Location

Tubac Presidio Locator Map

Elevation 3,500 feet   Fees

Contact the Park:
(520) 398-2252
Tubac Presidio SHP
One Burruel Street
Tubac, AZ 85646-1296

Facilities

Visitor Center Restrooms Gift Shop Museum Exhibits Group: Day Use Areas Picnic Areas/Shelters Hiking Trails Equestrian Trails Wildlife Viewing

Nearest Services: 1 mile

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511 Speed Code

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Park's Speed Code: 4245#

Fees

Park Entrance Fees:
Adult (14+): $5.00
Youth (7–13): $2.00
Child (0–6): FREE

Fee Schedule

Friends Group

Tubac Historical Society

Tubac Presidio State Historic Park

Tubac Presidio State Historic Park is now operated by the Friends of the Tubac Presidio Park & Museum External Link. The park is open 7 days a week from 9 am - 5 pm. Admission $5 adult, $2 youth (7–13), children free (0–6).

Friday, April 4: Living History: Foods of the Spanish Colonial Period

11 am - 2 pm. Volunteers dressed in period clothing describe the combination of native and introduced foods enjoyed by the Spanish soldiers and civilians who lived in Tubac during the Spanish Colonial period (1752-1776). Featuring a special display of the bounty of foods from the Old World, New World and surrounding desert used by Tubac cooks, plus cooking demos with samples. $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.

Saturday, April 5: Cochise and His Apache War, Presentation by Jack Lasseter

2 pm. Jack will share with us the exciting story of the Chiricahua Apaches, and their greatest leader, Cochise. Anyone who has ever seen a western movie knows their Hollywood image as fierce and elusive fighters who could disappear at will into the mountains. But our knowledge of them seems to end with the movies. This is your chance to hear the true story of these remarkable people in whose land we live today. Jack will recount the story of Cochise and his war against us, give us details about the Apache culture, describe the relationship with his white blood brother, Tom Jeffords (who was a real man, and is buried in Tucson’s Evergreen Cemetery), and finally tells us what happened to the Chiricahua Apache. $15 per lecture. Please call for reservations, 520-398-2252. Wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the community effort to “Save the Presidio”.

See More Events below


Tubac in 1775
Aritst's rendition of Tubac and the Presidio in 1775. This painting shows a typical scene from Spanish Colonial times; the painting is on view in the Visitor Center.

The church and the military were the vanguards of Spanish frontier expansion throughout New Spain. The Jesuit, Eusebio Francisco Kino, established missions from 1687 to 1711 to christianize and control Native Americans in the area. He established nearby Tumacacori in 1691, and Tubac, then a small Piman village, became a mission farm and ranch. Spanish Colonists began to settle here during the 1730s, irrigating and farming the lands along the river and raising cattle, sheep and goats on the northern frontier of Spain's New World empire.

Luis of Saric, a Pima chief stirred by many grievances, led a bloody revolt late in 1751, destroying the small settlement at Tubac. Following a major battle, and subsequent surrender of the Pimans, the Presidio San Ignacio de Tubac was founded in June of 1752. The fifty cavalrymen garrisoned at this remote military post were to prevent further rebellion, protect colonists and the mission, and further explore the Southwest.

Juan Bautista de Anza II, second commander of the presidio, led two overland expeditions to the Pacific, resulting in the founding of San Francisco, in 1776. Several hundred colonists from the provinces of Sinaloa and Sonora, along with sixty from Tubac, made the trip. Over 1,000 head of cattle, horses and mules were also gathered to transport food supplies and tools, provide food on the journey and establish new herds once the colonists settled at their new home on the Pacific.

Following Anza's return to Tubac, military authorities moved the garrison from Tubac to Tucson in 1776, and the unprotected settlers abandoned their homes.

For a decade, Tubac languished from Apache depredation and without military protection. The situation finally resulted in the Viceroy's reactivating the presidio in 1787, this time with Pima Indian troops and Spanish officers. Mexico won her independence from Spain in 1821 and the new Republic of Mexico's flag flew over Tubac until 1848. In that year, a fierce Apache assault caused great loss of life and Tubac was again abandoned. This catastrophe, coupled with the drain of men leaving for the gold fields of California in 1849, turned Tubac into a virtual ghost town.


At the park, visitors can see the above ground remains of structures from the 1920s.

Tubac was part of the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, and was soon being resettled and developed by Eastern entrepreneurs as well as by former landowners. Charles D. Poston was instrumental in forming the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company, and used the abandoned Commandant's house as his headquarters. He performed marriages, granted divorces, baptized children and printed his own money to pay company employees. His company acquired a press in 1859 which printed Arizona's first newspaper.

Tubac's population steadily grew until, in 1860, it was the largest town in Arizona. The American Civil War, however, drained the region of troops, leaving it unprotected from Apaches, and Tubac was again deserted. Although the region was resettled after the war, silver strikes in the Tombstone area and the routing of the railroad through Tucson drew development interests away from Tubac, and the town never regained its earlier importance.

In 1974, archaeologists from the University of Arizona excavated portions of the presidio. In 1976, an underground archaeological display was finished and visitors can now view portions of the original foundation, walls, and plaza floor of the 1752 Commandant's quarters, as well as artifacts representing the various periods of Tubac's unique history.

Two later military installations existed at Tubac. Troop "L" of the 1st California Cavalry established a post in April 1864 and a US Army presence existed until at least October 1867, when reports list seven officers and 237 enlisted men.

One unique military experiment, the heliograph, was a device using mirrors and reflected sunlight. General Nelson A. Miles, in his campaign against the Apache in the 1880's reported that "they (the Apaches) had found troops in every valley, and when they saw heliographic signals flashing across every mountain range, Geronimo and others sent word to Natchez that he had better come in at once and surrender." Tubac was one of the permanent stations in the system including Forts Rucker, Crittenden, Henly and Bowie.

Sunday, April 6: Tucson's Birthplace Mission Gardens

2 pm. Mission Garden’s four acres have an extraordinary claim: based on archaeological excavation, scientists have determined that it has been continuously cultivated for over 4000 years! Nowhere else in the United States can make that claim. Come hear Diana Hadley describe Mission Garden’s historical origin and its significance. See the history of farming in Tucson, and hear quotes from Forty-niners on the Southern Overland Trail to California about farming and ranching conditions in Tucson (and in Tubac) during the mid-19th century. This living museum is fast becoming a reality and promises to play an important part in growing local economic development by contributing to ecological, geographic and cultural tourism in the Santa Cruz Valley. $7.50 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free. Fee includes admission to tour the Park.

Friday, April 11: Living History: Medicine of the Spanish Colonial Period

11 am - 2 pm. When the Spanish soldiers and their families settled Tubac in 1752, there was no doctor or surgeon among them. It was the responsibility of the women to treat their family's physical complaints and wounds. Medicine was basic and dependent on herbs and plants known for their healing properties. This living history program features a display of medicinal herbs and plants, and knowledgeable commentary by an herbalist who will tell visitors how these plants were used by “curanderas” (healers) to treat illness and injuries. $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.

Saturday, April 12: Lively Latino Multi-Media Music Event

2 pm. Join three highly regarded presenters, Blyth and Russ Carpenter and Zandra Pardi, for a lively afternoon of Mexican music in our 1885 school house. We will explore the genres of Bolero and Son Jarocho. Through a combination of video, audio, live commentary, and live performance, you will encounter a surprising range of Mexican music, from the urbane melodies of Bolero to the breathtaking virtuosity of Son Jarocho. This enchanting music will be woven into the artistic and social history of Mexico and show how cross-border influences have made the music more durable and enchanting than ever. $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free. Donation jars will benefit the Border Community Alliance.

Sunday, April 13: Book Event: A Slow Trot Home by Lisa G. Sharp

2 pm. Lisa will tell her story of growing up on the U.S./Mexico border during the last half of the 20th century. The San Rafael ranch was purchased in 1903 by her grandfather, Col. William Cornell Greene, and became part of the Greene Cattle Company holdings which extended deep into Sonora, Mexico. Lisa’s memoir describes a woman’s determination to continue her family’s legacy of ranching, the story of a grand old house, and the lives of Mexican cowboys. Life lived in a sometimes harsh - always beautiful - environment make up many delightful facets of her book. $7.50 fee includes admission to tour the Park.

Printing Press DemonstrationThursday, April 17: Frontier Printing Press Demonstrations

9 am - 1 pm. Professional printer and teacher James Pagels demonstrates the Washington Hand Press used to print Arizona’s first newspaper in 1859 and answers questions about hand press printing, typesetting, and other aspects of this marvel of industrial engineering. Included with park admission $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.

Saturday, April 19: Frontier Printing Press Demonstrations

11 am - 3 pm. Professional printer and teacher James Pagels demonstrates the Washington Hand Press used to print Arizona’s first newspaper in 1859 and answers questions about hand press printing, typesetting, and other aspects of this marvel of industrial engineering. Included with park admission $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.

Printing Press DemonstrationWednesday, April 23: Frontier Printing Press Demonstrations

9:30 am-12:30 pm. Professional printer and teacher James Pagels demonstrates the Washington Hand Press used to print Arizona’s first newspaper in 1859 and answers questions about hand press printing, typesetting, and other aspects of this marvel of industrial engineering. Included with park admission $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.

Tuesday, April 29: Frontier Printing Press Demonstrations

9:30 am-12:30 pm. Professional printer and teacher James Pagels demonstrates the Washington Hand Press used to print Arizona’s first newspaper in 1859 and answers questions about hand press printing, typesetting, and other aspects of this marvel of industrial engineering. Included with park admission $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.

Educational Curriculum for School Field Trips

A Day in the 1885 Schoolhouse Program: For Grades 3 through 5
An opportunity for children to experience what a day of school would have been like over 100 years ago. The program immerses kids in the experience from the clothes they wear, the chalkboards they use, the homemade lunchpails, to the rules on the chalkboard they must follow. The authentic desks, complete with inkwells and the woodburning stove for heat make this an experience the children and teachers won't soon forget! The schoolhouse can accommodate 25 children at a time. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the park at (520) 398-2252.

Download A Day in the 1885 Schoolhouse Program (PDF Document 3.5 MB PDF)

Learn about Curriculums at other Arizona State Parks (Curriculums)


The Friends of the Tubac Presidio Park & Museum External Link also maintains a website for this park. Learn more. External Link



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