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138 years of Tucson. Highlights: The Citizen covered fire, flooding, shootouts – and good news

Citizen Staff Report

Citizen Staff Report

Arizona Citizen is born

Oct. 15, 1870

The first edition of the Arizona Citizen, then a weekly, rolls off the press. The first issue notes that a pair of valuable mules and a horse had been stolen from a ranch within sight of the city, and that sweet potatoes were selling here for 20 cents a pound.

When the paper debuts, the Civil War has been over for just five years and Arizona won’t become a state for another 42 years.

Camp Grant Massacre

April 30, 1871

Just before dawn, a group from Tucson shoot, stab and bludgeon to death more than 100 Apache men, women and children camped near Winkelman about 65 miles northeast of Tucson. The Citizen’s report notes the raid was in ‘self-defence’ because four settlers had been slain and stock stolen in the San Pedro Valley. But the killings provoke outrage across the United States. At a murder trial, all of the participants are acquitted.

The railroad arrives

March 20, 1880

“There was rejoicing in Arizona last night,” the Citizen reports on the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad, which would bring a wider variety of goods to Tucson – and at far cheaper prices – than by stagecoach.

“The iron horse panted into Tucson and with its neigh gave notice that a new order of things was about to be established.”

Shootout at the OK Corral

Oct. 26, 1881

The Citizen says the shootout between the Earps and the Clantons “will always be remembered as one of the crimson days in the annals of Tombstone . . . the bloodiest and deadliest street fight that has ever occurred in the Territory.’

Wyatt Earp kills Stillwell

March 1882

Earp suspected Frank Stillwell of killing his brother Morgan in Tombstone a few days earlier. He and “Doc” Holliday track Stillwell down near the downtown train depot and shoot him.

Ground broken for UA

Oct. 27, 1887

The Territorial Legislature appropriates $25,000 to help start the territory’s first university. But the money doesn’t cover the land purchase. The city is about to return the money when two gamblers and a saloonkeeper step forward and donate the land. Classes begin in 1891 with 32 students.

Arizona becomes 48th state

February 14, 1912

President Taft signs the proclamation making Arizona a state.

The Citizen reports that when a dispatch from the White House arrived with the news, Tucson greeted it “with an an outburst of whistles and bells.” The paper says the demonstration was as great as when the railroad first arrived in Tucson.

Lindbergh visits Tucson

Sept. 23, 1927

Thousands gather to greet the “Lone Eagle,” flier Charles Lindbergh, and his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis. Lindbergh, who months earlier became the first to fly solo across the Atlantic, speaks at the University of Arizona and helps dedicate Davis-Monthan Airfield.

Dillinger gang captured

Jan. 26, 1934

Tucson police capture desperado John Dillinger and six gang members without firing a shot. Members of the gang had been staying at the Hotel Congress, where some of them were recognized when a fire forced the evacuation of the hotel. Dillinger himself is captured in a residential neighborhood a few blocks northeast of downtown. Dillinger, who eventually escapes, dies a few months later when he is gunned down outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago.

Raytheon’s ancestor

Feb. 2, 1951

Calif.-based Hughes Tools, owned by the reclusive Howard Hughes, announces plans for a plant in Tucson that will eventually employ as many as 10,000 people. The operation, now owned by Raytheon, is the city’s largest private employer.

Jet hits supermarket

Dec. 8, 1967

It was called a miracle when just four people died after an Air Force F-4D jet fighter crashed into the Food City supermarket at 1830 S. Alvernon Way.

Tucson celebrates 200

Aug. 20, 1975

Residents mark the 1775 founding of the Tucson presidio by Capt. Hugo O’Conor, an Irish mercenary working for the Spanish crown. It is the first European settlement in what is now Tucson, but the area had been inhabited for thousands of years by Native Americans.

IBM plans new plant

Oct. 12, 1977

The plant, located on the Southeast Side, opens in May 1978, with as many as 5,000 employees predicted. Ten years later, IBM announces it will cut 2,800 jobs there. The plant site is now also home to the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park.

Inferno claims Old Tucson

April 25, 1995

Fire destroys three-fourths of the movie studio and Western theme park, which had been a site for numerous Western films since 1939. The cause of the fire is never determined, although arson is suspected.

CAP water arrives

November 1992

Tucsonans get their first taste of Central Arizona Project water after the final link in the 336-mile-long project from the Colorado River is completed. The delivery means Tucson will no longer have to depend solely on its rapidly shrinking supply of groundwater. But many Tucsonans complain about the taste and the water’s corrosive effect on appliances. Delivery is halted while those problems are solved.

Wildcats win NCAA basketball title

April 1997

The University of Arizona Wildcats beat Kentucky in overtime for the school’s first national title in men’s basketball. The Cats become the first team to defeat three No. 1 seeds on the way to the title. Although the Wildcats had won national titles in baseball, the basketball championship brings attention on UA sports to a new level.

After the game, thousands of fans converge on Fourth Avenue to celebrate the win.

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

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