Rio Rico (“rich river”) is a planned community located in

Santa Cruz County, 57 miles south of Tucson and 12 miles north of

Mexico. The community's 39,000 acres roll gently down from the

Santa Rita Mountains through the San Cayetano Foothills westward

to the Santa Cruz River. The area around and including Rio Rico was

once part of the Baca Float, a tract of approximately 100,000 acres

granted by the U.S. Congress to the heirs of Luis Maria Baca as the

result of an early, unclear grant from the Spanish government. The

community had its beginnings in 1969 and has continued to grow

at a steady pace with the influx of tenants to the Rio Rico South

Industrial Park.

 

Rio Rico's South Industrial Park is comprised of 256 acres, with 100

acres now serving produce and distribution warehouses and manufacturing

firms (C. E. Gillman Co., Badger Meter Manufacturing and

Molex Inc.). The Rio Rico commercial area comprises 544 acres,

which includes Rio Rico Resort (with tennis and 18-hole championship

golf course) and a commercial center containing a supermarket,

restaurant and a variety of specialty shops. Because of its proximity

to Mexico, Rio Rico has become a stopover for tourists,

increasing the importance of tourism to the area.

 

Rio Rico is in an area where Spanish and Indian families lived generations

before the American Revolution and where Arizona history

began. Tumacacori National Monument, four miles north, was in Arizona and worked by Mexicans before being purchased by Americans in the 1850s; Santa Rita Hacienda, both a mining and ranching center during the Spanish and Mexican periods, acquired

by the Americans after the Gadsden Purchase. Sonoita, to the east,

was established by the Sobaipuri Indians in 1698. It was visited by

Kino and became a visita of the Guevavi Mission. Sopori, near

Amado, was originally a Pima rancheria. It became a Spanish mining

and stock-raising center and was acquired by Americans in the

1850s.

 

An excursion to the historic Tumacacori National Monument,

Tubac Presidio, the ruins of old Fort Crittendon and the Duquesne