Dispatches from the President’s Desk
“As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”
Another year has passed, and thanks to the support of our members and dedicated volunteers, it has been an exciting year for The Tubac Historical Society! Although the Pandemic limited our member activities, we still had plenty of projects to keep our volunteers busy! Two incredible exhibits at the Tubac Center for the Arts, numerous research requests, oral histories, and continued progress on our online catalogue, only touch the surface of our activities. And of course, our most exciting news of all, a new home for our Visitor Center and Brownell Research Library in the heart of old Tubac.
Our annual member meeting will be held on Thursday, January 13th at 3:00, at our new home. We will be reviewing the past year’s activities, voting for board members and giving tours of our new space. Refreshments will be served following the meeting.
On behalf of the board of directors, I thank you for your continued support. We could not do it without you!
Here’s to a Happy, Healthy 2022!
Andrea (Andi) Miritello, President
A Good Move For Our Historical Society
The Tubac Historical Society recently moved into Tubac’s Customs House across from the Tubac Presidio Museum & State Park. Built in 1914, this historic adobe building is nestled in the heart of Tubac Village. It began life as a general store, and became the Customs House for the Nogales to Tucson road. The new location places the Society in close proximity to the Presidio, allowing for better cooperation between the Presidio’s Friends group and the Society’s library and collections.
According to Andi Miritello, the Historical Society president, “Our new location is ideal to fulfill a critical part of our mission to support research on the history of Tubac and the Santa Cruz River Valley. We preserve that history, support other relevant historical entities, and share all our knowledge with the public.” The Tubac Historical Society’s research library collection includes extensive works on local history, books by local authors, oral history interviews, rare books and documents and genealogical references and records.
Betsy with Steve Schmitz,
owner of the Customs House
In addition to housing these materials and collections, the new location offers a Visitor Center where you can purchase a selection of books specific to southern Arizona history and culture, note cards, posters, reproductions and gifts. The Center will also showcase exhibits on local history, hold events, and support the community of Tubac as an active partner in Village life.
The Tubac Historical Society is open Wednesday-Saturday, 10-2, and by appointment. For more information, call 520-398-2020 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Members decorating the new headquarters
The Year of Looking Forward
2022 is an important year for Tubac and the Historical Society. It is the launching year of anniversaries. It is the 270th anniversary of the founding of the Presidio Tubac. The Tubac Presidio and the pueblo of Tubac were established March 1752. The world of the Santa Cruz Valley changed forever.
March 7, 1752 was the first time Spanish troops recorded camping at Tubac. March 26, the Presidio Company was raised at San Ignacio and that troop of cavalry would permanently add their name to the mesa that would become the village of Tubac. Finally, on June 22, Tubac was decreed as the new presidio.
These 270th anniversaries would not be considered a notable anniversary, but this one begins the string of memorable events.
The United States will celebrate its 250th birthday in 2026. Dubbed a tongue twisting semi quincentennial or sestercentennial, that celebration will compliment events closer to and important right here in Tubac.
Tubac’s series of big anniversaries starts in 2024. In January of 1774, an exploration expedition was launched from Tubac. That expedition located a route to California from Tubac. Captain Juan Bautista de Anza, the commander of the Tubac Presidio, received permission to begin the work of moving a group of settlers to the great natural harbor of San Francisco Bay. The first order of business was to find the shortest and safest route.
More than a year later in 1775 the real expedition departed Tubac, resulting in the founding of the city of San Francisco. Tubac could be argued to be the launching point for the trip. Nearly 300 travelers received a blessing in the plaza, where St. Ann’s Catholic Church now stands. Immediately they began the long and difficult trek which remains one of the greatest movements of people across the now western United States.
While the Expedition officially began in San Miquel de Horcasitas, across the present border in Sonora, Tubac is the real launch point. Everyone gathered at Tubac. Apaches managed to delay the journey for two weeks by raiding and capturing the horse herd. The wait continued at Tubac while a new remuda was gathered up from nearby presidios and settlements. Finally, October 23, 1775, the group mounted their horses, made final adjustments on the pack mules, and marched.
The community of modern Tubac has much to plan for. There will be lots of work ahead, but lots of festivities to keep the village a bustling place. Hopefully with the epidemic behind us the future will be bright and full of celebration.
Annual Membership Meeting
We are pleased to announce that our Annual Meeting will be held
January 13, 2022.
Place: The Customs House, 6 Burruel Street, Tubac
Following the meeting a reception will be held to mark the official grand opening of the Historical Society’s new headquarters in the historic Customs House.
Below is a list of the 2022 Board of Directors. Please remember – only members can vote. Please renew your membership before January 13, 2022. Click here to renew online. Thank you to all those who have already done so.
Brenda Camou: Returning member
Rick Collins: Returning member
Betsy Fearnow: Returning member
Dimity Hammon: Returning member
Nancy Valentine: Returning member
The Tubac Historical Society thanks you for your support during this past year.
Breakfast with History
The Tubac Historical Society presents:
Tubac Through the Centuries
Key Events in the History of Tubac
Dan Judkins, a well-versed expert on the Santa Cruz Valley is our guest speaker. Dan is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable speaker. This promises to be a great presentation stuffed with hidden gems of Tubac history.
January 24, 2022
8:30 am – 10:00 am
Tubac Golf Resort - Dos Silos room
Tickets must be purchased in advance, by January 13, 2022. There will be no ticket sales at the door. Details for ticket purchase may be found on our website: ths_tubac.org
We encourage social distancing and masks are optional if fully vaccinated.
Commander of Everything
Juan Bautista de Anza was the regionally famous Tubac Presidio Commander and leader of the 1775 expedition that would establish the City of San Francisco. Anza also had the unique honor of being named Commander of all military forces in Sonora - twice.
Anza, born on the frontier in July of 1736, would lead a full life of accomplishments and hardships that would cause his death at age 52. His expedition to California was the capstone to his career and the Spanish King was quick to reward him.
Upon his return from California in 1776, he was promoted to full Colonel and elevated from the absentee Command of the Tucson Presidio to become Commander of all the troops in Sonora. With a full military department at his command, Anza would probably have pacified the frontier. But he never took charge.
On August 24, 1777, he was appointed Governor of New Mexico in Santa Fe, a role that would frustrate and vex him at every turn. The standard Spanish colonial policy for governors was a five-year term of office. Anza spent ten years as governor at the distant post. Aside from warring with an entrenched bureaucracy he defeated the Comanche in a major battle and successfully established a new route of travel from Santa Fe to Arizpe.
Worn down by his travels and the role of governor, Anza asked to be relieved in 1786. The Crown finally agreed, and he was relieved on August 25, 1787. Once again, he was appointed as commander of all Sonora troops.
Anza left Santa Fe in November to take up his new duties. He was appointed to his final station at the Presidio of Tucson and conducted a review of troops there in 1788. Afterwards he returned to his family’s home in Arizpe.
There he would die on December 19, 1788, his health broken by years in the saddle and sleeping on the ground. He was a rarity among officers, displaying unwavering dedication to the King, care of his troops, and having been awarded command of Tucson twice and command of all Sonoran troops twice.
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!