Fall Newsletter!

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Dear Members,
The current OVHS Board of Directors for your information:

President……………Roxy Johnson orovalleylady@comcast.net

Vice pres ……………Henry Zipf Henryzipf30@gmail.com

Secretary……………Teri Colmar tericolmar@comcast.net

Treasurer …………..Paul Loomis ploomis@msn.com

Gardener…………….Joyce Rychener Joyceholloway2@gmail.com

Collections…………Sue Chambasian schambasian@gmail.com

Photographer …….Sherri Bujarski sherri@sherrigraves.com

October 2020 Newsletter

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We haven’t forgotten about you and we hope you haven’t forgotten about us! Needless to say, COVID has altered many of our lives and likewise plans of the Oro Valley Society. We literally were making our closing statements at the “Priceless, Antiques= Appraisal Event”, when the state closed down on March 12. (Our fundraising event was a huge success due to the efforts of Peg O’Connell and her fundraising team! We grossed $2160 in profit!!! Way to go!)

As many of our members and Board members fall into a “vulnerable” category, we have had limited Board meetings with Board only attendance. Stay tuned for the possibility of a Membership meeting in the near future, pending availability of a space that will comply with social distancing mandates.

So, in a “nutshell” here is the OVHS news . . . . .

Steam Pump Ranch Garage

As many of you may have read on our Facebook page and via an email notification, the Town of Oro Valley Parks and Recreation (P&R) Department determined that they would convert the Garage Building into offices for the P & R Recreation and Cultural Division.
Though the Garage was designated in the Master Plan as the future home of the OVHS, we
were not consulted or notified prior to this decision in May. We expressed our strong concerns and disappointment about this decision to the town leaders via a letter. (The letter can be found on our website.) The 2020/21 town budget includes $500,000 for the renovation of the Garage Building for office use by the Recreation and Cultural Division. OVHS discussed office


The Garage Building


issues and use of the SPR site via a Zoom meeting with staff members of P&R and the Town Manager. Negotiations continue for a License Agreement to use one room at the Pusch House Museum as an office. OVHS received a refund of $5,000 for the Garage Assessment Study. This was a contribution to the TOV from OVHS when the Garage Building was being considered as the future OVHS office/home.

The Tack Building

In July, the OVHS requested that members of the Town Council and Parks and Recreation staff tour the Tack Building. OVHS discussed the possibility of using the entire Tack Building for both storage and office space. We currently use one side of the building as storage though it has no electricity, water, or HVAC system. As the Tack Building is outside of the Historic Park designation area, renovation would be less complicated and less costly. Discussions are pending. We thank the TOV Council and staff for taking the time to visit the site with us.

The Pusch House Museum

OVHS is negotiating terms for a Licensee Agreement for use of one room of the Pusch House Museum as office space. The Pusch House Museum is currently closed for tours due to Covid. A tentative date for reopening is January or as determined by Parks and Recreation.

Parks and Recreation Report (Lynanne Dellerman)

As mentioned above, no tours will take place at the Pusch House until January.
The Recreation and Cultural Division of P&R presented plans for use and prioritized restoration of SPR buildings to the Historic Preservation Commission. We strongly encourage you to view the presentation. The HPC meeting and Study Session can be found on these links:



The Procter-Leiber House exterior has been painted and landscaping and an orchard have been planted adjacent to its courtyard. Consultecon (an economic, feasibility and planning service hired by the TOV) is assessing the Procter-Leiber House for potential uses. You may have noticed that El Toro Movies have leased the space next to the Pusch House Museum . . . hard to miss! Please voice your opinion on our Facebook page!

Donations and Acquisitions:

OVHS had some fabulous additions to our Collections! Caryl Thornton donated four lovely plein air oil “en plein air” paintings of Steam Pump Ranch sites. These are wonderful illustrations of landmark buildings and capture “the way they were” in light of continuing restoration projects. Caryl also donated a silver- plated carafe engraved “Pioneer Hotel”. What a find! Thank you, Caryl.  More pictures can be found on our Facebook page.

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Board Member, Henry Zipf, was fortunate to come across a large safe from the Copper Queen Mine. The OVHS Board purchased the safe and is determining where it will be located. Stay tuned for pictures.

Walter Pusch donated two Native American baskets. One is an Apache Burden Basket and the other a Pima / Papago Burden Basket. These are incredible gifts to OVHS and we can’t thank Walter enough! Walter is the Great-Grandson of George Pusch and has been very helpful in coalescing Pusch family history. Thank you, Walter!  See the separate article on this website/Facebook.

We want to thank and recognize Gary Kern for reaching out to us! Gary digitally restores photographs. He has donated his time and expertise by working on several photographs in our collection that needed some love. The outcome is incredible. Gary reached us via our website … do YOU have something you can share with us?

This and That at Steam Pump Ranch

page3image3835312News from the Heritage Garden at Steam Pump Ranch. 

It’s been a long, hot summer. Thanks to a generous gift from the Paul Bryan Family, and the work of dedicated volunteers, the Heritage Garden survived and even thrived most of the summer.  The Paul Bryan Family donation made it possible to purchase five stock tanks to use as container gardens, which have been very helpful deterring the critters.  Soil, seeds, fertilizer and garden lesson plans have also been purchased with these funds, with additional supplies coming for cool season planting. We are very very grateful to the Paul Bryan Family!  A huge thank you also to my dedicated garden volunteers, Jim, Renee, Leslie, and Margaret.  Jim is our newest volunteer, and has contributed many hours loading up and hauling the stock tank containers, placing the soil and contributing his gardening expertise.  Thanks to all of my hardworking volunteers!


Joyce along with P&R staff produced educational videos that can be viewed on the Town of Oro Valley Facebook page.

Next time you stop by the Farmer’s Market be sure to check out the Steam Pump Ranch Directory Map at the north entrance to the Ramada. The Directory Map was made possible through the generosity of donors of OVHS who supported our Z Mansion Event. The Fundraising Chair of the Z Mansion event, Peg O’Connell, and the OVHS Board determined the Directory Map would be a great addition to the SPR property.  The Directory identifies Steam Pump Ranch Buildings and their location.

Membership/How YOU can help!

Our Annual Membership runs from January to January. OVHS is a SELF-SUSTAINING 501(c)(3) VOLUNTEER organization. We take no public money! In order to continue to add to and maintain our collections, provide Speaker’s Bureau events, display exhibits, etc., we need your help as members and volunteers. (YES, one day COVID will be over and we can do all the things we did before!)
We hope you might consider volunteering for the following positions; Membership, Communication, Technology, Giving tours and Fundraising.
You can donate, volunteer and renew your membership on our website:


Interested in a 2020 Ford F-150 Platinum? You can buy a raffle ticket for a chance to win one!!! Tickets are $25 each or 5 for $100. The three prizes are generously donated by Jim Click BUT OVHS gets to keep the ticket price for EVERY ticket we sell!!! Last year our proceeds were $2200!

First Prize: FORD F-150 PLATINUM!
Second Prize: Two round-trip first class airline tickets to anywhere in the world! Third Prize: $5,000 CASH!

To purchase tickets, contact Teri Colmar at tcolmar@comcast.net

We hope this keeps us on your radar! Be sure to keep visiting our website or Facebook page: Oro Valley Historical Society. Our wish is that this “historic” pandemic will disappear soon and we can get on with the many activities we dearly miss….especially….

“Keeping Oro Valley History Alive”!

Questions or Concerns? Reach our Board through the OVHS website “Contact” or via email.

The OVHS Board

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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. eventbrite.com Search Oro Valley Historical Society.  Last day to purchase tickets is March 6!  You can also contact Peg O’Connell for further information at pegoconnell@ymail.com.  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 jaswilliams128@msn.com 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!


Thank You for Supporting OVHS!

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We wish to thank all of you volunteered at the Christkindlmarket booth, visited the Pusch House, purchased items from our booth and gave donations!  We had record crowds touring the Pusch House on Saturdays from November 9 through December 21.  Some tourists were “first-time” visitors while others were regulars who enjoyed seeing the new displays.  Most often, folks commented that the Pusch House Museum and Steam Pump Ranch are Oro Valley’s hidden gems and that they would like to see more activity/events at the property as well as continued restoration.

Please let the Historic Preservation Commission, the Town of Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Department and Town Council members know if you would like to see more progress at Steam Pump Ranch.  In the meantime, the Oro Valley Historical Society will continue our liaison with the town and offer new exhibits and tours TWICE a month on the Second and Fourth Saturdays of each month through April.  Check the calendar and our Facebook page for further information.


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 carolpfc@icloud.com

Heritage Garden

Ranchin’ Display

Branding demonstration

Summer Library Display

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While you visit the Oro Valley Public Library to pick-up your summer reading, browse our new display.   Continuing the “Celebrate Oro Valley” theme, the OVHS Collection team put together an exhibit of local cattle ranching.  Kudos to Sue Chambasian for coordinating the display with the helping hands of Twink Monrad and Teri Colmar.

    Summer Library Display

Want to join OVHS?  There are brochures at the library display case or contact Carol Bull: carolpfc@icloud.com

Ranchin’ Library Display

OVHS at Celebrate Oro Valley!

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

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.


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