• Sunlight illuminates the top of historic Mission San José de Tumacácori church.

    Tumacácori

    National Historical Park Arizona

Tumacácori Preservation

Preserving Tumacácori's granary
“Tumacacori’s preservation will always depend more on a respect and knowledge of the building’s materials and for the place itself, than on a new technological breakthrough. This is the nature of the place and that is the nature of adobe.” Historic Architect Anthony Crosby
NPS Photo by David Yubeta
 

Historic Preservation at Tumacácori National Historical Park

It takes a tremendous amount of knowledge and skill to properly preserve the park's historic adobe structures.

Each year, 2500 staff hours are spent in preparation for field work. This includes assessing the work that needs to be done, priortizing preservation projects, purchasing materials, planning logistics, and communicating with partners to clarify the goals of each preservation project. It is during this process that unforeseen problems are brought to the table and past experiences are reviewed to improve the quality of preservation work. Reports are completed after each project that will serve as future reference. Additional time is spent training new staff and outreach to local educational institutions.

Another 2500 staff hours are spent each year on "hands-on" field work to maintain the structures at the park's mission sites of Tumacácori, Calabazas, and Guevavi. Materials used for preservation are the traditional types of materials that were originally used to build the missions. Appearance of each work site is documented before and after each project.

Some details:

The most typical size of an adobe, i.e. "a dried-mud brick" at Tumacácori’s Franciscan church is 12x3x24 inches.

More than 90,000 adobes were used to build the present historic church.

Fired or cooked adobe bricks were used where strength was needed for support, such as in the bell tower.

Lime plaster was the traditional covering for adobe structures, consisting only of lime, from limestone, water, and sand.

It is estimated that over 20 million dollars have been spent on the missions' preservation since 1917.

Did You Know?

Mission San José de Tumacácori

Tumacácori National Historical Park is located in the historic Pimería Alta or "Land of the Upper Pimas," an area that includes much of present-day southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico.