Presidio San Agustín del Tucson

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196 N Court Avenue, Tucson, AZ, United States
(520) 837-8119

A volunteer teaching the art of the sword.

On the warm, humid morning of August 20, 1775, the Tucson Presidio was established by Regular Spanish Army Lt. Colonel Hugo O’Conor. O’Conor, of Irish descent, was Inspector General and had made a name for himself on the frontier of New Spain.  The construction of the fort probably started the following October.  The Tubac garrison and families moved north in late October of 1776 occupying the earthen berms and palisade that was the Tucson fort. The first correspondence was written from Tucson by Col. Juan Bautista de Anza in November of 1776.

The fort was small and poorly constructed. In 1782, after a large Apache assault, an 8 to 12 ft high adobe wall was constructed that was about 700 ft long on each side.  The post was continually improved until it reached its maximum size of approximately 11 acres. The land enclosed in these walls sat in what is now present day downtown Tucson, approximately inside the streets of Church, Washington, and Congress, and up to the banks of the Santa Cruz River (which was flowing at that time.) 

Tucson was among the largest of the frontier presidios.  Tucson’s torreons (towers) were state of the art, allowing defense along the walls. The square style torreons are found on most post-1772 presidios.

To read more about the history of the Presidio, click here.

The Tucson Presidio Trust for Historic Preservation raises awareness of Southern Arizona’s Spanish and Mexican heritage.

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