Local Southern Arizona History

Fairbank Ghost Town North of Tombstone

Fairbank Ghost Town North of Tombstone

Southern Arizona has a vibrant local history. It starts in pre-history about 12,000 years ago with Clovis man and Woolly Mammoths, evidence of which is now found in the San Pedro River Nature Conservation Area.

Then, 500 years ago, Coronado’s Spanish Conquistadors came in search of gold. Along their route they met many Native Americans, whose ancestors, including the Hohokam, lived here for 4,000 years.

Almost 150 years ago the Apache Wars started in what is now Cochise County southeast of Tucson. It was then that our Southern Arizona history began to be written in earnest. The Apaches fought against the encroachment of Anglos & Mexicans who wanted their land for its rich pastures and bountiful mineral wealth. Mining boom towns were erected in a matter of weeks. And they were abandoned just a quickly when the mines played out.

Most of these mining boom towns are now ghost towns. They dot the vast Southern Arizona landscape. Along with the boom towns came violent conflicts, most often the result of greed, arrogance, and young men overdosing on testosterone and alcohol.

All of this and so much more has been woven into our local histories, such as the Gunfight Near The OK Corral; the Earp Vendetta Ride; the Bisbee Massacre; and the Camp Grant Massacre.

In the following articles you will find interesting “Local” history about a by-gone time & place. These are our picks of True West stories, some obscure, but all rewarding.

Edible Cactus of the Southwest

Prickly Pear preparation

For all you foodies out there who are interested in edible native plants of the Southwest, foods and preparation, this video is for you. Among other things, Mike Foster, San Pedro River Videos, is an ardent supporter of the Friends of the San Pedro River which serves to educate people … Continue reading

Desert Pavement and Desert Varnish

Desert Pavement

Denise Bausch of the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge on the Colorado River in Southwest Arizona near Yuma defines desert pavement and desert varnish and their importance in desert environments. It’s a two hour Drive from Yuma, a bit closer from Blythe, but if you want a true desert environment experience, … Continue reading

Apaches Attack A Stagecoach; Passenger and Driver Murdered!

Apache Chief Nana

Arizona Weekly Citizen: August 7, 1881 Back in the 1860′s to 1880′s, the terrorist threat to Anglo and Mexican Tucsonans was local and ever-present. Only back then, they weren’t called “terrorists”. They were called “Apaches”. Background to the Article In the 19th century, the little town of Tucson was surrounded … Continue reading

Saguaro Fruit Harvest: Learning To Live Off The Sonoran Desert

Jennifer_Robin-Laughing

Neighbor Roy & I attended an Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Study Program in late June. We learned how to harvest and process saguaro fruit the way the Tohono O’odham have done it for millennia. We learned many other interesting things, like how the O’odham calendar alines with changes in their natural … Continue reading

Big Sycamore Stands Alone: A Book Review

Aravaipa Canyon

The full title is Big Sycamore Stands Alone: The Western Apaches, Aravaipa, and the Struggle For Place. I was instantly drawn to it because, according to the book’s jacket, it promised to reveal a new and in depth understanding of a proud people who once inhabited all of a large, rugged landscape the Western (aka San Carlos) Apaches call Arapa, a place that has great meaning for them still.

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Historic Downtown Tucson: A Collection of Picture Postcards

Tucson, Arizona: 2013.

As a “city”, Tucson really came into its own in the first decade of the 20th century, even though the city was legally incorporated in 1877. It never amounted to anything of importance until the Southern Pacific Railroad arrived in 1880. The railroad connected Tucson to the outside world. It brought hardware, lumber, and fresh produce at affordable prices. Even today, you can see how the architecture of the city changed after the arrival of the railroad. 

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Fairbank: A Ghost Town Slideshow

Fairbank Picnic

Fairbank ghost town (aka Fairbank Historic Townsite) is about a 20 minute drive from Tombstone. It is located along the San Pedro River within the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. Fairbank was established in 1881 as a depot for the railroad. The town was named for N.K. Fairbank, one … Continue reading

Apache May: An Indian Girl On The Slaughter Ranch

This is the dress and vest Apache May wore when Sheriff John Slaughter discovered her.

“Texas” John Slaughter was the sheriff who cleaned up Cochise County after the Earp Brothers and Doc Holliday left Arizona. He was as tough as they come and, among the outlaw class, earned the moniker “that wicked little gringo”. As despised and feared as he was by the outlaws, he … Continue reading