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

games.

 

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.