The Tubac Presidio, in partnership with the world’s largest print-on-demand platform (Zazzle), launched our on-line gift shop in 2011. We have enjoyed this relationship and we anticipate nothing but greater success in the future due to the changes Zazzle implemented on July 1st. Our shop is now more streamlined and easier to navigate, creating an even better shopping experience for our visitors.
How It Works
Based on our historical photographs, maps and documents, we design all of the products we offer in our shop. These items range from t-shirts and mugs to postcards and cell phone cases. New products are added periodically like laptop sleeves and water bottles. We earn a small commission on every product we sell, all of which goes directly to the Tubac Presidio Park in aid of its preservation efforts. Zazzle prints and ships the purchased product, usually within 24 hours and with a no-questions-asked guarantee: if you don’t love it, they take it back.
We have been fortunate enough to benefit from the gracious generosity of our contributing artists, who have allowed us the privilege of using a sampling of their artwork or photography in our designs. Alice Keene, Roberta Rogers, Richard Lasley and William Ahrendt have our deepest thanks for the added appeal they bring to our little shop!
How You Can Help
The Tubac Presidio Park is a cultural and historical treasure. If you would like to support efforts to preserve the Park, you can do so in two ways.
1. Purchase something! Use our link to browse in our Gift Shop. You may find something you like. Or use our Zazzle link (using this link ensures we will receive remuneration for referring you and does not increase the price you pay) to shop in its multitude of shops featuring art and designs from around the country as well as from around the world.
2. Contribute a photograph or a work of art. Have you taken a lovely photograph of the local flora or fauna, the local scenery or of something else of local interest? Perhaps you are an artist with something to share? Once you donate an image, we do not own it. You are free to sell it, post it, or reprint it elsewhere. It will always remain yours. We would like to credit you but if you prefer to remain anonymous, that is okay with us. By donating, you would help us expand our appeal and our inventory. We would greatly appreciate your gift. Interested? Contact our shop designer, Cindy, via email for details. email@example.com (P.S. You will not be added to any sort of mailing list or volunteer list.)
Our thanks to all of our supporters and visitors over the last two years. We look forward to sharing more history and more artwork in the future!
For centuries, sky rockets, fire-crackers and noise makers have enlivened both religious and secular life in the small towns of colonial New Spain. Tubac was no exception. Particularly in smaller, outlying towns and pueblos, people were extremely fond of noisy, evil-smelling rockets, squibs and firearms. When fireworks were not available, the soldiers fired their muskets at their own expense, or loaded the small cannon and boomed away to everyone’s delight.
Fiestas, royal birthdays, military victories, the arrival of a new viceroy in Mexico City, all of these and more were occasions to celebrate by burning gun powder. Even during phases of the mass, men standing on the roof or outside along the walls of the church, exploded cohetas (sky rockets), triquitraques (firecrackers), and morteretes or camaras (small mortars). The sky filled with small fleecy puffs of smoke and the air became alive with scores of sharp explosions. How ancient this practice is, it is difficult to say. Perhaps Jesuit priests, returning from China in times long past, brought this custom with them. The Chinese used fireworks to frighten away evil spirits during festivals and religious ceremonies.
One of our stalwart volunteers found the makings of a mini-exhibit when she was working in the museum last week. Originally, the exhibit occupied a case with 17 firework rockets attached to the wall and laid out on the floor. An entry on the inventory says, “Deaccessioned & destroyed on 12/30/93 on orders of Park Manager & SafetyOfficer due to dangerous & unstable qualities/condition of the explosives.” We include these 1950s era photographs showing the artisanal nature of Mexican fireworks manufacture, and they are great. We will display them on the big table in air conditioned Otero Hall on July 4th.
Some interesting information is contained in these photos:
Castillos are large cane frames covered with a variety of pyrotechnics and brilliant flares. They can cost between 20,000 to 250,000 pesos depending on size and complexity. Other cane frameworks are called Gigantes, large figures that are most often made to honor patron saints or Mexico’s patriot heroes. The cane is variously called carrizo or arundo.
Another cane work frame with the papier-mache shape of a bull is called a torito, (little bull). Generally painted a bright red and trimmed with green or yellow, these can be carried. During festivals, a man or boy holds the shell over his head and shoulders by the legs of the frame, and runs through the streets. Covered with small rockets, fire crackers and “busca pies” (foot seekers) the fireworks dart like fiery snakes from the torito and scoot along the ground or pavement with whistling sounds.
When hung over the door or fastened to a wall, they denote a firework maker’s house. The fireworks industry was (and remains) artisanal, with production concentrated in family-owned workshops and small factories.
The home manufacture of all sorts of fireworks provides many workers with a means of livelihood, dangerous though it may be. As with many Mexican crafts, much of the work is done in private homes by men and boys, who, in the course of years, become quite skilled. Paper being scarce in the hinterlands, many of the cases for the rockets and crackers are small tubes cut from the ever present arundo, carrizo, or cane, which is then wrapped with tough twine and covered with pitch.
Join us on July 4th when admission is free from 10am to noon and step into Otero Hall to check out this mini-exhibit, but don’t stay too long or you’ll miss the free hotdogs and nachos, the lemonade and watermelon, and the various games and activities for the youngsters. A fun, safe and happy holiday to all of our readers!
A photographic collection
June 1-August 29
Who we were, Who we are presents the work of photographers Jorge Angulo, Carlos Licón , Juan Luis Fernández, Claudia Platt and Juan Casanova and their excursions in the diverse roads of Sonoran geography rescuing images of who we were and who we are.
This collection presents a mosaic of individuals and families of a great part of Sonoran municipalities. The evolutional record of working class, peasant and middle class families was captured in images reflecting not only the faces and personal features of ethnic diversity but also the variety of occupations and customs in our culture.
This work is a window allowing us to see the evolution of Sonoran families as the core of our society and to look into the role of photography as a record of the history of family.
The accompanying book (available only in Spanish) includes 115 historic and contemporary portraits. Two introductory essays by Jose Dr. Antonio Rodríguez and Dr. Ignacio Almada Bay offer a cohesive view to the collection, one offering information about photography and photographers in the period before and after the Mexican Revolution and other exploring the role of family networks in the History of Sonora.
This collection of family portraits offers a reaffirming view of who we were and a view into the intimate spaces of feelings, homes and relations of who we are, and we hope provides an opportunity to see more clearly into our future.
Planned as part of the local projects to celebrate the Bicentennial of Mexican Independence, we present a selection as an opportunity to look into the common realities of family life in the Sonoran Desert region. Enjoy it !
Poly Coronel Gándara
Instituto Sonorense de Cultura / Sonora Culture Institute
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This Sunday, March 26th…
Guided tour of the “Old Town” section of Tubac with Alice Keene. Explore the original adobe buildings and discover the rich heritage of Arizona’s first European settlement. Learn about early Native American inhabitants, Spanish explorers, mining booms, Apache attacks, kidnappings, duels and other episodes in Tubac’s colorful past. Meet at the Park’s Visitor Center. Allow 1-1/2 hours for the tour and bring walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. $7.50 fee includes admission to tour the Presidio Park. Tour limited to 20 people; reservations encouraged. Call 398-2252.
Saturday, March 2. Archaeology of the Presidio of Santa Cruz de Terrenate – Saturday, March 2, 2pm
In 1776, the government of New Spain created a series of frontier presidios along its northern frontier—three are in Arizona. Archaeologist Deni Seymour, Ph.D. has spent years doing field research at what remains of one of these sites at Santa Cruz de Terrenate, located on the San Pedro River near Sierra Vista. This is the best preserved of all the Spanish period presidios in the Southwest. Join Dr. Seymour for a discussion of the history of this adobe fortress, information about recent archaeological investigations, and revisions to interpretations based on work carried out by Charles Di Peso over 50 years ago. New findings include 240 year old foot prints, information relevant to the location of the Sobaipuri sites of Quiburi and Santa Cruz, and insights into hygiene, population, and status. $7.50 adult, $4.50 youth 7-13, children free. Reservations encouraged. Call 398-2252.
Sunday, March 3. Anniversary of “The Weekly Arizonian” – Sunday, March 3, 10am-4pm
A celebration of the anniversary of Arizona’s first newspaper, which was printed in Tubac on March 3, 1859. The original 1858 Washington Hand Press that printed the newspaper is still in operation at the Tubac Presidio. Professional printer James Pagels and his wife Elizabeth will demonstrate the hand press in operation, talk about the history of the press, and print a commemorative edition of the first issue of the Arizonian. Western history writer Jane Eppinga will give a presentation on the history of the two printing presses in Tubac and Tombstone at 2pm in the 1885 Schoolhouse. $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.
Travel writer Lili De Barbieri will discuss her new book “A Guide to Southern Arizona’s Historic Farms & Ranches: Rustic Southwest Retreats.” Our region’s historic guest ranches include Spain’s first mission in the continental U.S., a World War II prison camp, a boys’ boarding school, and a Butterfield Stagecoach stop. Intimately connected to Arizona’s land and legacy, these unparalleled retreats have hosted artists, movie stars, and politicians and continue to enrich our present-day communities by sharing their rich southwestern heritage, culture and cuisine. $7.50 fee includes admission to tour the Presidio Park.
And on Tuesday, February 5, at 10:30 we will be offering a guided tour of the Barrio de Tubac Archaeological site. If you haven’t yet taken this tour or want to share our rich archaeological heritage with visiting houseguests. Tour guide Phil Halpenny gives a superb interpretation of the area history based on his life as a professional hydrographer.
Guided Tour of the Barrio de Tubac Archaeological Site – Tuesday, February 5, 10:30am
Special tour by local experts of the Spanish colonial archaeological site just south of the Park which preserves the remains of the original Tubac town site, including residence foundations, plaza area, refuse area and partial irrigation ditch. Meet at the Park’s Visitor Center. Tour involves a walk of about 1-1/4 miles. Bring walking shoes, sunscreen and hat. $7.50 fee includes admission to tour the Presidio Park. Tour limited to 15; call for reservations, 520-398-2252.
If you plan on coming to the Tubac Festival of the Arts, Arizona’s longest running arts festival, next week from Wednesday to Sunday, be sure to tell the Rangers and parking guides that you want to park in the Presidio lot.
Tubac Festival of the Arts – February 6 -10, 10am-5pm
Southern Arizona’s longest running art festival! Festival visitors who park in the Tubac Presidio’s paid parking lot ($6 per car) will get an extra bonus – a pass for 1 free admission to tour the Park that day. The paved parking lot is conveniently located to Tubac village. Proceeds from the Presidio’s lot will benefit “Save the Presidio.”
Visit our online Gift Shop and check out the new items
When you purchase, all proceeds go directly to efforts to preserve this cultural treasure.
Lots of fun things are happening at the Tubac Presidio that I want you to know about… There is space available at all of these events and it would be great if you could come to any (or all!) of them.
First, I’m thrilled to tell you that the Tohono Village shop in Tubac is coming back to life. They are hosting an O’odham Artisan Show both days this weekend from 10 to 4. Acclaimed watercolorist Michael Chiago will be there and they are also featuring demonstrating artists, food, and entertainment. They are located at 10 Camino Otero in Tubac. More information is at 398-2443 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Be sure to check them out when you’re in town.
Second, we will have a superb talk on “Rock Art of the Southwest” tomorrow afternoon (Thursday, January 17) at 2pm in the school house. Sharon Urban is an expert in the field and a very engaging speaker. Call 398-2252 to reserve a place.
Rock Art of the Southwest – Thursday, January 17, 2pm
Learn the difference between a pictograph and petroglyph with rock art enthusiast Sharon Urban. Urban worked for the Arizona State Museum, retiring after 32 years as the Public Archaeologist. An expert on prehistoric shell artifacts and the study of pictographs and petroglyphs, she has interpreted rock art sites and given presentations to schools and groups around Arizona. $7.50 adult, $4.50 youth 7-13, children free.
Third, we will be having a period dressed school group in the Park experiencing what education was like in the Territorial days on Friday morning, and Jim Pagels will be demonstrating Frontier Printing from 9 to 1pm. At 12:30 our Living History demonstration of Spanish Colonial food begins and runs until 3:30. If you haven’t had a sample of our posole (made to a 200 year old recipe), this is your chance!
Frontier Printing Press Demonstrations – Friday, January 18, 9am-1pm
Professional printer and teacher James Pagels demonstrates the Washington Press used to print Arizona’s first newspaper in 1859 and answers questions about hand press printing, type setting, and other aspects of this marvel of industrial engineering. Included with park admission $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.
Living History: Foods of the Spanish Colonial Period – Friday, January 18, 12:30-3:30pm
Volunteers dressed in period clothing reenact the daily lives of Spanish soldiers and civilians who lived in Tubac during the Spanish Colonial period (1752-1776). Featuring a special display of the bounty of foods from the Old World, New World and surrounding desert used by Tubac cooks, plus cooking demos with samples. $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.
Fourth, we are hosting the third in Jack Lasseter’s series of talks on the American West for us. This Saturday, January 19, at 2pm Jack will present “Apaches and the Soldiers Who Fought Them.” The fee is $15 and includes a tax deductible contribution to Save the Presidio and a personal walk through the museum with Jack and me. We will also have some special items brought up from the museum storage for participants to see. Call 398-2252 to save a seat.
And lastly, count on coming to a fantastic school house concert with Gilbert Brown and Teodoro ‘Ted’ Ramirez on Saturday, January 26 at 2pm. There will be some awesome music including a few pieces featuring Gilbert’s expertise on the harmonica. Tickets are $18 and reservations can be made by calling 398-2252.
If you haven’t seen them, the twenty-two Walter Blakelock Wilson paintings we have on display through April are splendid and look great in our museum. Make sure to take a few moments to enjoy them!
Southwestern Vistas: Landscapes of American Painter Walter Blakelock Wilson – January 1, 2013 to April 30, 2013, daily 9am-5pm
The Tubac Presidio hosts a retrospective exhibition of artwork by the late Tubac artist, Walter Blakelock Wilson (1929-2011). Wilson’s portraits, landscapes and architectural imagery have made their way into several museums and over 300 corporate and private collections. His historical paintings feature Native Americans, frontier personalities and dramatic southwest vistas and landscapes. Included with park admission $5 adult, $2 youth 7-13, children free.
We hope to see you soon!
Our online Gift Shop
Saturday, December 17, 2pm
The Tubac Presidio State Historic Park will host a holiday concert featuring Dolan Ellis on Saturday, December 17, 2011. Arizona’s Official State Balladeer, Grammy winner and original member of The New Christy Minstrels, Ellis will present his special holiday show “An Arizona Christmas” in the 1885 Territorial Schoolhouse. This event is part of the Teodoro “Ted” Ramirez Artist in Residence concert series at the Tubac Presidio. Showtime is at 2pm.
Dolan Ellis has been Arizona‘s Official State Balladeer since 1966, first appointed by Governor Sam Goddard and endorsed by eleven consecutive governors. In his role as Balladeer, Dolan has written more than 300 songs and performed throughout Arizona and the United States, as well as in many foreign countries. Ellis is known for his 12-string guitar, his baritone voice, and the songs he writes about Arizona and the American Southwest. He was an original member of The New Christy Minstrels and was with them for several gold records, their 1963 Grammy for Best Group, and a season (1962–1963) on the nationally televised Andy Williams Show. In 1996, Ellis founded the Arizona Folklore Preserve located in Ramsey Canyon south of Sierra Vista and continues to perform monthly as the artist-in-residence. Ellis is back with the Christies again, participating in their recordings and tours.
Dolan connects with his audiences as few performers can do, relying on his humor and storytelling skills to enhance his considerable musical talent. This concert is for all ages and promises to be a memorable way to celebrate the holiday season. Tickets are $20 for adults (15+) and free for children age 14 and younger. Seating is limited, please call 520-398-2252 for reservations. The Tubac Presidio State Historic Park is located at 1 Burruel Street in Tubac and is open daily (except Christmas Day) from 9am to 5pm. Concert tickets include admission to the park, so plan to arrive early to tour the Presidio. Learn more about Arizona’s first state park at www.TubacPresidioPark.com.
We ask for your support and presence at a special treat coming up at the Tubac Presidio this coming Saturday from 4 to 6. We don’t get many chances to see a world premiere of a film here, but this Saturday we can. Come see the world premiere of a new documentary film, “The Anza Expedition.” It stars our own late Don Garate and over 80 other locals with parts in the film. It documents one of Tubac’s great historical moments, and we are honored that the National Park Service has given the THS volunteer run Tubac Presidio Park the opportunity to show the film as a fund raiser to help us in our efforts to Save the Presidio. We have lined up a delightful late afternoon program of living history, presidio tours, and excellent food and drink in addition to the premiere of the film. For more information, please contact us at email@example.com.