“APRIL is the month of dreams come true.”  John Baillie, Scottish theologian in the early 1900’s.

For Oro Valley, this month celebrating 50 years as a Town, that saying is definitely correct!  With much help from Jim Williams, author of the book Oro Valley The First Fifty Years, let’s see how April shaped the Town we live in and love in this very important month.

It started even as far back as April, 1925 when the Steam Pump Ranch, then owned by the George Pusch family, was sold.  Why was that a dream come true?  Although it was a circuitous financial journey from the Pusch family to the Procter family which included a number of owners who dealt with forced sales, the Depression, bankruptcies, and a sheriff’s sale, Jack Procter finally owned the property in the early 1940’s.  The ranch stayed within that family, which included Procter’s grandsons, Henry and John Leiber, until the Town of Oro Valley purchased the property.   By agreement with the Town, the Oro Valley Historical Society now gives tours of the home where George Pusch and his family lived, so for the Society and visitors to the Ranch, it’s a dream come true to keep Oro Valley history alive.

How did the Town of Oro Valley come to be, and what happened in April to make dreams come true?

Moving along to April 25, 1968 residents of Shadow Mountain Homeowners’ Association met to discuss making a new town, calling it Palo Verde, after the Tucson mayor at the time proposed annexing that area into Tucson. In hopes that more support would come from the Oro Valley Country Club Estates homeowners, those in favor of incorporation decided that that the Town should be named Oro Valley.  After much politicizing, many meetings, and signing of petitions over the next two years, in April, 1970 Pima County denied the petition for incorporation, using Oro Valley’s ‘rural character’ as the reason.  That decision was appealed, and after much work and using a Pinal County case as precedence, in April, 1972 a Pinal County judge ruled in favor of incorporation.  It was at that time that handouts were circulated that Oro Valley would never have a property tax.  (And for homeowners of Oro Valley, that promise is definitely a dream come true!)

April, 1974 was a very busy month for those who worked on the incorporation movement.  The Pima County Board of Supervisors finally approved the municipality and named the five Oro Valley Town Council members who met at one of those council member’s home for a study session, and later in April had the first official council meeting.

April, 1975 there was still some disagreement about incorporation or dissolving incorporation, and two very diverse publications were circulated voicing both sides.  However, by April, 1976 it was no longer an issue.  Oro Valley was now its own Town proving that April truly is a month where dreams come true!

But it doesn’t stop there!  Here are some other interesting highlights that happened in April in Oro Valley.

April 12, 1991 – the Town Hall held a dedication ceremony (at the beginning of this journey, meetings had been held in people’s homes for much of the time)

April, 1999 – the first Economic Development coordinator became part of Town management

April, 2001 – Dennis Weaver Park (the Town’s first park, transferred from the county to the Town in 1994) was renamed James D. Kriegh Park in honor of one of the founders of Oro Valley, town historian, council member, town engineer, and a volunteer on a number of Town committees.  This park is where so many of our festivals and events occur today and where our big celebration (with fireworks!) will be held marking our 50th anniversary on April 13, 2024.

April, 2017 – The Oro Valley Theater Company is founded and staged its first show “The Odd Couple”

April 21, 2021 – the annexation of the Westward Look Resort was approved which will add bed tax revenues to the Town coffers in addition to tax revenues from additional commercial ventures on the site

What started out as a land mass of 2.4 square miles and close to 1,200 people, became the Town of Oro Valley now with about 47,000 people in nearly 32 square miles in the last 50 years.  We celebrate that this year in April, when a few creative and determined people made their dreams come true.  As Elizabeth Gray, CBC Broadcaster said, “April is the cruelest month, but also the most necessary for growth,” and grow we did!










The Oro Valley Historical Society even has plans for the birthday celebration even after it’s over!!  

May 8 – 2 p.m. Jim Williams will talk about Oro Valley’s First Fifty Years at the Western National Parks store.

May 13 and 20 – Jim Williams will be giving two talks based on his recent book – Oro Valley The First Fifty Years. He will talk about our history from early settlers to today. The talks will be from 2 – 4 p.m., at the Oro Valley Public Library, and you can attend one or both


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