Quarterly Newsletter

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Newsletter February 2021

Save the Date!

The OVHS annual meeting will take place on Thursday, March 25 at 2:00 p.m. Assuming that COVID protocols will still be in place, the meeting will be outdoors at Steam Pump Ranch. Check the OVHS Facebook page or website (ovhistory.org) for the exact meeting location at the ranch as the date approaches. We will also send an email update in mid-March. At the last Membership Meeting, the Board discussed bylaws changes. These changes will be voted upon on March 25. We will send the proposed changes via email prior to the meeting date to give you another opportunity to review. Your proxy vote may be submitted via email due to current conditions and COVID concerns.

Did You Know…?

1. OVHS will have featured articles on the Let Oro Valley Excel (LOVE) blog http://letorovalleyexcel.blogspot.com. We hope to

communicate Oro Valley’s rich history, stories, and personalities to our residents. You can also find the articles on our

website: ovhistory.org and Facebook page (Oro Valley Historical Society).

  1. Your membership supports the ongoing programs of OVHS. This includes our displays, exhibits, and collections preservation. Not a member? It’s easy to join or donate on our website: ovhistory.org. The Oro Valley Historical Society is a wholly volunteer, self- sustaining 501 (c) (3) and your membership is even tax-deductible! You can help keep Oro Valley history alive!
  2. You can be a volunteer! Do you have a few extra hours on your hands? We are seeking docents, hosts, tech support, administration assistants and other hands on help. Contact Teri Colmar (tcolmar@comcast.net).

We can’t learn from history once it’s gone. Let the future know that Oro Valley has a long, rich and vibrant history. Many thanks for your continued support!

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Visit www.orovalleyhistory.org for more Information!


A New Arrival!

OVHS President Henry Zipf came across this piece of history while working on a project in Tucson. It was about to be disposed of when he brought it to the attention of OVHS! While we have no history of its use at the Copper Queen mine, we do know that the Herring-Hall-Marvin Company was a consolidation of several safe companies that had a 100,000 square foot factory

in Hamilton, Ohio in 1896. “The city of Hamilton was once known as the “Safe Capital of the World”. In addition to safe building, Herring-Hall-Marvin was a contractor for the armed services. During World War II they built gun mounts and were engaged in projects related to the atomic bomb. Several other transitions of the safe company ownership transpired through the years. In 2001, the last owner, Mosler, Inc., filed for bankruptcy.” (Cite: Historical Collection at the Lane.)

OVHS can certainly attest to the fine reputation of the safe builder! It was an all-day project moving the VERY heavy safe into our storage office in the Tack Room at Steam Pump Ranch. We plan to use the safe to house selected items in the OVHS collection.


A new acquisition!




Walk Around the Ranch

The Oro Valley Historical Society is presenting docent-guided tours of the Historic Steam Pump Ranch property on the second and fourth Saturdays in February, March and April. Find out what makes Steam Pump Ranch stand out in local history and earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tours leave on the hour and every fifteen minutes thereafter, between 10 a.m. and Noon (the last tour). Tours are about 50 minutes. COVID protocols are observed. Each tour is limited to 6 participants. First come first serve…no reservations. Check in at the south end of the Farmer’s Market ramada.

Look for the Oro Valley Historical Society tent.

Be sure to dress for the weather and bring water. Suggested donation is $5 per person. Take out a yearly membership (tax-deductible) on-site and the tour donation is waived!

What better way to learn the roots of your community, spend time outdoors and support the Oro Valley Historical

Society! A great way to learn about the town…when it was a land of indigenous Americans, homesteaders, and ranchers.

The Historic Steam Pump Ranch is located at 10901 N. Oracle Road, Oro Valley. For updates please visit the Oro Valley Historical Society Facebook page and our website ovhistory.org.

TOUR DATES: February 27, March 13 and 27, and April 10 and 24.

Oro Valley’s Place in History!

Some Important Historic Dates in Oro Valley History

1869 Francisco Romero settled in the area (first non-native resident)
1874 George Pusch settled in Tucson
1879 Local newspapers mention George Pusch’s ranch north of Tucson
1889 Fabian Romero established a ranch at junction of CDO and Sutherland Washes

  1. 1902  Federal surveyors plot the first homestead township in Oro Valley
  2. 1903  Federal government began to sell homesteads in the Oro Valley area

1903-05 Pusch and Romero families claim homestead land in Oro Valley 1905 Francisco Romero dies
1917 Pusch family expands the ranch to over 1,100 acres

1921 George Pusch dies
1925 Pusch family is forced to sell Steam Pump Ranch
1930 Romero family loses its remaining land in Oro Valley
1935 Joseph McAdams purchases most of the former Romero lands in Oro Valley 1937 Jack Procter begins to purchase sections of Steam Pump Ranch
1939-41 Electric power lines constructed along Oracle Road to Catalina




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.


History Hikes!

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History Hikes for January – March 2020

Oro Valley Historical Society


Wednesday, January 22 – Honey Bee Canyon and Homesteader Ruins. Meet:  8:30 am at Honey Bee Canyon parking lot on Rancho Vistoso Blvd.

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 jaswilliams128@msn.com by January 20.

Hike:  3-4 miles total with 200’ elevation change.  Walk in sandy Honey Bee Canyon and then along the CDO Wash.  Hear about early settlers in the area. Return the same way.   Time about 3 hours.

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


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

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 jaswilliams128@msn.com by Feb 17.

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

Hike:  Walk 3-4 miles (elevation change 50’) on sandy soil to the historic Elias homestead and back.  View and hear about homesteads and ruins.  Time: about 3 hours.

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


Thursday, March 26 – Oro Valley Country Club Estates. Meet at 8:00 am at Holiday Inn Express, Oracle Rd.

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 jaswilliams128@msn.com by March 24.

Hike: Walk 5 miles on paved streets (elevation change 200’) in a beautiful, historic neighborhood and hear its history. Time: 3 hours.

Gear: Wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat.  Bring water and sunscreen.


Cost: a suggested donation of $5.00 per person to the Historical Society, payable at the parking lot.

Cancellation: in case of bad weather, the hike leader will send you an email by 7:00 am.

Leader: Jim Williams, local historian and author of Claiming the Desert








We Want You!

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Calling all current and new members or those interested in volunteering with OVHS. Our first quarterly meeting will be on Wednesday, January 9 at 1 p.m. at the Pusch Ranch House in Steam Pump Ranch. If you love local history and want to learn more about opportunities to serve your community, join OVHS. There are opportunities to become a docent, fundraiser, collections assistant, and much more! Check our Facebook page (Oro Valley Historical Society) and this website for further updates. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

For further information contact Carol Bull at carolpfc@icloud.com

December – January 2018-19 Newsletter

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December-January, 2018-19 Newsletter

Oro Valley Historical Society

P.O. Box 69754, Oro Valley AZ 85737  www.ovhistory.org

Upcoming Events 

January 9

Volunteer Training 1:00 pm to 2:30pm

Learn how you can help at OVHS!  This informational meeting will be held for current members and those interested in volunteering.  Meet at the Pusch Ranch House at Steam Pump Ranch.

Additional training will be held quarterly throughout the year on 2nd Wednesdays (January, April, July and October) and will continue in 2020.

Become a member and join in the effort to “Keep Oro Valley History Alive”.

January 12

Second Saturday at Steam Pump Ranch.  A variety of activities from 9 to noon including tours of the Pusch Ranch House, children’s craft and demonstration in the Heritage Garden, the Heirloom Farmer’s Market, and more!

The Second Saturday in January will feature information and a display on the Tully/Ochoa raid.  Stop by the Pusch Ranch House from 9:00-noon and discover local history.

OVHS Website

For up-to-the-minute information about the Society’s activities, be sure to visit our website: www.ovhistory.org, and our Facebook page: Oro Valley Historical Society. “Share” the OVHS Facebookpage on your Facebook timeline!

We are in the process of improving our website and would like your feedback. Also, if you would like to submit a story, photo or event information, contact Teri Colmar at teri.colmar@gmail.com.
Thanks to Teri for her work on the website!

Holiday Sales

The Holiday Sale has netted $ 159.00 thus far. All remaining items will be for sale on December 8th. After that, they will be donated to the Golden Goose. Thanks to Jo Di Gennaro for organizing these sales




Paul Loomis at our information booth

More Important News

News from the November Board Meeting

Jo Di Gennaro volunteered at the Town of Oro Valley’s Hayride event and received $ 85 that was donated to the Society…Al Efron has donated $ 5000 to the Society for engineering studies to be completed at Steam Pump Ranch. Thank you! … Joyce Rychener recently hosted a home school group for local history education at Steam Pump Ranch over a two-week period. The students ranged from 2nd grade through high school. Joyce noted that the wintercrops have been planted in the Heritage Garden…. Jim Williams donated $1200 from sales of his book, “Claiming the Desert”.

Collections Corner

The OVHS was recently notified by the Arizona State Historical Society that it is the recipient of an AHS Small Grant in the amount of $820 for the preservation and display of collection items.

Peg and Sue met with Kate Stewart – the Tucson Arizona Historical Museum Archivist – to review how to organize, catalog, file, store and preserve OVHS archival materials. Kate will visit the Tack Room in January 2019 to view the Collections and evaluate their past work.

New Oro Valley History Available

Board member Jim Williams has published a new history of Oro Valley from 1865 to 1965 entitled Claiming the Desert. This book is currently available on Amazon.com and at the Western National Parks Association.

Profits from the sales of this book go to the Oro Valley Historical Society.

For more information: jaswilliams128@msn.com


Thanks to Helen Cates for her presentation on the history of a platform cradle and child’s rocking chair at the Second Saturday in November and for her kind donation!



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