We have wandered around many cities in Southern Arizona and found quite a few interesting places of worship along the way. Following is an incomplete list of iconic, historic churches, missions and cathedrals to be found in Southern Arizona. Perhaps you would like to suggest additions to our current list? We would love to take a road trip to get another great pic and a little history. If you would like more history of these churches, when available we have linked to more information in the headings.
St. Paul’s was founded by Endicott Peabody and completed in 1882 with monies from the miners and the likes of Wyatt Earp. It is the oldest Episcopal church in Arizona. Read our fascinating story about Endicott Peabody and St. Paul’s here.
Mission San Xavier is on the Tonoho O-Odham Reservation and still active today. The area was established as a mission in 1692 by Father Eusebio Kino, a Jesuit Missionary, but the church was not built until 1797. View our slideshow on San Xavier or watch our video of the interior of the “White Dove of the Desert” here. Head south on Interstate 19 about 7 miles to exit 92. Watch for it on the west side and then the sign.
Depending on who you talk to this chapel is either located in the Barrio El Hoyo or the Barrio Viejo, and it was either constructed in 1929 or 1931. The fact is that it was dedicated by the Catholic Church in 1931 and built earlier by the local neighborhood, probably the Barrio El Hoyo that was raised when the Convention Center was built.
By the 1960s Mass was no longer held in this little chapel. But in 2003 barrio residents worked together to raise money for San Cosme. Today, Barrio Viejo neighbors care for this special chapel and celebrate a mass monthly here. It is located on the Southside of the park just south of the Fire Department downtown. In this park, you can see the tracks from the EP & SW Railroad from 1912.
460 W. Simpson St.
Cathedral of St. Augustine, Tucson
This remarkable Catholic Church began in a donated home in 1858. There were actually 4 structures. It is Stop 5 on our history tour of Downtown Tucson in the 1870s. Here is a clip from our Self Guided History Tour.
192 S. Stone Ave.
Santa Cruz Catholic Church
This church was dedicated in 1919. It has Spanish Moorish architectural influences as you will notice by the bell tower and spires. Watch this video from Arizona Illustrated taken at its 100th Anniversary.
1220 S. 6th Ave.
St. Philip’s is Spanish Colonial-style Church. It is the largest Episcopal Church in Arizona. It was designed by widely recognized Tucson architect Josias Joesler and was added to the National Registry in 2004.
4440 N Campbell Ave, Tucson
Tucson’s own, artist Ted DeGrazia was an ardent friend of the Yaqui tribe who helped build the De Grazia Gallery in the Sun, now a Museum. The small Chapel to Our Lady of Guadalupe suffered a fire in 2018 that nearly destroyed it. It was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 2006. You can watch our video of the Gallery in the Sun here.
6300 N. Swan
St. Patrick was built and dedicated in the heyday of Bisbee Mining when it was one of the largest and most profitable towns west of the Mississippi. This is the 4th Catholic Church to be built in Bisbee, each one becoming too small for the growing mining population. The Stained Glass windows were shipped by rail from St. Louis and the slate tile roof comes from Vermont.
100 Quality Hill Rd, Bisbee
Established as a mission in 1896 by the founders of the Copper Queen Mining Company, it was not dedicated until 1904. The stained glass windows in the altar area are from this period as well.
19 Sowles Ave. Bisbee
Founded in 1900 and built in 1903, it sits next to the Copper Queen Hotel. What is remarkable about this church is the beautiful Pipe Organ and the Stained Glass windows also from 1903.
19 Howell, Bisbee
OTHER NOTABLE CHURCHES
St. Thomas Mission Church, Winterhaven CA, 1923
Okay, In my mind this is in Arizona. But, it is actually across the Colorado River in California. It was founded as Mission Puerto de Purisma Concepcion by Father Francisco Garces in October of 1780. This Church is a replica of the original church that was destroyed in a revolt against the Spanish in 1781. Father Garces was killed in this revolt as well.
Salazar Family Church
The Salazar Family Church is located on Aravaipa Canyon Road 1.5 miles east of Aravaipa Canyon East. It was a part of the Klondyke Community and the family is still in the area, or at least some of them. There was a large family reunion in 2010 and another in 2016. Visitors are welcome at this Family Church. From time to time when posting a pic of this Church we will hear from them.
Aravaipa Canyon Rd. Klondyke, AZ
Mission Tumacacori, on Interstate 19 south of Tubac, is one the oldest Spanish Missions still standing in Arizona. The church dates back to the early 1800s, while the mission is much older. Mission San Xavier is another, established in 1692 one year later. There were several other missions established in this area, but little if any of them remain. Mission Tumacacori is a National Historic Park. Masses are rarely celebrated there. We did attend a mass on De Anza day one year. This Mission is one of my favorites, photographically. There are no square corners in this church and the shadow play is exceptional. Watch our three videos of The Community, The Church and The Cemetery.
Interstate 19, Tumacácori
The chapel is small but they do have services. Its history is interesting and seen from different points of view. It was built in 1991 on privately owned land. The monument was burned in the Monument Fire of 2011 and reconstructed. Visitors are welcome. It is described as a Marian Shrine. See a short slideshow here and then visit. If you are Catholic, the Stations of the Cross are impressive.
The address is: Hereford, AZ but is just south of Sierra Vista just off route 92.
10310 S Twin Oaks Rd, Hereford, AZ 85615
Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Clifton
We came across this Church on the main street of Clifton. Apparently, it still offers services. Haven’t found much more about it yet but the architecture is interesting. It appears that it goes back 60 years.
329 Chase Creek St. Clifton
Church of the Immaculate Conception, Central Plaza, AJO, 1916
The Parish of the Immaculate Conception was established in 1916. Not old by Arizona Territory standards, it still celebrated 100 years, in 2016. The property was deeded to the Parish in 1938, by Phelps Dodge, the mining company that had established the town of Ajo.
101 W Rocalla Ave, Ajo, AZ 85321