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"Tucson, Arizona," page 2

by Rochester Ford

Reprinted from OUT WEST MAGAZINE for September, 1902.

University of California Berkeley, The Bancoft Library, September 25, 2007: no visible notice of copyright; exact publication date unknown.

Photos: on the Santa Cruz River, Tucson Churches, Tucson City Hall and Pima County Court House.


It will be at once apparent that it is characterized by activity and prosperity. There are two national banks having deposits aggregating a million and a quarter of dollars ; three building and loan associations (one of them being on record as the most successful in the United States) which loaned $175,000 in 1901 ; two daily newspapers receiving the Associated Press dispatches ; a complete local and long distance telephone service ; two modern ice works ; the same number of excellent and complete flouring mills ; a number of hotels, one the new Williard, opened September 1, 1902, and another one, a modern and elegant building- to cost $100,000, now in course of erection and soon to be opened.

The streets of the city are well kept and cleaned, and as a matter of course, the sidewalks are laid in cement. In speaking- in a comprehensive way of the business features of Tucson, the legal maxim that the mention of certain things is the exclusion of others does not apply.

The reader should rather bear in mind that deep saying, peculiarly applicable to a cattle country, to which Jay Gould set the seal of his approval, that the tail goes with the hide."

It will be understood, therefore, that the butcher and baker and candlestick maker, together with other industries of minor character, are present in full force and effect, too numerous to mention.

The growth of the city has been such as to attract attention, and business men have not been slow to avail themselves of the opportunities. The pursuit of the almighty dollar has been attended with success. All classes of business have done well. From the merchant to the day laborer, everyone willing to work has prospered financially.

What stronger evidence could be given of the enterprise and stability of the city than the fact that there is now being installed by one of the banks a complete and strictly first-class safe deposit vault, or of its activity than the fact that the regulation of the speed of automobiles on the streets is agitated in the public press ?

The intelligent reader cannot have failed to come to the conclusion that Tucson is not simply a "promising" place. That stage has long since been-passed, and it is now a well-ordered, prosperous and permanent commercial center, destined to be steadily carried ahead by the same causes butter " consideration of the place, Tucson presents all the features of life without which mere commercial success would be inadequate.


The Territory has always followed a large and liberal educational policy both as to public schools and higher institutions of learning, and Tucson may confidently present her schools as being up to the highest attain- able standard.

Even in the comparatively early day, many years ago, the public school building was the largest and most expensive in the place, and the new schoolhouses erected in the past two years are, like all the late improvements of the city, designed and finished in accord with modern scientific requirements. The public schools are judiciously located in different parts of the city and are, in fact, of peculiar excellence and models of what such buildings should be.

An academy and a parochial school are maintained by the Roman Catholic authorities, who also conduct an Orphan's Home. An Indian industrial training- school and farm have for many years been successfully managed by the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions.

The chief feature of the educational system of the Territory is the University of Arizona, situated at Tucson. It is located on a campus of 40 acres, commanding- at once a full view of the grand mountain ranges and also of the city. Its equipment comprises extensive buildings and all necessary apparatus, and its courses of study are varied and such as to meet the needs of any student. The mining course is planned with special reference to the need of the mining- engineer in Arizona or Mexico.

The faculty is a strong- one, consisting- of twenty members, including graduates of all the leading universities. The equipment of the shops and laboratories is modern and complete, and the credentials of the university are accepted in place of examinations at all the leading universities and colleges. It is in all respects the equal of similar institutions in other Territories or States.

Tucson affords the means of gratifying social, literary, religious and other needs. The various secret orders and benevolent societies have lodges. A large, new opera house affords a suitable place for theatrical and other entertainment. The Carnegie library is a beautiful, well-constructed building fully supplied with books, and conducted by the city according to the methods which have received the approval of library experts. The Elks have a large brick clubhouse of their own, the finest of its kind in the Territory, furnished with the most artistic equipment possible to be secured.

The religious denominations are represented by Baptist, Congregational, Northern Methodist, Episcopal and Presbyterian churches. The Roman Catholic Cathedral is the largest in the Territory.


Reference has been made to the matchless climate of Tucson. The greater part of the southwest, including western Texas, New Mexico, northern Sonora and Arizona, is a vast natural sanitarium, but among the many excellent resorts in this district, each having some features of merit, none surpasses Tucson. The word-artists have exhausted their skill in delineations of western life, and so many pen pictures have been drawn of the mountains, the clouds, the skies and the sunsets, that the reading public is familiar with such descriptions.

But, after all is said and written the fact is that descriptions fall short. The reality surpasses the most ambitious portrayal. The charm of the western air and life is too elusive to be captured by words, and the blue of the sky, the purple haze of the mountains, the softness and kindness and peacefulness of the air, and the glories of dawn and sunset, remain indescribable.

A very experienced traveler and impartial observer, On. White law Reid, wrote of Arizona as follows :

" During- a five months' residence in southern Arizona in winter there was but one day when the weather made it actually unpleasant for me to take exercise in the open air at some time or other during- the day.

Of course, there were a good many days which a weather observer would describe as ' cloudy ' and some that were ' showery ' November, 1895, to May, 1896) there were only four days when we did not have brilliant sunshine at some time during the day. Even more than Egypt, anywhere north of Luxor, Arizona is the land of sunshine.

" The nights throughout the winter are apt to be cool enough for wood fires and blankets. Half the time an overcoat is not needed during the day, but it is never prudent for a stranger to be without one at hand.

" The atmosphere is singularly clear, tonic and dry. I have never seen it clearer anywhere in the world. It seems to have about the same bracing and exhilarating qualities as the air of the great Sahara in northern Africa or of the desert about Mt. Sinai."

The late Senator John J. Ingalls gave it as his opinion, that the " winter weather of Tucson is certainly incomparable." It is believed that the place possesses a combination of all the features which medical science has pronounced beneficial for ailments of the respiratory tract. The mountain ranges around the city enclose a vast amphitheater and minimize storms and sudden changes of temperature.

The altitude is a moderate one, 2400 feet, giving rarity to the air without the dangers attending a greater height. The city is situated on a dry tablet and, with a minimum of humidity in the atmosphere. The days are bright and open, with the life-giving rays of the sun streaming down unchecked by clouds or fogs, and the beauty of the nights is not marred by dews. Almost every one sleeps out of doors during the summer months, and many persons follow this but during- the five months (from practice the year around. The forces of the system are not used up in fighting- against cold and chill, but are reserved for building up the impaired tissues, and the dry and balmy air help not only by enabling invalids to keep out of doors, but also, as it is thought, exerts a positive curative effect.

For these reasons the fame of Tucson's climate for lung sufferers has been steadily growing. Threatened or incipient cases of tuberculosis may confidently hope for improvement, but persons with cases far advanced will not be benefited here or elsewhere, and it cannot be too strongly urged that such persons should not come.

In common with all resorts for pulmonary invalids, Tucson is awake to the necessity of making reasonable regulations to prevent the danger from infection from consumptives. The belief is prevalent that the disease may be communicated from one to another, and for the protection both of the invalids themselves and of our own citizens strict compliance with sanitary regulations is imperative.

The Sisters of Mercy conduct a new hospital exclusively for persons suffering from lung troubles, and another large and completely appointed sanatorium is expected to be opened by winter.

The Elks Club in Tucson, Arizona.

San Xavuer Mission

Tucson Bank Downtown

Two of Tucson churches.

Carnegie Library at Tucson

A new sanitarium at Rucson.

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