Q: My grandpa and grandma live in Tucson, and when we visit them, I always wonder why are Phoenix and Tucson so different?
A: This is an excellent question. The answer would fill a volume or two, but the short explanation is: History, dear child, it’s all about history.
In the great scheme of things, Phoenix is a fairly young city.
Granted, the Hohokam and other Native Americans lived around here for centuries, but a permanent European presence was not established until the Army opened Fort McDowell in 1865. The hay camp that supplied the fort eventually became Phoenix.
By contrast, Tucson’s European roots go back to 1694, when the tireless missionary Father Kino founded a small mission roughly near the Miracle Mile overpass at Interstate 10. Not far away was another village Kino called San Cosme de Tucson. It was more or less the northern most point of the Spanish settlement in what is now Arizona.