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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A little history in Tumacacori Arizona

Tuesday a.m.

Surprise! Surprise! We are still in Amado, Arizona. So much for our plans – we won’t be leaving here until Thursday. Why Thursday? Well we were looking at the weather reports and it is still SNOWING at home. No rush to get there. So lets stay another day – then realized we’d get a better rate if we were here a full week so okay – BUT WAIT – if we stay a full week not only do we get a better rate we get an extra day too. So that’s why Thursday.
Watched the NASCAR race Sunday of course – Kyle lead 151 of 200 laps but not the important one – the final one. Oh well.
Since we’ve been here I’ve been watching the little tree next to us. It barely had little buds when we got here. Yesterday the buds started opening and turning into pretty little leaves – Spring is here – in Arizona anyway.
Spring has sprung here in AZ
Yesterday morning we went out to breakfast – Yum and then to Wal*Mart for a couple of things we’d forgotten and a new razor for The Driver as his took a crap. After coming home (?) and putting things away we decided to go a little south on the I-19 to Tumacacori. There is an old mission there I wanted to check out.  And luckily it is a National Park so we could use our Golden Age or Senior Pass – whatever it is called now – so we didn’t have to pay the entrance fee.
The original church was founded by Jesuit Padre Eusebio Kino (he really got around) in early 1691. Kino founded the mission San Cayetano de Tumacacori on the banks of the Santa Cruz River. In 1767 the King of Spain banished the Jesuits from the area. The Franciscans eventually took over the area. They started to rebuild the church in 1800 – this is the church that stands here today.

The poverty of the area and the wars in Mexico and with the Indians eventually led to the missions abandonment in 1848. Soldiers abandoned the Presidio at Tubac and the last residents left Tumacacori. In 1853 with the Gasden Purchase the area became part of the US.
We were lucky to catch up with a tour that had just started. Looking in the church towards the altar with its domed ceiling.

Some of the original decorations on the walls.
There are 12 of these “frames” around the altar area. They are thought to have been portraits of the Apostles
A closer look at the ceiling.
Looking towards the front of the church. The roof is new. According to the priest who was conducting the tour the original roof was stripped away by the area ranchers and farmers who utilized the already cut and formed beams for their buildings. When the time came to restore the church the architects just went around to the neighboring ranches and measured the “borrowed” beams and framing to get accurate measurements to rebuild the present roof.

One of the side altars, there are four of them. This church never had the side aisles of most churches.
remains of a side altar
A rendering of what the church looked like in its glory

very colorful interior
The priest said that during the time the church was abandoned it was not necessarily unused. Many, many people used it as a convenient “Motel Six.” Many leaving graffiti behind. Including a faded signature from General Black Jack Pershing.
Behind the church is a small cemetery with a round building that was a Mortuary/Chapel. According to the priest the King of Spain decreed it should be built to house the dead before they were buried. A man before his times – this kept the bodies of those who had died of diseases such as measles and small pox isolated.

Then we visited the storage building.
The grounds were surrounded by a wall that had niches for the Stations of the Cross.
There is also living quarters on the grounds – called a convent.

One of the roofless rooms with a fireplace.
Just a look at the church through some of the winter sleeping bushes. Can’t you imagine it 200 years ago?
A bunch of poppies blooming in the garden
Very interesting visit. On the way back to the campground – what is this? A check point? Yep border patrol check point. Had to roll the back windows of the Jeep down so they could see in.
Today The Driver seems to have been bitten by a cleaning bug. He is going at it full force. Jennie really needs a thorough cleaning – so much sand and dust in here. But there is only so much we can do while still on the road. It'll take weeks to do a good job once we're home.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Love those historic places. Thanks for sharing your tour of it.