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Best Piece of Tucson History 

Mission San Xavier del Bac

Readers Pick

Tucson's oldest building is also its best. Thanks to a decades-long restoration effort, this graceful, late-18th century mélange of baroque, Moorish and Mexican renaissance styles stands as dazzlingly white and self-contained as ever among the dark hills south of town. Widely considered to be the most important example of mission architecture in the United States, it's a fully functional Catholic church, still serving the Tonoho O'odham who erected and maintain it. The mission no longer also serves as a stronghold, but crouching along its subterranean passageways and looking out the defensive slot windows in its massive walls, you can feel the danger and wildness of the Old West--without a speck of hokum. Out on the edge of a let's-pretend city, San Xavier is the real thing.

Runners up:

2. Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., 622-8848
3. Fort Lowell Museum, 2900 N. Craycroft Road, 885-3832

Vote of note: "Linda Ronstadt" (three votes)

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