Best Piece of Tucson History

Mission San Xavier del Bac

It isn't as internationally famous as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel depicted in The Agony and the Ecstasy, but the art of this Tohono O'odham church is phenomenal. Documented by anthropologist Bernard Fontana and photographer Edward McCain, the paintings, sculptures and other artwork of San Xavier are a true treasure. And since the pieces were recently cleaned, they're as bright now as they were when created more than 200 years ago. When he came through Tucson in 1852, explorer John Russell Bartlett wrote: "It is elaborately ornamented inside and out ... from the profusion of gilding, one might suppose the Mission to have possessed a gold placer." Still today, San Xavier continues to be a church, a must-see visit and a work of art.

Runners up:

2. Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., 622-8848

3. TIE

  • El Tiradito Shrine, 356 S. Main Ave.
  • Old Tucson, 201 S. Kinney Road, 883-0100
Votes of note: "Cele Peterson," "(Grant Road and Broadway) suicide lanes," one vote each