Tumacacori (pronounced too-mah-COCK-oree)
is an historic and interesting place. Tumacácori
National Historical Park is a must stop in the Santa Cruz Valley.
There are interesting books and information available in the entrance
lobby. You are provided with a booklet to borrow that describes
the specific sections of the Mission and Church, though you can
take a copy home for only a dollar. We highly recommend buying this
booklet "In the Footprints of the Past"
and taking it home to read. We also recommend watching their
15-minute video about the Mission.
Mission was part of a network of Spanish Missions that extended
from Northern Mexico and up into the Upper Santa Cruz Valley. Father
Eusebio Francisco Kino, a Jesuit
("black robes") missionary,
was the first Spanish priest to encounter Tumacácori in
1691. He is responsible for giving the name San
Cayetano (Spanish - and the name of the nearby mountains)
to the O'odham (commonly known as Pima or Papago) Indian
village called Tumacácori. The Mission was named San
Cayetano de Tumacácori (when it was on
the other side of the river). In 1753, the mission was moved
to it's current location and renamed San
Jose de Tumacácori.
Father Kino helped introduce wheat, livestock, and
fruit trees to the Pima. It is interesting to note that many missions
did not always have churches right away, and Tumacacori
was no different. It started as a mission in 1691, though
did not have a church until one was built
in 1757. The ruins of the church you see today were
built by the Franciscans
(rather than the Jesuits) in the early 1800's, after Father
Kino's death. Note that the church was abandoned in 1848, and the
roof removed thereafter, possibly for use on other buildings elsewhere.
Though the roof was replaced
in 1921, 1947, and again in 1978. After it was abandoned, many took
refuge at Tumacacori. Did you know General
John J. Pershing etched
his name in the walls of one of the buildings during the Mexican
Revolution, along with cowboys, gold
miners, and many others?
We found that walking the grounds of Tumacácori
National Historical Park and standing in the church listening to
the Gregorian Chant on their speakers was very relaxing. Jesuit
Father Phelipe Segessar (1700's Jesuit) documents that the O'odham
had a "good ear for music" and could "sing
the Gregorian Chant...in
unison from beginning to end". With
the artifacts on display, and the information provided by the Park
Service, it helps visualize this rich part of Santa Cruz Valley
Driving just south of the Mission down the frontage
road you will find the Santa
Cruz Chili & Spice Company store. Be sure to stop in and
get some Santa Cruz "Chile de Ristra" Chili Paste to add
that unique flavor to your Southwest and Mexican cooking.
Also, be sure to visit the antique shop and Abe's
Old Tumacacori Bar and Restaurant across the street, and Wisdom's
Cafe (just north on the frontage road) for one of their World
Famous Fruit Burritos.
You will find information on the Annual
La Fiesta de Tumacácori on the National Park
Service website above.
Families that lived in the area around 1900 described
the Tumacacori Cemetary as campo santo "holy
ground", though all of the Mission can
be described like that today.
Thanks for Visiting
Pictures/Photos of Tumacacori, AZ
A Visitors Guide to Arizona's Santa Cruz Valley