Hiking Club Ventures to Barrio Viejo

Queen’s Garden Trail in Bryce Canyon (photo by Tim Butler)

Linda Nagy

On March 10 a group of 17 Hiking Club members enjoyed a guided walking and history tour with Kathryn Madore of the Barrio Viejo. Tucson’s Barrio is the largest 19th century collection of adobe buildings and the best-preserved “Spanish Neighborhood” in the United States.

The group met first at the historic St. Augustine Church in the Presidio. Founded in 1776, the Mexican Baroque-style church was built in 1929 and renovated in 1968.

The next stop was close by at Stone Avenue to see the Barrio’s oldest structure still standing, the Carlos Y. Velasco House from the 1870s.

As we moved further along, we were able to experience and photograph the colorful facades, doors, and gates of the Barrio Viejo while Kathryn filled us in with tidbits of history as we made short standing stops. We also visited two photo galleries, the Etherton and Andrew Smith Galleries on South Convent Avenue. Kathryn maneuvered our group through the interesting streets and led us to El Minuto Mexican restaurant for a tasty lunch.

After lunch, Kathryn pointed out the El Tiradito Shrine where we left notes of encouragement on small slips of paper in the crumbling walls. We continued to walk by more interesting renovated adobe homes and areas, including the remains of a commemorative rail station for the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad and the Elysian Grove Mercantile. We saw the first Tucson mural and the theatre Teatro Carmen from 1915, which was formerly owned by the Black Elks for 50 years. The area is being fully restored and is one of the finest examples of the Barrio’s historic landmarks.

It was a most enjoyable day and an informative tour. Hiking Club attendees thanked Kathryn for sharing her knowledge of the Barrio.