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THS 2022 Fall Newsletter

Dispatches from the President’s Desk
“As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”
Greetings Members,

The monsoons are ending and if you try really hard you can “feel” fall looming around the corner. The Tubac Historical Society is on track to make this the busiest year yet. Research requests continue, the Walking Tour is being revised, our Dude Ranching Exhibit just finished, and new exhibits are going up. We are proud to tell you that we are collaborating with other regional historical societies to share best practices, and  become more efficient during these stressful financial times. The Tubac Historical Society is working hard to preserve our community and regional history.

Please visit our website for information on our current events and exhibits. We will continue to add to our "online exhibits" page for those of you unable to attend in person.

Thank you for your continued support!
Andrea (Andi) Miritello, President

Tubac Flags
A new flag, representing the Tubac Presidio, will flutter next to the archway at the entrance to town. The new flag replaces the mining flag, a sensitive subject, which replaced the Confederate battle flag, which of course never flew over Tubac, having been invented after the short presence of the Confederate forces in Tubac. The new flag was designed and funded by the Friends of the Tubac Presidio and Museum. All new flags are expected to be raised in September, after the monsoons are over and done. The THS dedicated the original flag to the village in 1980 and continues to fund the flags that fly today.

Have you renewed your membership in the Tubac Historical Society?  Your membership helps preserve Tubac’s incredible history and even its art! Your membership also helps to keep our research center open and digitize our collection for researchers and genealogists. A quarterly newsletter informs our members about things past and present, and sometimes the future, in Tubac's history.
Send a check to: Tubac Historical Society PO Box 3261, Tubac, AZ 85646 or complete the online membership form at: Support/Membership on our website.
Extend your membership for two years and receive a discount. Join/Renew ONLINE Today!

Tubac’s Early Art

If you believe in spirit, it is here. Tubac’s Early Art Colonists
We are pleased to announce the next collaborative exhibit between the Tubac Historical Society and the Tubac Center of the Arts, featuring the early artists who lived and worked in Tubac between 1948 and 1989.  The exhibit has been compiled by the Tubac Historical Society and will be displayed in the Library and Studio Gallery at the Tubac Center of the Arts from September 30th to November 14th.
The artwork for the exhibit was loaned to us by our fellow Tubaquenos following an appeal sent in mid-May to our membership.  We've included a rich diversity of mediums – paintings, sculpture, jewelry, books, fountains, pottery – nearly 60 items created by more than 20 artists, and only half of what was offered.  Your enthusiastic responses helped bring to life the camaraderie of this early group of settlers who started Tubac on the road to “Where Art and History Meet”. 
Parallel to the exhibit at the Tubac Center of the Arts, the Historical Society will be offering for sale several paintings by former Tubac artist, Earl Dravis, at our Customs House Visitors Center at 6 Burruel Street, across from the Presidio.  And our gift shop also features cards, posters, maps and books by local artists.
Please join us at the Tubac Center of the Arts on Friday, September 30th from 5 - 7pm for the opening reception or visit us at 6 Burruel Street Wednesdays to Saturdays, from 10 to 2.

Barbara Gurwitz with Andi Miritello


Tubac Historical Society Updates
Diane Brooks, Events Chair
Again, welcome back everyone and we look forward to a year of great events!
  • September 30: New THS Exhibit opens at the Tubac Center of the Arts. If you believe in spirit it is here. Tubac’s Early Art Colonists
  • October 24:  Breakfast with History: Painting Between Prescriptions presented by Ann Empie Groves, discussing the work of her father, Arizona Artist Hal Empie. (
  • November 1st-5th:  9th Annual Día de Los Muertos Altar Tour.  Visit us at the Customs House to see our Altar honoring Tubac artists. 
Check our website for more information about future events as events are added. Members receive special pricing on all events. THS Events



History Tidbits
A new photographic find has caused some excitement in the Santa Cruz Valley. Buried in the Tumacácori National Historical Park photo file, this discovery revealed a couple of interesting pieces of information. Just south of the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, lies a ruin, slowly melting away, and known as the “Fish House.”

The photograph was taken in 1915 by Robert Humphrey Forbes. The son-in-law of famous pioneer Larcena Pennington, traveled to Tubac and took a series of photos of the old buildings. The photo of the Fish House shows a massive adobe structure with a fenced yard.

The house belonged to Edward Nye Fish, a merchant and founding father of southern Arizona. Born in Massachusetts, Fish was brought west by the Gold Rush. Fish and his partners may have sought gold, but they took advantage of the lack of housing and brought planking to build homes.  Like many who followed that elusive quest of riches in California, he ended up in Tubac, trading flour and generally being involved in the lucrative business of supplying the military during the Civil War.

The conclusion of the War and discharge of the troops from the valley left Fish and other merchants without the rewarding market. It also left them in danger as the threat of Apache raids grew again. Fish joined the retreat to Tucson. Fish built a large u-shaped house in Tucson, which is now part of the Tucson Museum of Art. Like many of the other local merchant from Tubac, he started a business in the growing metropolis of Florence.

A runaway horse injured him later in life and at 87 years, in 1914, he passed.

Fish’s house in Tubac had an interesting history. It may have stood before he arrived. Forbes guessed it had housed Mexican troops, and he reliably reported that C Company, 1st U.S. Cavalry had used it as barracks. The 1st U.S. was the first regular cavalry to be stationed in Tubac after the Civil War.


Olden Day Recipes
Spanish Rice
  • Cook time: 30 minutes    Yield: Serves 4 to 6.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (can use up to 1/4 cup)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups of medium or long-grain white rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock if vegetarian)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste or 1 cup of diced fresh or cooked tomatoes, strained
  • Pinch of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
1. Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium/high heat. Add the rice and stir it so that the rice is lightly coated with the oil. Cook on medium high heat, stirring often, until much of the rice has browned. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently another 3 minutes, until the onions begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook until the onions are translucent and softened, about a minute more.

2.  In a separate saucepan bring stock to a simmer. (Do this while the rice is browning to save time.) Add tomato sauce, oregano, and salt. Add rice to broth. Bring to a simmer. Cover. Lower heat and cook 15-25 minutes, depending on the type of rice and the instructions on the rice package. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.


History never looks like history when you are living through it.
John W. Gardner


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Tubac Historical Society
P.O. Box 3261
Tubac, Az 85646

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