SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK
ON VINTAGE POSTCARDS


Saguaro National Park, one of America's newer national parks, is located on both the east and west edges of Tucson, Arizona. The area that is now Saguaro NP East - also known as the Rincon Mountain District - was set aside as Saguaro National Monument in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Tucson Mountain District just west of Tucson was added to the monument in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. The entire national monument was redesignated a national park by Congress in 1994.

The postcards in this exhibit depict scenes of areas that are now in Saguaro NP. The vintage postcards date from the early twentieth century to the 1990s and are displayed in a chronological order. The actual text printed on the postcards is in quotation marks. The postcards are standard size (3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches) unless otherwise noted.

Click on the thumbnail image to see a larger view of the postcard



"A view from Tucson Mountains, Tucson, Arizona." This scene is believed to be in Saguaro NP West. Early printed postcard published by R. Rasmessen. Number 128. Postmarked in 1912.

"A giant cactus on the desert". Exact locality is not known. This is the type of abusive activity the national park was created to prevent! Early printed postcard published by Newman Post Card Co., Los Angeles & San Francisco. Number AB136. Probably dates between circa 1908 and 1915.
"In a Sahuaro Forest, Arizona. Located in the sheltered foothills of the Tanque Verde Mountains, an area set aside by the government for the preservation of the giant cactus. The habitat of the Sahuaro is confined to a limited area of southern Arizona and northern Mexico. In this particular park over 1,200 varieties of cactus abound and the finest growth of giant cactus to be found in the world." Linen-texture postcard distributed by Lollesgard Specialty Co., Tucson, Arizona. Printed by Curteich, Chicago, Il. Number 6A-H714. Published in 1936.
"In Sahuaro National Monument, Arizona. This cactus forest is located in the sheltered foothills of the Tanque Verde Mountains east of Tucson. There are over 1,200 varieties of cactus in this park and the finest growth of the giant cactus to be found in the world, attaining heights of from fifty to sixty feet." Linen-texture postcard distributed by Lollesgard Specialty Co., Tucson, Arizona. Printed by Curteich, Chicago, Il. Number 6A-H715. Published in 1936.
"Greetings from Tucson, Arizona." The view in the "N" is in Saguaro NP East. On the back of the postcard it says in part: "N - Giant Cactus Nat'l. Monument". Linen-texture postcard distributed by Lollesgard Specialty Co., Tucson, Arizona. Printed by Curteich, Chicago, Il. Number 8A-H808. Published in 1938.
"Giant Sahuaros, a road on the desert in Arizona. Symbolic of the desert and all its mystery is the tall Sahuaro Cactus. ...". The mountains appear to be the Rincon Mountains in the east unit and the road is probably Cactus Forest Loop Drive. Linen-texture postcard distributed by Lollesgard Specialty Co., Tucson, Arizona. Printed by Curteich, Chicago. Number D-10. Number 9A-H275. Published in 1939. Postmarked 1940.

"The "Watermelon Tree". Freak giant cactus, near entrance to Saguaro National Monument." This unusual Saguaro cactus is no longer in existence. Real photo postcard distributed by Lollesgard Specialty Co., Tucson, Arizona. Printed by Frashers, Pomona, California. Number X3040. Dates from circa 1940s.

"Saguaro Cactus in Saguaro Natl. Monument, Arizona." Real photo postcard published by Frashers, Pomona, Calif. Dates from circa 1940s.

"In a Saguaro Forest - Arizona." The road appears to be Cactus Forest Loop Drive in the east unit. Real photo postcard published by Frashers, Pomona, Calif. Postmarked 1944.


"Sahuaro National Monument. A forest of giant cactus. Located in the sheltered foothills of the Tanque Verde Mountains, an area set aside by the government for the preservation of the giant cactus. ..." Linen-texture postcard published by Herz Post Cards, San Diego, Calif. Number 670. Number 9-2116. Postmarked in 1941.


"'Watermelon Tree," freak Sahuaro, giant cactus. This odd Sahuaro is said to be the only known one of its kind in existence. It stands near the entrance to the Sahuaro National Monument in Arizona." Linen-texture postcard distributed by Lollesgard Specialty Co., Tucson, Arizona. Printed by Curteich, Chicago, Il. Number 1B-H960. Published in 1941.
"Giant Sahuaro Forest. Sahuaro, or Giant Cactus, is the king of all cacti. Native of Arizona and northern Mexico. ..." The mountains in the distance are the Rincon Mountains, in Saguaro National Monument east unit. Linen-texture postcard published by Strong News Agency, Phoenix, Arizona. Printed by E. C. Kropp Co., Milwaukee, Wis. Number 45. Number 32848N. Postmarked 1943.
"One of the many side roads of the Ole Southwest." The mountains in the distance are the Rincon Mountains, in Saguaro National Monument east unit. The road is probably Cactus Forest Loop Drive. Linen-texture postcard published by Sandoval News Service, El Paso, Texas. Printed by Tichnor Bros., Boston, Mass. Number 78. Dates from circa 1940s.


"Saguaro Cactus, giant of the desert near Tucson, Arizona. Saguaro National Monument contains all 1232 species of the cactus family which bloom in early summer. A 200-year-old Saguaro may attain a height of 60 feet and a weight of 5 tons." Early chrome-style postcard published by Union Oil Co. of Calif. Number P53. Copyright 1941. Postmarked in 1942.


"Saguaro Forest--National Monument. Near Tucson, Arizona. One Hundred sixty thousand acres containing a profusion of the finest specimens of the Giant Cactus." Linen-texture postcard published by Bob Petley, Phoenix, Arizona. Number K6. Dates from circa late 1940s.


"Saguaro Cactus blossoms, state flower of Arizona. ... One forest of Saguaro plants southeast of Tucson, comprising 63,284 acres, has been set aside as Saguaro National Monument." Early chrome-style postcard published by Union Oil Company. Published in 1950.
"Saguaro Forest, Arizona. A tract of more than 63,000 acres set aside to preserve Arizona's finest saguaros -- the giant corrugated cactus which may reach a height of 50 feet and an age well over one hundred years." Chrome-style postcard published by Desert Supply Company, Las Vegas, Nevada. Printed by Mike Roberts, Berkeley, Calif. Number C711. Dates from circa early 1950s.


"Giant cactus in Sagura National Monument near Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona." Chrome-style postcard published by Colourpicture, Boston, Mass. Number P589. Postmarked in 1952. [Notice the misspelled word "Sagura" for "Saguaro"!]
"Saguaro National Monument - Public Use Building. From this contact point visitors tour the Giant Cactus Forest, one of the finest examples of desert landscapes to be found. Saguaro National Monument is 17 miles east of Tucson, Arizona, and is administered by the U. S. National Park Service." Chrome-style postcard published by Petley Studios, Phoenix, Arizona. Number 12233. Dates from circa early 1950s.


"Saguaro Forest near Tucson, Arizona, one hundred sixty thousand acres containing a profusion of the finest specimens of the Giant Cactus...set aside as a national monument." Chrome-style postcard published by Petley Studios, Phoenix, Arizona. Number K31. Dates from circa early 1950s.
"Saguaro National Monument near Tucson, Arizona. A tract of more than 63,000 acres has been set aside to preserve Arizona's finest saguaros -- the giant corrugated cactus which may reach a height of 50 feet and an age well over one hundred years." Chrome-style postcard published by Intermountain Tourist Supply, Phoenix, Arizona. Number C711. Dates from circa middle 1950s.

"Scene in the Saguaro National Forest." Chrome-style postcard published by Baxtone, Amarillo, Texas. Number BLC-40. Dates from circa 1950s. [Notice the incorrect name for the national monument!]

"Cactus Forest Drive, Saguaro National Monument. This superb cactus forest is one of the finest examples of Sonoran desert vegetation." Chrome-style postcard published by Petley Studios, Phoenix, Arizona. Number 12179. Postmarked in 1956.

"Road in Saguaro Forest, Arizona." This is along the loop road in the east unit. Chrome-style postcard published by Petley Studios, Phoenix, Arizona. Number L156. Number T-105. Dates from circa late 1950s.

"Giant cacti in Saguaro National Monument, 17 miles east of Tucson." This is one of twelve views in a souvenir folder titled "Tucson Arizona in Pictures". Chrome-style folder published by Petley Studios, Phoenix, Arizona. Printed by Curt Teich, Chicago. Number D-11595. Copyright 1957. Postmarked in 1958.
"Two bizarre plants typical of the Desert. On the left is a Saguaro, or Giant Cactus. On the right, with flaming flowers, is an Ocotillo -- a deciduous shrub, not a cactus." View is of Tanque Verde Ridge in Saguaro NP East. Chrome-style postcard published by H. S. Crocker Co., San Francisco, Calif. Number HSC-205. Dates from circa late 1950s.
"Roadway through the Saguaros. Sections of Southern Arizona are covered with thousands of these majestic and beautiful cactus formations." View is of the Rincon Mountains in the east unit. Chrome-style postcard published by Petley Studios, Phoenix, Arizona. Number K121. Number S3275. Dates from circa late 1950s.
"Visitors Center, Saguaro National Monument, near Tucson, Arizona. ...". Chrome-style postcard published by W. M. Cline Co., Chattanooga, Tenn. Number S-44769-3. Dates from circa late 1950s.
"Howdy from Saguaro National Monument Arizona. Top View: Saguaro cactus in full bloom. Bottom view: Sunset on a Saguaro forest" Chrome-style postcard published by Bob Petley, Phoenix, Arizona. Dates from circa late 1950s. Postmarked April 1960, Tucson Ariz.

"World's largest Saguaro. The largest known Saguaro at Saguaro National Monument in southern Arizona is this huge specimen which grows near the Madrona Ranger Station. It is over 50 feet high and has 52 arms. Its weight is estimated to be 14 tons!" Chrome-style postcard published by Petley Studios, Phoenix, Arizona. Number K165. Dates from circa early 1960s.
"Roadway through Saguaro National Monument, Tucson, Arizona. This fabulous member of the Cacti family sometimes attains a height of 50 feet and lives to be 200 years old." Chrome-style postcard published by Petley Studios, Phoenix, Arizona. Number 1DK-592. Dates from circa 1961.
"Gambel's Quail at waterhole, Saguaro National Monument, near Tucson, Arizona". Chrome-style postcard published by W. M. Cline Co., Chattanooga, Tenn. Number S-44765-2. Dates from circa early 1960s.
"50 years of statehood. Arizona. Giant Saguaro Cactus. National Park Service photo by George A. Grant. Mischa". Green & black chrome-style postcard. Dates from circa 1962.
"Stately sentinels. Saguaro National Monument. For a Saguaro, life begins when one of the seeds sprouts. Thus for the first years the plant may be hidden beneath Paloverde or Mesquite. ..." Chrome-style postcard published by F. J. Schaaf, Alamogordo, New Mexico. Number 887. Copyright 1967.

"Saguaro Corners. ...". Saguaro Corners Restaurant is across the road from the entrance to Saguaro NP East. View on the postcard is of Saguaro NP East. Color printed postcard. Dates from circa 1970s.


"Saguaro National Monument, Tucson, Arizona. The Saguaro Cactus is a familiar sight throughout Arizona growing in "forests" covering thousands of acres". Color chrome-style continental-size postcard published by Cards Unlimited Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87107. Printed by Dexter Press. Number DT-29960-D. Copyright 1976.


"Saguaro National Monument, Arizona. Springtime in the Saguaro Cactus Forest near Tucson, Arizona". Color chrome-style continental-size postcard published by Petley Studios, Tempe, Arizona. Printed by John Hinde Curteich. Number 2US AZ 262-B. Number 1042. Probably circa late 1980s.


"Saguaro National Monument. "Facts, Folklore, History and Legend". Saguaro National Monument is in two sections, some 30 miles apart. ...". Color chrome-style continental-size postcard published by Petley Studios, Tempe, AZ. Printed by Terrell. Number 6033. Number 1187070. Postmarked 1990.


"Arizona. Saguaro National Monument". Color chrome-style continental-size postcard published by Smith-Southwestern, Tempe, Arizona. Number 591. Number 0487060. Probably circa early 1990s.


"Saguaros, Saguaro National Monument, Arizona, 1941, by Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984. National Archives and Records Administration". Black & white chrome-style continental-size postcard published by Running Press Book Publishers. Published in 1992.
 

"Saguaro National Park. ... Our National Parks". Color printed continental-size postcard. Distributed by Americans For National Parks. Printed by GoGorillaMedia.com. Dates from about 2002-04. This is a modern postcard used for a mail-in campaign to then Director Fran P. Mainella to request more money for the National Park Service budget.


Some "cactus humor" to end this exhibit! Color linen-texture postcard distributed by Lollesgard Specialty Co., Tucson, Arizona. Printed by Curteich, Chicago, Il. Number 1B-H1564. Number 4-41. Copyright and published in 1941.
   

"... This photograph of Saguaro National Monument was taken by Michael McNulty, ... I hope this photograph reminds you of the beauty of our Sonoran desert landscape and the tenacity of those who inhabit it. ...". Black & white printed over-size (9 x 6 inches) postcard. Published by Giffords for Congress, Tucson, AZ 85732-2886. Mailed in December 2010. This is a very modern postcard used by U. S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to communicate with her supporters; however, I have displayed it here to illustrate the beautiful photograph on this postcard.


   

1957 edition of the official Saguaro National Monument pamphlet.


Saguaro National Park Passport Cancellation Stamps and Bonus Stamps



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BOOKS:

Books about Saguaro National Park and Saguaro cactus that are currently available.

All About Saguaros     Saguaro Cactus     Saguaro National Park (A True Book)     Saguaro: The Desert Giant     Sonoran Desert Wildflowers: A Field Guide to the Common Wildflowers of the Sonoran Desert, Including Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Saguaro National Park,...


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