ARIVACA is rich in history, natural beauty and friendly people.
Located some 60 miles south of Tucson through some of the most stunning scenery in Arizona, Arivaca is quaint and quirky, and the area is a geological, ecological and cultural treasure. At an elevation of 3,800′, capturing weather rolling in from the south and west, the climate is cooler and wetter than Tucson. Rainfall ranges from 12-20 inches per year, most of which occurs during the spectacular summer monsoons. Arivaca is a birding hotspot with the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge cienega in the center of town. Arivaca Lake is six miles down Ruby Road, enroute to the ghost town of Ruby.
Lots of interesting history and pre-history here! The valley was inhabited early on by Indians (Hohokam, later Pima and Papago O’odham), later to see Spanish missionaries and prospectors come in search of silver and gold. In 1751-2 the Pima rose up against the Spaniards, yet in 1853 Arivaca became part of the U.S through the Gadsden Purchase.
After the Civil War many Anglos arrived, and the ensuing decades brought commerce, postal service, schooling, medicine and automobiles. Arivaca became a town between 1876-1881 when a short-lived mining boom launched the area. By 1896, the population of Arivaca reached 236 people. From 1916-1920 Cavalrymen were stationed in Arivaca to manage unrest on the border with Mexico, and in 1929 the developing Montana Mine at Ruby provided jobs to area residents.
In 1953 Arivaca had a population of 66, and in 1956 the Trico Electric Cooperative power lines arrived in the valley. In 1972 the Arivaca Ranch sold 11,000 acres to a land developer who subdivided the property into 40-acre parcels, making homesites available. Four years later, in 1976, the dirt Arivaca Road was paved.
In the 1980s and 1990s many new residents moved into the area and a new chronology of events which includes the formation of a medical clinic, fire department, human resource office, community center and public library. In 2012 the community celebrated the naming of the Arivaca Schoolhouse – the oldest standing schoolhouse in the state – to the National Register of Historic Places.