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Tubac Presidio Named a National Historic Site in Journalism

Dedication Ceremony Saturday, March 23, 2013
The Society of Professional Journalists has named the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park as a National Historic Site in Journalism. The Tubac Presidio is being recognized as the home of Arizona’s first newspaper, The Weekly Arizonian, which was published in Tubac on March 3, 1859. The Washington Hand Press on which the paper was printed is displayed at the Park and continues to be operated by volunteers who print copies of that first newspaper for visitors. A dedication ceremony will be held at the Park on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 2pm. Demonstrations of the 154-year old press will be held from 11am to 3pm.

Since 1942, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has honored the people and places that have played important roles in the history of journalism through the Historic Sites program. SPJ’s Valley of the Sun Chapter nominated the Tubac Presidio for this national designation. Previous honorees include: The Associated Press offices in Washington and New York City; Freedom’s Journal, the first Black newspaper published in the United States; and, most recently, the Silverton Standard & the Miner. See a complete list of past winners at

According to Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s official state historian, Tubac was founded in 1752 by Spanish soldiers and is the oldest non-Native American community in the state. Americans arrived in 1854, and The Weekly Arizonian was published five years later on March 3, 1859 by Edward E. Cross.

Hand Press in Action_300dpi_stpark

Trimble wrote in support of the Tubac Presidio’s nomination, including details of the paper’s history and its final printing in Tubac on August 11 of its founding year. “In his farewell editorial Cross wrote, ‘Conducting a newspaper in a frontier country is always a perilous, precarious and thankless task,’” Trimble noted.

A plaque will be placed at the Tubac Presidio to distinguish it as a National Historic Site in Journalism. To celebrate the official dedication, the Park will offer demonstrations of the original Washington Hand Press from 11am to 3pm. A tour of the Tubac Presidio Museum will be at 1pm. The dedication ceremony will be held on the museum patio at 2pm. Distinguished guests will include Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s Official State Historian; Dave Cuillier, National SPJ President-elect and Director of the University of Arizona School of Journalism; and Bryan Martin, Executive Director of Arizona State Parks.

The Tubac Presidio State Historic Park is located at 1 Burruel Street in Tubac, Arizona (Exit 34 on I-19 south of Tucson). Park admission is $5 adults, $2 youth 7-13, children free. Reservations are requested by March 18; please call 520-398-2252 or email To learn more about the Arizona’s first state park, please visit

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