Celebrating Oro Valley’s Golden Anniversary!

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Oro Valley will celebrate it’s 50th birthday on April 15, 2024!  This season’s Speakers Bureau will focus on discussion on Oro Valleys history from a variety of perspectives.

Save these dates!

January 17 – Local historian Jim Williams will discuss “Fifty Years of Oro Valley.” He recently authored Oro Valley: The First Fifty Years.  The book is available at the Pusch House Museum at Steam Pump Ranch on Saturdays from 9 to Noon or on Amazon.
February 5 – Panel discussion on the topic “How has Oro Valley Grown and Changed?” Panelists will include Dick Eggerding, Spencer Elliott and Kathi Cuvelier.
March 11 – Panel discussion: “Three Mayors Discuss Oro Valley’s History.” This will include Mayor Winfield and former mayors Hiremath and Loomis.
April 8 – Panel discussion: “The Birth of Oro Valley 50 Years Ago.” This will include three residents (Fred Roof, Lauren Rhude, and Sidney Felker) who participated in Oro Valley politics and government in the early years.
All events will be at the Oro Valley Library. They start at 200 pm.  Events are
free (but donations are appreciated) and open to the public.

October is German-American Heritage Month

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German Heritage Exhibi

Congress, by Public Law 100 – 104, designated October 6, 1987, the 304th anniversary of the arrival of the first German immigrants in Philadelphia, as “German-American Day” and authorized and requested President Reagan to issue a proclamation in observance of that day. “Now, therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, October 6, 1987, as German-American Day. I urge all Americans to learn more about the contributions of German immigrants to the life and culture of the United States and to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

Oro Valley Historical Society will observe the spirit of this proclamation by dedicating the month of October to German-American Heritage.

This month’s exhibit will feature prominent German-Americans who contributed to the development of Oro Valley and Tucson.  The exhibit also features the history of German immigration to the United States, German culture and traditions.  We also have a beautiful new addition to OVHS collections.  The Complete Domestic Bible” (published in German) by Hubbard Brothers Publishing in Philadelphia, PA in 1873 is on display.  It was donated to the Society by Steve and Peggy Drennan.  Many thanks to Steve and Peggy for their contribution of this important piece for our German heritage exhibit.

The exhibit is open EVERY Saturday from 9 to Noon at the Pusch House Museum at Historical Steam Pump Ranch (10901 N. Oracle Rd. Oro Valley).

Whether you’re German or not, there’s much to learn about local history with a German twist from this fun and fact-filled exhibit.

The exhibit is free but in order to continue exhibits and activities, OVHS appreciates your $5 donation.

OVHS Celebrates Hispanic-American Heritage

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Arizona is heavily influenced by  Indigenous People and Hispanic roots.  This month the Oro Valley Historical Society is focusing on Hispanic-American Heritage.  See the Hispanic history of the southwest and our area; historical timetable, early settlers, and prominent people.  Learn about Hispanic traditions and culture that are shared in the greater Tucson area.

The exhibit will run on Saturdays in September (from 9 to Noon) at the Pusch House Museum at Steam Pump Ranch Historical Park located at 10901 N. Oracle Road, Oro Valley.  Suggested donation $5

Tootsie’s Steamer Trunk – Beauty revisited

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Check off another item on the OVHS “to do” list.  Collections Chair, Sue Chambasian, had the restoration of Tootsie’s steamer trunk on her wish list.  The trunk was donated to OVHS by Henry G. Zipf, Gertrude’s son.

Thanks to Joe Frannea, a longtime OVHS volunteer and supporter, Sue’s wish came true!  Joe was able to reattach the domed lid to the trunk and then fabricated strapping pieces, handles and other hardware that were in need of repair or replacement.  He also discovered a beautiful embossed design on the top and body of the trunk that had been hidden due to years of being stored. The outcome was more than OVHS ever could have hoped for!  THANK YOU, JOE!

Now about the trunk.  The trunk belonged to Gertrude “Tootsie” Pusch, daughter of George and Mathilda Pusch.   Tootsie definitely didn’t quite fit the mold of a women growing up in the late 1800s/early 1900s.  She was one of the first female students at the U of A and we know that she traveled due to correspondence in our collections.  She was an avid equestrian and could shoot a rifle.  She was even a postmaster!

Find out more about Tootsie and see the trunk restoration in the Pusch Room at the Pusch House Museum at Steam Pump Ranch (10901 N. Oracle, Oro Valley) on Saturdays from 9 to Noon.

OVHS New Program Year!

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Summer’s over and OVHS is BACK! After taking a summer break, Oro Valley Historical Society is ready to welcome visitors to the Pusch House Museum. There are a lot of new things to see! OVHS has installed two permanent displays focusing on the two eras of Steam Pump Ranch history. One room is dedicated to George Pusch (founder of Steam Pump Ranch) and one room is dedicated to the Procter-Leiber era of the ranch. The Great Room will feature our September exhibit focusing on Hispanic-American Heritage. Learn why Arizona is so influenced by Hispanic culture and tradition. Learn who were the early Hispanic settlers in our area. Learn when and how Arizona transitioned from the land of Indigenous Peoples to becoming the 48th State.
Our exhibits are geared to all ages of history lovers and those curious to know more about the roots of Oro Valley and Steam Pump Ranch Historical Park (on the National Register of Historic Places). The Pusch House Museum is located at 10901 North Oracle Rd., Oro Valley (far south end of the ranch). The museum is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to Noon. If you are visiting the Farmer’s Market stop at the museum and cool off in the air-conditioning! Suggested donation $5

In Memory of OVHS President Henry K. Zipf

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Henry Zipf


The Oro Valley Historical Society (OVHS) Board members are saddened to announce the passing of our friend and President Henry K. Zipf.  Henry was the great-grandson of George and Mathilda (nee Feldman) Pusch, grandson of Gertrude (nee Pusch) and Henry W. Zipf, and son of Henry (Hank) G. and Ann (nee Lourie) Zipf.  Henry is survived by sons Nolan and Stephen and his partner, Debra.  Henry is also survived by a sister, Laurie and brother, Donald. The Pusch/Zipf family has long historical roots in both the Greater Tucson and Oro Valley areas.


Henry was an active member and board member of the Society for many years.  He dedicated much time and many resources to the organization.  He had a great deal of local knowledge of Oro Valley’s early years.  Henry was full of entertaining stories that included ranch life and his lifetime in the Tucson area.  Henry could “spin a good yarn” and his chuckle was infectious!


OVHS is grateful for Henry’s dedication to our mission.  Henry generously donated many Pusch family heirlooms and archival material to the OVHS for its collections.  He was intent on preserving the Pusch family history at Steam Pump Ranch somewhat as a personal legacy but more so, for the benefit of Oro Valley history and the community.  The Oro Valley Historical Society will do its best to continue to carry out Henry’s wishes in that effort.  We will miss him!

Henry and son, Stephen installing a display at the Pusch House Museum

Henry Zipf receiving grant check from Arizona Historical Society representative.

A Celebration of Life Service with be held on Saturday, June 3 at 10:00 a.m. at:

Corpus Christi Catholic Church

300 N. Tanque Verde Loop

Tucson, AZ 85748


Memorial donations at the family’s behest can be made in Henry’s name to:

Oro Valley Historical Society

P.O. Box  69754

Oro Valley, AZ 85737-0021



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