Saturday, September 21, 2013

Round Robin: Surrounded by History

For this week's Round Robin Photo Challenge: History!, I asked to see anything historic, with a number of suggested ways to interpret that term. My inspiration was a recent trip to Ft. Lowell, which I've photographed before for this Challenge. We'll get to that in a moment. But I'm also reminded tonight of a walk I took in Lucerne, Switzerland when I was 15 years old. All on my own for a few hours (maybe my brother was with me; I dont remember for sure) during a family bus tour of Europe, I walked over an old wooden bridge on which were painted frescoes of the Danse Macabre. I absolutely loved it. Part of what impressed me was that that bridge was older than the United States. Arizona as a state is especially recent - it was the last of the lower 48, coming in on February 14th, 1912, just over a hundred years ago.

But it doesn't mean this place doesn't have much history. I've showed you the ruins of Casa Grande, which go back much further than that bridge in Lucerne. Indigenous peoples were all over this land a very long time ago. Then came Padre Kino and, separately, the Spanish conquistadors, and eventually the Anglos arrived. And in 1953, an architect from Switzerland, Josias Joesler, designed the church I attend and am employed by. It was one of the last of many well-regarded projects he did here in Tucson.

Let's start with Ft. Lowell. Now it's a park, but its main claims to history are the ruins of adobe buildings from the fort that was active there from 1873 to 1891, and a little museum.

Now it's well inside the city limits, but back in the day it was miles away from Tucson on horseback. Officers' wives looked forward to their shopping trips into Tucson, which wasn't exactly the Big City, and still isn't.

Among the people stationed there during the fort's brief heyday was a surgeon named Walter Reed.

Yeah, okay, maybe that's not the most fascinating history ever. Let's venture 70 miles southeast - to Tombstone!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I took my Dad down to Tombstone on Labor Day weekend, pretty much on the spur of the moment. I was planning to go to Bisbee, but Tombstone was on the way. As we drove through there were people in costume standing around and I thought, never mind Bisbee today! As we got out of the car I heard gunfire - but it turned out to be only where paying customers could watch it. No matter.

It turned out that Tombstone was hosting a Redezvous of Gunfighters that weekend.

And there were all sorts of characters wandering about!

I even saw Bat Masterson, who left town months before the gunfight that made Tombstone infamous.

Of course the gunfight that Tombstone is famous for took place at the OK Corral - except that it didn't. Virgil, Morgan, and Wyatt Earp, and Doc Holliday faced off against Tom and Frank McLaury, and Billy and Ike Clanton in a vacant lot and alley behind the corral, and on Fremont Street. But as at least one writer has noted, that doesn't look good on a move marquee..

 The front of St. Michael's, 60 years after it was built.

I'm in the middle of promoting and preparing for St. Michael's 60th Anniversary. As I mentioned above, it was originally designed by a rather well-known architect named Joesler, who liked a "romantic revival" take on Spanish Colonial style. I've just started going through church archives and digitizing old photos and documents. I obviously didn't take any of those 1953 photos (I was only 6 years old, and living in Manlius, NY!), but if you're interested in history that goes almost exactly 60 years in Tucson, Arizona, you may want to scroll down for a peek at some of my recent entries. Then take a look at the other Robins' historic photos!


Linking List
as of Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Freda - Posted!
Day One

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Carly - Posted!

Jama - Posted!
Sweet Memories


Jama said...

That must have been such a fun carnival!

Carly said...

Hi Karen

I always marvel at the old west feel that Tucson still embraces. While California still has our share of the old west, such as Old Sacramento and Sutters Mill, isn't quite the same. I don't feel like I have stepped back in time. I think I would enjoy seeing Arizona for it's history! :)

One more item for the Bucket List.