Ticket Sales Begin for “$$Priceless$$

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IT’S TIME!!  You can now buy tickets to our special event: “$$Priceless$$ – An Antiques Appraisal Event” to be held on Thursday, March 12 at 5:00 p.m. The event will take place at Oro Valley Country Club and feature Catherine Baron MA, formerly an appraiser on “Antiques Roadshow”.   Tickets are $75 per person and includes dinner (cash bar) and verbal appraisal of one lap-sized item. Catherine will select a few items to discuss in detail with the audience.

But wait there’s more! You can purchase raffle tickets for prizes including; a vacation stay at a time share, original painting by local artist Gail Munden, dinner for 2 at Oro Valley Country Club and one more “surprise “ item.

Tickets are sold on EVENTBRITE.com. “Search” Oro Valley Historical Society in the Search events box at the top of the page.
Tickets are limited to 150…don’t miss out on a fun event!

All proceeds are to benefit ongoing programs of the Oro Valley Historical Society an independent 501(c)(3) self-sustaining volunteer organization.

For more information contact Peg O’Connell at pegoconnell@ymail.com or use Facebook messenger at the Oro Valley Historical Society Facebook page.

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








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!

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 www.ovhistory.org or our Oro Valley Historical Society Facebook event page.


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