When married to a history buff, you kind of get used to making little unexpected side trips. Yesterday, it was to the Tohono O’odham Indian reservation, located about 40 minutes from our hotel. There, in the middle of nowhere, appeared an attractive, gleaming white multi-storied structure. Nicknamed “the White Dove of the Desert,” the Mission San Xavier del Bac is the oldest intact European structure in Arizona.
The Catholic mission was founded by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692, and the structure itself was built some 100 years later. It is still in operation, serving the local community, the village of Wa:k.
The history is kind of interesting. When the mission was built in the 1700s, Southern Arizona was actually part of New Spain. Following Mexican independence in 1821, San Xavier became part of Mexico. And it finally became part of the United States with the Gadsden Purchase of 1854.
Renovation and restoration efforts continue as the mission has survived an earthquake in 1887, a lightning strike in 1937 and years of neglect as changes in territorial rights and authority led to an absence of oversight.
Still, thanks largely to the local population, the mission continues to fulfill its purpose while attracting thousands of visitors to the area. If you happen to find yourself in the Tucson area, it is certainly worth a side trip.
Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of films, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.
Note: Michael & Kate remain in Tucson, Arizona while attending the 18th annual Home Video Studio Getaway. Our gala awards banquet is Saturday night. Our studio has been nominated in seven different categories. We’ll post the results once they are known.