Resident Author

SaddleBrooke resident and author Bob Simpson became interested in local history when he became a guide for the SaddleBrooke Hiking Club.

Local Author Reveals History of Oracle Junction, Arizona

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

SaddleBrooke resident and local historian Bob Simpson has authored a third book, The History of Oracle Junction, AZ. This latest work, like his previous two-volume book, From the Ca˜nada del Oro to the Tortolitas, is the result of extensive research using various documents, including online Arizona newspaper archives, U.S. Census records, and homestead patents. Simpson always delves below the surface, uncovering interesting facts and documenting them thoroughly through text, maps, photos, and graphics.

Today Oracle Junction is home to a Mexican restaurant and a mobile home park. But as Simpson’s latest book reveals, in the early mining and stagecoach days, it was an important transportation intersection. In the 1880s, thirsty cattle could be watered there. In 1907, 40 acres were set aside as private property for the Santa Fe Pacific Railroad. Into the 1950s that land became the site of rodeos, dance halls, a gas station, bus stops, and illegal gambling at the Oracle Junction Inn (a practice ended by the Pinal County Sheriff).

The History of Oracle Junction, AZ, covers the Tom Mix memorial on Pinal Pioneer Parkway, ranching on public lands, the transcontinental U.S. Route 80, commerce at the Junction, and much more. The history of Oracle Junction is inextricably tied to the transportation needs of the railroad town of Tucson, linking it to the mining, farming, and developing metropolitan areas to the north. But on paper, things could have been quite different if the Texas and Pacific Railroad had gone through Florence instead of Tucson.

Thanks to the author’s generosity, this new book is available at the SaddleBrooke One and DesertView Libraries as well as the Pima County Libraries. Later this year, it will be available for reading online or digital download at the Arizona Memory Project (AMP) of the Arizona State Library. Both volumes of From the Ca˜nada del Oro to the Tortolitas are also available at the SaddleBrooke One and DesertView Libraries.