Situated just six miles north of Tucson, in the western foothills of the Santa Catalina mountains, is the suburban town of Oro Valley.
An affluent city, Oro Valley has become known for its beautiful residential communities, golf courses, and its green initiatives. With such new development in the area, it can be hard to imagine all of the history in the area, so here are some fun facts about the history of “The OV.”
The Oro Valley area has actually been inhabited for nearly two thousand years by several different groups of people. Some of the first, that we know of, are the Native American Hohokam tribe, dating all the way back to 500 A.D.! Excavations of the Honey Bee Village, a prehistoric Hohokam village, have even revealed the archeological remains of a large number of pithouses! The Native American Apache tribe is also known to have inhabited the Oro Valley area around the early 16th century.
In the late 19th century, a German immigrant by the name of George Pusch established a cattle ranch on the Cañada del Oro, a watershed channel in the western valley of the Santa Catalina mountains. His ranch was only one of two in all of the Arizona Territory to use a steam pump to pump water into holding tanks, which created a readily available supply of fresh water for both the people and the cattle and ultimately gave the ranch the name “Steam Pump Ranch.” Pusch went on to serve as a state legislator and eventually became a delegate in the original 1910 Arizona Constitutional Convention. Pusch Ridge, a series of mountainous peaks on the western side of the Santa Catalina mountains, was named in honor of Mr. George Pusch.
The wash bed along the Cañada del Oro in the Santa Catalina mountains was actually the site of a hunt for gold in the 1800s! Rumored to be the site of a lost gold mine called the Iron Door Mine, these mountains attracted gold rushers in search of the rich reserves of gold that were supposedly in the area.
The end of World War II resulted in a dramatic population growth for the Tucson and Oro Valley area, and in 1950, the Oro Valley Country Club was established. This recent addition helped to solidify the Oro Valley area’s future for exponential growth. Over the following decade, talks of expanding into the Tucson city limits were in full force and current residents of the area had many reservations about this.
In 1974, the Town of Oro Valley was officially established, with only 2.4 square miles of land. At this time, the population of Oro Valley was approximately 1,200. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Oro Valley experienced significant growth both in population of residents as well as in commercial businesses moving to the area.
Today, more than 40,000 people call Oro Valley their home. The town has highly ranked schools, golf courses, esteemed residential communities, beautiful parks and hiking trails, and so much more! The spacious patio at Noble Hops is a great place to relax, listen to live music, and enjoy the view of Pusch Ridge and the Santa Catalina mountains!