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Mar 25, 2013 10:55 AM by Ryan Haarer

Historical makeover for Tucson's Mission Garden

TUCSON- The Mission Garden in Tucson has been cultivated for over 4,000 years. It's the longest cultivated site in the U.S., most famously during the 1700's when it was home to the St. Agustin Mission.

Just a few years ago the empty lot became a canvas for graffiti, but now, the Spanish colonial garden is being restored to reflect Tucson's colorful roots.

"The Hohokam had this enormous irrigation system. They dug canals, some of which underlay the garden here. They really were the first agriculturalists," said, Roger Pfeuffer, with friends of Tucson's birthplace.

The Hohokam weren't the only ones to cultivate the area though.

"That includes not only the missionary period, the Spanish, but also the Mexican, the Chinese, who came during the railroad, the African Americans who came during the Civil War and the Anglos," said Pfeuffer.

Roger and his team have a goal to educate people about the importance of this site. There is still plenty of work to do. They want to build additional Hohokam and Spanish ramadas, create an interpretation center, and of course develop the garden.

"This garden is going to - upon completion - represent all the cultures that kind of inhabited this area and used it for either gathering food or raising food. So we'll have timeline gardens that reflect all of the botanical contributions of those cultures," said, Pfeuffer.

Rio Nuevo is expected to kick in 1.1 million dollars to help finish the project. Roger wants the center to eventually be smart phone interactive, getting information in the palm of your hand as you walk through various sections of the garden.

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