Tubac Presidio Locator Map

Elevation 3,500 feet   Fees

Contact the Park:
(520) 398-2252
Tubac Presidio SHP
One Burruel Street
Tubac, AZ 85646-1296


Visitor Center Restrooms Gift Shop Museum Exhibits Group: Day Use Areas Picnic Areas/Shelters Hiking Trails Equestrian Trails Wildlife Viewing

Nearest Services: 1 mile

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511 Speed Code

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Park's Speed Code: 4245#


Park Entrance Fees:
Adult (14+): $5.00
Youth (7–13): $2.00
Child (0–6): FREE

Fee Schedule

Friends Group

Tubac Historical Society

Sunday, October 11: Don Torivio de Otero Day at Tubac Presidio SHP in Tubac

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month which honors the contributions of those Hispanics who were instrumental in shaping the history and culture of our nation, Tubac Presidio State Historic Park is delighted to host a special presentation this Sunday in Otero Hall at the park. Governor Ducey has issued a special proclamation proclaiming Sunday, October 11, 2015 as Don Torivio de Otero Day in recognition of his role as:

* Arizona's first European private landowner;
* Arizona's first European lay teacher; and
* the first European private landowner to construct an irrigation system.

Don Torivio was awarded his land grant by the King of Spain on January 10, 1789, three months before George Washington became president of the United States. A petition dated January 26, 1807 documented his many years as a teacher and his work building dams and ditches on his property which is now the Tubac Golf Resort & Spa. Both of these documents are stored in the National Archives Pacific Region and the land grant is the most ancient document in their holdings.

Diana DeLugan, an eighth generation descendant, will speak on her illustrious ancestor in Otero Hall, a building donated to the village of Tubac in 1914 by Don Torivio's great grandson. The Governor's proclamation encourages visitors throughout the state to discover the rich history at Tubac, "Where Art & History Meet."

Refreshments will be served. Call 520-398-2252 to make your reservation today. $7.50 fee includes admission to tour the Park.

This event is sponsored by Tubac Historical Society, Pimeria Alta Historical Society, and the Friends of the Tubac Presidio and Museum. Tubac Presidio State Historic Park is located at 1 Burruel Street in Tubac, Arizona at Exit 34 on I-19 south of Tucson.

Visit the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park for their annual Anza Days celebration.October 17 - Anza Days Celebration

9am. - 4pm. This annual celebration commemorates Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza’s 1775 expedition from Tubac to the Pacific and the founding of San Francisco. Enjoy a colorful re-enactment on horseback of Anza’s expedition. It begins in Tumacácori with Spanish colonial cavalry drills at 9 am and Mass at 10 am in the Tumacácori Mission. Children’.s activities include calligraphy and coloring, leather work, paper flower and basket making at the Tubac Presidio between 11 am and 3 pm. Starting at 11 am musicians and dancers will entertain at the Tubac Presidio, including an authentic Nueva España Fandango performance. The much anticipated “big event” of the Anza riders’ arrival takes place at noon. After a short horseback presentation, the riders will dismount and eat lunch and mingle. Riders will describe soldiers’ uniforms, civilian women’s dress, and specialized horse tack of the colonial period. The riders depart about 2:45 pm, and ride up to the steps of St. Ann's Church where the priest will bless them. With mariachis playing, the riders move off for San Francisco with shouts of Vaya con Dios! and Adios!  For info call the Presidio, 520-398-2252. FREE admission.

Check our Events Page for more great things to do at the Tubac Presidio!
Download our September Calendar of Events HERE. (PDF Document 426 KB PDF)

Tubac Presidio State Historic Park is now operated by the Friends of the Tubac Presidio Park & Museum External Link. The park is open 7 days a week from 9 am - 5 pm. Admission $5 adult, $2 youth (7–13), children free (0–6).

Tubac in 1775
Aritst's rendition of Tubac and the Presidio in 1775. This painting shows a typical scene from Spanish Colonial times; the painting is on view in the Visitor Center.

The church and the military were the vanguards of Spanish frontier expansion throughout New Spain. The Jesuit, Eusebio Francisco Kino, established missions from 1687 to 1711 to christianize and control Native Americans in the area. He established nearby Tumacacori in 1691, and Tubac, then a small Piman village, became a mission farm and ranch. Spanish Colonists began to settle here during the 1730s, irrigating and farming the lands along the river and raising cattle, sheep and goats on the northern frontier of Spain's New World empire.

Luis of Saric, a Pima chief stirred by many grievances, led a bloody revolt late in 1751, destroying the small settlement at Tubac. Following a major battle, and subsequent surrender of the Pimans, the Presidio San Ignacio de Tubac was founded in June of 1752. The fifty cavalrymen garrisoned at this remote military post were to prevent further rebellion, protect colonists and the mission, and further explore the Southwest.

Juan Bautista de Anza II, second commander of the presidio, led two overland expeditions to the Pacific, resulting in the founding of San Francisco, in 1776. Several hundred colonists from the provinces of Sinaloa and Sonora, along with sixty from Tubac, made the trip. Over 1,000 head of cattle, horses and mules were also gathered to transport food supplies and tools, provide food on the journey and establish new herds once the colonists settled at their new home on the Pacific.

Following Anza's return to Tubac, military authorities moved the garrison from Tubac to Tucson in 1776, and the unprotected settlers abandoned their homes.

For a decade, Tubac languished from Apache depredation and without military protection. The situation finally resulted in the Viceroy's reactivating the presidio in 1787, this time with Pima Indian troops and Spanish officers. Mexico won her independence from Spain in 1821 and the new Republic of Mexico's flag flew over Tubac until 1848. In that year, a fierce Apache assault caused great loss of life and Tubac was again abandoned. This catastrophe, coupled with the drain of men leaving for the gold fields of California in 1849, turned Tubac into a virtual ghost town.

At the park, visitors can see the above ground remains of structures from the 1920s.

Tubac was part of the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, and was soon being resettled and developed by Eastern entrepreneurs as well as by former landowners. Charles D. Poston was instrumental in forming the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company, and used the abandoned Commandant's house as his headquarters. He performed marriages, granted divorces, baptized children and printed his own money to pay company employees. His company acquired a press in 1859 which printed Arizona's first newspaper.

Tubac's population steadily grew until, in 1860, it was the largest town in Arizona. The American Civil War, however, drained the region of troops, leaving it unprotected from Apaches, and Tubac was again deserted. Although the region was resettled after the war, silver strikes in the Tombstone area and the routing of the railroad through Tucson drew development interests away from Tubac, and the town never regained its earlier importance.

In 1974, archaeologists from the University of Arizona excavated portions of the presidio. In 1976, an underground archaeological display was finished and visitors can now view portions of the original foundation, walls, and plaza floor of the 1752 Commandant's quarters, as well as artifacts representing the various periods of Tubac's unique history.

Two later military installations existed at Tubac. Troop "L" of the 1st California Cavalry established a post in April 1864 and a US Army presence existed until at least October 1867, when reports list seven officers and 237 enlisted men.

One unique military experiment, the heliograph, was a device using mirrors and reflected sunlight. General Nelson A. Miles, in his campaign against the Apache in the 1880's reported that "they (the Apaches) had found troops in every valley, and when they saw heliographic signals flashing across every mountain range, Geronimo and others sent word to Natchez that he had better come in at once and surrender." Tubac was one of the permanent stations in the system including Forts Rucker, Crittenden, Henly and Bowie.

Educational Curriculum for School Field Trips

A Day in the 1885 Schoolhouse Program: For Grades 3 through 5
An opportunity for children to experience what a day of school would have been like over 100 years ago. The program immerses kids in the experience from the clothes they wear, the chalkboards they use, the homemade lunchpails, to the rules on the chalkboard they must follow. The authentic desks, complete with inkwells and the woodburning stove for heat make this an experience the children and teachers won't soon forget! The schoolhouse can accommodate 25 children at a time. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the park at (520) 398-2252.

Download A Day in the 1885 Schoolhouse Program (PDF Document 3.5 MB PDF)

Learn about Curriculums at other Arizona State Parks (Curriculums)

The Friends of the Tubac Presidio Park & Museum External Link also maintains a website for this park. Learn more. External Link

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