Arizona Republic, 1954:

Cradle of our History

God, Gold Sought in Santa Cruz Valley

Avenue of avarice and highroad of religion.

The Santa Cruz Valley, cradle of Arizona's recorded history, was both in the 16th Century.

It was the main stem for a motley parade of Spanish treasure seekers and port of entry for pioneering missionary priests.

Today the Santa Cruz Valley is a happy mixture of the oldest of our history and the most modern of our times. Between Tucson and Nogales there are 24,000 acres of fertile land, beautiful homes and people that have retained the friendliness and hospitality of the early Spanish settlers.

Page from 1954 Arizona Republic

Clockwise from upper left:

Nogales, AZ

Tubac Ruins

Tumacacori Mission

Santa Cruz Valley

Pete Kitchen Museum

Dr. DiPeso

Otho Kinsley


The gold hunters of long ago saw glittering visions of the Seven Cities of Cibola and their legendary hoards. The men of the cross envisioned a multitude of savages to be Christianized for the greater glory of God.

Between them, they explored and settled the route that is now U.S. Highway 89 along the shallow Santa Cruz from Nogales to Tucson.

Frey Marcos de Niza crossed into Arizona at Lochiel, 30 miles east of Nogales, 415 years ago, He was chaplain of a Spanish expedition that returned to Mexico without colonizing and without finding gold.

A year later, in 1540, came Coronado and a small army in quest of the Seven Cities and their gold.

In 1687, Padre Eusebio Kino arrived on the Arizona scene with instructions to convert the Indians, establish ranches, build missions, and develop permanent settlements in the Pimeria Alta (southern Arizona and northern Sonora).

Father Kino founded 21 missions and taught the Indians weaving, building, and agriculture. He visited the village of Bac near Tucson in 1692. Eight years later, he laid the foundations of a mission two miles north of the present Mission of San Xavier del Bac.

The present structure, completed in 1797, is a model of missions architecture in the United States. It is served by Franciscan priests and sisters who carry on Father Kino's ministry to the educational and spiritual needs of Indians.

Father Kino's example wrought a permanent change in the culture and habits of the Indians of the area.

However, the Apaches encountered by tough old Pete Kitchen when he established a ranch on Potero Creek in 1855 obviously had not come under Padre Kino's gentle influence.

Kitchen's son was killed near the ranch. Most of his neighbors were stampeded by Indian raids. But Kitchen posted a lookout atop his house and sent his farmhands into the fields carrying rifles across their plow handles. Despite the Apache menace, Kitchen turned out 13,000 pounds of hams and bacon and 5,000 pounds of lard in a single year for valley residents and the army.

Travelers between Tucson and Magdalena, Sonora, made Kitchen's stronghold a regular overnight stop. Col. and Mrs. Gil Proctor own the ranch today, and Proctor has turned Pete's original, one-room adobe into a museum dedicated to the memory of a dauntless pioneer rancher.

Another of the Santa Cruz Valley's historic ranches is the Baboquivari Cattle Co.'s Agua Linda Ranch, owned by Carlos Ronstadt. It was founded in 1787 by Toribio de Otero, who was sent to Tubac by the Spanish government at Arispe, Sonora, to establish a school.

Otero equipped his ranch with brush dams and irrigation ditches carrying water from the Santa Cruz. The ranch remained in the Otero family until 1941.

Dr. DiPeso, Mr. Kinsley, MapOtho Kinsley

Dr. Charles DiPeso
Map Names--from top
San Xavier Del Bac
Kinsley Ranch
Ronstadt Ranch

Santa Rita Mts.

Tumacacori Mission
Palo Parado Ruins

San Cayetano Mts
First Mission in AZ
Pete Kitchen Ranch


By far the most unusual ranch in the Santa Cruz Valley is the Otho Kinsley spread south of Sahuarita and north of Tubac. Most stock raisers strive for horses that can be ridden and cows that can be contained in a four-wire fence. But not Kinsley.

If they don't buck, bite, kick, and sail over 10-foot fences, they're not worth a nickel in Kinsley's book. He buys every outlaw horse he can lay hands on and channels them to rodeo promoters in Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona.


Kinsley claims that out of a random sampling of 146 horses, only one will be a blue-ribbon bucking horse, willing to make with its meanest antics day after day. Papoose and A-7 are two famous--or infamous--Kinsley broncs.

Kinsley says the odds on producing a satisfactory riding bull are better. Out of 20 bulls, six or seven generally qualify as rodeo caliber. Kinsley bulls renowned in the Southwestern rodeo belt, include Speck, Geronimo, and Ballerina.

The town of Tubac was established as a military outpost after the Pima Indian revolt of 1750. In 1776, Captain Juan de Anza led an expedition out of Tubac to found San Francisco. Tubac was a silver mining center from 1850 to 1865.

Four miles south of Tumacacori Mission, Dr. Charles C. DiPeso of the Amerind Foundations is excavating the Palo Parado ruins. Evidence uncovered thus far indicates the village was in business after the Spanish conquest of the Southwest.

Three Spanish-style walls may be the remains of Padre Kino's first Arizona mission. DiPeso's work may fill the gap between prehistoric and historic times for this area.

The narrow canyon in which Nogales is located on the Mexican border was traversed many times by soldiers, priests, and pioneer, but not until 1880 was a community established there. Since then, it has made up for lost time.

The city today ranks as an important rail, highway, and airways link between two great republics.

But it keeps an eye on the past through the Pimeria Alta Historical Society which conducts research, sponsors tours to historical spots, and collects items for a proposed library-museum.

Arizona Republic and Gazette The Arizona Republic, Sunday, March 21, 1954, page 5
Used with permission. Permission does not imply endorsement.


While finding links to supplemental material for this page, I found stories of mid 20th Century life in Arizona. (soon to be on a page about the Sopori School)

The Little Cowpuncher was a student newspaper used by Eulilia Bourne in several one-room schools including the Sopori School. It is in Pima County a few miles up the Arivaca road. Little Cowpuncher issues are being put online; one of her books is online courtesy of the University of Arizona Press. Woman in Levis is not about the Santa Cruz Valley per se but rather describes ranch life. By describing flash floods, drought, roads, animals, and, above all, water, she brings Arizona living to life.

Also found:
Tubac History-1520-1854
covers Pima and Spanish civil and military history. Paper by Dr. DiPeso more related to the San Pedro River valley. Does have a picture of Dr. DiPeso. has map and description of deAnza trail sites in Santa Cruz County. Shows a Santa Cruz valley map of the trail and administrative details of the preservation effort. covers the deAnza trail county by county (Nogales to San Francisco).

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