Tucson Oddity: Downtown Kino memorial a hidden treasure

2011-04-18T00:00:00Z 2014-08-01T11:51:53Z Tucson Oddity: Downtown Kino memorial a hidden treasureCarmen Duarte Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 18, 2011 12:00 am  • 

A monument of Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino on horseback at South Kino Parkway and East 15th Street is well known to thousands of motorists who pass it daily.

But another memorial to the Jesuit missionary remains a hidden treasure to many in the Old Pueblo.

That memorial was unveiled on March 15, 1936 - the 225th anniversary of Kino's death - and it's near City Hall downtown at 255 W. Alameda St.

It is a sculptured plaque set in volcanic rock of Kino on a trek wearing sandals, a robe with a cape and a hat. He is accompanied by a young indigenous boy carrying a bow and arrow.

For Fred Allison, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, searching the history of the monument proved pleasurable. He did the research for the 300th anniversary observance of Kino's death that was marked here and in Sonora last month. Kino was born in 1645 in Segno, Italy, and died March 15, 1711, in Magdalena, Sonora. His visible skeletal remains are in a crypt at La Plaza Monumental, about 50 yards from María Magdalena Church.

It was in Northern Sonora and Southern Arizona that the 17th-century priest on horseback explored, farmed and introduced cattle, horses and European crops. He preached the Catholic faith, defended the rights of the poor, and founded 21 missions, including San José de Tumacácori and Mission San Xavier del Bac.

"Here is the oddity," said Allison. "It turns out professor Frank C. Lockwood, an ordained Methodist minister who came to teach at the University of Arizona, began to research the state's history, and he fell head over heels in love with Padre Kino. He gets in his mind that this community should have a monument to Kino."

Allison said Lockwood started a committee - supported by the press and prominent pioneers - to raise money, and it commissioned Mahonri Young, who came up with a model of the downtown sculpture. Young was the grandson of Brigham Young, the second prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"Then the Depression hit; half the money raised was lost while it was in the bank," Allison said, "but support for the monument continued, and more fundraisers were held."

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at 573-4104 or cduarte@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activate

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...
Get weekly ads via e-mail