Christkindlmarket Booth at Steam Pump Ranch

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See the Nutcrackers at our Christkindlmarket booth!

Many cities around the world have adopted the festive Christkindlmarket during the holiday season.  The fairy-like Christkind (grounded in German culture) visits children, bestowing gifts to them once they are in bed and fast asleep. Thus, Christkindlmarkets celebrate German culture and feature “Old World” gifts, food and activities.

As many of you know, George Pusch and John Zellweger established Steam Pump Ranch in 1874.  George was an immigrant from Germany and John hailed from Switzerland.  The Oro Valley Historical Society (OVHS) decided to celebrate their Germanic heritage this holiday season. As a result, we are presenting our first Christkindlmarket!

The Pusch House will be decorated in traditional German holiday style.  Tours will be given and exhibits will feature the Pusch family history.  Our Christkindlmarket booth will offer unique ornaments of many holiday traditions including; German, Native American, and Southwest.  Buy a great hostess gift, trimmings for your tree and even something for the pooch! There will be some yummy treats (while they last) and activities for the kids, too!

So, mark your calendars!  The Pusch House and Christkindlmarket booth will be open on Saturdays beginning November 9 through December 21 from 9 a.m. to Noon and on Second Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 Don’t miss this great opportunity to connect with local history, traditions, and your community.  We hope to see you there!  And it’s free (but donations are always appreciated)!


When Rocks Are Not “Just” Rocks!

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What a great morning it was for a hike!  How many times have you walked over a pile of rocks and had no knowledge of their history?  Local author and historian, Jim Williams, led a tour of sites in Catalina State Park; Romero Ruins and two other homesteader foundation sites…some of them now just a pile of rocks.

Romero Ruin Hike

On the first part of the hike, Jim gave a history of the Hohokam archeological site and its connection with the Francisco Romero homestead of 1869.  He pointed out the  border wall of the Hohokam village that actually crosses the trail path and the remaining ruins of the Hohokam/Romero buildings. Jim is a wealth of knowledge and gave a broad overview of the history as well as interesting little known details.

Stone border of Hohokam compound

The Hohokam Village


Francisco Romero Homestead

The group then moved to another location of the park that was the 1940 property of Margaret Love.  A teacher at The Arizona Desert School for Boys, Margaret lived in the 600 sq. ft. home and employed local legend, Buster Bailey, as a handyman until he was drafted for the war effort.  There is still evidence of the foundation as well as a trough engraved with her name and dated 1940.

Foundation rocks of Margaret Love home

Photo of Margaret Love home

Trough on property of Margaret Love home
circa 1940








Further along the trail we passed the homestead of Homer Magee.  Homer, a veteran of WWI, was able to get a deed to the property in 1937 in rather quick fashion due to his military service. The homestead included 650 acres.  There is a clearing near the Birding Trail that may have been the location of the home.  A huge tamarisk tree (not native to the area) is also a locator for the homestead site.  Off the beaten track you can see a water trough used during the tenure of Homer’s homestead.  Homer, a machinist by trade, established a machine parts company in Tucson.  After leaving the homestead, Homer and his wife, Mabel, lived in the Tucson area.  Homer died in Tucson in 1982.  And no, Magee Road in not named after this “Magee”.

Tamarisk tree on Magee homestead location

Clearing of one time corral site of Magee homestead

A BIG THANK YOU to Jim Williams for taking the time to lead the hike and to Sue Chambasian for organizing the details.

Stop by the Pusch House in Steam Pump Ranch for exhibits regarding local history and tours given by the Oro Valley Historical Society.  We also have monthly displays at the Oro Valley Public Library.  If you’d like more information regarding the history of homesteading in Oro Valley, be sure to get a copy of Jim Williams book, “Claiming the Desert”.  You can purchase one at the Oro Valley Historical Society booth at Steam Pump Ranch on Saturdays during Farmer’s Market hours.

For other Oro Valley Historical Society events be sure to check our Events calendar at or our Oro Valley Historical Society Facebook event page.


Come on down!

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Members, volunteers and interested parties!  We invite you to our Quarterly Information Meeting at 1:00 pm, on Wednesday July 10, 2019 at the Pusch House, Steam Pump Ranch, at 10901 N. Oracle Rd.

As part of the Oro Valley Historical Society we actively work with the Town of Oro Valley to promote research, preservation, education and dissemination of history related to the Greater Oro Valley area.  To that end, we have quarterly informational meetings with several of our docents and other volunteers presenting information about our mission and our presence at Steam Pump Ranch.

We will include tours of the property, including the Heritage Garden that typically features crops that were cultivated by Native Americans in the area, our collection of artifacts, the Pusch House, the Proctor-Lieber House and other property buildings.   We’ll touch on future possible uses of those buildings as part of the Town of Oro Valley Master Plan for Steam Pump Ranch.

If you are a current member, have interest in becoming a member or would like to volunteer put this on your “to do” list!  Hope to see you.

For more information contact:

Carol Bull, OVHS Volunteer Coordinator

Heritage Garden

Ranchin’ Display

Branding demonstration

Jim Williams to talk on Compelling Characters in OV

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Local author and historian, Jim Williams, will present a talk on “Compelling Characters in Oro Valley History.  There were more than a few so if you want to get a bit of local color and learn about Oro Valley personalities, you’ll enjoy Jim’s lecture.  The talk will take place at the Western National Parks Association on Wednesday, May 8th at noon and 2:00 pm.  The event is open to the public but reservations are required and can be made one week in advance (520-622-6014).

You won’t want to miss this!


OVHS at Celebrate Oro Valley!

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We hope you didn’t miss all the activity at Steam Pump Ranch on Saturday! It was a picture perfect day…the crowd will attest to that. Celebrate Oro Valley (the 45th Anniversary of the founding of Oro Valley) was a huge success! The Pusch House was open and OVHS docents hosted hundreds of visitors who moseyed in to see the historical exhibits of local cattle ranching. The Heritage Garden was full of family activities and demonstrations of branding. The Procter-Leiber House had displays of family memorabilia from the 1930s and later. Our table hosts answered many questions about the OVHS and sold a number of Jim Click Millions for Tucson raffle tickets (all proceeds benefiting OVHS), and books (Claiming the Desert, written by Jim Williams). Thank you to all of our precious volunteer members for making this such a special day! It’s never too late to join the fun! If you’d like to become an OVHS member stop by the next meeting on Thursday, April 25 at the Pusch House at Steam Pump Ranch at 3 p.m. or check the website event page and “Join” page for further information.


BIG Events THIS week!

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It’s a busy week for Oro Valley Historical Society (OVHS)! On Wednesday, April 10 there’s a volunteer/member gathering at Steam Pump Ranch. Be there at 2 p.m. for an overview of OVHS and membership and volunteering. There’s an opportunity for every interest! Meet at the Pusch House.
On Saturday, April 13 wish Oro Valley a Happy Birthday as the town celebrates 45 years since its founding. All the Celebrate Oro Valley activity will take place at Steam Pump Ranch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There’ll be musical entertainment, equestrian demonstrations, food, and the artisan and farmer’s market. But wait there’s more! OVHS will have Pusch House tours with new exhibits featuring the history of cattle ranching in our area. The Heritage Garden will have great family activities and demonstrations also centered on ranching and the “PZ brand” of Steam Pump Ranch.
Stop at the OVHS Booth where our volunteers can give you the low down on Steam Pump Ranch. If you join OVHS between April 10 and May 11 you’ll be eligible to win a gift certificate for Harvest Restaurant! While you’re at the booth, don’t forget to buy a Jim Click Millions for Tucson Raffle ticket. Prizes include a Jeep Grand Cherokee (you might even get a glimpse of it on Saturday), 2 Round-trip First Class tickets anywhere in the world, or $5000. All prizes are courtesy of Jim Click and ALL proceeds from the tickets we sell go directly to OVHS.
We hope to see you….back at the (Steam Pump)Ranch!

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