Friday, November 7, 2008

Historic Tucson - The Presidio Site

Tucson began as a walled fort. The wall was square of adobe that featured a lookout tower and military barracks for the soldiers stationed there. The wall was meant to keep out Apache raiders, and to protect the earliest settlers to the area. Most of the wall has been lost to time, but an archaeological excavation in the 1950s revealed one corner of the wall mere inches below the asphalt of a parking lot. About four years ago, the City began plans to build a replica of the corner segment of wall and turn it into a living history museum. Before work began, they brought in Desert Archaeology to find out as much as they could about both the prehistory and history of the site. On December 15, 2005, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site to kick off the reconstruction of the Presidio. Staff from Desert Archaeology were on-hand to answer questions and walk people through the archaeological findings. This picture shows how the archaeologists had to work around existing utility poles and such, and also how close the historic and prehistoric remains were to the modern-day surface.

Presidio Groundbreaking

Historic Tucson - Cheyney House

I've been working in historic preservation for almost 8 years now, so I've amassed quite a library of pictures of historic places in and around Tucson. I finally got around to uploading a few to my flickr account, so I'll share some here. This first one is of the Cheyney House after the restoration was completed. This is a house that caught on fire sometime in the mid-1980s and was utterly gutted. It stood vacant for years, charred and crumbling. The neighborhood felt it was an eyesore, and the City was getting ready to demolish it when a couple from Wisconsin found the house, saw the potential in its blackened bones, and decided to do everything in their power to restore it. The restoration cost over a million dollars and was a combination of private and public funding - mostly AZ Heritage Fund money which comes from lottery revenues. The newly restored house is a treasure. It's historically accurate, and now home to people who are passionate about keeping it a viable residence for years to come.

Cheyney House