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Arivaca, Arizona
Arivaca, facing west down Main Street, 2015
Arivaca, facing west down Main Street, 2015
Country United States
State Arizona
County Pima
Elevation
3,643 ft (1,110 m)
Time zone MST (no DST)

Arivaca (O'odham: Ali Wa:pk) is an unincorporated community in Pima County, Arizona, United States. It is located 11 miles (18 km) north of the Mexican border and 35 miles (56 km) northwest of the port of entry at Nogales. The European-American history of the area dates back at least to 1695, although the community was not founded until 1878. Arivaca has the ZIP code 85601. The 85601 ZIP Code Tabulation Area had a population of 909 at the 2000 census.

The Arivaca community lies on the north side of the Arivaca Creek valley at an elevation of 3,643 feet (1,110 m). The Las Guijas Mountains rise to the northwest and the foothills of the San Luis Mountains are to the south. A unit of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge occupies the Arivaca Creek valley to the southeast of the town.

Arivaca Road connects with I-19 at Amado about 23 miles (37 km) to the northeast and with Arizona State Route 286 some 12 miles (19 km) to the west in Altar Valley.

History

Arivaca Schoolhouse
Arivaca Schoolhouse in 2013.
Boardwalk, Arivaca, AZ
Boardwalk in the Arivaca Cienega.

Early history

The early history of Arivaca is obscure. It was probably a Pima or Tohono O'odham village, abandoned after the Pima Indian Revolt of 1751. Spanish settlers developed small mines.

In 1833 a Mexican land grant of 8,677 acres (35.11 km2) was approved, which became La Aribac ranch, a Pima word for "small springs". Charles Poston bought the ranch in 1856, and the reduction works for the Heintzelman Mine, at Cerro Colorado, were then erected at Arivaca. The Court of Private Land Claims eventually disallowed the Arivaca Land Grant. The US Post Office was established April 10, 1878, with Noah W. Bernard as the first Postmaster; still in operation at ZIP code 85601. Freighter and rancher Pedro Aguirre established a stage stop in Arivaca and the Buenos Aires Ranch. In 1879 he built the historic Arivaca Schoolhouse, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012, as the oldest standing school building in Arizona.

Arivaca was a camp for at least three United States Cavalry units during the 1910-20 Mexican Revolution: Troop B of the Connecticut National Guard/The First Company Governor's Horse Guards (1916), the Utah Cavalry (1917) and the 10th Cavalry (1917–20).

Arivaca mining district

The historic Arivaca mining district consists of over 100 old mines in the Las Guijas Mountains northwest, the San Luis Mountains to the southwest and Cobre Ridge to the southeast of the town. Gold, silver, lead, copper and tungsten production has been recorded starting in Spanish colonial times and continuing intermittently through the 1950s.

Recent history

Arivaca had a small population until the Trico Electric Cooperative power lines arrived in the valley in 1956. In 1972 the Arivaca Ranch sold 11,000 acres to a land developer who subdivided the property into 40-acre parcels. Four years later, the dirt Arivaca Road was paved.

In the 1980s and 1990s many new residents moved into the area, and a medical clinic, fire department, arts council, human resource office, community center and branch of Pima County Public Library were opened.

In 2012 the Arivaca Schoolhouse, the oldest standing schoolhouse in the state, was added to the National Register of Historic Places. A former nursing home was turned into the Arivaca Action Center with a focus on education, the arts, wellness, hospitality and sustainability. The AAC offers space for meetings, overnight guests, gardening, and physical therapy .

Border issues

In May 2007, Arivaca became a flash point for US immigration policy. Part of a travel corridor for a large volume of illegal migrant and drug smuggler traffic, Arivaca is at one end of Project 28, the test of SBInet. SBInet is the effort by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Boeing Corporation to secure US land borders using technology. It involves 98-foot (30 m) high towers with radar and cameras that send information to bases in Tucson and Sells, where directions are sent out to specially equipped Border Patrol vehicles about targets for apprehension. Project 28 is the effort to test this strategy on a 28-mile (45 km) stretch flanking the border on either side of Sasabe. There will be two towers on the Tohono O'Odham Nation west of the Baboquivari Mountains and 7 towers in the Altar Valley and southwest of Arivaca.

As of 2014, there was a U.S. Border Patrol interior checkpoint being operated in the town, which was the subject of an ACLU of Arizona complaint, alleging both that the checkpoints are abusive and that agents unlawfully restricted the activities of protesters and photographers documenting their activities.

Climate

According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Arivaca has a semi-arid climate, abbreviated "BSk" on climate maps.

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