Healthy living and health education is nothing new. Each generation discovers new information and incorporates it into the social and educational fabric of daily life in ways that are relevant at the time. In the late 1920s, the Pima County Extension Service Health Rules program representatives traveled to rural schools to share the most up to date healthy living information. Students were instructed in personal hygiene, nutrition, exercise, and many were given their first toothbrush. Children were lined up, weighed and measured to see if they were “up to standard” for their age in height and weight.

Lessons included plays, dances, cooking, and supplementary food for students who were underweight or small for their age. The Extension Service representatives documented their work in reports and photographs. In group photos, students who were “up to standard” are standing tall, the other students are seated. Vail was one of the participating schools. Project photographs captured a Vail moment in time, as eager young students performed playlets and dances that reinforced the instruction they were receiving.

If you recognize any of the students in the photographs, please contact Vail Preservation Society. Call 520-419-4428 or email

Placemaking is an important part of an engaged and visionary community. Art is an important component; it builds a strong sense of place and celebrates what is unique. The public art that will be installed along Colossal Cave Road has been six years in the making.  We want to thank the many residents from 8-80 who have participated in the brainstorming, planning, and creation of the art. Especially our youth from six schools who have done amazing work. Residents, teachers, and students have created murals, interned with architects and engineers to create technical drawings, and welded an impressive railroad spike inspired “V” for Vail.

Vail Preservation Society has led the project, formed partnerships, secured grant funding, in-kind and cash donations. We want to thank our many partners who have made this local effort possible: Joy Mehulka with NRPR, Pima County, PAG’s Transportation Art By Youth grant, Arizona Humanities, Swaim Assoc., Schneider Structural Engineers, Vail School District, Vail Education Foundation, Santa Theresa Tile Works, and The Art at Rancho Milagrito Studio. And, the incredible teachers and students we worked with. Watch for details about a dedication event. We want to celebrate this community accomplishment.

Vail Meet Yourself 2017 is a celebration of The Town Between the Track’s™ 137th birthday! In March of 1880, 2,000 of Tucson’s inhabitants jubilantly welcomed the Iron Horse with a 38-gun salute. On April 24, 1880, an SPRR Facilitating train passed through Vail’s Siding located on the last flat stretch of land before the long upward grade leading east to Dragoon Summit. The track between Vail’s Siding and the town of Pantano proved to be the most difficult stretch to construct and maintain across Arizona. Happy 137th Birthday Vail!

This year VPS is hosting a community curation event to observe this important date. In an effort to preserve Vail’s stories, past and present. We will be set up to digitize photos, documents, take your photo and hear your Vail story. Community members are invited to bring family photographs, correspondence, and other written materials to the Vail Meet Yourself Community Curation Day.   VPS is especially interested in materials related to the Vail, Corona de Tucson, Rincon Valley and Empire Mountain region from pre-1980. But more recent materials and stories are very important too! VPS will scan these items on the site and return the originals and the scans on a USB drive at no charge. Donations are appreciated, though. Preserving and documenting local history is at the core of our mission. Advance registration is suggested, but not required.   Materials that can be scanned have a maximum size of 14 x 16 inches.   Participants will have the opportunity to give Vail Preservation Society permission to archive the scans.  By sharing historical images and ephemera from the area a more complete picture of our community over time will emerge.

VPS will have samples of preservation materials and suggested resources for the care of your family’s historical artifacts available. The event will take place at Christ Lutheran Vail, 14600 E. Colossal Cave Road on Saturday, April 29th from 2:00 – 4:00 PM. For more information, or to register, call 520-419-4428, or email us at

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