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History of Sahuarita
In 1879, James Kilroy Brown and Olive Leticia Brown established Sahuarita Ranch in Pima County with 4,000 head of cattle. The name meant “little saguaro,” reflecting the many saguaro cacti in the area. By 1884, the ranch served as a post office and station on a stagecoach line that ran from Tucson south to the border at Nogales.
Numerous small mines around the Sierrita Mountains to the west had been worked sporadically for decades, with varying success. In 1906, a boom prompted the construction of a railroad connecting Tucson and the Twin Buttes mines with a station at Sahuarita. Here, the trains were loaded with hay from ranches in the surrounding area.
In 1910, the Tucson Chamber of Commerce, looking to boost trade with Mexico, convinced the Southern Pacific Railroad to extend the line from Sahuarita south to Nogales.
The 1960s brought new housing developments such as Santo Tomås. In the 1970s, the development of Green Valley on part of the old Canoa Land Grant and the construction of Interstate 19 brought more residents.
Recognizing the needs of their growing community, Sahuarita residents voted to incorporate as a town in 1994. Planned residential communities, led by Rancho Sahuarita and Quail Creek, boosted the town’s population to 25,659 in the 2010 Census, up from 1,900 in 1994.