Editor’s Pick

Picacho Peak…somewhat local history

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How many times have you passed it on the way to Phoenix.  Picacho Peak is still a natural landmark much as it was through history.  In 1775, Juan Bautista de Anza, commander of the Presidio of Tubac passed through this area during his expedition to settle San Francisco and establish a Presidio there.  The expedition of soldiers and their families, interpreters, priests, cooks and cowboys along with 1000 head of livestock were to stop at El Aquituni, a well-known watering site just east of Picacho Peak.  Anza was reluctant to stop due to Apache raids in the area.  Since there was also a lack of water, they continued on to the Gila River and to a settlement of Pima Indians.  The result of the expedition was the building of numerous settlements and missions along the trail as well as the San Francisco Presidio.  Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail covers over 1200 miles of rich and diverse history. The historic sites, stops, and views are plentiful.   Travel it today to discover and explore an important chapter in Southwest/California history.

Near El Aquituni: Camp 21 on the Bautista de Anza expedition

Brittlebush and ocotillo near Picacho Peak

Celebrate Oro Valley/April 13

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Join the Celebration on Saturday, April 13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Steam Pump Ranch!

A celebration for the community we love!  This year’s theme, “Our Legacy, Our Future,” will highlight the region’s early beginnings through the present, with a look toward the future.  Many of the activities will focus on our ranching past.  Stop by the Heritage Garden for demonstrations of “branding”.  Children can make a stick riding horse or bull at the crafts table.

The Pusch House will feature unique displays and information regarding ranching at Steam Pump Ranch and the Oro Valley area.  Roam around the house on a self-tour or let our docents guide you through.  Donations are greatly appreciated and the main source of our income to “Keep Oro Valley History Alive”!

But wait there’s more!  Three musical acts, horse demonstrations, the James D. Kriegh meteorite display and an art show.  Be sure to stop by the Oro Valley Historical Society tent to buy “Claiming the Desert”, by Jim Williams, notecards, water and a Jim Click “Millions for Tucson” Raffle ticket.  Raffle tickets are $25 each or 5 for $100 for a chance to win a 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2 First Class roundtrip tickets to ANYWHERE in the world, or $5000.  ALL proceeds from the ticket sales go to OVHS!

What a great family-friendly way to spend the day…don’t miss it!

And one more thing…if you’d like to become a volunteer for this or any of the Oro Valley Historical Society events or activities contact Carol Bull at

Going to Seed…

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isn’t a bad thing!  I stopped by the Heritage Garden at the March Second Saturday event and Joyce brought me up to date on what’s happening.  Though these plants might not look like much (they’re going to seed), they still have a lot of life left!  The flowers will attract pollinators (birds and bees) that are needed for plant reproduction.

Broccoli seeding

A few plants are ready for harvest or are the next meal for our pesky gophers!

Cabbage ready to harvest

The cilantro plants have been thriving and are now on their way to producing coriander (seeds of the cilantro plant).  Who knew?!

Cilantro turning to coriander


Joyce, our gardener extraordinaire, has already produced several generations of heirloom seeds from the Heritage Garden crops!  Be sure to visit the Heritage Garden next time you’re at the Steam Pump Ranch.


March Library Display

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March is National Women’s History Month.  In keeping with the monthly theme, the current library display focuses on famous women in American History.  Who do you think is included in the select few?  See for yourself at the Oro Valley Public Library.

 The lovely porcelains are limited numbered editions produced by the United States Historical Society and donated to OVHS by the Oro Valley Public Library.

Thank you to Sue and Peg for organizing interesting library displays each month with items from Oro Valley Historical Society’s Collections.  The Society receives many compliments on the exhibits.  Don’t miss this one!

                                                     Collections Chairs Peg O’Connell and Sue Chambasian

It’s Membership Time

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Don’t forget to renew your Oro Valley Historical Society Membership!  Our membership year is March to March.  The best time to renew will be at the Annual Meeting on March 28 at Pusch House at Steam Pump Ranch.

Meeting site

Be there at 3:00 for the meeting and also enjoy a presentation by our board member and local historian, Jim Williams.  Individual membership is $20 and Family Membership is $30.  As an all volunteer self-sustaining organization your membership dues help with our operating costs and collections presentations.

Not a member?  You don’t know what you’re missing!  Meet people, learn about our local history and serve your community by helping to “Keep Oro Valley History Alive”.

We hope to see you at the Ranch!

Second Saturday at Steam Pump Ranch

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Second Saturdays at Steam Pump Ranch March 9

March 9 @ 9:00 AM1:00 PM

The weather is warmer and there’s much to enjoy outdoors!  Make this the Saturday you stop by Steam Pump Ranch.  The Oro Valley Historical Society is ready and waiting to give you a tour of the Pusch House (PH) with new displays.  The Heritage Garden has hands-on demonstrations and will be in full bloom!  Tours of Pusch House take place from 9 to Noon.  Stay and enjoy the outdoor entertainment ’til 1 p.m.

The OVHS tent at Steam Pump Ranch

Be sure you stop by the OVHS tent to purchase a Jim Click Millions for Tucson Raffle ticket.  This is your chance to win a 2019 Jeep Cherokee Summit, two round-trip, first-class airline tickets to ANYWHERE in the world or $5000 in cash!  OVHS through the generosity of Jim Click will get to keep ALL the proceeds from the raffle tickets we sell. A great way to support OVHS and your community by purchasing a $25 ticket AND you get an opportunity to win a great prize!

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