Annual Membership Meeting

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Come One, Come All,

The Annual Meeting of the Oro Valley Historical Society (OVHS) will take place on Thursday, March 24 at 3:00 p.m.  It will be held at the Pusch House at Steam Pump Ranch (10901 No. Oracle – south end of property).  There will be a short meeting and election of board members.  After the meeting, you will have the opportunity to see the current exhibit in the Pusch House Museum, “Wonder Women of Oro Valley and Beyond”, renew your membership, sign-up for volunteer positions, and chat with board members.

Hope to see you!


The OVHS Board of Directors,

Henry Zipf, President

Roxy Johnson, Vice-President

Paul Loomis, Treasurer

Teri Colmar, Secretary

Sue Chambasian, Collections

Joyce Rychener, Heritage Garden

Sheri Graves, Photography

New Exhibit Celebrates Women’s History in Oro Valley

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Don’t miss this! March is Women’s History Month and Oro Valley Historical Society has a great new exhibit at the Pusch House.
“Wonder Women of Oro Valley and Beyond” features women of Oro Valley and the Greater Oro Valley area, their accomplishments and interesting histories. What do you know about Ina Gittings (as in Ina Road), Catherine Reidy, the Rattlesnake Queen, and the five Pusch women, Mathilda, Gertrude, Wilhelmina, Henrietta, and Maybelle? The exhibit is in the Pusch House Museum at Steam Pump Ranch (10901 N. Oracle Road). It is open Saturday, March 19 from 9 to 11 and Saturday, March 26 from 9 to Noon. Suggested donation $5. Discover your local history…you’ll never know what you will find!
While you’re there be sure to buy a raffle ticket to win a
2022 Ford Maverick Lariat Hybrid!

February Pusch House Exhibit/Outdoor Tour

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A New Month a New Exhibit!
This month the Oro Valley Historical Society’s exhibit will focus on Black History. Discover Black traditions and the origins of Black history month. The exhibit also features black history specific to Tucson and the Greater Oro Valley area. The Pusch House Museum at Steam Pump Ranch (10901 No. Oracle Road) is open Saturdays, February 5, 12, and 19 from 9 to Noon and February 26 from 9 to 11 (doors close at eleven due to maintenance work in the Pusch House).
On Saturday, February 5 the Oro Valley Historical Society will offer OUTDOOR walking tours of the Steam Pump Ranch property. The tours begin at 9 and leave every 15 minutes thereafter. The last tour leaves at 11:30. The docent-guided tours are about 40 minutes and walk you through the history of Steam Pump Ranch. Be advised that walking will be on uneven gravel/dirt paths. Dress for the weather. Meet at the Oro Valley Historical Society tent….look for our banner and balloon.
Suggested donation for the museum exhibit and outdoor walking tour is $5.

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch!

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It’s a new month and that means a new exhibit!  “Meanwhile Back at the Ranch” shows some of the aspects of ranch life.  For both men and women ranch life was challenging but like it or not, it was necessary to sustain their livelihood.

The exhibit is open every Saturday from 9 to Noon at the Pusch House Museum at Steam Pump Ranch 10901 No. Oracle Road, Oro Valley, AZ.  Suggested donation $5.


Every first and third Saturdays beginning in January through April 16, the Oro Valley Historical Society offers outdoor walking tours of the Historic Steam Pump Ranch Property from 9  to 11:30 a.m.  Sign up at the Oro Valley Historical Society Booth (look for the banner).  First come, first serve.  Tours leave every 15 minutes with the last tour leaving at 11:30.  Tours are approximately 45 minutes and require walking on gravel and dirt paths.  Suggested donation $5.




OVHS Recap 2021! What a Year!

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This past fall, we were given the “go ahead” to reopen the Pusch House Museum.  And that we did!

In September we traveled back in time to the roots of the Southwest, honoring Hispanic American Heritage Month.  Arizona and particularly our local area are rich with Hispanic  cultural influences and history.  











In October, we  explored the history of  Steam Pump Ranch and celebrated German American Heritage by focusing on George Pusch (German immigrant) and John Zellweger (Germanic Swiss immigrant).  We featured items from our collection donated by the Pusch family.  The exhibit also highlighted  other notable German immigrants who influenced Tucson’s development.

  Exhibit featured many Pusch family heirlooms.

November took us back to the beginning of North American peoples – Native Americans.

Oro Valley is lucky to be home to several archeological sites of the Hohokam culture.  We explored the Hohokam culture as well as current nations and peoples that have and still influence the Southwest; Apache, Tohono O’dham, and Pasqua Yaqui.

We were happy to receive a grant from the Arizona Historical Society for the purpose of creating a timeline of Oro Valley history that will become part of our permanent exhibit.  The project will be complete in June and be unveiled in our next program year in September. We wish to thank Thomas Foster a representative from the Arizona Historical Society for hand delivering the check to us.  The picture below shows Tom on the left and Henry Zipf, OVHS President on the right.

OVHS closed the year with “Traditions, Toys, and Trains”.

On December 8, Gene Caywood, historian and author, gave a talk on the Narrow Gauge Railroad..the Railroad to Everywhere…and to Nowhere, to a full house at the Pusch House Museum.  Gene’s lecture was both interesting and informative.  It included the history of the plans for the Narrow Gauge Railroad in Arizona including Oro Valley and it’s connection to George Pusch and John Zellweger.  Thank you to Ken Karrels and Paul Horky (the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum) and Gene Caywood (Old Pueblo Trolley Museum) for setting up and contributing their time in coordinating and giving the lecture.


The December exhibit showcased holiday traditions of early immigrants who settled in the Oro Valley Greater Area; German traditions, Jewish traditions and Hispanic traditions.  Our visitors enjoyed the opportunity to explore local heritage and traditions that may have been unfamiliar to them.


The “toy room” featured many classic toys and their histories…sometimes they came about completely by accident!  Visitors loved the nostalgia having experience with some of the toys on display.

The Great Room focused on the history and importance of trains in the Southwest.  For fun we also included the connection of trains to the holiday season!  On December 18, Doug Potter, from the Gadsden-Pacific Toy Train Operating Museum, installed an operating toy train in the Pusch House museum to the delight of the visitors! (BTW both the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum in Tucson and the Gadsden-Pacific Toy Train Museum are a MUST see!)

As we close the books on 2021, we hope you will take the time to visit the Pusch House Museum and Steam Pump Ranch in 2022!  You never know what you will discover!         Happy New Year!

It’s Not Too Late to Donate!

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It’s not too late for you to play Santa!  Do you have any end-of-year giving to complete?  We would love for you to stuff the Oro Valley Historical Society (OVHS) stocking.

In September, we reopened exhibits in the Pusch House Museum celebrating Hispanic-American Heritage Month.  Since then we have changed exhibits monthly featuring; German-American Heritage, Native American Heritage, and in December, “Traditions, Toys, and Trains”.  Each exhibit always connects the subject matter to the rich history of the Greater Oro Valley Area.  Exhibits will continue through the middle of April.  In January, we will begin our popular outdoor property tours of Steam Pump Ranch.  We have hosted an average of 75 visitors per Saturday at the Pusch House with as many as 130.  Let’s keep the momentum going!


In November, OVHS received a grant from the Arizona Historical Society and we will begin work on a timeline highlighting important Oro Valley dates in history.  This project will be complete in June and will become part of our permanent collection at the Pusch House.  While the grant was generous, it may not cover the entire cost of production.  Will you take the “time” to support this effort?  Without your support and the support of our volunteers Oro Valley history will be lost in “time”.


If you have already supported OVHS in 2021, we thank you kindly!  If not, you can fill the OVHS stocking with your donation by going to our website and hit the “Donate” link or send your donation via mail to:  The Oro Valley Historical Society, P.O. Box 69754 Oro Valley, AZ 85737 Checks dated in 2021 will be given a tax donation receipt for 2021.  Online donations will reflect the date of your donation and be recognized with a tax donation letter. (Please be sure to include your address in the body of the donation.)


Thank you for helping us accomplish a successful 2021 as we look forward to a great “time” in 2022!


The Oro Valley Historical Society Board of Directors

Henry Zipf, President

Roxana Johnson, Vice-President

Paul Loomis, Treasurer

Teri Colmar, Secretary

Sue Chambasian, Collections

Joyce Rychener, Education & Garden

Sheri Graves, Photography


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