Tucson, nicknamed the Old Pueblo, is Arizona's oldest
city with a unique blend of Indian, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo
heritages. It is the second-largest city in the state. Tucson is a
modern city with high-tech industries and world-class cultural
events, yet it retains the charm of its desert frontier roots.
Tucson is an Indian word that translates as “water at
black mountain.” Located beside the Santa Cruz River, it has
been home to Indian villages and farms for at least 2,000 years.
In 1700, Father Kino established the first Spanish mission, San
Xavier, at the Indian village of Bac, 10 miles south of Tucson.
Tucson was founded in 1775 as a Spanish presidio or military
garrison to protect settlers from Apache raids. It was governed
by Mexico from 1821 until 1854 when the Gadsden
Purchase made it a part of the United States. Tucson was once the
territorial capital of Arizona.
Tucson was incorporated in 1877 and is the Pima County
seat. At 2,389 feet, it is known for mild winters. Federal, state and local government employ more than 60,000 people. The University of Arizona remains the largest single
employer with more than 10,000 employees. Davis-Monthan Air
Force Base has over 8,000 military and civilian employees. Part
of the city of Tucson is an Enterprise Zone. Manufacturing plays a major role in the economy. Manufacturing employment in metropolitan Tucson has more
than doubled in the past 10 years. This growth is due to the
increase of high-technology manufacturers such as Raytheon
Missile Company, AiResearch (Tucson Division), Sargent
Controls, Opto Power and Burr Brown, locating and expanding
in Pima County.
Tourism contributed over $2.3 billion to the Pima County
economy in the past year and continues to be a major part of
the economic base. Many new hotels have been constructed.
Area attractions include San Xavier mission, Saguaro National
Park, Old Tucson Studio (movie set and theme park), Biosphere
2, and Kitt Peak National Observatory. The vast Tohono
O'odham (Papago) Indian reservation is a few miles west of
Tucson. Mexico is an hour away via Interstate 19. Tombstone,
home of the famous OK Corral, is only 70 miles to the east.
Classical cultural events include symphony, opera, ballet,
dance and theater. Popular arts are represented by country and
western, rock, folk and jazz clubs. Sports range from profession-al
baseball, golf and tennis to college programs including the
very popular University of Arizona football, baseball, and basketball
There are a host of museums including the Tucson Museum
of Art, Arizona Historical Society Museum and the Arizona
Sonoran Desert Museum with its extensive exhibits of native
wildlife. The University of Arizona has several specialized muse-ums.