. . . as seen through the eyes of Hollywood. "Old Tucson" was built in 1939 as a movie set for the entertainment business. On a few acres of land west of the city of Tucson this town has been used thoroughly over the years. TV dramas, westerns and miscellaneous movies have had their beginning on this spot. We were told that just two weeks ago some film was shot here.
This past week our Photo Club set out for "Old Tucson" for our February photo shoot...
We were greeted by handsome cowboys and dance hall girls...
Once inside I looked up to the Arizona sky and predicted a lovely day...
In 1995 there was a fire that meant a rebuild of much of the 'town'...
Loved the desert ambience.
It would be great fun to stage a movie set, making it look as 'authentic' as possible.
Please obey the signs!
This school house was not very impressive. It made me very thankful for the big windows with natural light of the school rooms I remember.
But I can imagine the school children having a great time reading and writing and fooling around, just like their descendants!
Classroom looks a bit tight but the easier to pass notes, right?
Wending my way through the town I approached the Court House from the back...
past a murky pond...
through a lovely cacti garden...
over a bridge and pond...
and up against an Ocotillo fence. Not sure you can see the thorns on these branches but this in one fence you do not want to scale!
Before the fire of '95 this Mission was a full sized church but in the rebuild they only put up a facade. In the early days, "The Bells of St. Mary's" was filmed here.
I enjoyed the details attached to each of the buildings.
Easy to imagine the old movies staged here...
The front of the Court House where you can go in, set a spell and watch a quick overview of many of the movies and TV shows that were shot here.
Some of us had to be back by 3 for a class so we missed the dance hall girls doing the can-can later in the afternoon.
" A pioneer is not someone
who makes her own soap.
She is one who takes up her burdens
and walks toward the future."
-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
When I got to the cemetery I found that my official camera was out of battery... no problem, just put in the extra one in my purse... ooops! extra battery was still at home in the charger... !!
So this shot of the little church was my last official photo... the rest was shot with my iPhone.
This little chapel was used for weddings and funerals... the general business of life on the frontier.
Great view out the front of the church.
I was so taken with the old hymnal that I completely forgot to capture the old pump organ it was sitting on. But as a collector of old hymnals, I was forgiven.
Love this old coach.
Finally Laura and I decided we could use a sit-down so we got on the little train and took a tour of the entire property from the edges.
The train engineer/conductor said this old buggy was about one third size of the original it was patterned after, which was true of many objects. Some were there just for creating the ambience.
For those who remember this TV show... great set.
This TV show aired from 1966-1971.
Cannot forget the necessities when you put a set together...
Perfect timing for the stagecoach to show up.
Back in town we found the Chinatown of the day...
with the wandering alleys and crowded atmosphere.
There is no frontier town without a jail...
or a mine where you could get rich!
And a sweet Sweet Shoppe!
The list of movies and TV dramas filmed on this site is quite extensive. The first movie filmed here was appropriately named, "Arizona" with two of our favourite stars, Jean Arthur and William Holden.
Some titles you may recognize:
A number of episodes of "Little House on the Prairie"
The 1956 version of "3:10 to Yuma" starring Glenn Ford
Many episodes of "Bonanza"
"Cannonball II" with Burt Reynolds and his friends
"Love Among Thieves" with Audrey Hepburn and Robert Wagner
"Young Guns II" with Emilio Estevez and Kiefer Sutherland
"A Star is Born" with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristoffersen
"The New Maverick" with James Garner
"The Gambler" with Kenny Rogers
A 1980 episode of "Hart to Hart" with Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers
to name just a few.
It is a fun place to visit when you are in the south.
Too soon our time was up and we made our way back across town and home. Great day!
When you travel in Arizona there are many sites of interest that you have no idea exist as you zip down the freeways. Just a few miles east of I-10 as you head south from Phoenix to Tucson, across from Casa Grande, you will find the small town of Florence. Turning south onto Hwy 79, you will see a sign for St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery in about 8 miles. If you enjoy interesting architecture, great roof lines, and especially iconic art this is a stop for you...
One thing you should know about St. Anthony's is the dress code... That is Me standing against the post, and no laughing allowed. We had read earlier that we (the women) were to be covered from head to foot. So I went prepared with extra clothing including black tights, totally enclosed shoes and a jacket to put over my 3/4 sleeve dress. I put in a choice of scarves and considered myself well prepared to give a modest appearance. Even though my skirt was well below my knees it was not long enough so they gave me a longer skirt which came closer to my ankles.
The men are fine as long as they wear long pants, enclosed shoes and long sleeve shirts. We women, I guess, have something to learn about modesty!
At the entrance we found the gate house where we were properly outfitted and given self guided tour brochures.
The strong colours of the first church are eye-catching and brilliant against the blue sky of the desert.
Inside St. Anthony's Church the wood carving is extraordinary as is the artwork. Lots of detail, vivid colour...
and don't ask me where I learned to appreciate iconic art but I admire the craft and the devotion of the artists to their work.
This monastery here in the Sonoran desert began it's life in 1995 so it is not old but the concept of this lifestyle and theology of the monks comes from Greece originally.
I neglected to ask about the origins of these pieces of art but they were numerous in each of the five chapels on the property.
Lovely embroidery on the vestments...
My cowboy and friend Lorne wandering about...
Notice the careful design and workmanship in ceiling of gazebo.
The next 6 photos are of St. Nicholas' Chapel...
You can tell I was most interested in the exterior architecture.
There were a number of buildings on the property that house both male and female monks plus pilgrims that we were not allowed to enter.
Another chapel, with fountains and a somewhat different roof line...
We were delighted with the numbers of mosaics on the grounds, inside the chapels on the floors and outside on the walkways. These monks have been busy since 1995, putting the property in order.
I was interested to see the tile work in the walks...
happened to catch a 'selfie' of the two of us admiring...
Beauty all around us...
This style of decoration reminded me some of our friend from France, Napoleon... the laurel wreath is enjoyed by many European countries.
My Russian/German heritage came out with my garb of the day!
Gail and I stopped for a rest in one of the chapels and I asked Sherwin to snap us on my iPhone...
He requested a sombre look! Do we look sour enough?
The last chapel on site was St. Seraphim's and is a rustic Russian peasant chapel, very small but pleasant.
From a distance we could see another Greek building, not sure what it was. It does not show up on the map.
And so the day ended. There are surprises on the desert. Not everything has to do with cacti and sand and tumble weed. A great day was had by all.
When you come to visit take a look at this desert treasure.