- Find Trees & Tours
- Get Involved
In the 1800's cactus and creosote surrounded Tucson, Arizona. When the University of Arizona was established as the state's land-grant institute, ornamental trees, shrubs, and cacti were planted to beautify the grounds (and cut down on the dust!) Today's campus is home to hundreds of individual tree species.What is now a vast expanse of turfgrass, the campus mall at the University of Arizona was once a vast cactus garden! This cactus garden was initially on the west side of Old Main in 1917, then moved to the east side in the 1930s by Dr. Homer Shantz. The existing Joseph Wood Krutch garden is a remnant of a larger cactus garden that once extended from Old Main to Cherry Ave. The renovations that turned this area into the Mall as we know it today took place in the 1960's. The landscape surrounding Old Main is also a remnant of this formerly very extensive garden. Although less conducive to sun-bathing than the grassy Mall, the cactus garden was certainly more interesting. Old photos show pathways, cacti in bloom, and visitors reading labels on many species. The Shantz photo collection can be found in the UA Digital Commons or sampled here.
1) 1932. Cactus garden with Night-blooming Cereus (Peniocereus greggii) on east side of Old Main.
2) 1931. Art class in the mall, then a cactus garden
3) 1935. Aerial shot of campus, along South Campus Drive. "A" Mountain is in the distance.
4) 1932. Cactus garden in the Mall, with Bear Down Gym standing alone on the edge of campus.
5) 1932. The old President's Residence, a Victorian structure on Park Avenue.
6) 1932. The mall as a grassland.
7) 1932. Farther back, a view of the expansive mall from what is now the Krutch Garden.
8) 1932. A section of campus, looking then much like the campus of today.
9) 1932. Early collection of Boojum trees (Fouquieria columnaris) in the current Krutch Garden. Former Student Health building to South.