Historic & Cultural Parks

The town to tough to die is indeed alive and well. Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, in southeast Arizona, made famous in books and movies, keeps the history alive through beautiful historic buildings and characters of the past. Spurs and cowboy boots echo off the wooden sidewalks and shoot-outs are replayed in the streets but it is the stately courthouse that holds the history intact. Actual pieces of history are held here in the museum. See the old wooden bar from the saloon where Wyatt and Doc threw a few back. Wander through thousands of items on display in the 1883 two-story, brick building that depict the "Real" story of the old west and the people that brought it fame. Upstairs in the courtroom hear the story of another shootout at the OK Corral while you gaze out the windows down onto the gallows.

The main building at McFarland State Historic Park was the original 1877 courthouse in Pinal County, just south of Phoenix. This adobe brick territorial style building is filled with stories of the days when Florence was called the "garden city" and Cottonwood trees lined the dirt streets. There were 27 saloons and no churches and the gold and payroll from the mines passed through almost daily. The rooms inside the museum are filled with artifacts from the jail, sheriff's office, judges chambers and exhibits portraying the many stages of the old building's use. An exhibit on the WW II Florence POW camp portrays personal accounts with photographs of Arizona's largest WW II prisoner of war camp.

Their crimes ranged from murder to polygamy and they were sentenced to the only prison in the territory in a town where summer temperatures reached well over 110 degrees, Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park. But they had fans and electric lights, a public library (the first in the territory) and schooling was available for convicts to learn to read and write. Though modern for its day, it is an eerie place to be. Visitors can walk through the adobe, stone and strap iron cells to see the prisoners' bunks and ankle chains. In the museum, exhibits tell the stories of the convicts (both men and women), their crimes, and how they passed their time.

Tubac Presidio State Historic Park is a unique showcase of another time; literally translated presidio means a military encampment. We would know it as a fort. It's roots travel back to the Jesuit, Eusebio Pimeria Kino, who established a mission there in 1691. The presidio was established by the Spanish in 1752 when fifty cavalrymen were garrisoned there to control the Pima Indians and protect the settlers from the Apaches and Seris. Juan Bautista de Anza was the second commander at the presidio. It was de Anza that led an expedition from Tubac that led to the founding of San Francisco. A walk through the grounds reveals the remains of the fort's walls, an underground archaeological exhibit, outdoor displays of early cooking and gardening techniques and the historic one room schoolhouse. The museum houses artifacts and exhibits from the Spanish, Pima, Apache, Seri, and European settlers that called Tubac home.

Fort Verde State Historic Park is the best preserved military fort in Arizona with four remaining adobe buildings from the Indian Wars era. The floorboards still creek as you walk on the Commanding Officer's porch, just as they did back in 1873. On that porch, Tonto Apache Chief Chalipun, with 300 of his followers in attendance, officially surrendered to General George Crook. The Administration Building is now a museum filled with the uniforms and weapons that served the soldiers in everyday life on the post. The three officers' buildings are furnished with period settings from that bygone era.

Jerome State Historic Park is the former estate of the Douglas family. Built in 1916 of adobe blocks by "Rawhide Jimmy" Douglas, it was used to house investors and entertain mining officials. It is an impressive mansion filled with the stories of the Jerome miners that gained and lost fortunes by the week. While fire was a miner's most feared enemy, whiskey was his beloved friend. Historic photographs and mining equipment from those early days are on display in the two story building and around the grounds.

It was the substantial social, economic and political impact of the Riordans during Arizona's territorial days that helped developed the city of Flagstaff and northern Arizona. A tour of Riordan Mansion State Historic Park is a tour of luxury in the Arizona Territory. Unique stone arches flank the porch of this rough hewn log, plank and shingle home. The mansion is actually two of the most elegant historic homes in Arizona. Built in 1904, the homes were connected by a special room creating one imposing mansion for the families of Michael and Timothy Riordan. Only Timothy's side is toured as the park ranger "introduces" you to the families that once lived in the 13,000 square foot mansion. Much of the building remains the same as when the family lived there in the early 1900s. Stained glass windows provide a warm and colorful contrast to the rustic exterior.

Oracle State Park is a 4,000 acre wildlife refuge in the northern foothills of the Catalina Mountains. Once part of the Kannally family cattle ranch, the unique Mediterranean style ranch house in the park is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park was used by the US Army to store and distribute supplies for all the military posts in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas. A few structures from the depot's active period are still standing. The commanding officer's quarters were acquired by the U.S. Customs Service. 1908. The Bureau of Reclamation, the Boundary Commission, the Yuma County Water Users Association, and the Assistance League of Yuma have also utilized portions of the old depot during the twentieth century.

Homolovi State Park is a center of research for the late migration period of the Hopi from the 1200s to the late 1300s. While archaeologists study the archaeological sites and confer with the Hopi to unravel the history of Homolovi, the park provides visitors the use of park facilities including a visitor center and museum, various trails and a campground. Several covered picnic tables are located throughout the park. Pullouts provide the opportunity to observe wildlife in this park of over 4,000 acres at an elevation of 4,900 feet.

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