To celebrate the 2012 Arizona Centennial and important places in Pima County that helped shape our state’s history, the Pima County Office of Sustainability and Conservation has prepared bronze plaques for 13 historic sites or districts.
The 13 sites or districts are all listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the Arizona Register of Historic Places. Pima County has 166 historic properties or districts listed in the National Register and four National Historic Landmarks. The 13 sites selected for plaques during the state Centennial year are historic properties that Pima County has successfully preserved, rehabilitated and restored through the voter-approved 1997 and 2004 Historic Preservation Bond programs.
These exceptional sites are all accessible to the public and are located throughout Pima County in both rural and urban settings.
The plaques at Steam Pump Ranch, Arivaca School House and Pima County Courthouse have already been installed.
The plaque at the Canoa Ranch Historic District will be dedicated on Feb. 15, 2013. District 4 Supervisor Ray Carroll will speak at the dedication.
“I am proud of Pima County’s efforts to preserve and commemorate our community’s rich and diverse history and heritage,” Carroll said this week. “We can learn so much from the struggles and successes of people who came before us. These historic sites continue to be an inspiration for Pima County residents as well as for the many visitors who are drawn to our beautiful Sonoran Desert.”
The dates of the other installations and dedications will be released as they are scheduled.
Steam Pump Ranch
Supervisorial District 1 Built: 1874 Listed: 2009
George Pusch and John Zellweger arrived in Tucson in 1874. Shortly thereafter they purchased part of the old Canada del Oro Ranch. They registered the PZ brand and put in a steam pump from which the ranch got its name. Gradually, the ranch expanded to include land along of the San Pedro River between Mammoth and Winkelman. Steam Pump Ranch was a stopover place for travelers in the 19th century. Author Harold Bell Wright was a frequent visitor. The ranch is well-preserved and represents a rare site that has been extensively documented through contemporary accounts and photographs as well as oral histories. The property is in private ownership.
Binghampton Rural Historic Landscape
Supervisorial District 1 Built: 1898 Listed: 2003
For many years, the River Bend area of about 400 acres has been part of the scenic qualities associated with River Road, and the area is a community with a long agricultural tradition. Apparently settled and used in prehistoric times by the Hohokam, this area was established as a pioneer Mormon settlement around 1900. Family patriarch Nephi Bingham is generally credited with its founding and the source of its name. Binghampton is also the name for the urban area south of the Rillito River at Dodge and Fort Lowell, and together, both the rural farm community and the more urban subdivision south of the river formed the greater Binghampton area.
Ajo Townsite Historic District
Supervisorial District 3 Built: 1916 Listed: 2001
The town of Ajo is an example of a planned community built by the Calumet and Arizona Mining Company. In 1914, John C. Greenway, General Manager of the mine, hired several architects to design and build a town for the company’s employees. The plan, inspired by the “City Beautiful” movement of the early 20th century, incorporated landscaping, public facilities and high quality housing to create a pleasing aesthetic for the miners and their families. The town site was dedicated in 1917 and built out through a series of phases over the next 30 years. The plaza was designed to be the central core of the town defined by buildings that enclosed a public space complete with a bandstand.
Also in Ajo:
- Ajo Curley School
Supervisorial District 3 Built: 1919 Listed: 2008
- Ajo Train Depot
Supervisorial District 3 Built: 1916 Listed: 2001
- Ajo Gymnasium
Supervisorial District 3 Built: 1937 Listed: 2008
Robles Ranch House
Supervisorial District 3 Built: 1882 Listed: 2008
This famous ranch complex was first established by Bernabe Robles in the 1880s, when he ran a stage line from Tucson to Quijota. An adobe stage station and ranch house was constructed sometime between 1880 and 1884. At one time the ranch encompassed more than one million acres between Florence and the Mexican border. The original buildings were single-story adobe structures built in the vernacular “Sonoran” style of the time with a separate open space or breezeway between them. In the 1950s these were joined and additional improvements were made to the property. At present, the ranch house is now characterized by “Territorial” style forms and details. Pima County purchased the property and completed a rehabilitation in 2005, and the building now serves as a community center for the Three Points community.
Arivaca School House
Supervisorial District 3 Built: 1879 Listed: 2012
The Arivaca School House was built by Don Pedro Aguirre Jr. in 1874, using adobe bricks, and it served the children of Arivaca until 1953. Aguirre was from Chihuahua, Mexico, became an American citizen in 1855 and, along with all his sons, ran an extensive freighting business. He also served on the Pima County Board of Supervisors. The Arivaca School House has since been rehabilitated and continues to serve the community of Arivaca.
Canoa Ranch Historic District
Supervisorial District 4 Built: 1900 Listed: 2007
The ranch was first established in 1821 as the San Ignacio de la Canoa Land Grant deeded to Ignacio and Tomas Ortiz, who were forced from the land by the Apaches who burned their homes. The Canoa Ranch was purchased in 1876 by Maish and Driscoll, who raised cattle, owned a stage line, and developed the Canoa Land Company. It was sold in 1912 to Levi H. Manning, who expanded the complex. At its peak, the ranch controlled more than 100,000 acres and provided housing and a school for 35-40 ranch hands and their families. It became a focal location in the Santa Cruz Valley. The Canoa Ranch was divided and sold following the death of Howell Manning Sr. in 1951. The 4,800 acre ranch complex was purchased by Pima County, which is rehabilitating the Ranch headquarters.
Supervisorial District 4 Built: 1921 Listed: 1988
The Cienega Bridge was constructed in 1921 as part of the Borderland Highway project across southern Arizona. The bridge is a concrete and reinforced steel structure designed as a medium-span concrete arch with a two-span concrete girder viaduct over a branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad. It was one of three virtually identical open-spandrel concrete arches built in Pima, Pinal, and Yavapai counties, although the Cienega bridge has the longest span at 146 feet.
Supervisorial District 4 Built: 1873 Listed: 1978
Fort Lowell was a supply base for the Apache campaigns between 1873 and 1891. Its primary role was to escort wagon trains, protect settlers, guard supplies, patrol the border and conduct military actions against the Western and Chiricahua Apache. Fort Lowell is now a City park where visitors can tour adobe buildings, visit a museum, and walk through an outdoor exhibit about the prehistoric Hohokam Indians who lived at the site in a large village (called the “Hardy site”) at this same location more than 500 years ago.
Historic structures within the park property include ruins of the hospital, the cavalry quarters, kitchen building, part of the band quarters, and portions of adobe corrals and stables. Three original Officer’s Quarters are located on the west side of Craycroft Road, along with foundations of other buildings including the Guard House.
San Pedro Chapel
Supervisorial District 4 Built: 1932 Listed: 1993
The third chapel to occupy this site at 5230 E. Fort Lowell Road was constructed in 1932, replacing its predecessor destroyed in a tornado. The adobe building is attributed to Alonso Hubbard, both its architect and contractor. The chapel served the community of El Fuerte until being sold. In 1995, San Pedro Chapel was rehabilitated by Bob Vint, and in 2005 Pima County applied bond funds for further work and a new chapel support building. The property is now owned by the Old Fort Lowell Neighborhood Association and continues to be a focal point for the community.
Pima County Courthouse
Supervisorial District 5 Built: 1929 Listed: 1978
Pima County’s third courthouse, at 115 N. Church Ave., was completed in 1929 with architect Roy Place and contractor Herbert Brown. A southern wing was added in 1955. The third Pima County Courthouse exemplifies Place’s interpretation of the Spanish Colonial Revival style, defined by the space of the arcade and courtyard, as well as through the use of religious building forms and ornament, including a central dome and an elaborate portal facade. Moorish overtones, typical of this style, can be seen in the use of ceramic tiles on the wainscoting, courtyard fountain, and on the dome, whose mosaic form has become a Tucson icon.