If you were to tell some of the early 18th century settlers that, one day, Tucson would be a bustling metropolis and a culinary capital, they would have thought you had gotten way too much Sonoran sun.
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Moreover, as these hardy souls ate their dried-out tortillas and lizard jerky, the claim that anyone would actually come to Tucson for the food meant that you were just plumb loco. Read More...
Boy, have things changed. Not only is Tucson a bustling metropolis, but it is also the cultural backdrop of America and the way we see ourselves; freedom loving individualists who conquered the Wild West.
The collective image of what the Wild West looked like largely came from TV and movies. And Tucson was the backdrop for Hollywood’s Westerns.
Since the 1930’s, many of the most of famous Westerns starring John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and others, were filmed on a re-created movie set of Tucson’s Old West past.
Baby Boomers grew up watching Bonanza, Rawhide, Have Gun Will Travel and The Rifleman which were all shot in Tucson. Movie classics such as Rio Bravo, The Gun Fight at the OK Corral, The Lone Ranger, and The Magnificent Seven were all filmed in Tucson too.
It’s not just the tv and movies where Tucson has an outsized presence, its also in music. Twenty-one songs, some recorded by the greatest musicians of our time, including The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, The Grateful Dead and Johnny Cash, have the word “Tucson” in them.
Not only is Tucson a large city with a population that exceeds over one million in the greater metropolitan area, but it also lives large too. There seems to be more of everything here. More students, restaurants, cars, books (Amazon sells more books per capita in Tucson than in most cities) and more close-by outdoor venues.
It also has more hot weather in the Summer. Some says it really boils during those months. A popular Summer pastime is cranking up the A/C. Most people in Tucson think that’s a small price to pay for having some of the best Fall, Winter, and Spring weather around.
As for cultural activities, Tucson has so many its often hard to count. With the University of Arizona and it’s 35,000+ students acting as a giant magnet, cultural and artistic activities abound.
Arizona’s oldest arts company, The Tucson Symphony Orchestra, has deep roots in the city as is very popular with the cultured crowd. There’s also Tucson Museum of Arts. And we can’t forget the annual “Fringe Festival” where non-traditional artists put on some rather unusual performances that you are unlikely to see elsewhere.
The food scene is one of the most impressive in North America. In fact, in 2015, UNESCO named Tucson a “capitol of gastronomy”, a distinction granted very few places. With its ubiquitous Mexican influence coupled with the experimental American and Asian cuisines, you can find amazing food, and done superbly, in Tucson.
Cowboy culture also thrives here. After all, Tucson is a classic Western town with its roots firmly planted in the pioneer and cowboy lifestyle. One of the oldest rodeos takes place in Tucson. Called “Rodeo Week” professional bull riders, rodeo clowns, and just plain cowboys ride the bucking broncos and ill-tempered steers hoping for fame and glory.
If you’re one who likes to shop until you drop, there are two large malls. The Park Place Mall and The Tucson Mall both provide a wide array of national brands, retailers and restaurants. But it you want something a bit funkier, go to 4th Avenue near the University of Arizona where over one hundred shops of all kinds can be found.
A little known fact is, since its inception, Tucson has had six flags flying over it throughout its history. Some of these didn’t fly long, but all were the result of military conflicts.
The first Europeans to set foot in the area were Spanish Jesuits who arrived in 1692. Thirteen years later, a Spanish soldier of Irish decent named Hugo O’Connor founded the first presidio, or fort, in what is now Tucson. And it's lucky he did.
The Apaches, a Native-American tribe, were not pleased to see settlers encroaching on their land and fighting betwixt them soon began.
Hundreds of Apaches attacked Tucson but couldn’t breach the fort’s walls. Over the years, they continued to assault Tucson and steal the Spaniard’s livestock and attack wagon trains traveling in the area. Throughout all this, the Spanish stayed put. Had O’Connor not built his fort, the Spanish reign would have been short indeed.
Conflict continued to plague Tucson when, during the Mexican-American War, a battalion of Mormons conquered the city. They didn’t stay long, and the Mexicans retook Tucson only to withdraw two years later when Mexico lost the war.
During the Civil War, Confederate troops occupied Tucson. However, they did not end up fighting Union soldiers. Instead, they had their hands full fighting off attacks by the troublesome Apache’s.
Shortly afterwards, 2,000 Union soldiers from the California Brigade headed for Tucson and the Confederate soldiers high-tailed it out of town. Thereafter Tucson became part of the United States.
Many a notorious gunfighter – the real kind, not actors – wandered through Tucson and the surrounding area--like the small town of Tombstone--during the days when the term “Wild West” really meant just that. Guys like Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, Johnny Ringo and many others who took pride on the number of notches they had on their weapons.
There may be a good reason why some of these gunslingers were so cranky and deadly. There were not many women around. It appears that the prospect of living in Tucson, a dusty desert cowboy town, didn’t appeal to the finer sex.
It wasn’t until the early 1870’s before someone talked a few women into moving to Tucson. Shortly afterwards and to no one’s surprise, the city began to boom.
Fortunately, as Tucson boomed, farsighted Arizonans had the good sense in 1920 to lobby Washington to protect one of America’s natural wonders. This is the home of the world’s largest cactus. In 1933, President Hoover signed a proclamation establishing Saguaro National Park, which, at the time, was pretty much an empty desert with really big cacti.
Today, Saguaro National Park is over 91,000 acres and once had the largest cactus – 78 feet – in the world, until it blew down in 1986.
Nearby is the Catalina State Park which lays at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The park features 5,500 acres of majestic vistas, canyons, streams and hiking trails. Many people like to camp there and go bird watching or to simply kick back and enjoy its natural beauty.
Another amazing place is the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Located in the middle of Tucson, this is truly a 5.5 acre urban oasis.
It has an impressive collection of palm trees and cacti as well as a Zen Garden, Butterfly Garden and the much loved Orchid Pavilion. It’s a great place to chill and enjoy one of nature’s most beautiful expressions.
No matter what price you intend to pay, it is always a wise move to have a knowledgeable real estate professional at your side. For that, you should contact Arizona Network Realty because they are straight shooters and know the Tucson real estate market like few others.
Last updated - September 24, 2019 Kudos to Big Two Toyota of Chandler an Exceptional Car Buying and Customer Service Story So what's a blog about car buying doing on a real estate website? In three words ... "Exceptional Customer Care!" One of our three core company values at Arizona Network Realty is to provide "Exceptional Customer Care and Service" to our valued clients and customers. We ...READ MORE