I wanted to get up close and personal with Tucson’s “A” Mountain, otherwise called Sentinel Peak; so I hiked, really a short walk, to touch the white rocks of the “A”. The rocks are at the western side of the city somewhat overlooking the downtown area. You can see the “A” from across town too.
Sentinel Peak has plenty of history so I best discuss that before the white-washed rocks. The peak is part of a current-day park, but the area’s first inhabitants grew crops at its base along the Santa Cruz River (one of my favorite parts of the bike loop). Archeological remnants have been discovered from 3,000 years ago, and the peak was used for sentinels to watch for raiding Apaches. There was plenty of history happening through the ages on this mountain of volcanic rock; however, it is not a volcano.
I wanted to touch the “A” and to learn more about the creation of it. Apparently after a football victory in 1914, a civil engineering class had a project to design and create the huge “A”, and did so on March 4, 1915. The basalt rock (great choice as that will take eons to decompose) was hauled from a local quarry, and the “A” was painted white.
What I did not know: On March 23, 2003, 4 days after the start of the Iraq War, it was painted black in protest. Two weeks later the Tucson City Council resolved to have it painted red, white and blue in honor of American troops. Ten years later it was restored to the white color, yet on occasion for St. Patrick’s Day it has been green. (I will check it out this year.)
There is plenty of archeological and historical information about this peak, and it all began with me curious about what the “A” looked like up close. Cool!