Visit to Tumacácori National Historical Park

Today I drove down to Tumacácori, a Spanish mission founded by the Italian-born Father Kino, a remarkable Jesuit combining religious zeal, scientific interest, compassion, and courage. He founded this mission at a village of the local O'odham people, who had begged the Jesuits come help them, apparently mainly to introduce agricultural advancements.

Spain replaced all the Jesuits with Franciscans, which unsettled whatever order the Jesuits has established. The mission was under constant threat of Apache attacks, there were internal cultural clashes, and mission was under constant strain. After Mexican Independence, the Spanish were booted in 1828, but the mission kept going. In 1848, the Tumacácori mission, its church tower never finished, was abandoned for San Xavier del Bac. The abandoned mission slowly decayed, helped along by vandals carving their names, including John J. Pershing.

Today there is a nice museum, a very pleasant small garden, the incomplete church, mission ruins, an orchard, plenty of trees, and paths, including one to the Santa Cruz River, which provides water year-round. One of the booklets notes that the placename Arizona is a Basque phrase meaning "the good oak tree", thanks to a Spanish soldier who was a Basque.

It was a very pleasant couple of hours! I look forward to another visit.