Digital Storytelling and Visitor Analytics for City and Cultural Institutions
Your Self-Guided Tucson History & Dining Tour is a journey back in time. Tucson's history is layered, and that is how we moderns must experience it. One culture simply built their layer over earlier cultures. The Spanish built over the remains of Hohokam settlements. Pioneer Americans built over Spanish and Mexican settlements. Twentieth-century Tucsonans built over the pioneer era. Little remains of these earlier times unless you know where to look.
Murders. Infernos. Earthquakes. Broken Treaties. Mob Violence. Torture. Prostitutes. Lynchings. Gunfighters. Vendettas. Conquest. Apaches. Injustice. Massacres. Heroes. Fortunes. Ambushes. Outlaws.Miracles. Graveyards. Preachers. Gamblers. Miners. Robbers. Warrior Women. And a Parade. This was the Wild West of Southern Arizona. It’s all here in this compilation of true short stories. Now, Tucson & Southern Arizona History shines a light on some of our most famous and infamous pioneers and their almost unbelievable stories. Based on the principle that facts are more interesting than fiction, the local history archives of Southern Arizona Guide tell it like it really was.
Tucson's pre-history begins with the Paleo-Indians living along the Santa Cruz River some 12,000 years ago. Then the sophisticated Hohokam with their distinctive pottery and well-engineered irrigation canals lived here between 250 CE and 1450. The written historical period begins with the Spanish era and the arrival of Father Kino in 1692. The Mexican era was short: 1821 to 1854. During this period, Tucson was a small, remote Mexican village in the State of Sonora. With the 1854 Gadsden Purchase, Tucson became part of the U.S. in the Territory of New Mexico. Tucson did not move. But the territorial and international borders did.
By the 1870s and through the 1880s, Tucson was slowly becoming a small American town. On our journey, we will meet George Hand, a saloon keeper. Mr. Hand left us a wonderful diary, excerpts of which I will share with you as we go in search of his saloon and the places he wrote about. Mr. Hand has much to teach us. In the 1990s, portions of his diary were made into a book entitled "Whiskey, Six-Guns and Red Light Ladies."
Finally, we reach the era that followed the coming of the railroad: late 19th and early 20th-century Tucson, including the beginning of the Earp Vendetta Ride that followed the Gunfight At The OK Corral and the murder of Morgan Earp. After the Southern Pacific Railroad arrived at Tucson in 1880, everything began to change.
Cover photo: dianaemrtnz via Instagram.