Local Southern Arizona History

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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.

How Tucson Got Its Name

Birds-Eye view of Tucson from One South Church looking NW over 3rd Pima County Courthouse.

People often want to know how Tucson got its name. The Tohono O’odham (Desert People) had a village and irrigated fields at Bac, about 7 miles upstream from their village of Stjucson (or Schook-shon), meaning “At The Foot of Black Hill or Mountain. Some claim that the “Black Mountain” was … Continue reading

The Civilian Conservation Corps in Arizona

Boys of the CCC

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a National public work relief program. Operating from 1933 to 1942, it was organized to assist unemployed, unmarried men from relief families as part of the New Deal. The CCC provided jobs for these young men, helping families who were having difficulty finding jobs during … Continue reading

How Two Historic Tucson Neighborhoods Got Their Names

John "Pie" Allen

In the mid-19th century, in the remote southwest desert that was Arizona Territory, there were not many ways to earn a fortune. Life was mostly a struggle just to survive, let alone prosper. In the early 1850’s, 10’s of thousands of young men from the eastern United States, Midwest, and … Continue reading

Tombstone Mines: How Much Were They Really Worth?

(Rt to Lt) Richard (Dick) Gird; Al Schieffelin; Ed Schieffelin,

Did you ever wonder what was the value of $1,000 U.S. Dollars back through the ages? For example, when partners Ed Schieffelin & his brother Al Schieffelin sold their shares in their Tombstone mines for $600,000 in 1880, how much was that worth in 2014 dollars? I knew the sale … Continue reading

Brief History Of Tucson: A Timeline

Butterfield Overland Mail Stagecoach.

I find the history of Tucson fascinating, and enjoy leading our Southern Arizona Guide Tucson History & Libation Tour one Sunday a month. It is much easier to get my mind around all that has happened here over the past many centuries when I can put it all into context. … Continue reading

Tucson History: The Death Of Dr. John Handy

Dr. John Handy

In the 1880’s through the early 1890’s, Tucson was still a rough, often violent town. Geronimo had surrendered in 1886 and his Chiricahua Apaches hauled off to exile in Florida. But even after the Apache threat was largely history, Tucson and all of Southern Arizona continued to be known for … Continue reading