Marana is Tucson’s northwest neighbor in Southern Arizona. Located in northern Pima County, Marana shares borders with Tucson to the Southeast, Saguaro National Park to the southwest, and the Pinal County line to the North. Marana has a convenient freeway, rail, and air access. Phoenix, Arizona is a 90-minute drive on I-10.
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Marana has grown at a rapid pace in recent years thanks to the high quality of life, strategic location and friendly environment it offers to residents and businesses. Marana, at an elevation of 2,055 feet and located one mile north of Tucson, combines a pleasant rural community with a bustling commercial expense. Marana has long been a transportation center for farming and ranching. Today, Marana blends its traditional agricultural economy with residential, commercial and industrial development. The Marana area has been prime farmland for centuries. Located where Brawley Wash joins the Santa Cruz River, Indians used the dependable water supply to grow corn, beans, squash and cotton. The Spanish came about 1700 and started the first cattle ranches. “Modern” Marana began in 1881 with the railroad. Back then the area was overgrown with dense mesquite thickets. Thus the name Marana is derived from the Spanish word maraña, meaning “impassable tangle” or “jungle.”
Incorporated in 1977, Marana has approximately 70-plus square miles within its boundaries and is the main trade center and community focus for a vast rural area covering approximately 500 square miles. Agriculture remains a major force in Marana’s economy. Irrigated farms grow a variety of crops and a large cotton gin provides employment. Marana has recently experienced an influx of residential and commercial development. There are various reasons for the influx of business: Marana is ideally located between Phoenix and Tucson along Interstate 10 and the Union Pacific Railroad, it does not impose property taxes, and it has a business-friendly town government. Cement production at a plant in Rillito in the Marana area supplies a number of jobs. Some employment in mining is available with the Silver bell district to the west and the San Manuel copper mines and smelter to the east. With the expansion of the town through annexation, more commercial employment opportunities have been created. The southern portion, adjacent to Tucson, is rapidly becoming the commercial business district. The industrial park at Continental Ranch has recently seen the addition of several organizations, including a corporate regional headquarters and the local CBS affiliate. Pinal Air Park (Evergreen), just north of Marana, built in World War II was then called Marana Army Airfield. Today the repair and servicing of aircraft, including retrofitting 747s, provides substantial employment. Marana also accommodates Arizona’s first privatized correctional treatment facility, which employs more than 100. Many other recreational opportunities are within an hour’s drive of Marana. Picacho Peak State Park, an early landmark, and site of Arizona’s only Civil War battle is 15 miles north. It’s camping, picnic areas and nature trails are noted for colorful spring wildflowers. In the Santa Catalina Mountains is Catalina State Park, 20 miles east. Saguaro National Monument (west portion) is a few miles south. Within the monument is the world famous Arizona Sonora Desert Museum with native wildlife exhibits. The Marana Chamber of Commerce offers agricultural tours of Marana’s rich farmland. In addition, Trico Cotton gin, Quality Aviation’s crop dusting operation, and Marana Stockyards/Livestock Auction are a few of the attractions also available for excursions. Other local attractions include Biosphere II, Kitt Peak, Pima Air Museum, and the San Xavier Mission.
Marana, Arizona began as a tiny agricultural community around 1881 when the railroad first came to the area, which at the time was overgrown with dense mesquite thickets. The name derives from the Spanish word “Marana,” which means “impassable tangle” or “jungle.” The Marana area has been prime farmland for centuries. Located where Brawley Wash joins the Santa Cruz River, Indians used the dependable water supply to grow corn, beans, squash, and cotton. The Spanish came in about 1700 and started the first cattle ranches.
As the area began to grow, cotton farming became a mainstay. Marana is known worldwide as the home of Pima Cotton. Today, Marana blends its traditional agricultural economy with residential, commercial and industrial development.
Incorporated in 1977, Marana has approximately 70 square miles within its boundaries and is the main trade center and community focus for a vast rural area covering approximately 500 square miles. Continued growth in the past decade has made Marana a popular suburb as well as a flourishing trade center. In September 1993, the town annexed approximately 1.75 square miles. This area includes a significant number of businesses. Some of the major retailers include Price Club, Target, Michael’s, and Super K-Mart. The rural community that once was just farmland with a few businesses mixed in has become a bustling town with dynamic growth and a solid business base.
Marana has eight public elementary schools, two public junior high schools, and two public high schools, with a total of more than 11,000 students. The University of Arizona and Pima Community College are a short drive away.
Marana has access to air, highway and rail transportation. Pinal Air Park and the Avra Valley Airport are located within Marana. Tucson International Airport is located within a half hour drive of the town.
Hospitals and other medical facilities are easily accessible. The Tucson metropolitan area has ten hospitals with 3,000 beds. Nearby University Medical Center and Tucson Medical Center are renown for research and development.
Marana has several lodging facilities, with more on the way. Numerous resorts are close by. Pima County is home to more than 150 motels, with over 9000 rooms and numerous meeting facilities available. The Tucson Convention Center is a short drive away along Interstate 10.
As one of the sunniest places on Earth, Marana is a haven for golfers. The Practice Tee, a spacious new driving range, is near the intersection of Orange Grove Road and Interstate 10. Numerous public and private golf courses dot the landscape in the Tucson metropolitan area. A widely-hailed new course will be opening soon at Heritage Highlands, a new development in northeast Marana.
The area has several daily newspapers, along with numerous radio and television stations that are received from Tucson and Phoenix. Jones Intercable, and radio station 580 KSAZ are located within Marana proper. Marana even has a television station to call its own. The local CBS affiliate, KOLD TV-13, is located in the Continental Ranch Business Park.
KOLD Television Studio
For more information about Marana and the Tucson metropolitan area, check out the following web sites:
De Grazia Elementary School Home Page
Marana Unified School District # 6
Marana Community Food Bank
Marana Public Library
La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Tucson Rodeo & Parade
El Tiro Gliderport, home of the Tucson Soaring Club
The Tucson Weekly
The Northwest Explorer
The Tucson E-Pages
U.S. West Yellowpages Tucson Community Information
Arizona Guide, the home page of the Arizona Office of Tourism
A Tucson, Arizona Home Page
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department
The Arizona Legislature
Marana Area Communities
Oro Valley is in northeastern Pima County, six miles
north of the Tucson city limits. The valley was formed by the
Santa Cruz River joining Gold Creek in the Catalina Mountains. It
sits at an elevation of 2,620 feet and covers nearly 24 square
miles. Oro Valley was incorporated in April 1974.
Oro Valley is home to a four-diamond resort hotel, the Sheraton
El Conquistador. In addition to the El Conquistador, some of Oro
Valley’s larger employers include the El Conquistador Country
Club, Oro Valley Country Club, Husky Nozzle, Town of Oro Valley
Government, Canyon Del Oro High School, Vanguard
Automation, Selectide, Fry’s Food Stores and Smith’s.
Entertainment and shopping are available in town or in the
Tucson metropolitan area.
Just east of Oro Valley is Catalina State Park. These pine-covered
mountains were called La Iglesia, or the church, by the early
Spaniards for their cathedral-like appearance. The 9,000-foot
Mount Lemmon, which is the southernmost ski area in the United
States is part of the range.
A short drive from Oro Valley is Picacho Peak, State Park. The park
is the site of Arizona’s only Civil War battle, which took place in
April 1862, when troops from the Union’s California Volunteers
encountered a detachment of soldiers on guard duty from the
Confederacy’s Texas Volunteers. The State Park opened in 1968,
provides hiking trails that lead to the summit of the majestic
peak, as well as camping, picnicking and other facilities.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum houses animals indigenous
to the Sonoran Desert and is considered one of the finest zoos in
the world. There is also a museum, botanical garden, aquarium,
and mineral collection on display.
Old Tucson Studios, an Old West themed attraction, was originally
built as a movie set for Arizona in 1939 and is still used to
film movies and television shows.
Saguaro National Monuments East and West preserve the giant
saguaro cacti. Spectacular views and scenery are found on hiking
trails and picnic areas. The San Xavier Mission, built in the
The 1700s, is one of the oldest American churches still in use. Not
only is it an excellent example of Mission architecture, it also
offers a glimpse into the rich heritage of the Southwest.
Just north of Oro Valley is the world-famous Biosphere 2, a
three-acre model of the earth’s ecosystem. In 1993, four men
and four women emerged from the sealed, self-contained science
experiment, after living there for two years. Daily walk-through
tours are available between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Kitt Peak National Observatory, home of the world’s largest solar
the telescope, is also nearby.
Red Rock is in Southern Arizona. It is in Pinal County. The town is located in the lower Santa Cruz River Valley, along Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson. Tucson is approximately 50 miles southeast of town.
Red Rock continues the tradition of the past by being a cattle ranching community. The town sits at an elevation of 1,864 feet. The warm desert climate has a winter low temperature of 40 degrees and a summer high temperature of 100 degrees. Its convenient location along Interstate 10, near two metropolitan cities, makes it a great place to live.
In 1860, the Silverbell Mine began its mining of high-grade ore. The mine was located approximately 20 miles northeast of Red Rock. However, in 1883 the copper prices dipped making difficult to mine.
In 1882, Don Yjinio Aguirre came to the area and established the El Rancho de San Francisco ranch. The ranch is located in Red Rock, where the land is prime for cattle grazing. The Aguirre Cattle Company runs thousands of head of cattle in southern Arizona. Red Rock was named for the red butte located near town. The post office was established in 1887.
Then in 1902, the Imperial Copper Company organized and mining began to boom. A rail line was constructed. The line branched off the Southern Pacific Railroad at Red Rock and headed up the Silverbell Mine. After the construction of the rail line, the area really took off. The Sasco smelter was also built, just outside of Red Rock and people began flocking to the community. Aguirre took advantage of the new mine. He decided to start running freight wagons. The wagons carried ore from the mine to the railroad spur.
The mining company went bankrupt in 1911, after a shaft fire at the Silverbell Mine. Then another company took over in 1915 and it stayed in operation until 1921.
The tracks of the rail line between the Silverbell and Red Rock were dismantled and the Sasco smelter closed in 1934. This signaled the end of the mining era.
The town of Red Rock continues. Today, the town’s economy is based on agriculture and ranching. Red Rock is a shipping point for a variety of products, such as livestock, cotton, citrus, and pecans. The Aguirre Cattle Company continues to prosper. The town remains unincorporated and is known for its scenic views, nearby historic attractions and outdoor activities.
Picacho has a famous outdoor activity situated nearby. Picacho Peak State Park is located in Picacho Pass, along Interstate 10. The park opened in 1968 and provides hiking trails, picnicking and camping. During the springtime, there is a spectacle of wildflowers blooming. The flowers edge the trails at the base of the peak.