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Alamogordo, NM

Alpine, TX

Antelope Hill, AZ

Arizona State University

El Paso, TX (Austin H.S.)

Las Cruces, NM (Aggies)

University of Arizona

is for...

Wagner's A Mountain visit photo finally turned up.

University of Arizona's A, on A Mountain, is on of the larger of the Mountain Monograms.

On maps it may look as though A Mountain is called that merely because it is a mountain...

But no. According to C. L. Sonnichsen (Tucson: The Life and Times of an American City):

"Farther east and across the stream from downtown Tucson is a smaller hill, called Sentinel Peak because in Spanish times the villagers kept a watch there for raiding Apaches. Since 1916 it has been known as A Mountain in recognition of a peculiarly American ritual, the annual repainting of a giant A on the east slope by students of the University of Arizona -- a group whose folk ways and ceremonials are quite as curious as those of their native predecessors."

Postcard donated by Jean H.


Photo by Jeremy B.

The A near ASU's rival, the University of Arizona, in Tucson.

How appropriate is the Phoenix sign there?

Bill C. writes:

A coworker, knowing I'm a transplanted native Tucsonan, forwarded me your mountain monogram site and I must say I enjoyed it immensely. But what surprised me the most is that no one knew the origin of Tucson's "A" mountain. Here is my take (gleaned from a [newspaper] which I read while visiting Tucson over the recent holidays)

Tucson, the original capitol of Arizona (in fact pretty much the original anything with European influences in Arizona) was also the site of the territory's first accredited university (The University of Arizona). After winning one of their first big football games some wacky college kids with misplaced hormones and adrenaline climbed up Sentinel Peak, due west of Tucson's downtown, and made a huge "A" up there out of existing rocks. Ever since, various groups, mostly college frat/sorority types (of which the UofA has no shortage of, for better or for worse) go up there and whitewash the rocks. I cant recall the exact year that the "A" was built, however I know that it was quite a while ago, as in turn of the century (the UofA was established in 1885, if I'm not mistaken. I'm a pretty lousy alumni...).


Postcard provided by Carita

From Greetings From Tucson: A Postcard History of the Old Pueblo, by Michelle B. Graye (p. 3):

Following a rousing victory for the U of A football team in the fall of 1915, some dedicated fans spent 14 consecutive Saturdays digging a trench on the mountainside facing the city and filling the trench with rocks. Once completed, the rest of the student body joined in, forming a human chaing, and passed up buckets of cement to pour around the rocks. White paint was then applied, and it's become a yearly tradition for the incoming freshman class to apply a fresh coat of paint every fall.


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