Seeing the Sites of Arizona: 11 Images

Arizona is a state rich in history and culture. Twenty-two American Indian tribes have homelands within the state’s boundaries—take a tour with us.
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Arizona is a state rich in history and culture. Twenty-two American Indian tribes have homelands within the state’s boundaries; they strongly influence life, lifeways, politics and art here. The mighty—and threatened—Colorado River flows east to west across in the north, creating one of the wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon, which the state is named for. The state is a photographer’s paradise. Here are just 11 images from this state that speak to that history and culture.

Tanya H. Lee

The Babbitt family arrived in Arizona in the 1880s and rapidly established a cattle ranching empire. Babbitt Brothers Trading was founded in 1934. Bruce Babbitt served as the 16th governor of Arizona and as Secretary of the Interior under President Clinton. It was under his watch that the president established 22 new national monuments, including the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah.

Wikipedia

Called the “White Dove of the Desert,” the Mission San Xavier del Bac was founded by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction on the original Spanish mission church began in 1700. Father Kino wrote, “On the twenty-eighth [of April 1700] we began the foundations of a very large and capacious church… and house of San Xavier del Baac, all the many people working with much pleasure and zeal, some in digging for the foundations, others in hauling many and very good stones of tezontle from a little hill which was about a quarter of a league away.” That church was destroyed by fire in 1770 and the current structure built between 1783 and 1797, again with the help of local Native Americans. Today the church is an active parish church and pilgrimage destination, visited by 200,000 people a year. Restoration work on the building began in 1887 when it was damaged by an earthquake and continues into the present, when funds are available. A National Historic Landmark, the San Xavier complex is located on the Tohono O’odham Reservation about 10 miles south of Tucson. This image was taken in 1902.

Tanya H. Lee

A weathered side door at the San Xavier del Bac Mission about 15 miles south of Tucson. The site on the Tohono O’odham Reservation is a National Historic Landmark.

Tanya H. Lee

Actor Joe Begay Navajo) retired 18 years ago from the film and TV industry, but keeps getting call-backs, he says. One of the first Native Americans to portray Indians in the movies, he worked on Dances With Wolves, Three Amigos, Young Guns II, Boys on the Side, and A Hot Bath an’ a Stiff Drink and other productions. He has had roles on “Little House on the Prairie” and “One Life to Live.” A Green Beret in Vietnam, today Begay sells his storytelling bracelets and rings outside the San Xavier Mission.

Tanya H. Lee

A hand cast bronze bell from Nepenthe in Big Sur hangs in a niche on an adobe-style house near Flagstaff.

Tanya H. Lee

Citrus has been a significant industry in southern Arizona since the late 1800s. As from time immemorial, most agriculture in the Phoenix area, which gets an average of under 10 inches of precipitation a year, depends on irrigation. The citrus industry relied first on the reconstruction of Hohokam Canals in the 1860s.

Tanya H. Lee

A sign in a shop window in Tempe home of Arizona State University) protesting the proposed development of the Resolution Copper Mine near Superior.

Tanya H. Lee

Winter sunset in Arizona on the road to Sedona.

Tanya H. Lee

Congress Street in Tucson, near the Hotel Congress, where bank robber John Dillinger was captured in 1934 when the hotel caught fire.

Tanya H. Lee

Phoenix’s limited-access Willo Historic District preserves many of the homes built in the 1920s to the 1950s, the beginning of the population boom in the American Southwest. People came for the climate and wide-open spaces, and stayed as the military and industry provided jobs. Beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, the Big Buildup on the Colorado Plateau provided water and power for the burgeoning cities of the Southwest—Tucson, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix, which has depleted its underground aquifers and now relies on water taken from the Colorado River. Colorado River water has been fought over by the seven states through which the river runs since the 1920s and how the limited resource will be allocated among those states and Mexico in the future depends largely on adjudication of Indian water rights under the Winters Doctrine.

This story was originally published February 24, 2015.