Patagonia Museum sprucing up before heading south

The Weekly Bulletin – JB Miller – September 16, 2015

From picking up trash on the outskirts of town to working on the Lochiel Schoolhouse, the Patagonia Museum is rolling up its sleeves this week.

In addition, the museum is preparing to host a presentation on Fort Buchanan as well as planning its annual bus tour of historic Mexico.

Scheduled for Friday, Sept. 18, Patagonia Museum President German Quiroga said the quarterly “Highway CleanUp” will begin at promptly 5 p.m. and will cover approximately a mile along State Route 82 and Beaty Lane.

Quiroga said the effort lasts between an hour and an hour-and-a-half and includes cleaning up whatever has been discarded from passing traffic.

“We usually always find something interesting,” Quiroga said, adding that the Patagonia Museum is planning to exhibit some of its roadside treasures. including a director’s chair that once belonged to actor Ed Begley, Jr., as well as a mudflap from Danny Herman Trucking.

To join in, meet up at the ramada towards the end of town.

The next day, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19, volunteers will head to the San Pedro Valley for a workday at the historic Lochiel Schoolhouse, which the museum has been working to restore.

The following week, at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday Sept. 26 at the Patagonia Library, guest speaker Dr. John Fahey will give a presentation on Fort Buchanan and the Sonoita Creek Valley during the years 1856-1861. As part of the talk, Fahey will fill attendees in on the life and times of Dr. Bernard Irwin, the post practitioner at Fort Buchanan, a U.S. Army post founded in 1856 outside what is now Sonoita. Irwin not only collected specimens for the Smithsonian Institution but also was known as the “Fighting Doctor” because of his prowess fighting Apache warriors. In fact, Irwin was awarded the Medal of Honor for his rescue of a number of men and a boy from the Apaches in 1861.

Finally, the Patagonia Museum is gearing up for its annual bus tour to Mexico, slated for Nov. 15-17. Local resident Bill Steen has once again agreed to guide the trip along with Michael Brescia, the curator at the Arizona State Museum and a professor at the University of Arizona.

The destination will be the town of Banamichi, Sonora and surrounding Rio Sonora area and the trip includes a flexible three-day, two-night tour by bus through historic areas.