Region III Quarterly

Volume 1 - No. 1

July, 1939


Talk Given by Hillory A. Tolson, Regional Director,
at the Dedication of the Tumacacori National Monument Museum near Nogales, Arizona, on April 23, 1939.

We are assembled here today to dedicate the Tumacacori National Monument museum. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes; United States Senator Carl Hayden; Director Arno B. Cammerer, Associate Director A. E. Demaray, Dr. Carl P. Russell, and Frank Pinkley, and other officials of the National Park Service; Miss Mary F. Lesley of Phoenix, Arizona; local civic organizations; and certain educational and religious institutions are responsible for its planning, financing, and construction.

This museum symbolizes the passage of some 400 years since the coming of the white man to the Southwest. It emphasizes the part played by the Tumacacori Mission in the chain of missions founded by Father Kino some 250 years ago.

Why does the Government desire to interpret, through the medium of exhibit material, what occurred here in the past? Why has it been deemed worthwhile to spend funds to build this structure? These questions can be answered by noting the importance of Tumacacori National Monument.

The American people are beginning to realize that the material remains of their predecessors, as evidenced by historic buildings and sites, are worth saving. Such sites tend to keep alive the great and dramatic events of our history and to indicate to us the economic, political, and social phases through which our forefathers passed.

The citizens of the United States have delegated to their Congress and to their President the duty of preserving these sites. The Congress and the President, in turn, have made the National Park Service of the Department of the Interior the Federal Agency responsible for carrying out the will of the people in this matter. Tumacacori Mission, as a nationally important historic site, is being preserved and administered by that Service for this and future generations.

What a story is told by the ancient walls of Tumacacori Mission! It symbolizes the cavalcade of the Southwest. Desert Indians--Pima and Papago--living through periods of peace and war before the coming of the white man. The Spaniards--de Vaca, de Niza, and Coronado--constituting the 16th Century exploring vanguard of later legions to come. Father Kino- on the trail from Sonora, surrounded by soldiers, Indians, pack animals, and stock; and constructing, during the early 1700's, the Tumacacori Mission as one of many. The people of the Mission--their daily life portrayed here in the implements of mining, gardening, harvesting, manufacturing, and trading. The neophyte Indians--kneeling at mass in awed reverence. Soldiers--protecting the outposts of empire for the King of Spain. The Franciscan missionaries--succeeding the Jesuits in 1767, and building a new mission upon the site of the old. Indians in attack--evidenced by the burning of Tumacacori by Apaches in 1824. Successors to the Mission fathers--crumbling walls, treasure hunters, and United States citizens. Finally, the National Park Service with its program of preservation and informative exhibits.

These have been the highlights of Tumacacori's past as portrayed by the Mission and the exhibits installed in this building. Posterity will know the story more fully.

As a representative of the National Park Service of the Department of the Interior, I hereby dedicate this museum to the service of the people of the United States.

Whipsnakes are catching sharp-toothed bats and swallowing them head first without being bitten, in the prehistoric ruins at Casa Grande National Monument, Arizona. The method of capture has not been determined. On three occasions, when an approaching Ranger frightened the snakes, the bats were released but were so badly crippled they could not fly.

Many of these bats, during the day, remain in large cracks in the walls and above doorways of the ruins. It is possible the snakes lie in wait for the bats to return from the night flight, and then capture them as one or more enter particular cracks.

Mummy Cave, in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, contains more than 100 skeletons which have lain there undisturbed since 1804. In that year, a band of Navajo warriors had gone on a raid, leaving the old men, women, and children, as they thought, safely sheltered in a large cave high on the canyon wall. But a band of Mexicans on a raid into the Navajo country discovered the cave, laid siege to it, and massacred all the Navajos.

When the Navajo warriors returned, they found all their relatives had been killed. Navajos have since avoided the cave. Only a comparatively few white people have seen it.

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Date: 17-Nov-2005