The Society of Professional Journalists has named the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park in Tubac, Ariz., a National Historic Site in Journalism.
Since 1942, the Society has honored the people and places that have played important roles in the history of journalism through the Historic Sites program. Some honorees include: The Associated Press offices in Washington and New York City; Freedom’s Journal, the first Black newspaper published in the United States; and, most recently, the Silverton Standard & the Miner.
SPJ’s Valley of the Sun Chapter nominated the park, which is the home of Arizona’s first newspaper, The Weekly Arizonian. The Washington hand press on which the paper was printed remains in the park, operated by volunteers who print copies of that first paper for visitors.
According to Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s official state historian, Tubac was founded in 1752 by Spanish soldiers and is the oldest non-Native American community in the state. Americans arrived in 1854, and The Weekly Arizonian was published five years later, on March 3, 1859, by Edward E. Cross. Trimble wrote in support of the site’s nomination, including details of the paper’s history and its final printing in Tubac on Aug. 11 of its founding year.
“In his farewell editorial Cross wrote, ‘Conducting a newspaper in a frontier country is always a perilous, precarious and thankless task,’” Trimble noted.