On this week’s show, we had such a fun time last week, we’re going to do it again! We’re going to revisit some previous interviews. We actually have two for you today. Roger Pfeuffer of Mission Garden and Gail Hartmann of the Turquoise Trail.
Today is August 21st, my name is Tom Heath and you’re listening to “Life Along the Streetcar”.
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On this week’s show, we had such a fun time last week, we’re going to do it again! We’re going to revisit some previous interviews. We actually have two for you today. Roger Pfeiffer of Mission Garden and Gail Hartman of the Turquoise Trail. Today is August 21. My name is Tom Heath and you’re listening to life along the streetcar. Each and every Sunday, I focused on social, cultural, and economic impacts in Tucson’s urban core, and we shed light and hidden gems everyone should know about. From a mountain to you, Arizona, it all stops in between. You get the inside track right here on a 9.1 FM email@example.com. Also available on your iPhone or Android by using our very own downtown Radio Tucson app. And if you want to reach us on the show, head over to Lifelongthistreecar.org. You can find our past episodes. There’s a contact form.
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We are on Facebook and Instagram, and our podcast is anywhere you find your favorite podcast. So last week we redid an interview.
With Rick Collins of the Presidium Museum.
Because yesterday was their big celebration of.
Our modern day European city founding birthday, August 20.
I actually got more response from that interview than most of the more recent ones. And a couple of comments I heard were, I’m kind of new to the show and it was kind of great.
To hear these older stories.
So, of course, I want to remind you, you can head over to Lifelongstreetcar.org, you can listen to all of these shows.
But then I got an email from.
Mission Garden and they are launching a new series called The Gardener’s Tales. And this is really what it sounds like. It’s Mission Garden.
They have devoted gardeners, and as they describe them, they are dirt loving, dedicated.
Folks who water, care and work the.
Soil for our beloved heritage trees and plants.
So they started a series of interviews.
With these gardeners to talk about how they came to be at Mission Guard, what Mission Guard means to them, and what it means for our community.
So I just saw that posting and I got the feedback about the previous shows, and I said, you know what? We’re going to do one more. So I went back to episode number one.
If you’re going to go back, go all the way back.
And I pulled up our interview with Roger Pfeiffer and we chatted with him.
About the history of Mission Garden back in 2017, October of 2017.
And we’re going to replay that for you here in just a moment.
It is again a little bit dated.
But the information about Mission Garden, the history, the culture, the significance is still very valid.
So let’s start the show today with Mission Garden from 2017 with Roger Pfeiffer.
I’m Roger Pfeiffer and I am co chair of a nonprofit organization called Friends of Tucson’s birthplace to preserve, protect, and to the extent possible, recreate the cultural aspects on the west side of the Santa Cruz called Tucson Origins Heritage Park. First evidence of agriculture on the Santa Cruz River was found here. Agriculture meaning a permanent habitation. This was the birthplace of what has grown into Tucson. The native population has been here for 4100 years. Then came the Spanish missionaries. And then during the Mexican Revolution, they kicked Spain out and Mexico took over. So we’ve had Mexican farmers here. We’ve had missionaries. They’ve also had Chinese farmers that actually farmed on these four acres. It was only purchased in the 1980s by Pima County from a private individual. And agriculture that is unique. We are an ethnobotanical educational museum. We are portraying in as authentic way as possible all the different crops that were raised by the different cultures
that have farmed here for 4100 years and as authentic as possible the ways in which they grew them and as authentic as possible the way in which they prepared the food that they took out of these gardens. This is called Mission Garden but it reflects many different cultures. So we have a garden we have, first of all, a native Sonoran Desert plant garden that identifies and shows people how people, even as agriculturists, they still harvested from the desert. So we have all of the plants, many of the plants that they harvested from. Then you come around in a timeline fashion to early agriculture. That was the 4100 years ago culture. And then the next culture’s garden is the Hohokam garden. And the next culture garden is the pre European Contact odom garden. And then the post European Contact odom garden. And then we have the Spanish colonial garden which is the Kino heritage fruit tree, pipeline orchard. We have some heritage garden crops including winter wheat that was introduced from the
Old World to the New World. And then we move on from the Spanish to the Mexican garden and a Chinese garden. And then in the future, we are going to have a Yaki garden and then a statehood garden that would encompass an African American component and a European American component. And then the end result will be tomorrow’s garden which is going to try to ask the question how can we continue to grow food in the Sonoran Desert given three main challenges water scarcity, which is a lot different than it used to be population pressure and climate change. We generally do that tour in a chronological period. There are people who come here for particular things they want to see. But the general tour that people take is a chronological tour. We’re trying to show people how things are grown, how things were grown and how you might be able to use some of those things. So one of the things we do is every Thursday we give produce to the farmers market through the community food bank. This garden would
not exist without volunteers. So we allow volunteers to take home food for their families. We have several restaurants that are interested in from time to time doing kind of special dishes when it’s available, but we can’t do that on a consistent basis. We do have festivals throughout the year. Coming up on October 28 is our annual Membrio Fest, which is our quince trees. They’ll be harvested. We’ll show them how to make stuff out of quids. We have Mexican sweet limes that are going to be available probably in December, January. And that’s a very interesting citrus that people aren’t used to. In April May, we have our annual Winter Wheat Festival, san Diehl Festival where we harvest the winter wheat and then we serve traditional foods. We’ve had to have Pomegranate Festival here last year. We’re going to probably be looking for a fig festival just honoring the different kinds of produce that will come up. The Chinese are producing some very interesting vegetables, heritage vegetables from
Chinese backyards that grew up in Tucson. Oftentimes. The Chinese Culture Center in Tucson is very involved in the Chinese garden. The Tahana Autumn elders come out and helped us plant the Tahana Autumn Gardens and the Halcom Gardens and the Early Agriculture Gardens. So yeah, there’s a lot of help from a variety. But our volunteers come from all walks of life. We are now in the process of putting together a commercial kitchen. We just got two buildings built, an education center and a public restroom and a kitchen area. So we’re going to be able to take the produce right out of the garden to the kitchen and have cooking classes and show people how to make different things. And other chefs could come in here as guest chefs and show people using our materials, show them how to make things out of it. It is free. We do ask if people can to make a $5 donation coming in because that’s what we exist on, that and grants. I have learned a lot. I am a poster guy for lifelong learning. I think agriculture
was new to me with the exception. As I grew up in Michigan, I had a family garden all the time and we grew a summer garden all the time. And my grandfather was in charge of a greenhouse in Michigan. So my dad keeps saying I’m a throwback to my grandfather.
Okay, that was Roger Pfeiffer from our very first show, our very first interview, October of 2017.
And we’re talking about Mission Garden now. Back in the olden days when I.
First started this show, I was very.
Ambitious and I always had two feature segments.
So what you heard now we’re doing.
One segment and giving a bit more time.
What you just heard was the entire.
Segment from Roger Pfeiffer. So after the break, we’re going to.
Come back and talk about another cool.
Project that has us out and about here in the summer heat, the Turquoise Trail.
But first, I want to remind you.
That you are listening to life along the Streetcar downtown Radio 99.1 FM and.
Available for streaming on Downtownradio.org.
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Welcome back. So the first half of the show we heard from Roger Pfeiffer of Mission Garden.
Then we took a little bit of.
A break and now we’re going to pick back up with a second interview, different topic. And this is Gail Hartman.
She is a very integral part of the Presidio Museum. And last week, Rick Collins, we had that interview really well, received lots of good comments about that interview and the Presidia Museum and a couple of questions.
About the Turquoise Trail.
So I thought, hey, we did a story on the Turquoise Trail and this.
Is a Gail Hartman who was part.
Of the founding of that effort and she’ll tell you the story of how that came to be. But this goes back again to March of 2018. So again, diving back into the archives.
Gail Hartman talking about the history and path of the Turquoise Trail.
Tucson is an especially interesting place because we have a long history and we have a really unusual history, meaning we have a Native American history. Then we were part of Spain, then we were part of Mexico and then finally we became part of the US. So it’s a great place to learn about your past. And we are sitting at the Presidio today. The Presidio sana Gustin del Tucson. I am a past president of the board of the Tucson Presidio Trust. That’s the organization that manages the Presidio. Friend of mine came to me, my friend Marjorie Cunningham, who’s a lawyer, just retired now. But she came to me because she has lots of clients who are downtown and sometimes have to spend an hour or two, I guess, waiting for a judge or something. And she got this idea from being in Boston, from going to what’s called the Freedom Trail, which is Brick, Pavers, I believe, in a big line on the sidewalks of Boston that highlight important historical places such as Paul Revere’s house and things of that sort.
And so she got the idea that we ought to be able to do something like that to Tucson. In Tucson and she just had this written out on a little piece of paper and she’d gone to a couple of friends in the city. She didn’t really know what to do with it and the friends suggested she’d come to me. And so when we started working on this we decided it would be a really good project that the Presidio Trust could do. And we ended up we started by finding an artist, a really wonderful artist, wolf Forrest, who still lives in Tucson. He’s a teacher and he spent one, I think, very hot summer down here making this wonderful map. It’s kind of odd perspective map. I like it. Some people say it’s a little hard to read and I suppose if you’re not from Tucson, maybe it is, but I think it’s really kind of neat. And we made this loop, this historic trail. It’s not a real trail and you need to understand that we just made a loop for the downtown that passed by a number of historical sites.
A photograph showing the area right there in the corner that we did the dig. And we ended up finding the remnants of the house of this guy, sydney Randolph DeLonge. He was the first elected mayor of Tucson during the Arizona territorial period.
Judy and originally we called it the Presidio Trail. Well, primarily because we started here at the reconstructed fort. It was the Star, the Arizona Daily Star that changed the name. And what happened is kind of comical in that we went to the city of Tucson, to the council after we spoke to each council member separately with this idea and we said, we don’t really want money from you. We’ll try to raise the money privately or at least from a whole lot of different sources. Maybe we’ll get a little from the city and the county. But what we would like the city to do is paint this blue line on the sidewalk. And the council gave us a unanimously positive vote and it turned out that the city transportation department had some extra turquoise paint so they painted the blue line turquoise Line. And then the newspapers started calling it the Turquoise Trail. And we got to thinking after the first couple of printings that that’s a really nice name and it maybe makes a little more sense to people
because it isn’t really about the Presidio and that maybe confuses people. So we just changed the name and we call it the Turquoise Trail. And it has been phenomenally successful, really far more than we ever expected. This is our 8th printing that we did in 2016 and we print between 20 and 40,000 of these at a time. We have printed I think we’re up to about $170,000 now. We do have a bit of a problem. Things changed downtown so we’ve had to remove some things like the Santa Rita Hotel isn’t there anymore. We’ve added the new fire station. It’s down by the freeway, which I think is a lovely building. We’ve added the Mission garden across the freeway, et cetera. Some people have asked us, well, why don’t you have something more permanent? I think it’s good to have this line that you can repaint for just those reasons. Things change, things move, and we probably aren’t going to always want it in precisely the same place. We did learn in our first repainting attempt that you kind of have to
do it in the summer because you need the paint to dry fast, otherwise people step on it and you end up with little footprints going off in all directions.
Is there any criterion for what puts you on the map? Is it a committee decision?
It was Barbara and my decision. Basically, we’re a committee of two. She really initially made it and so a number of these things were hers and it was really that she routed it so that it would go past places of historic interest.
An unhappy woman had an affair with a young man and one day her husband came home and killed the man and buried him out in the backyard. And afterwards people started coming here and saying prayers to his soul became a popular spot to do that. So if you look in the bricks, you can see people have done prayers in the bricks, they have lit candles.
There were some things that we thought would be nice for people to see, but we couldn’t seem to figure out how to include them in a loop. So, for instance, the Cathedral, which is on South Stone, we have those in letters as opposed to numbers. And so if you come over here and you find g, it will tell you about the cathedral. But you look at it, you don’t actually walk by it.
And during the urban renewal days, they took down everything except for the front of the building. So when you go inside, it’s pretty modern on the inside. And at that time period, of course, I think they got rid of the same glass windows that had been inside. But if you go in the lobby, there’s one of the bells from the Tucson Presidio from display. As we’re going to walk by, we’re going to walk by the Scottish Wrights Cathedral. This is a Masonic temple and if you’re ever here when the building is open, go inside. It’s fascinating to see they have Egyptian statues and.
Well, there’s no charge for this. So how is the maintenance done? Is it through the Presidio trust.
Some downtown businesses have been very helpful. The Hotel Congress has helped out from the beginning. La Casino Restaurant has been helpful and we get a little money from the city, the county and from the visitor center.
What’s the overall length of the loop as it currently stands?
It’s about two and a half miles. Two to two and a half miles. And we always tell people it takes about perhaps 2 hours if you want to walk the whole thing. There’s lots of restaurants along the route so you can always stop for coffee or lunch or something of that sort. And of course, what we’ve tried to do with these little paragraphs on the back is give you some information about each one of these places that you pass by. And we’ve made every attempt to make this as accurate as possible. There were a few mistakes at the beginning. I think we’ve taken care of them all. If anybody sees something they think is wrong, they should let us know and we’ll be happy to change them. Another interesting area is on the south end when you’re walking along Cushing Street and you can look down Convent Street which is one of the streets that still has the Sonora and Row houses. So it’s a really good glimpse into what a lot of Tucson used to be like. We had to reroute the trail because you can’t walk through
the courthouse arcade at the moment because it’s being restored. And then when you walk in to the west into the park there, there’s the Mormon of Italian statue and the sold out of the Cueira there was the Carrio Gardens and that was a pond, a lake, small lake that was made with water from Springs and possibly some diverted from the Santa Cruz. I’ve never been quite sure about that. We need to come up with a little bit better kind of an institutional plan to keep this going. We don’t want it to just be a couple of folks that are in charge of it because it has become quite popular and we get a lot of snowbirds from northern states. We get a lot of people in Michigan and Minnesota and it’s interesting that a lot of people in Tucson who do follow the trail or take it, they say, gee, we didn’t really know a lot of the things that are on there so I hope it helps them learn a little bit about their home town.
He’s a quite well known singer. If you go in our gift shop, we have his CDs for sale. I encourage you all to spend a lot of money in our gift shop.
All right, that was Gail Hartman talking about the Turquoise Trail from an interview we did back in 2018. Turquoise Trail still up and they have made some modifications because of the recent.
Developments that have been coming into the downtown area. Also note that if you take it along the Tucson Convention Center that the outdoor area that was designed by Garrett Echo, the Echo Plaza is flowing again with water and that Turquoise Trail will take you right along there.
My name is Tom Heath.
You are listening to life along the streetcar in downtown Radio 99.1 FM and available for streaming on downtownradio.org.
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Hey, episode 214 is about to be wrapped up here, and I appreciate my indulgence. You’re allowing me to go down memory lane here. Last week we talked about the Presidium Museum with an interview deal with Rick Collins a few years ago, and today we got to hear from Roger Pfeiffer, which that interview is always special to me because not only is Mission Garden a really cool place, but that was our very first interview on the show. It was very appropriate to have Mission Guard and Roger Piper kick off a show that’s based upon our urban core, given the amount of history that’s at the base of a mountain there at Mission Garden.
But it was nice to revisit that interview.
And also we heard from Gail Hartman of the Presidio Museum talking about the.
Turquoise Trail, which is still going strong.
Lots of additions have been made to.
How you can access it.
You have the map you’ve got, there’s an app now you can download follow along.
So even though those are articles that.
Are dated, the material and the information is still very relevant today.
And next week we’ll get into something new.
In fact, something coming up here in September. We’ll talk to the team over at Hotel Congress about their HoCo Fest, which.
Is a big concert, but they’ve also partnered with Ten West to bring in a sustainability summit. So it’s an interesting juxtaposition of ideas.
Happening in connection with the Hoko Fest, so we wanted to get them on the show. We’ll have them next week and talk to them about all those cool upcoming events.
And if there’s everything you want to hear, topics you want us to cover.
Things you would like us to shed light on, hit us up on Instagram or Facebook. Those are probably the best ways to connect with us. You can also email us firstname.lastname@example.org lots of ways, but just do stay in touch.
And while you’re hopping around the Internet, don’t forget to check out our host.
Website, which is the downtownradio.org, and checking out all these line ups. I’m so excited to just be a part of this station. The Cool shows on Sunday, which I talk a lot about. And then I found Jim and Dave with the roadside show on Mondays. We’ve got the Arizona four one one on Thursdays. All Arizona Music and Bow and Hope also have this thing dialed in. They get really good guests to come on and talk about their shows that are coming up and album releases. They do all kinds of cool things like third set, triple play. It’s just professional stuff right there, but you can check out the whole line up over there on downtownradio.org. And finally you got to know I’m.
Going to ask why you’re over there.
Hit that donate button. All volunteers run the station, the board, the tech people, smart people making things work, even our carpenters and electricians, they’re all volunteer effort here. So if you can donate a little bit of money and then if you ideally could get yourself on a monthly donation, does not be a lot. Just having that stable income helps the station do an even better job of broadcasting this great information and getting it out to you in lots of ways. You can already hear us on the radio, you can hear us online and you can get the app. So I think we’re doing pretty well for a bunch of shows and DJs that don’t get paid and just have a lot of fun doing it. Well, I do appreciate your time this week. We’re going to leave you with a little music that’s I think again appropriate from our last guest, Gail Hartman, talking about the Turquoise Trail. We have a song here, came out.
It looks like it was a single.
In 2021 from I don’t know if.
It’S an individual or group, but the.
Name is Tiger Blood Jewel and the song is on the Trail. My name is Tom Heath. I hope you have a great week and tune in next Sunday for more life along the streetcar.