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.