10/24/17 Tuesday in Tucson, AZ
We were so fortunate to arrive shortly before the 11 am guided tour, which was far more interesting than if we’d just toured on our own.
This Roman Catholic Mission was founded in 1692 by a Jesuit priest, Father Kino, born in Italy but sent by Spain to Mexico, then later here. The current structure was begun in 1793, by Spanish Franciscans. At that time Spain didn’t want to continue spending the money for Catholic priests, so the Spanish Jesuits no longer could afford to come to this part of the world. I don’t know how the Franciscans manged. Work continued for 14 years before the money ran out (loan from a rancher). “The villagers helped from start to finish. They gathered sand, lime, clay, rock and wood; built kilns and excavated trenches. Thirty-three inch foundations were built and brick was laid up for both the inside and outside faces of the wall, rock rubble and lime-sand grout was poured between. Artists from central New Spain (now Mexico) worked to complete the interior.” The walls are super thick. For the towers, the bottom is 6’ thick. They taper as they go up. In the main part of the church the walls are 3’ thick.
Restoration has been ongoing, much by volunteers, even Art Restorers from all over the world, but at this point they need $3 million to complete the restoration. Restorers don’t complete what didn’t get done in the beginning, thus you see the tower on the right doesn’t have the dome that the left one has, since it hadn’t been built in the first place.
This is Baroque style, where everything is matched, that is what is done on one side is repeated on the other.