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2012-10-25 \Tucson\Community\History\
How Jewish Merchants Won the West
How Jewish Merchants Won the West
By Jim Turner, Arizona Historian http://jimturnerhistorian.org

Everyone knows How the West Was Won – from the movies, right? First came the trappers and hunters, then prospectors, then soldiers and farmers. From watching ... read more

2012-10-23 \Tucson\Community\History\
Oliver Comstock, Tucson’s Unsung Hero
by Jim Turner, http://jimturnerhistorian.org

Sporting a pith helmet, linen suit, and big white mutton chop sideburns, Oliver E. Comstock pedaled his bicycle along Tucson’s dusty roads with a soup kettle hanging from the handlebars. He will never be ... read more

2012-09-07 \Tucson\Community\History\
Harold Bell Wright: American Best Seller Sells Tucson Climate
By Jim Turner, ">jimturnerhistorian.org

Few know him now, but Harold Bell Wright was once America’s most widely read author. He wrote for almost three decades and at one point he was even more popular than Mark Twain. Not only known for his preaching ... read more

2012-08-18 \Tucson\Community\History\
Tucson’s First Honor Student
by Jim Turner

It’s that time of year again. “See you in September,” as Frankie Vallee used to screech in his Top 40 falsetto back in the Sixties. Back to school means new clothes, school supplies, and often remorse that the summer’s over. But 140 years ... read more

2012-08-12 \Tucson\Community\History\
: A Taste of Tucson History
by Golda Velez

If Egypt hadn't joined the Axis in World War II, Phoenix parents might now be complaining about how the Tucson-dominated state legislature is giving their city short shrift.  Or maybe not.  But the connection between the Allied blockade ... read more

2012-09-07 Harold Bell Wright: American Best Seller Sells Tucson Climate
By Jim Turner, jimturnerhistorian.org

Few know him now, but Harold Bell Wright was once America’s most widely read author. He wrote for almost three decades and at one point he was even more popular than Mark Twain. Not only known for his preaching and writing, Wright told the world about the curative powers of Arizona’s climate.  

Born in 1872 in Rome, New York, Wright’s mother died when he was eleven, and he ran away from his alcoholic father a year later. He nearly froze or starved in the winter, worked odd jobs, and survived with the help of strangers.

At age 22 he contracted pneumonia, but also attended a revival meeting; both changed his life. After three years, poor health interrupted his religious studies and he ...read more...
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2012-10-25 How Jewish Merchants Won the West
How Jewish Merchants Won the West
By Jim Turner, Arizona Historian http://jimturnerhistorian.org

Everyone knows How the West Was Won – from the movies, right? First came the trappers and hunters, then prospectors, then soldiers and farmers. From watching epic westerns, we learned that brave men like Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Wyatt Earp, and John Wayne tamed the frontier.  They carved out a safe and prosperous place for pioneer immigrant families to start fresh and create a new nation.

Wait a minute, how did John Wayne get in there? Well, pilgrim, he represents the Hollywood image of the West, what average Americans like to hear about the pioneers. Wild West epic filmmaker John Ford followed his own advice when he used the following line in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. The fr ...read more...
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2012-10-23 Oliver Comstock, Tucson’s Unsung Hero
by Jim Turner, http://jimturnerhistorian.org

Sporting a pith helmet, linen suit, and big white mutton chop sideburns, Oliver E. Comstock pedaled his bicycle along Tucson’s dusty roads with a soup kettle hanging from the handlebars. He will never be as famous as Wyatt Earp, but he was a real hero to Tucson’s “Tent City” residents. Sometimes called Tentville, the community started around 1900 in the desert north of the University of Arizona. There were no street lights or sewers, just low-income space for tubercular “lungers” to live cheaply while they recovered.

Fifty-three-year-old Reverend Comstock came to Tucson in 1907 with his wife Jennie and ten children because one of the younger girls suffered from TB, commonly called consumption back then. They lost her and another dau ...read more...
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2012-08-18 Tucson’s First Honor Student
by Jim Turner

It’s that time of year again. “See you in September,” as Frankie Vallee used to screech in his Top 40 falsetto back in the Sixties. Back to school means new clothes, school supplies, and often remorse that the summer’s over. But 140 years ago in the Old Pueblo, one kid loved school but almost became one of Tucson’s first dropouts.

Ignacio Bonillas was born in Mexico in 1858, and his family moved to Tucson when he was twelve. Neither of his parents knew how to read, but they wanted a good education for their children.

Their timing couldn’t have been better. Although Tucson’s first public school, run by Augustus Brichta, opened in 1868 and closed a few months later due to lack of funds, Governor A. P. K. Safford championed an education tax, which allowed Swiss i ...read more...
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