Monday, March 09, 2009

Historic Tucson: Silverbell Lake and More

Before Monday is over I'll have my Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot entry in, but in the meantime here are a few more photos from the weekend.

From West Side Story

This building belongs to Farmer John's, a regional breakfast sausage company. I don't know whether this was a packing plant or a shipping and storage facility, but in any case it's been years since whatever-it-was took place there. The building is on Grant Road just east of the I-10 on ramp. I've always loved the painted walls with its fluffy clouds against blue skies, cows and cowboys. The painting continues across the front of the building and the wall in from of that. A highlight of the whole thing is the image of a cowboy being thrown from his horse as his hat falls off.

The dogs check out Silverbell Lake.

Pepper ignores the ducks and geese on the other side of the fence.

Geese ignore the embracing humans in their quest for food.

I was wrong: Silverbell Lake is man-made after all, according to what I read online. It's in Christopher Columbus Park on Silverbell Rd, but two historic markers in the park single out a completely different explorer from Columbus. The markers commemorates the historical Tuquison Camp, which I gather was a basis for the later Tucson Presidio. The original Spanish name for the Pueblo was San Agustín de Tuquison. De Anza's expedition camp is part of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, the 1,210-mile historic route taken by De Anza and a party of about 30 families from what is now Nogales, AZ to San Francisco, CA, where they founded a presidio and settled. According to one of the markers, scouts initially reported inadequate water availability along the way, but when they later found some water sources, particularly the Santa Cruz River, the 1775-6 expedition was saved. The Santa Cruz is mostly dry now, victim to decades or overgrazing and a lowering of the water table from overuse.

As for the name Silverbell, it's named for the Silver Bell Mine, which was founded in the 19th century and still produces copper today. Wait, you may be saying. Copper? Not silver? Well, yes, they got a little silver out of the operation early on, and lead, and even gold. But there's a reason Arizona is "the Copper State."


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