Although the Town of Sahuarita was formally incorporated in 1994 by its founding members, the history of the area dates back to far earlier.

Archeological discoveries in the region have proved that humans have lived in the area for as long as 12,000 years. The earliest inhabitants migrated to the region, hunting mammoths and other large mammals for food and other materials. In 550 A.D. the Hohokam culture arrived in the Santa Cruz Valley from the Phoenix Basin, followed by several other native tribes (including the Tohono O’odham, who still live here today at the neighboring reservation.)

In 1692, Father Eusebio Kino formally established the Mission at San Xavier Del Bac, which is now revered for its beauty, relics and rich culture. The mission is located northwest of Sahuarita, on the way to Tucson.

He was followed by Juan Bautista Del Anza in 1775, who passed through the Sahuarita area on his way to California. He was followed by an estimated ten thousand “49ers” who traveled through the area in their search for gold in California in 1849. The Santa Cruz Valley became part of the United States shortly after this, and Sahuarita appeared on an early map for the first time in 1875 under the name “Sahuarito”, which means “little saguaro” and still is known as the town’s namesake.

In the 1870s, the region was home to stagecoach stops like Sahuarita Ranch, between Tucson, Arivaca and other major stops. Then in 1942, the area served as a crucial training ground for bomber pilots serving in World War II, (with the establishment of the Sahuarita Airstrip).

Years later in the 1960s, the Mission Mine opened, followed by Titan Missile Museum which opened to the public in 1986. The Museum features a curated display of Cold War relics. Presently, the area has grown from a population of roughly 1,900 residents back in 1994, to nearly 30,000 today.

Though rich in history and with a long story behind it, Sahuarita has so far to grow and much more ahead.


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