Mission San Jose de Tumacacori

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Mission San Jose de Tumacacori (1691-1848) - A Spanish Mission established in 1691 as Mission San Cayetano del Tumacacori by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino relocated to present site in present day Santa Cruz County, Arizona. Abandoned in 1848. Also known as Tumacacori Mission.

Mission San Jose de Tumacacori Convento (Quarters and Shops)
Mission San Jose de Tumacacori Mortuary Chapel
Mission San Jose de Tumacacori Franciscan Church Ruins

The Spanish Period (1691-1821)

Mission Tumacacori Church Interior with Flat Roof
Mission Tumacacori Granary Interior

Father Kino established Mission San Cayetano del Tumacacori in January of 1691 and one day later established nearby Mission Los Santos Angeles de Guevavi. Initially the Tumacacori mission was on the east side of the Santa Cruz River but was relocated to the west side after the Pima rebellion of 1751. The mission was renamed Mission San Jose de Tumacacori after the move.

In 1800 construction began on a grander church that was meant to match the church at Mission San Xavier del Bac. Construction continued through 1823 when the church was almost complete but the plans were twice scaled back and the resulting church had several changed and incomplete features. The planned dome over the bell tower was never completed and a second dome was moved to cover the sanctuary. Only one of the four-barrel vaulted ceilings designed to be in the shape of a cross was built leaving most of the church with a flat ceiling.

The mission convento was a large open courtyard located next to the church enclosed by buildings that included the priests quarters, storehouses, workshops, and kitchens. The massive construction of the church and the enclosed convento courtyard provided protection against raiding Apache Indians. Nearby garrisons at the presidios could provide troops to relieve the missions from prolonged attacks and troops could be stationed at the missions to provide additional protection in difficult times.

Mexican Period (1822-1846)

The Mexican Revolution brought a period of austerity with limited support. The 1828 Mexican decree that forced Spanish born residents to leave Mexico left the church at the mission without a priest and the church building incomplete. The mission reverted to vista status (visiting priests but no resident priest) and survived for another 20 years with resident Indians and a few settlers.

For much of its life the mission had been plagued with attacks by hostile Apache Indians and without supporting garrisons of troops at Tubec the resident Indians and settlers were vulnerable to Apache raiding parties. A bad winter in 1848 and a series of Apache raids drove the last settlers from both Tubec and Tumacacori and both missions were abandoned.

Current Status

Tumacacori National Historical Park, Santa Cruz County, Arizona. Ruins of the church, granary, residences and a mortuary chapel can be visited along with the cemetery and a lime kiln. The national Park Service maintains a small museum and gift shop.

Location: Tumacacori National Historical Park, Santa Cruz County, Arizona.

Maps & Images

Lat: 31.56859 Long: -111.05086

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 3,276'

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Visited: 9 Mar 2015

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