Tumacacori Mission: The Exterior and Grounds

The above is a lame parody of New Mexico’s slogan, “Tucumcari Tonight!”, from the 1980’s. Tumacacori, three miles southeast of Tubac, in southern Arizona, is no parody, though.  I spent about 1 1/2 hours there, a week ago Saturday, after checking out the art and history of Tubac.

Tumacacori’s mission, founded by Jesuits and later taken on by the Franciscan order, after the Jesuits were expelled from New Spain, was the reason the garrison at Tubac was built in the first place.

I have split this visit in to two posts, for simplicity’s sake.  This post focuses on the outside of the mission and its garden, orchard and annexes.   Upon arrival, one is greeted by the modern Visitor’s Center, after which a side trip to the lovely front garden is in order.


The area occupied by the Jesuit mission was right in front of the still-standing Franciscan structure.

A closer look at the facade of the later mission shows the endurance of Moorish style.

A small nun’s quarters was maintained to the east of the mission.


The compuerta was used to channel water from the nearby Santa Cruz River.

Other acequias retained water for livestock and the watering of heirloom fruit trees.

There was a large orchard, just east of the mission and convento.


To the immediate northwest of the mission, there is a cemetery and mortuary chapel.


Behind these, there lies the ruin of a storage building.


Also in the southeast sector of the grounds is a traditional Tohono and Pima dwelling:  Melhok Ki.

Above all these, the mission bell still reigns supreme.

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