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Tucson Business Signs
Native Paleo-Indians inhabited southern Arizona about 12,000 years ago. The Hohokam lived in the modern day area of Tucson from AD 600 to 1450 and were known for their vast irrigation canal systems. A European presence arrived in the Santa Cruz River valley around 1692 in the form of Jesuit missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino. However, it wasn’t until August 20th, 1775, when Hugo O’Conor authorized the construction of a fort, Presidio San Agustin del Tucson. O’Conor is considered to be the founding father of the city of Tucson. Tucson is Spanish derived from the O’odham ‘Cuk Son’, which translates to ‘(at the) base of the black [hill].’ This was in reference to a nearby volcanic mountain.
A 2010 United States Census estimated Tucson to have a population of 520,116. This would make Tucson the 33rd largest city in America. A subsequent 2013 estimate claimed the Tucson metropolitan statistical area had a population of 996,544. The Tucson metropolitan area is the 59th largest in the country. The city of Tucson forms part of a larger Tucson-Nogales combined statistical area. According to the 2010 estimate, this CSA has a total population of 980,263.
Tucson has recently been given the nickname ‘Optics Valley’, due to the high concentration of optics companies, which have sprung up around the research conducted by the University of Arizona. These companies include 4D Technology, Applied Energetics, Arizona Optical Systems, Bruker, Engineering Synthesis Design, Inc. (ESDI), EOS Technologies, Instant BioScan, Lasertel, NP Photonics, Prism Solar Technologies, Raytheon, Synopsys, and Zygo Corporation.
The area is also famous for its astronomical observatories, which take advantage of the clear skies and isolated peaks southern Arizona offers. There is a long list of Tucson area observatories: Mount Graham International Observatory, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (Mount Hopkins), Mount Lemmon Observatory, and Catalina Station (Mount Bigelow).
As for the University of Arizona itself, it was founded in 1885. Since then, it has been elected member of the Association of American Universities, which is an organization containing North America’s premier research institutions. The University of Arizona’s endowment, as of 2014, was $655 million. Also in 2014, the University had 3,049 academic staff, 31,670 undergraduates, and 7,443 postgraduates.
Tucson is also home to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Following Raytheon Missile Systems (with 12,053 employees), and the University of Arizona (with 12,053 total employees), the Air Force Base is the third largest employer in the city, responsible for 10,330 jobs. The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is famous as the base of operations for Air Force Material Command’s 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG). What this basically means is Davis-Monthan Air Force Base serves as the aircraft bone yard “for all excess military and government aircraft.”
Culturally, Tucson hosts the annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, which is one of the largest gem and mineral shows in the world. It has been held since 1955. The city of Tucson has also been famous in years past for being the home of internationally renowned authors such as David Foster Wallace and Barbara Kingsolver.
Tucson does not have any professional sports teams. The city’s most famous sports teams, though, come out of the University of Arizona. Nicknamed ‘the Wildcats’, the University of Arizona sports teams are mostly known for men’s basketball and women’s softball. The men’s basketball team won the National Championship in 1997, while the women’s softball team have reached the NCAA National Championship game 12 times, winning 8 of them, the most recent of which was in 2007. Both the men and women’s swim teams recently won NCAA National Championships as well.
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