Happy Birthday Tucson on August 20


To celebrate Tucson’s birthday, start off at the Luis G. Gutierrez Bridge (formerly the Cushing Street bridge) west of the I-10  at 9:30 a.m. to watch a solar alignment of the overhead canopy cut- out design (see photo below) onto the bridge’s floor.  The Discovery Date marks  the  Birthday of the Tucson Presidio, San Augustin del Tucson. 

canopy design on Luis G. Gutierrez bridge, courtesy of Charity Bidegain
canopy design on Luis G. Gutierrez bridge, courtesy of Charity Bidegain

This is what is written on the bridge for this Discovery Date:
“The Walled Presidio San Agustin de Tucson, was founded by Hugo O’Connor (sic) on August 20, 1775 as a Spanish outpost. This date is historically celebrated as Tucson’s Birthday. Named after the O’odham village of “Chuck-son”, meaning “Village of the dark spring at the foot of the mountains.” Image from a 1850 woodcut by James Bell. (Dicovery Date and time: August 20, 9:30 a.m.)”

More info on their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/luisggutierrezbridge


Then later at 5:30 p.m. check out the Tucson Presidio itself at the SW corner of Church and Washington in downtown for their annual celebration.

Enjoy cake and refreshments, the annual flag ceremony and music to celebrate Tucson’s birthday. From City of Tucson press release:

 The five flags that have flown over Tucson – American, Spanish, Mexican, Confederate, and the State of Arizona – will be presented in a

ceremony to celebrate Tucson’s 239th birthday. The Tohono O’odham Nation and Pascua Yaqui Tribe flags also will be presented, as will a
replica of the 28-star American flag that was brought by the Mormon Battalion and flown over Tucson on December 16, 1846.

Date:    Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Time:    5:30 p.m. – Music by Mariachi Los Changuitos Feos de Tucson
    6:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. – Presentation of Flags, Proclamations and
reading Hugo O’Conor letter
    7:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Serving Birthday Cake
Place:    Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Courtyard (SW corner of Church
Avenue and Washington Street)

The ceremony will include an invocation, signing of a joint proclamation by distinguished guests, reading Hugo O’Conor’s letter designating Tucson as the site of a new presidio, the honor guard presentation and music. The flags will then be retired to close the ceremony. Those attending are encouraged to dress in “period” costumes and sample a piece of the Tucson’s birthday cake. Tucson’s birthday celebration was begun by the Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission in 1975 and continues today. The Presidio San Agustín del Tucson location is the interpretive center on the site of Tucson’s original adobe-walled presidio.

For information, call Marty McCune, Tucson-Pima County Historical Commission, at 437-5355. For questions on ADA accommodations and
accessibility for this event, call Sandra Fata or Alma Murrieta, City Clerk’s Office, at 791-4213. 

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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for Tucsoncitizen.com for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, www.southernazjapan.org (since Jan. 2013).


  1. Never a mention of the Apaches? That’s why the Presidio was built. The Presidio Trust never seems to want to aknowledge them. The yaquis are alwaus invilved. Yet they showed up in Tucson after 1900. They nothing to do with the Presidio or even early Tucson history.
    Never even an invite to the Apaches? How about one Apache holding a modern Apache tribal flag. And the amount of exhibits in the Presidio Museum is very little.
    Maybe a little less “we are the cool Spanish” and a little more history of the people who were here first and caused the Spanish to build the frt. But that’s what you get when you put a bunch of living histoey re-enactors in chage of the place.

  2. Wonderful. Cannot be there, but please someone, anyone sing “Las Mananitas” to celebrate en la lengua del Presidio en 1775.

  3. “Happy birthday Tucson” was sung by 9 people (and 1 dog named Eva) at the bridge this morning to celebrate Tucson’s 239th birthday. The Santa Cruz river was actually running (northward) and the Sun Link modern streetcar was running on the bridge every 10 minutes. Lovely day, with “A” Mt. in the background. Check out the next Discovery Date via FB.

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