tucson is served by the major television networks: KVOA 4 (NBC), KGUN 9 (ABC), KOLD 13 (CBS), KMSB 11 (local news broadcast from KTVK-TV in Phoenix) (FOX), KTTU 18 (My Network TV), and KWBA 58 (The CW). KUAT 6 is a PBS affiliate run by the University of Arizona.
Tucson International Airport.
Sun Tran is Tucson's public bus system. It was awarded Best Transit System in 1988 & 2005 and serves part of the metropolis of Tucson. The city remains largely dependent on automobiles for transportation.
Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Tucson three times weekly in each direction, operating its Sunset Limited between Orlando, Florida and Los Angeles, California.
Old Pueblo Trolley operates weekend heritage streetcar service between the Fourth Avenue Business District and the University of Arizona. There are plans to extend it downtown, but no funds are currently allocated
Tucson has a substantial population of cyclists, created in part by significant parking problems around the University of Arizona, a commitment to bike lanes and educational work by the City, and the compatible climate for cycling. BICAS, a community bike co-op and repair center near the University, is a Tucson landmark.
Speedway Boulevard, a major east-west arterial road in central Tucson, was named the "ugliest street in America" by Life Magazine in the early 1970s, quoting Tucson Mayor James Corbett.
Speedway Boulevard was awarded "Street of the Year" by Arizona Highways in the late 1990's.
A visit to Tucson is part of Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957), where the protagonists meet up with a friend on Fort Lowell Road (an east-west arterial in north-central Tucson).
Many major motion pictures have been filmed in the Tucson area. Some popular movies filmed in Tucson include Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), Arizona (1940), Bodies, Rest and Motion (1993), Boys on the Side (1995), C.C. and Company (1970), Can't Buy Me Love (1987), Dance with the Devil (1997), Flashpoint (1984), Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991), Hombre (1967), How the West Was Won (1962), Jesus' Son (1999), A Kiss Before Dying (1956), Lilies of the Field (1963), Major League (1989), The Postman (1997), Revenge of the Nerds (1984), Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise (1987), Rio Bravo (1959), A Star Is Born (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), Terminal Velocity (1994), The Three Amigos (1986), Thunder Alley (1985), Tin Cup (1996), and Tombstone (1993).
TV shows which were filmed in Tucson include The Big Valley (1965), The High Chaparral (1967), Petrocelli (1974), Summer Breeze (1987), Computer Doctor (1992), Spirit of Television (1993), and Nickelodeon's Hey Dude (1989-1991). A 1962 episode of Route 66, entitled "How Much a Pound Is Albatross?" and guest-starring Julie Newmar, was also filmed on location in Tucson.
The suspense novel Nagle's Mercy is set in Tucson and prominently features many well-known locations around the city, including the University of Arizona, Sabino Canyon, Sentinel Peak, the Unisource Energy Tower, downtown Tucson, and the Tucson Mall.
Songs featuring Tucson: "Get Back" by The Beatles, "You Can Sleep While I Drive" by Melissa Etheridge, "Painted Desert" by 10,000 Maniacs, "Rock'n Me" by The Steve Miller Band, "Jack Straw" by the Grateful Dead, "Under African Skies," by Paul Simon and native Tucsonan Linda Ronstadt, "Thumbelina" by The Pretenders, Merle Haggard's "Seashores of Old Mexico", covered in 2005 by George Strait, "Ghetto Cowboy" by Bone Thugs N Harmony, "Old Black Dawning" by Frank Black, "Niggas Bleed" by Notorious B.I.G., "When Mercy Sleeps" by Cottonhead, "Tucson, Arizona (Gazette)" by Dan Fogelberg, "Lights Of Tucson" by Jim Campbell, and "Della and The Dealer" by Hoyt Axton, "Joy" by Newsboys.
On Sentinel Peak, just west of downtown, there is a giant "A" in honor of the University of Arizona. It used to be a yearly tradition for freshmen to whitewash the "A." However, at the beginning of the Iraq War, anti-war activists painted it black. This was followed by a paint scuffle wherein the "A" was painted various colors until the City Council intervened. It is now red, white and blue except when it is white or another color decided by a biennial election.
Drexel Road, located on the south side of the city, is named after Francis Anthony Drexel, the father of Saint Katharine Drexel. Drexel owned property along the road in the 1800's. Another Drexel-related site is the Benedictine Sisters Monastery, built on the east side of town (now the middle of town) in the early 1900's with funds donated by St. Katharine.
Ina Road, a major east-west thoroughfare north of town, is named for UA physical education professor Ina Gittings. Although the street is pronounced "Eye-nah" she pronounced her name "Eee-nah."
Rita Road, located on Tucson's southeast side, is believed to have been named by Howard Hughes in honor of his then girlfriend Rita Hayworth. Hughes Aircraft was located there in the 1950s. It is also believed to be named for the Santa Rita Mountains located southeast of Tucson.
Two United States Navy ships have also been named USS Tucson in honor of the city.
In 1981, Star reporters Clark Hallas and Robert B. Lowe won a Pulitzer Prize for their stories about recruiting violations by University of Arizona coach Tony Mason.
The famous Borat song "Throw the Jew Down the Well" from Da Ali G Show was filmed at the Country West bar on Ruthrauff Road. Many of the intro sequences for Borat segments were also shot in various places around Tucson, mostly the downtown area.
List of famous people from Tucson
Tucson Garbage Project
Tucson has nine sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc.:
- Almaty (Kazakhstan)
- Guadalajara (Mexico)
- Ciudad Obregon (Sonora, Mexico)
- Pécs (Hungary)
- County Roscommon (Ireland)
- Segovia (Spain)
- Sulaymaniyah (Iraq)
- Taichung City (Taiwan)
- Trikala (Greece)
^ Two underpasses leading towards downtown Tucson from the north, at Sixth Avenue and Stone Avenue, have such "feet of water" scales.
^ Tucson Bicycle & Pedestrian Program. City of Tucson Department of Transportation (2006).
^ Tucson Mountain Biking Trails. Tucson Mountain Biking Trails Wiki.
^ "In My Country West There Is Problem", Tucson Weekly, August 26, 2004.
John Bret Harte: Tucson: Portrait of a Desert Pueblo ; American Historical Press; ISBN 1-892724-25-1 (hardcover, reissued 2001).
Evelyn S. Cooper: Tucson in Focus: The Buehman Studio ; Arizona Historical Society; ISBN 0-910037-35-3 (hardcover, 1995). A sample of the Buehman Collection, which includes 250,000 glass plate and nitrate negatives from the 1870s to the 1950s.
Roy P. Drachman: From Cowtown to Desert Metropolis: Ninety Years of Arizona Memories; Whitewing Press; ISBN 1-888965-02-9 (hardcover, 1999); ISBN 1-888965-03-7 (paperback, 1999).
Bernard L. Fontana: Biography of a Desert Church: The Story of Mission San Xavier del Bac; Tucson Corral of the Westerners; ASIN B0006RHO88 (paperback, 1996)
George Hand: The Civil War in Apacheland ; (Part 1 of George Hand's diary) High Lonesome Books; ISBN 0-944383-36-X (paperback, 1996).
George Hand: Whiskey, Six-Guns and Red-Light Ladies; (Part 2 of George Hand's diary) High Lonesome Books; ISBN 0-944383-30-0 (paperback, 1995).
Bonnie Henry: Another Tucson; Arizona Daily Star; ISBN 0-9607758-2-X (hardcover, 1992).
Rosalio Moisés: The Tall Candle: The Personal Chronicle of a Yaqui Indian ; University of Nebraska Press; ISBN 0-8032-0747-6 (paperback, 2001).
Muriel Thayer Painter: A Yaqui Easter; University of Arizona Press; (paperback, 1971) Read online.
Federico Jose Maria Ronstadt: Borderman, the Memoirs of Federico Jose Maria Ronstadt; University of New Mexico Press. (hardback, 1993) Read online.
Don Schellie: Vast Domain of Blood: The Story of the Camp Grant Massacre; Westernlore Press; ASIN B0006BW3N0 (paperback, 1968).
Jack Sheaffer and Steve Emerine: Jack Sheaffer's Tucson, 1945-1965 Arizona Daily Star; ISBN 0-9607758-1-1 (hardback, 1985).
Thomas E. Sheridan: Del rancho al barrio: The Mexican legacy of Tucson; Arizona Historical Society (paperback, 1983)
Thomas E. Sheridan: Los Tucsonenses: The Mexican Community in Tucson, 1854-1941; University of Arizona Press; ISBN 0-8165-1298-1 (paperback, reissued 1992)
C. L. Sonnichsen: Tucson: The Life and Times of an American City; The classic book on Tucson's history; University of Oklahoma Press; ISBN 0-8061-2042-8 (paperback, reissued 1987)
Arizona Daily Star: Star 200 Trend Tracker
Bancroft: History of New Mexico and Arizona, San Francisco, 1880
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Official government website
Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau
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Tucson Rodeo - La Fiesta de los Vaqueros
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Access Tucson - Tucson's public access cable
Tucson Vous Accueille - Francophones
Maps and aerial photos Coordinates: 32.214476° -110.918192°
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Cities, Towns, and Unincorporated communities of Pima County, Arizona
over 100,000 Tucson (County seat)
over 50,000 Casas Adobes | Catalina Foothills
over 25,000 Oro Valley | Marana
over 10,000 Drexel Heights | Flowing Wells | Green Valley | Sahuarita | Tanque Verde | Tucson Estates
under 10,000 Ajo | Avra Valley | Catalina | Corona de Tucson | Drexel Alvernon | East Sahuarita | Littletown | Lukeville | Picture Rocks | Pisinemo | Santa Rosa | Sells | South Tucson | Summerhaven | Summit | Three Points | Tortolita | Vail | Valencia West
State of Arizona
Regions Grand Canyon | Mojave Desert | North Central Arizona | Northeast Arizona | Northern Arizona | Phoenix Metropolitan Area | Southern Arizona | Arizona Strip
Counties Apache | Cochise | Coconino | Gila | Graham | Greenlee | La Paz | Maricopa | Mohave | Navajo | Pima | Pinal | Santa Cruz | Yavapai | Yuma
Cities Chandler | Gilbert | Glendale | Mesa | Peoria | Phoenix | Scottsdale | Tempe | Tucson | Yuma