Lights, Camera, Tucson! #1: Cinema La Placita  LbNA # 48564 (ARCHIVED)

OwnerLittle My    
Placed DateJul 1 2009
LocationMissing, Tucson Downtown, AZ
Found By (hidden)
Hike Distance?

This box has gone missing as of Sept 2011.

When you google "La Placita" in Tucson, you'll most likely find this description: "The La Placita Village complex of offices and restaurants, at 110 S. Church Ave., was designed to resemble a Mexican village. It houses Tucson's visitor center and also incorporates the Samaniego House, a Sonoran-style row house that dates from the 1880s." Google will also provide links to the fabulous, free, outdoor film series, Cinema La Placita. Since May of 2002, the series has shown classic films each Thursday night at 7:30 pm (except for a few during monsoon season).

Few people know that the odd little kiosk in the fenced grassy area there is one of the last vestiges of a much larger La Placita. Originally known as Plaza de la Mesilla, the old La Placita was "a revered historical and spiritual communal place" that had served as the heart of the Mexican-American community in Tucson. Many of the tucsonenses descended from the city's founding families and could trace their ancestry to the original inhabitants of the Spanish presidio in the late 18th century.

During the late 60's push for "urban renewal," many historically significant landmarks and spaces were destroyed. Neighborhoods were bulldozed, residents uprooted and scattered. Through the efforts of Alva Torres—who founded the Society for the Preservation of Tucson's Plaza de la Mesilla, known as the La Placita Committee—the long history and significant contributions of Mexican-Americans became part of the discourse. However, the design for the Pueblo Center Redevelopment Project, calling for the destruction of the old plaza and construction of the new La Placita Village, could not be derailed. The new complex is located on the SW corner of Broadway/Congress and Church.

To find the letterbox, stand outside the entrance of the fenced-in grassy area, facing the old kiosk. Follow the fence east (to your right). At the corner, you'll see a historical marker that was placed by Tucson Chapter of the DAR in the 1930's. It is one of two such markers commemorating the old Presidio and the gateway into the walled city. The other is behind city hall in Sunset Park. After you read the marker, look to your right. The wall turns a corner, around which you'll find a suspicious pile of rocks. The letterbox is within. There are many shaded tables and seats where you can do your stamping and writing. Many people eat lunch in the plaza, but if you avoid that time, there usually aren't too many people around. Or you can go on a Thursday night, when the huge movie-watching audience will be facing the other direction and it's likely no one will notice your activities.

Please be sure to seat the box back deeply in its nest, replace the rocks so that nothing shows from any direction, and maybe sprinkle some leaves and dirt over all. The plaza is regularly landscaped, but they never seem to bother this pile of rocks, so make it look like it's been there forever.