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The Oro Valley Historical Society is happy to announce that our popular Steam Pump Ranch Property Tour will resume on Saturday, September 17.  Tours begin at 9:00 a.m. and leave every 15 minutes. The last tour leaves at 11:30 a.m.  Tours are approximately 45 minutes.

The Steam Pump Ranch Property Tours are on the third Saturday of each month; September, October, November, January, February, March, and April.  No reservations are needed for the Saturday tours.  Sign-up at the Oro Valley Historical Society hospitality booth.  Look for our banner and booth at the south end of the Farmer’s Market area.

Please note that tours of the property are on uneven terrain and gravel surfaces and cover a circuit of about 1/2 of a mile.

Please note that the Pusch House Museum is NOT open during property tour Saturdays.

Suggested donation: $5.00

If you would like to arrange for a private group tour (i.e. Scouts, school groups, clubs, etc.) please contact: or leave a message on our Facebook page or message “Contact” on this website.


By | Editor's Pick, Education, Events, Members Update, Newsletter, Volunteer | No Comments

If you haven’t checked the Oro Valley Historical Society (OVHS) calendar lately you might be missing something special!  For all upcoming activities and details check out “Events” on this website.

Here are some highlights:

The remaining Saturdays in February will feature “Letters from an Army Airman” at the Pusch House Museum at Steam Pump Ranch.  The exhibit features correspondence written during WWII from Henry Zipf (grandson of George and Mathilda Pusch) to his mother, Gertrude Pusch Zipf.  The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and is located at Steam Pump Ranch on Oracle Road.

Thursday, March 12 is our BIG ANNUAL event!  $$Priceless$$ – An Antiques Appraisal Event will take place at the Oro Valley Country Club at 5:00 p.m.  The event will feature Catherine Baron, M.A. of Catherine’s Estates and Appraisals.  Formerly on the Antiques Roadshow, Catherine will evaluate lap-sized items brought in by ticket holders.  The event includes dinner (no host bar) and Catherine’s presentation highlighting some of the items brought to the event.  Tickets are $75 and can be purchased through www. Search Oro Valley Historical Society.  Last day to purchase tickets is March 6!  You can also contact Peg O’Connell for further information at  All proceeds go to OVHS for ongoing projects.

On Monday, March 9 at 2:00 p.m. Peter Spooner of Arizona Coins and Collectibles will discuss “Tokens in Arizona History” at the Oro Valley Public Library.

On Thursday, March 26 at 8:00 a.m. Jim Williams will lead a hike through Oro Valley Country Club Estates.  Jim will discuss the historic role of  OVCC Estates during the early development of Oro Valley.  Contact Jim Williams at to sign up.

Stop by The Oro Valley Historical Society booth on Saturdays at Steam Pump Ranch during Farmer’s Market hours (9 to 1).  We can answer your questions about membership, volunteering and getting involved!


SaddleBrooke’s Phantom Gold

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Local historian, Bob Simpson, will discuss “Mining Law and Saddlebrooke’s Phantom Gold”.  Bob is a published author and has been a very popular speaker at OVHS lectures.  This lecture is a “golden” opportunity to learn about regional history.  In the early 1900s, Councilman Philip Contzen led an effort to gain rights to land in today’s SaddleBrooke area by filing bogus gold placer claims.  His audacious schemes ultimately failed but they did provide Tucson newspapers with years of interesting story lines.  Please note that this event is on a Monday.  We hope to see you at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, February 10 at the Oro Valley Public Library.  This event is free. Spread the word!    Be sure to talk to one of the Oro Valley Historical Society members at the event to see how to get involved.

History Hike – Elias Homestead

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Wednesday, February 19 – NW corner of Catalina State Park. Meet: 8:30 am – Equestrian Center, Catalina St. Park


What a great way to spend a morning!  Spread the word!

Hike:  Local writer and historian, Jim Williams will lead a hike in Catalina State Park.  Walk 3-4 miles (elevation change 50’) on sandy soil to the historic Elias homestead and back.  View and hear about homesteads and ruins in the area.  Time: about 3 hours.

Participants:  Limit of 20. Sign up on a first come, first served basis.  All must sign an OVHS waiver at the meeting place.

Contact to sign up:  Jim Williams at by Feb 17.

Entrance fee to Catalina State Park: Participants pay – $7 for a maximum of four persons in a car.

Gear: Wear hiking boots and a hat.  Bring water and sunscreen.

“Letters from an Army Airman” – February Exhibit

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The Pusch House at Steam Pump Ranch will feature an exhibit; “Letters from an Army Airman”.  Capturing a bit of February’s theme of Valentine’s Day and the exchange of correspondence to loved ones, the exhibit will feature letters from Henry George Zipf to his mother, Gertrude Pusch Zipf,  during the time of his service in the Army Air Corps in World War II.

Personal artifacts and family history will also be on display.  The exhibit will be open to the public on  Friday, February 7 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. (Friday night concert at Steam Pump Ranch), the “Second Saturday at Steam Pump Ranch”on February 8, February 15 and February 22 all from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00p.m.  Docents will be  available for tours through the house and to answer questions.  Suggested donation $5 with all proceeds to benefit the Oro Valley Historical Society.

What’s in a Name?

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On Wednesday, November 12 the Oro Valley Historical Society featured a talk by Arizona Star columnist, David Leighton.  David discussed the origins of many Tucson street names.  His column “Street Smarts” focuses on that subject and is a favorite of many readers.

Some note worthy names?  Super Chicken Drive, Ina Road (pronounced Eena), and Limberlost.

Check out this site for information on these and other street names:

Thank you to David for his talk and to Jim Williams our Speakers Bureau coordinator!

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