Train – First in Tucson

When did the first train steam into Tucson?

Some resources give a different date for this event, but many reliable sources cite March 20, 1880.

After train travel to the city began, Tucson was no longer isolated. The Southern Pacific Railroad brought changes such as faster travel and cheaper goods to the desert community.

Tucsonans were proud of the new train. They telegraphed news of its arrival to a group of important people including the Pope. Some local Tucsonans claimed to have received a reply from the Pope. They sent a telegram worded: "His Holiness, the Pope, acknowledges with appreciation receipt of your telegram informing him that the ancient city of Tucson at last has been connected by rail with the outside world and sends his benediction; but, for his own satisfaction would ask where in hell is Tucson?”  

Sources:

"Rail Treasure." Tucson Citizen. March 14, 2004. Page A4.   

"Tucson a Century Ago." Arizona Daily Star. December 31, 1999. Page F2. 

Sonnichsen, C. L. (Charles Leland). Tucson, the Life and Times of An American City. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. c1987. Page102.    


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