Events at Tubac Presidio State Historic Park – May 2017

April 25, 2017

TUBAC – Arizona’s first State Park opening in 1957, Tubac Presidio State Historic Park was first founded by Jesuit, Eusebio Francisco Kino, who established a mission in Tumacacori in 1691, and Tubac became a mission farm and ranch. In 1776, as Juan Bautista de Anza set on his historic journey to found San Francisco, military authorities moved the garrison from Tubac to Tucson, and the unprotected settlers abandoned their homes. In 1976, an underground archaeological display was finished and visitors can now view portions of the original foundation, walls, and the plaza floor of the 1752 Presidio Commandant's quarters, as well as artifacts representing the various periods of Tubac's unique history.  

Today, the park holds a variety of cultural events each month. In May 2017, the park will hold the events listed below. Find out more at or call (520) 398-2252. The cost is the entry fee of $5 per adult and $2 per youth aged 7-13 unless otherwise noted below.

Frontier Printing Press – Wednesday, May 3, 11 am – 1 pm & Tuesday, May 16, 10 am – 2 pm. A knowledgeable volunteer demonstrates the Washington Hand Press used to print Arizona’s first newspaper in 1859 and answers questions about hand press printing, type setting, and other aspects of this marvel of industrial engineering. You will get to set type and print small samples to take with you.  

Museum Tour: Spanish Tubac – A Curator’s Look at the Presidio that Transformed the Santa Cruz Valley, Tuesday, May 9, 10 – 11 am. Join us for a guided tour where you’ll explore Spanish Tubac and take a closer look at several museum artifacts and discuss their impact on history. Allow one hour for the tour. $10 fee includes all day admission to tour the Presidio Park. Tour limited to 12; reservation is requested, 520-398-2252 or

Living History: Woodworking – Friday, May 12, 9 am – Noon. For generations, humans have used and shaped wood for practical and creative projects.  See how it was done before power tools by watching and listening to a knowledgeable volunteer using hand tools to form and split wood to make staves for a bucket, and then try it yourself.

Ongoing Special Exhibit: Tubac’s Pioneer Families and the CATASTROPHE of Baca Float No. 3. This ground breaking exhibit tells the story of how local homesteaders lost their lands to real estate speculators and political actions beyond their control.

Ongoing Exhibit: Unique 1800s Ambulance. This exhibit at the Tubac Presidio is a rare original 1800s period carriage called an ambulance. It has been restored and modified to replicate the ambulance that Phocion R. Way, an engraver from Cincinnati, Ohio, rode on from Mesilla on the Rio Grande River to Tucson in June of 1858. Many other figures in Tubac’s Territorial history arrived here on this type of vehicle because of its comfort and speed. Our ambulance was restored over 13 months by Hanson Wheel and Wagon in Letcher, South Dakota and is the only known vehicle of its type on display anywhere in the world.  

Art Exhibit: The Arizona Cavalcade of History – The Alan B. Davis Gallery is open with 16 paintings by renowned Western artist William Ahrendt, each depicting a significant event in Arizona’s colorful history. The paintings and their historical narratives were featured as a special 16-part “Cavalcade of History” series in Arizona Highways magazine from 1987 through 1990. Arizona Highways remembers this series as “among the magazine's most remembered illustrations.” The giclée reproductions on canvas were donated to the Tubac Historical Society in memory of longtime Tubac resident and businessman Alan B. Davis. The collection is on permanent display at the Tubac Presidio’s Otero Hall.  

WHAT:  Events at Tubac Presidio State Historic Park

WHERE:  Tubac Presidio State Historic Park - Located 45 miles south of Tucson on Interstate 19 at One Burruel Street in Tubac, AZ

WHEN:  Throughout the month of May 2017. Find out more by calling (520) 398-2252 or visit

For information about all 35 Arizona State Parks and Natural Areas, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Program and State Historic Preservation Office call 1-877-MY-PARKS or visit

Learn More about Tubac Presidio State Historic Park