History

A Rich History

In the early 1900’s, families from Sonora, Mexico began moving to the area they called “El Fuerte” which in now Tucson’s Old Fort Lowell Neighborhood.  Initially, they moved into the buildings of the decommissioned Fort Lowell.  As the community grew, adobe homes were built, along with a school, a store, a cemetery and a church.

San Pedro Chapel

The current San Pedro Chapel, dedicated in 1932, was built over the ruins of an older church that was destroyed in a tornado.  Both were constructed by the El Fuerte community.

The hill where the Chapel stands was once the center of El Fuerte. A cluster of houses stood here, served by a well on the northeast slope. In spring and summer, baseball games were played nearby.

San Pedro Chapel served its people until 1948. In 1993 the Old Fort Lowell Neighborhood Association, Inc. purchased the Chapel.  In 2004 the Old Fort Lowell Neighborhood Association began an historic preservation process to restore this piece of Tucson’s history.

La Capillita Sanctuary

This small sanctuary is a reconstruction of the earliest religious structure on this site. First erected in about 1915, La Capillita was served by a Carmelite father who rode out from Holy Family Parish in Tucson. For services, the community gathered in front of this tiny structure under the shade of mesquite trees while the priest stood inside.

In 1997, an archeological exploration revealed the original walls, the mud adobe foundation, and the packed dirt floor of the original sanctuary.  The sanctuary was restored with historic accuracy.

Additional details on the history of the San Pedro Chapel site are available in this brochure.