Tucson: Recreation

views updated May 14 2018

Tucson: Recreation


The variety of things to do and see in Tucson extends from the heart of the city to the surrounding area. Three historic districtsEl Presidio, Armory Park, and Barrio Historicoprovide convenient focal points for a walking tour of downtown Tucson. Around El Presidio, the old adobe wall that was part of the original town, are clustered other historic structures, among them restored homes of the city's early settlers and political leaders, as well as an artisans' marketplace housed in an adobe.

Located in the Barrio Historico district, El Tiraditothe "Wishing Shrine"is one of the nation's genuine folk shrines. A few blocks away, at the edge of the Armory Park district, is the site of the printing office of a Spanish-language newspaper founded in 1878. Other popular attractions in the city include Tucson's world famous zoo, situated in Gene C. Reid Park, and the Tucson Botanic Gardens.

The ideal way to view the landscape surrounding Tucson is to take a leisurely driving tour that winds through miles of scenic Sonora desert, the only place where Saguaro cactus grows, ending at Mt. Lemmon. Covered with stands of aspen, Ponderosa pine, and Douglas fir, Mt. Lemmon offers vistas of the desert.

Other interesting excursions include Colossal Cave, one of the largest caves in the world, and Sabino Canyon, in nearby Colorado National Forest. Kartchner Caverns State Park, home of the world's largest living cave offers guided cave tours, hikes, and group use areas. Popular visitor attractions are Old Tucson, a western theme park and the site of a television and movie set, and Mission San Xavier del Bac, called the "White Dove of the Desert" because of its striking appearance from a distance.

Arts and Culture

Tucson is the "arts mecca" of the American Southwest, offering a wealth of cultural activities: theater, opera, ballet, and symphony, as well as galleries and museums. The Tucson Arts District Partnership lies in the heart of downtown Tucson and includes the Tucson Music Hall, the Tucson Community Center, and the Temple of Music and Art. Tucson's Arizona Theatre Company, the leading professional theater company in the state, has received national recognition, including grants and citations from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the White House Committee on the Arts. Its productions range from the classics to recent Broadway hits during a September-to-April season at the Temple of Music and Art. Off-Broadway shows and musicals are the forte of the Invisible Theatre, while a.k.a. Theatre presents experimental and modern works.

The award-winning Tucson Symphony offers a nine-month season of classical music at the Tucson Music Hall. The Arizona Opera makes Tucson its home, performing a standard repertoire along with less-frequently performed works. Dance lovers can see performances of Ballet Arizona, which is based in Tucson. The Gaslight Theatre presents old-fashioned melodrama. The "UApresents" series at the University of Arizona Centennial Hall brings performances and groups like Oliver, the American Virtuosi Baroque Theater and Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra to delight audiences.

Tucson is home to several museums and galleries. The Arizona State Museum, specializing in the archaeology and ethnology of Arizona, is noted for having one of the most comprehensive southwestern archaeology collections in existence. The Arizona Historical Society houses a museum, research library, and Arizona mining exhibit; the society also administers Fort Lowell Museum and Sosa-Carrillo-Frèmont House. Featuring military equipment, the Fort Lowell Museum is an 1865 reconstruction of the home of the fort's commanding officer. The Sosa-Carillo-Frèmont House, built around 1858, is one of the oldest adobe houses in Tucson and is furnished in original period pieces. Exhibits such as dinosaur canyon, an ocean discovery center and unique arts for kids can be found at the Tucson Children's Museum. The Pima Air and Space Museum features more than 75 acres of different kinds of military and civilian aircraft.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 14 miles west of downtown, is one of southern Arizona's most popular attractions. It exhibits hundreds of native plants and animals in their natural habitats. The Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, on the campus of the University of Arizona, presents exhibits pertaining to optical science, astronomy, and space exploration, many of them encouraging visitor experimentation. For those interested in astronomy, the 56-mile trip to Kitt Peak National Observatory to gaze through one of the telescopes in the world's largest collection of optical solar telescopes is well worth the drive. The Tucson Museum of Art specializes in crafts, textiles, furnishings, and fine arts, including pre-Columbian and western American pieces. The University of Arizona Center for Creative Photography offers permanent and changing exhibitions of photographs and is home to 60,000 works by 2,000 photographers such as Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, and Edward Weston. Tucson boasts an active community of artists and artisans. Local commercial galleries show their work, which includes paintings, jewelry, and pottery.

Arts and Culture Information: Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block, telephone (520)624-2333; Tucson-Pima Arts Council, 10 E. Broadway Rd., Tucson, AZ 85701; telephone (520)624-0595; email info@tucsonpimaarts council.org

Festivals and Holidays

Tucson celebrates its history and multicultural heritage with a variety of activities throughout the year. Mid-winter's La Fiesta de los Vaqueros features riding and roping events. Beginning in March, the six-week Tucson Festival features events that showcase the city's unique culture. Also in March the Annual Wa:k Pow Wow Conference brings together southwestern tribes who present inter-tribal pow wow songs and dances. The month of April offers the Tucson International Conference featuring a full week of culture, music and dancing. In May Tucson's Mexican-American community commemorates Mexico's victory against France with the four-day Cinco de Mayo Festival. Tucson's patron saint is honored in the Fiesta de San Augustin in August, and in September the Hispanic community celebrates Mexico's independence from Spain. El Nacimiento, on the grounds of the Tucson Museum of Art, ushers in the Christmas holiday season with displays of folk art. It is followed by Fiesta Navidad, a Mexican mariachi Christmas celebration.

Tucson is the site of other events of interest to both residents and visitors. For several weeks in the winter colored stones, gems and beads are on show at various locations in the city. The Fourth Avenue Street Fair is held twice each year, usually in March and December.

Sports for the Spectator

Although Tucson does not field any teams in the major leagues, there is plenty of action for sports fans. Tucson is home to the University of Arizona Wildcats teams, which compete in Pacific Athletic Conference (PAC-10) basketball and football. The University of Arizona Icecats play hockey at Tucson Convention Center.

Fans of amateur and professional baseball can enjoy a full schedule. Hi Corbett Field is the spring training site for the Colorado Rockies of the National League, and the Tucson Sidewinders, AAA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, play a full schedule of summer baseball at Corbett Field. Tucson Electric Park is the site where the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Chicago White Sox have spring training. Greyhound races are held year-round at Tucson Greyhound Park. Stock car races are on view at Tucson Raceway Park, the only asphalt short track in Arizona.

Golf is very popular in Tucson, and major annual events include the Chrysler Classic of Tucson golf championship in February. Ranked by Bicycling magazine as one of the nation's top three cities for cycling, Tucson hosts the prestigious El Tour de Tucson cycling event each fall, as well as many tennis tournaments.

Sports for the Participant

Tucson's warm, sunny climate offers the outdoor sports enthusiast weather that rarely disrupts planned activities. The city of Tucson maintains 125 parks with jogging tracks, bike paths, and riding trails, 26 swimming pools, 5 municipal golf courses and 3 tennis centers. Swimming, boating, and fishing can be enjoyed in public and private pools and lakes. More than 4,500 participants run or walk in the Tucson Marathon, half marathon or 5k each December. Surrounding mountain ranges offer a variety of recreational opportunities. Mount Lemmon ski area receives an average of 175 inches and offers 3 months of skiing each year. In keeping with Tucson's western traditions, local ranches offer horseback riding; and for those who want to step back into the past, there are even opportunities to pan for gold or participate in a cattle drive.

Shopping and Dining

Shopping for necessities or for pleasure can be equally rewarding in Tucson at neighborhood retail centers, regional malls, shopping plazas, and numerous shops and boutiques conveniently located throughout the area. Downtown's Fourth Avenue historic shopping and arts district is a popular destination, with its more than 100 galleries and unusual shops. Many shops specialize in indigenous goods and crafts such as Mexican handicrafts and decorative items, Indian kachina dolls, baskets, pottery, and moccasins. Traditional western clothing, boots, and other leather goods are also available in Tucson.

The city's restaurants are famous for Southwestern cuisine. Local specialties include carne seca, beef that has been marinated in lime and cilantro then sun-dried; cinnamon chicken; black bean hummus; and prickly pear cactus. Diners can find a wide diversity of other ethnic fare, ranging from Greek to Thai, as well as traditional American food.

Visitor Information: Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau, 100 S. Church Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701; telephone (520)624-1817; email [email protected]

Tucson: Economy

views updated Jun 11 2018

Tucson: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Copper mining has traditionally been a vital part of the city's economy; in 1976, for instance, one of every twenty Tucson residents was a copper miner. Seven years later, a combination of foreign competition and depressed copper prices forced a dramatic downturn in mining industries nationwide, with the result that only four-tenths of a percent of the working population was employed in mining by the mid 1980s. The early 1990s saw an upturn in the mining industry again. In Arizona the mining industry continues to contribute to the economy, although locally and globally the industry has shown signs recently indicating a slowdown.

At the time of the mining crisis, Tucson and southern Arizona looked to economic diversity. In the 1980s the area experienced economic growth from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base with more than 9,200 employees and the University of Arizona with more than 11,000 employees as well as growth in the high-tech and service industries, particularly in banking.

Today the Tucson economy is based on the arts, tourism, manufacturing and high-tech industries. Unique because of Tucson's relatively small size is the fact that a ballet, symphony, live theater, and opera call Tucson home. Tucson's dependably dry and sunny climate assures continuing growth in tourism, an industry that employs about 1 in 10 workers in the metropolitan area labor force and brings in well over 1.5 billion dollars annually. Manufacturing activity has doubled in the last 10 years and includes such companies as AlliedSignal, Weiser Lock, 3M, Burr-Brown, Environmental Air Products, Inc., Krueger Industries, Inc., and Raytheon Missile Systems Company. Marked changes have come about elsewhere in Tucson's economic base, however, with copper mining being most deeply affected.

Tucson has actively promoted expansion in the high-technology industry. The Milkin Institute ranked Tucson the seventh Best Performing City out of 200 Metropolitan Areas in large part because of job growth in the high-tech arena. More than 300 local companies are directly involved in information technology. Other growing high-technology areas are bioindustry, aerospace, environmental technology, plastics and advanced composite materials, and teleservices. It is hoped that these industries will continue to be a catalyst, drawing companies to Tucson.

Another factor in the renewed strength of Tucson's economic base is the building or relocation of major corporations in the area. Industry leaders include Raytheon Missile Systems, IBM, Honeywell, Texas Instruments, Intuit, America Online, and Bombardier Aerospace.

Tucson has become more involved in international trade and has developed close partnerships with Mexico. One development asset in Tucson is the city's proximity to the Mexican border. The city actively encourages the growth of twin-plant or "maquiladora" industries locating part of their operations in Tucson. Increased expansion is predicted in the manufacture of electronics, aerospace, and computer component products.

Items and goods produced: aircraft and aircraft parts, electronic equipment, steel castings and fabrications, flour, boxes, agricultural chemicals, aluminum products, radios, mobile homes, air conditioning machinery, creamery products, beer, liquor, saddles and leather goods, apparel, native American and Mexican novelties

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The Greater Tucson Economic Council's foundation is based on an industry cluster concept. The cluster concept attracts and empowers new businesses by promoting collaboration, enhancing research and production capabilities, and creating more powerful advocacy for common needs. The six business clusters include: aerospace, life sciences, environmental technology, information technology, optics, and advanced materials. The Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce works to promote a favorable business atmosphere conducive to attracting, sustaining, and expanding industrial and service sector employers. Its Economic Development Division provides information, counseling, training, and other services. The University of Arizona, one of the top research universities in the country, plays an active role in attracting businesses and encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit in Tucson.

State programs

Arizona is a pro-business state. It levies no unitary tax, no inventory tax, no franchise tax, no municipal income tax, and no sales tax on direct sales to the state or federal government. It has developed targeted incentives to encourage the recruitment of desirable new businesses and to encourage the growth of existing businesses. Innovative programs designed to encourage job growth include the Workforce Development and Job Training Progam, Enterprise Zones, Foreign Trade Zones, and Research and Development tax credits.

Job training programs

A work force recruitment and job training program is administered by the state and provides training and retraining for specific employment opportunities with new and expanding businesses and businesses undergoing economic conversion.

Development Projects

More than 900 million dollars of investment and tax dollars is funding The Downtown Rio Nuevo project which will add new attractions, shopping, restaurants, infrastructure, office space and residential housing in downtown Tucson. More than 1,100 housing projects are planned or under construction. Other new developments will include parking garages, streetscapes, and enhancements to arts districts and museums.

Economic Development Information: Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, 465 West St. Mary's Road, PO Box 991, Tucson, AZ 85702; telephone (520)792-1212; fax (520)882-5704. Greater Tucson Economic Council, 33 N Stone, Ste 800, Tucson, AZ 85701; telephone (800)374-4769

Commercial Shipping

Tucson is linked to national and worldwide markets via Tucson International Airport, which receives service from major air cargo carriers. The Union Pacific railroad provides freight service; 39 motor freight carriers ship goods through facilities in Tucson.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Tucson attracts 18,000 to 20,000 new residents each year and offers a work force from which employers can draw relatively young and productive workers. Tucson has committed itself, through its educational institutions, to train and retrain potential employees. About 83 percent of residents have completed high school and 27 percent have 4 or more years of college education; 63 percent (age 16 and over) are in the labor force.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Tucson metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages

Size of non-agricultural labor force: 359,100

Number of workers employed in . . .

natural resources and mining: 1,300

construction: 23,900

manufacturing: 28,300

transportation and utilities: 58,000

information: 7,500

financial activities: 16,600

professional and business services: 42,200

educational and health services: 47,700

leisure and hospitality: 38,800

other services: 14,700

government: 79,500

Average hourly earnings of workers employed in manufacturing: $14.53

Unemployment rate: 4.1% (January 2005)

Largest private employersNumber of employees
Raytheon Missile Systems10,200
Phelps Dodge3,783
Carondelet Health Care3,328
Fry's Food and Drug3,000
TMC Health Care2,350

Cost of Living

According to the Metropolitan Tucson Chamber of Commerce, in 2004 the median sales price for a single family unit was $128,900. Average size for these units was 2,798 square feet. The average apartment rental rate for a two-bedroom unit was $707.00.

The following is a summary of data regarding key cost of living factors for the Tucson area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $254,751

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 99.2 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Ranges from 2.87% to 5.04%

State sales tax rate: 5.6% (food and prescription drugs are exempt)

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 2.0% (real estate, groceries, and prescriptions are exempt)

Average property tax rate: $17.00 per $100 of assessed valuation (2003); rate is assessed at 25% of fair market value of a home.

Economic Information: Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, 465 West St. Mary's Road, PO Box 991, Tucson, AZ 85701; telephone (520)792-1212; fax (520)882-5704; email [email protected]. Pima County Treasurer, telephone (520)740-8344


views updated May 17 2018


TUCSON , city located in the S.E. part of Arizona. The 2005 Jewish population is estimated at somewhere around 25,000 (exclusive of about 3,000 university students and untold numbers of winter visitors). Although the general population, numbering about 750,000 in Pima County (Tucson is the county seat), keeps growing, the Jewish population fluctuates too much to make any kind of definitive statement. Of the Jews present in the city in 1994, 38% no longer reside there, while 24% of the Jews living in Tucson in 2005 did not reside there in 1994. In this sense, Tucson is a typical southwestern town where roots do not go back more than a generation or two because so much growth has occurred since the end of World War ii.

Tucson was part of the Gadsden Purchase when a small area of land in southern Arizona and New Mexico was acquired from Mexico in 1854. At first there were relatively few people, Jews and gentiles, in the community, but some Jews came because of merchandising opportunities. Some opened general stores, others acquired Indian trading licenses, and some also served as contractors for the U.S. Army. The settlement in the 19th century consisted mostly of young men out to seek their fortunes. Marriages were made with Mexicans and/or Indians, or else with German or eastern Jewish women who some of the men went back to marry. The total Jewish population of Arizona in the 1880s was estimated at about 50 people, so the numbers in Tucson must have been fewer. A number of men from the city's pioneer Jewish families, the Drachmans, Franklins, Jacobs, Ferrins, Zeckendorfs, Steinfelds, and Mansfields, could be found in elected political positions: on the school board, on the county Board of Supervisors, and even as mayor. One Jew who represented Tucson in the territorial legislature, Selim Franklin, won the University of Arizona for his community in 1885 although at the time it was considered the "booby" prize. Prescott kept the state capitol, Phoenix was awarded the state insane asylum, and Yuma remained home to the state prison.

Almost none of the descendants of the pioneer families are counted among the Jews of Tucson today. Many of the original Jewish settlers fled to other parts of the West or the nation in the late 1880s and 1890s when an economic depression hit the Arizona territory. Moreover, those Jews who had already made money left the community because of the unbearable heat, often over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which could last sometimes from May through October.

In the early 20th century a number of Jews remained in Tucson as is evidenced by the presence of a Hebrew Ladies' Benevolent Society and the building in 1910 of the first Jewish temple in Arizona: Temple Emanu-el (Reform).

Until World War ii, and even among some of the pioneers, the Jews who arrived in Tucson came because someone in the family needed the dry air for his/her health. The whole Jewish population of Arizona, for example, increased from 1,150 people in 1920, to 1,847 in 1937. How many of these Jews lived in Tucson is difficult to judge but in 1940 census takers estimated their number at 480. The one new establishment in Tucson in the 1930s occurred with the founding of a second Jewish synagogue, Conservative, at the beginning of the decade. In 1939 this congregation, Anshei Israel, acquired its first small building.

During World War ii the population grew because the United States government established an air force base in Tucson. After the war many of those whose first experience of the southwest occurred during the conflagration returned as settlers because during most of the year the daytime climate ranged from 50 to 80 degrees F. with cool nights except during the summer monsoon season in July and August. The impact of the influx on the city's Jewish community was enormous. In 1948 Tucson counted about 4,000 Jews. Within the next few years Jews in Tucson had established an Orthodox synagogue, a Jewish Community Council, and a wealth of organizations to provide a variety of social services to Jews in the city.

Growth spurts in Tucson occurred in the 1950s and thereafter. Air conditioning came into vogue in that decade which made the city a more tolerable place to live. The 1960s witnessed a depression in the city. At the end of the decade, however, the continued growth of the University of Arizona and the establishment of its medical college spawned a huge mushrooming of the population, Jewish as well as gentile. Whereas in 1970 the city had about 250,000 people and 6,000 or so Jews, today, as mentioned, there are 750,000 people, about 3–4% of whom are Jewish.

In the early 21st century Tucson and the Jews within the community were thriving. Most Jews who work were in professional occupations while a sizeable number were involved with real estate development. There was a host of cultural activities, both Jewish and in the greater community, a strong Jewish Federation with social welfare and social service groups that provide for the needs of every age group, and some indication that young Jewish adults, who in previous decades had to seek employment opportunities elsewhere, were remaining in the city and working in the community.

A community survey taken in 2002 revealed that fewer than half of all Tucson Jews participate in Jewish activities. The community was the second from the bottom among comparably sized Jewish communities whose Jewish respondents have attended synagogues only on special occasions; it had the highest percentage of Jewish single-family households under the age of 65; Tucson was fourth from the bottom in making donations to Jewish charities and fourth from the top (46%) in young adults marrying non-Jews. Forty-two percent of Jewish children under the age of 17 were being raised in households where one of the parents is not Jewish.

On the other hand, Tucson also had the lowest perception of antisemitism in its midst of any Jewish community in the United States. Jews did not find any kind of discrimination in the areas that were of concern in previous decades: housing, employment, areas of recreation. In the 1980s four of the seven members of the State Board of Regents were Jewish (these are gubernatorial appointees), and in the 1990s the chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court was also Jewish. The year's major societal charity event in Tucson, the Angel Ball, is totally non-discriminatory.


L. Dinnerstein, "From Desert Oasis to the Desert Caucus: The Jews of Tucson," in: M. Rischin and J. Livingston (eds.), Jews of the American West (1991), 136–63; Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, A Roadmap for the Future: The 2002 Population Study & Tucson's Jewish Community Planning.

[Leonard Dinnerstein (2nd ed.)]

Tucson: History

views updated Jun 11 2018

Tucson: History

Four Governments Claim Tucson Territory

Tucson is an extremely old settlement with a rich layering of history and pre-history. Archaeological excavations have revealed adobe huts, pit houses, and irrigation systems built by the Hohokam tribe who inhabited and farmed the area nearly 2,000 years ago. The Hohokam have since vanished; in fact, their name, meaning "those who have vanished," was given to them by the Pimas, the Native Americans who occupied the site of present-day Tucson when the first white settlers arrived, and after whom Pima County is named. "Tucson" is also derived from a Pima word, "Stjukshon" or "Chuk-son," meaning "spring at the foot of a black mountain."

Since its founding Tucson has operated under four governments: Spain, Mexico, the United States, and the Confederacy. One of the first Spanish visitors was Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, a Jesuit missionary who arrived in 1687. Tucson was officially founded as a Spanish colony less than one hundred years later, in 1775, and the Spanish settlers built the Presidio of San Augistin del Tucson as protection from the Apache. Part of this walled presidio still exists today, and its nickname, "Old Pueblo," is now extended to the city as a whole.

When Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821, Tucson became a Mexican town. In 1853 the United States acquired from Mexico the Gadsden Purchase, a strip of land that included Tucson. Before 1863, when Arizona gained territorial status, Tucson briefly belonged to the Confederacy, then became the capital of the Arizona Territory in 1867.

Tucson played an integral role in the romance of the Old West. The city was the scene of gunfights, brawls, and attacks by Native Americans; neighboring Tombstone was the site of the legendary gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Tucson also participated in the great gold rush when prospectors moved east from California into Arizona. The effects of this migration were lasting, since Tucson became the center of a mining industry that continued unabated into the 1970s.

Healthy Climate Attracts Settlers, Tourists

By the time it became the 48th state in 1912, Arizona was famous for the sunny climate and dry air that made it ideal as a healthful spot where people could visit and settle. In 1920 Tucson became the first city in the nation to have a municipal airport. At the same time, major highways were being built. Tourism became one of Tucson's strongest industries and remains so today. During World War II the city contributed to the war effort when the government established the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base nearby. Tucson has since emerged as a major cultural center and one of the most sophisticated cities in the Southwest.

Today's Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona with more than 840,000 people living in its metropolitan area. Public and private sectors continue to join forces to improve Tucson's standard of living and business environment. With an expanding economy based on high-technology industries, modern Tucson aggressively preserves its multicultural heritage and pioneer spirit.

Historical Information: Arizona Historical Society, Tucson Museum, 949 East Second Street, Tucson, AZ, 85719; telephone (520)628-5774

Tucson: Education and Research

views updated May 23 2018

Tucson: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Pima County has 17 school districts, of which Tucson Unified School District is the largest, with an enrollment approaching 61,000 students. All districts focus on building basic skills. Gifted, honors, advance placement, English-asa-Second-Language, computer literacy, special education, extended school year, sports, music, theater, arts, and homebound programs are among the special offerings. Vocational and business programs prepare students for entry into a job or further occupational education. Tucson's Canyon View Elementary School received Arizona's A + Award for education in 2003.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Tucson Unified School District as of the 19992000 school year.

Total enrollment: approximately 61,000

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 73

junior high schools: 19

senior high schools: 10

other: 11 alternative programs

Student/teacher ratio: 29:1

Teacher salaries (20022003)

minimum: $28,872

maximum: $53,494

Funding per pupil: $3,426.00 (20022003)

Thirty-five self-regulating and parochial schools operate in Pima County. These range from boarding schools offering a college preparatory curriculum to schools that provide basic education with religious instruction. Tucson is also home to the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind.

Public Schools Information: Arizona Department of Education, 1535 W. Jefferson Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007; telephone (602)542-5393; hotline (800)352-4558

Colleges and Universities

Institutions of higher learning located in Tucson include the University of Arizona, Pima Community College, Tucson College of Business, and the University of Phoenix (Tucson). The University of Arizona has 150 undergraduate, 200 master's doctoral and specialist programs in 18 colleges and 12 schools. Pima Community College consists of 5 campuses in southern Arizona offering on campus, alternative-style and online courses.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Tucson-Pima Library has 21 locations. The system's collection consists of more than 1.2 million volumes, nearly 200,000 book titles, and more than 4,000 periodical subscriptions, plus records, films, and videotapes. A special collection focuses on Southwestern literature for children. Voters approved a $12.6 million bond issue in May 2004 to upgrade the library's branch facilities.

The University of Arizona Library holds more than 5 million volumes and nearly 27,000 serials and collections that include photography, science-engineering, Japanese and Chinese studies and Southwestern Americana. Also located in the city are a number of specialized scientific libraries associated with high-technology industries.

Biosphere 2, located 30 miles northeast of Tucson, was formerly the site of research into global climate change by Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Tours of the inside and outside of the glass-and-steel geodesic structure are available. Research activities in such fields as architecture, engineering, astronomy, geology, geo-chemistry, minerals and mining, agriculture, fish and wild-life, arid lands and water, biotechnology, immunology, gerontology, sleep disorders, anthropology, Southwestern culture, and international studies are conducted at centers in the Tucson area.

Public Library Information: Tucson-Pima Public Library, 101 North Stone Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701; telephone (520)791-4391; Infoline, telephone (520)791-4010


views updated May 29 2018


TUCSON, the second-largest city in Arizona, takes its name from a Tohono O'Odham (Papago) Indian village that stood at the base of Stjukshon Mountain, later known as Sentinel Peak. Situated in the lower Sonoran Desert basin, Tucson is flanked by the Santa Catalina and Santa Rita Mountains. In 1700 Jesuit missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino founded San Xavier del Bac Indian mission, and the Spanish established the Presidio de San Augustín de Tuguisón in 1775. Tucson became U.S. territory with the Gadsden Purchase in 1853, and served as the capital of Arizona Territory from 1867 to 1877. The Southern Pacific Railroad reached Tucson in 1880 and the city was incorporated in 1883.

From World War II to the year 2000, the city grew by more than four times, to a population of 486,699, with the metropolitan area including 843,746 residents. Tucson's economy in the 1990s included everything from agriculture and mining to state-of-the-art electronics. The rapid population growth threatened a dwindling water supply, but in 1992 the Central Arizona Project began supplying Colorado River water to Tucson. One of the most environmentally conscious cities in Arizona, Tucson is home to the Biosphere experiment and several national environmental groups.

The city offers activities for every taste. Wilderness enthusiasts enjoy mountain climbing and desert trekking, wealthy tourists visit expensive resorts and art galleries, while modest spenders patronize the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Old Tucson, a movie site for more than two hundred films. All visitors can enjoy cultural and athletic events at the University of Arizona plus a variety of theater, symphony, ballet, and opera productions.


Logan, Michael F. Fighting Sprawl and City Hall: Resistance to Urban Growth in the Southwest. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1995.

Sonnichsen, C. L. Tucson: The Life and Times of an American City. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1982.

Walker, Henry P., and Don Bufkin. Historical Atlas of Arizona. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1979.

Roger L. Nichols

See also Arizona ; Gadsden Purchase ; Southwest .

Tucson: Transportation

views updated May 21 2018

Tucson: Transportation

Approaching the City

Visitors arriving in Tucson by plane are greeted by the recently expanded Tucson International Airport, located a few miles south of the city. In January 2005 the airport completed a terminal expansion project allowing TIA to handle 7 million passengers in ticketing and baggage claim. A comprehensive master plan provides for even more development over 20 years to accommodate the area's rapidly growing needs and will include a runway relocation, additional runway, expanded passenger areas and terminal complex, as well as additional cargo, corporate and support facilities. Served by 12 major airlines, Tucson International provides daily flights to cities in the United States, Mexico, and abroad.

Principal highway routes into the city are Interstate 10, which runs between Los Angeles and El Paso and passes through downtown on a northwest-southeast axis, and Interstate 19, which originates at the Mexican border and merges with Interstate 10 in Tucson. Amtrak provides train service and Greyhound Trailways provides bus service.

Traveling in the City

Tucson, located in a narrow, elliptical valley, is laid out in a grid pattern. The city is essentially serviced by surface roads, which can be congested during rush hours. Some major cross-town roads may suddenly dead end, necessitating a switch to a roundabout route. Numbered streets south of Speedway Boulevard run east-west, and numbered avenues west of Euclid Avenue run north-south. Residential and commercial pockets are scattered throughout the city, which can cause confusion. Drivers should be aware that during rush hours, the center or left-turn lane on major east-west thoroughfares becomes a one-way traffic lane.

Tucson's public mass transit system, operated by Sun Tran Transit, provides service for 60,000 riders each day to major points within the city and the surrounding area, including the airport. Arizona has deregulated the ground transportation industry so that cab fare in Tucson is negotiable. The Old Pueblo Historic Trolley runs between the Fourth Ave Business District and the University of Arizona campus. Future expansion of the trolley will bring the line downtown to the Tucson Convention Center and the Rio Nuevo Development Area.

Tucson: Population Profile

views updated May 29 2018

Tucson: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 531,000

1990: 667,000

2000: 843,746

Percent change, 19902000: 26.5%

U.S. rank in 1990: 62nd

U.S. rank in 2000: 57th

City Residents

1980: 330,537

1990: 415,444

2000: 486,699

2003 estimate: 507,658

Percent change, 19902000: 16.7%

U.S. rank in 1980: 45th

U.S. rank in 1990: 34th

U.S. rank in 2000: 30th (State rank: 2nd)

Density: 2,500.1 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (1999)

White: 341,424

Black or African American: 21,057

American Indian and Alaskan Native: 11,038

Asian: 11,959

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 796

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 173,868

Other: 81,988

Percent of residents born in state: 38.2% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 35,201

Population 5 to 9 years old: 34,189

Population 10 to 14 years old: 31,939

Population 15 to 19 years old: 38,170

Population 20 to 24 years old: 47,428

Population 25 to 34 years old: 76,394

Population 35 to 44 years old: 72,289

Population 45 to 54 years old: 57,608

Population 55 to 59 years old: 19,597

Population 60 to 64 years old: 16,056

Population 65 to 74 years old: 29,117

Population 75 to 84 years old: 21,394

>Population 85 years and older: 7,317

Median age: 32.1 years

Births (2003)

Total number: 12,799

Deaths (2003)

Total number: 7,719

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $16,322

Median household income: $30,981

Total households: 209,609

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 25,225

$10,000 to $14,999: 16,717

$15,000 to $24,999: 34,714

$25,000 to $34,999: 31,708

$35,000 to $49,999: 33,463

$50,000 to $74,999: 29,487

$75,000 to $99,999: 11,946

$100,000 to $149,999: 6,531

$150,000 to $199,999: 1,713

$200,000 or more: 1,380

Percent of families below poverty level: 13.7% (47.8% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 50,171

Tucson: Communications

views updated May 11 2018

Tucson: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Tucson readers choose from among three daily newspapers: The Arizona Daily Star (every morning), the Tucson Citizen (Monday through Saturday evenings), and the business paper, the Daily Territorial. Desert Airman is a weekly newspaper for military personnel at Davis-Monthan U.S. Air Force Base. Magazines published in Tucson include Tucson Weekly, which contains information about the arts and area news, Tucson Guide Quarterly, which publishes Tucson Official Visitor's Guide and Tucson Lifestyle Monthly Magazine. Several scholarly journals are also published in Tucson.

Television and Radio

Tucson's eight television stations include five network affiliates, two public stations, and one independent; a cable system is also available. Twenty AM and FM radio stations broadcast from Tucson, which also receives programming from neighboring communities.

Media Information: The Arizona Daily Star and Tucson Citizen, TNI Partners, PO Box 26767, Tucson, AZ 85726-6767; telephone (520)573-4400.

Tucson Online

The Arizona Daily Star home page. Available www.azstarnet.com

Arizona School Report Cards home page. Available www.ade.az.gov/srcs/main.asp

City of Tucson home page. Available www.ci.tucson.az.us

Greater Tucson Economic Council home page. Available www.futurewest.com

Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau home page. Available at www.visittucson.org

Tucson Citizen home page. Available www.tucsoncitizen.com

Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce home page. Available at www.tucsonchamber.org

Tucson-Pima Library home page. Available www.lib.ci.tucson.az.us

Selected Bibliography

Griffith, James S., Hecho a Mano: The Traditional Arts of Tucson's Mexican American Community (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2000)

Hait, Pam, Shifra Stein's Day Trips from Greater Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff (Charlotte, NC: East Woods Press, 1986)


views updated May 14 2018


Tucson: Introduction
Tucson: Geography and Climate
Tucson: History
Tucson: Population Profile
Tucson: Municipal Government
Tucson: Economy
Tucson: Education and Research
Tucson: Health Care
Tucson: Recreation
Tucson: Convention Facilities
Tucson: Transportation
Tucson: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1775 (incorporated, 1853)

Head Official: Mayor Bob Walkup (R) (since 1999)

City Population

1980: 330,537

1990: 415,444

2000: 486,699

2003 estimate: 507,658

Percent change, 19902000: 16.7%

U.S. rank in 1990: 34th

U.S. rank in 2000: 37th (State rank: 2nd)

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 531,000

1990: 667,000

2000: 843,746

Percent change, 19902000: 26.5%

U.S. rank in 1990: 62nd

U.S. rank in 2000: 57th

Area: 194.7 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 2,390 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 68° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 11 inches

Major Economic Sectors: High technology industry, services, tourism, government

Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (January 2005)

Per Capita Income: $16,322 (2000)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 50,171

Major Colleges and Universities: University of Arizona, Pima Community College, University of Phoenix

Daily Newspapers: The Arizona Daily Star; Tucson Citizen