After months of community meetings and the tireless dedication of Vail Preservation Society (VPS) volunteers, Vail was recognized in July 2015 by the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office as the state’s newest Arizona Certified Main Street Program.

“Vail Connects,” administered by VPS, encompasses the community of Vail and follows the National Main Street Four Point Approach model. Working with the U of A and National Park Service, VPS sponsored the completion of the Vail Historic Preservation Plan in 2014 which identified the Main Street Approach as a key strategy for supporting the plan, and, building a sense of place and community for Vail. VPS immediately started the organizational steps and necessary paperwork required for state certification.

Connecting with Main Street partners across the state, Arizona Downtown Alliance and local partners like the U of A Tech Park, YMCA, Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Rec, and IMPACT we are moving important needs in Vail forward – connecting to the Pima County Loop Trail, Cienega Preserve, Arizona Trail, as well as, public art, student preservation trades projects Powered by JTED and historic preservation projects. In 2016 the Business Committee is launching the Vail Connects Artist and Artisan Coop, the Design committee is developing suggested guidelines and the Organization group is working to have a misspelled street sign corrected. VPS is funding and facilitating the creation of beautiful public art crafted by Vail youth working with community members and local artist Royce Davenport. The art will be installed along our Main Street-Colossal Cave Road-in February 2017 at no cost to the public.

Why Main Street and why history? “History is a catalyst for economic growth. People are drawn to communities that have preserved a strong sense of historical identity and character. Cultural heritage is a demonstrated economic asset and an essential component of any vibrant local economy, providing an infrastructure that attracts talent and enhances business development.” The Value of History. For more info email

August 1926, Colossal Cave Road Becomes a Public Highway

On August 2, 1926 Guy Monthan (Rancho del Lago), Frank Schmidt (Colossal Cave operator), R.S. Gill, George Marten, Carl Puhl, A.H. Fondon, Paul A. Pyeath, Phil M. Laughlen, E. Gleabo, J. Briseal, and Carl Monthan, Vail residents, filed a petition for the establishment of a public highway to be maintained by Pima County. The road would overlay the old roadway leading to Colossal Cave. It would begin at “a point on the Tucson-Benson Highway in the Town of Vail, Arizona, thence across the concrete dip over the Pantano Wash on the old Vail-Benson Highway along the present constructed road to Colossal Cave, a distance of 6.2 miles more or less.”

The 11 applicants presented the petition to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, posted four copies-one on the bulletin board at the south entrance of the Court House, and three along the proposed highway. After 28 days it could be acted upon by the Supervisors. Three Viewers were then appointed, after another 30 days a hearing was set. A decision was made on September 9, 1926. After a survey by the County Engineer it was official. In 2006 Vail Road’s (1898) name was changed to Colossal Cave Road creating continuity from I10 to Pistol Hill Road. In July 2015 Colossal Cave Road was designated an Arizona Certified Main Street!

Connecting Community Through Local History Since 2006

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J.J. Lamb