If she were alive, Mary Ewing Henderson would undoubtedly be pleased that her home in the Tucson Mountains, the surrounding 22.5 acres and its network of trails will be preserved by Pima County for the community’s benefit.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, May 14, approved a master plan for the property, including naming it the Mary Henderson Desert Center.
According to an obituary in the Decatur, Ill., Herald & Review, Mary Ewing Henderson died April 19, 2002, in Tucson after a long illness. She was 88. She married Arthur Henderson in 1948 and they made their home in the Tucson Mountains. Her husband died in 1952, but “her love of the desert and mountains led to her strong advocacy of maintaining open space and her longtime support of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum,” the obituary said.
The title to the property on West Anklam Road (see attached maps) passed to the museum when Mary Henderson died. In 2012, the museum donated the property to Pima County.
The master plan, already approved by the Pima County Parks and Recreation Commission, calls for the County to conserve the Henderson residence “and, possibly, adaptively repurpose the residential structure as an environmental education center … or park-related operations center.”
The County will “preserve the biotic communities and geological and hydrological features found at this site, restore natural habitat that has previously been disturbed, pursue the establishment of a wildlife corridor that connects the Mary Henderson Property to adjacent native habitat including Tucson Mountain Park, … construct a mixed-use pedestrian, equestrian and mountain bike trails system and trailheads, … (and) develop and install interpretive displays that detail the site’s history….
“Pima County shall continue to work with adjacent landowners to secure access and connectivity necessary to adjoin this site to Tucson Mountain Park.”
“I know this is something she wanted to happen,” Supervisor Sharon Bronson, District 3, said of Mary Henderson before the Board took action.