Agua Caliente Park

A Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Facility 

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Friends of Agua Caliente (FOAC)

(View of Agua Caliente Park Pond 1)

Roy P. Drachman Agua Caliente Park
12325 East Roger Road
Tucson, Arizona 85749

A natural hot spring flows through faults between gneissic rock conglomerate sediment.  Current temperature of the spring is approximately 87 degrees Fahrenheit.  There were originally two springs, one a "Hot Spring" and the other a "Cold Spring".  The two springs produced a water flow of up to 500 gallons per minute.  The two springs were blasted in the mid-1930's, creating one spring with a temperature of 72 degrees year round.  This reduced the water flow to between 150 and 300 gallons per minute.  The spring was blasted again in the early 1960's by the Myriad Research & Development Corp., which cut the water flow down to a maximum of around 100 to 125 gallons per minute.  During the drought of 2003-4, the water flow from the spring fell as low as 14 gallons per minute, resulting in the drying up of ponds 2 and 3.  This forced Pima County to dig a well and install a pump on the property to keep the one remaining lake full.  A slightly increased flow rate combined with a wet winter (2004-5) raised the water level sufficiently to fill pond 2.  Pond 3 remains dry. 

There is a huge mesquite tree east of the ranch house estimated to be 300 years old.

History

5500 Years ago.  Archaic projectile points found within the park boundaries suggest that the site was used by hunters and gatherers.

1150 AD.  A Hohokam village, referred to as the Whiptail Site, was established that extended into a portion of Agua Caliente in the early Classic Period, about AD 1150-1250.

1853-1870s.  The spring was used as an army encampment following the Gadsden Purchase.

1873.  Peter B. Bain established a formal claim to 160 acres surrounding Agua Caliente Spring.

1875.  James P. Fuller purchased "Agua Caliente Rancho" and established an orchard and cattle ranch on the property.

1881.  Fuller's Hot Springs Resort was advertised as a medicinal and recreational destination.

1880s-1920s.  Various owners operated the ranch as a cattle ranch and resort.

Early 1920s.  Agua Caliente property was purchased by Willard W. White.  Plans to build a resort on the site surfaced in 1922 but were implemented.

1935.  Gibson DeKalb Hazard purchased the property and operated it as a working ranch while also growing fruit and alfalfa. 

1951.  The Filiatrault family took over the ownership of Agua Caliente consisting of three large lakes (A picture of the property at this time will soon be on display in the Ranch House).  The Filiatrault's added four smaller lakes going toward Soldiers Trail, raising the total to seven.  They also grew alfalfa for their cattle and horses and maintained a fruit orchard the J.P. Fuller established in 1875. 

Post 1959.  Myriad Research and Development had plans to build a $15 million, 300-home development beside the ponds.  Myriad then sold the property to Geodecke Development in 1979, but the property was eventually returned to Myriad.

1984.  Local businessman Roy P. Drachman donated over $200,000 toward the purchase of Agua Caliente.  The donation provided the incentive for Pima County to proceed with the acquisition.  Agua Caliente Park, a Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Facility,  opened on January 19th, 1985.

March 1, 1997.  Agua Caliente's expansion areas were opened for public use.  The park improvements included a paved entry drive and parking lot, accessible trails, interpretive signs explaining the waterfowl and history of this unique park, and a new maintenance building.

April 17, 2004.  The grand opening of the newly restored Ranch House and Rose Cottage.

July 9, 2009.  Agua Caliente Ranch Historic Landscape was entered into the National Register of Historic Places. 

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