Tumacácori National Historical Park: External Walls & Facilities – Tumacácori AZ


The Tumacácori National Monument was set aside by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 to protect the ruins of the Mission of San Jose de Tumacacori.  In 1918, it came under the administration of the National Park Service and its regional ‘custodian’, Frank Pinkley.  Congress created the Tumacácori National Historic Park in 1990, adding the ruins of two nearby missions, Los Santos Angeles de Guevavi and San Cayetano de Calabazas.

Under the park service’s guidance, Tumacácori mission church and its dependencies were stabilized in 1920-21, but intentionally not fully restored.  Only with the aid of the New Deal did the park come to take on its present appearance with the addition of surrounding walls, a visitors center and museum in the mission style, and a decorative garden.

Much of the work at the work was done with the help of the New Deal, under several agencies: the Public Works Administration (PWA), Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Civil Works Administration (CWA), and Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA). 

PWA funds were appropriated in 1932 and 1933 to build the outside walls and a restroom.  The labor was provided by the CWA and, when it was discontinued in 1934, by workers hired by the state relief agency supported by federal funds from FERA.

Enclosing the site was a necessary first step in protecting the old mission and putting in place a proper visitors’ center.  Before that, motorists could drive right up to the ruins.

There are also quarters for the custodian and a ranger (it is uncertain when these were built).




Source notes

Nicolas Bleser and Anita Badertscher, The 'New Deal' at Tumacácori National Monument, Tumacácori National Historical Park (NPS), n.d. (pamphlet available at visitor's center)

See also:

"The New Deal in Arizona: Connections to Our Historic Landscape," University of Arizona, The New Deal in Arizona Chapter of the National New Deal Preservation Association.

quote can be found at: https://content.library.arizona.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/NewDeal/id/221

C.W. Short and R. Stanley-Brown. Public Buildings: A Survey of Architecture of Projects Constructed by Federal and Other Governmental Bodies Between the Years 1933 and 1939 with the Assistance of the Public Works Administration. (1939).



Project originally submitted by Richard A Walker on November 21, 2019.
Additional contributions by Joan Greer.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

1891 E. Frontage Rd.
Tumacacori, AZ 85640

Coordinates: 31.5623361, -111.04996360000001

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