Before the Europeans arrived and settled in what is now Arizona, Native Americans had been living and thriving in many parts of the state, including a section that is southwest of present-day downtown Tucson around Mission Road and 22nd Street/Starr Pass.

Demion Clinco is the president of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation and he says a perennial water source (known as a cienega in Spanish) allowed the indigenous people to farm for thousands of years along the Santa Cruz River.

In the 1700s, Jesuits began to settle in the area and new residents brought in imported fruits such as quince, pomegranates and grapes which they planted in productive farms next to the flowing river, quenching the thirst of the new inhabitants as well as their agriculture.

Today, supporters of the historic Mission Garden in Tucson are trying to restore some of the verdant and aesthetic appeal of this important and productive part of our cultural past.