Virtual Tucson Magazine Circa 2002 -2003


The Virtual Tucson Magazine covered just about everything you needed to know about Tucson from restaurants, to scared places, to the best places to hike, bike, or explore.

This was their website.
Content is from the site's 2003 -2004 archived pages.

From the editor: Welcome to Virtual Tucson Magazine. The site is growing everyday providing information on Tucson to thousands of visitors every month. Having grown up in the Tucson Valley, I have lived in Tucson for more than 30 years. Working as a Tucson based photographer for the past 20 years I developed this idea a few years ago after working on photographs for the Fodor's Arizona Travel guide.

Our goal at VTM to create a site that provides information on Tucson in a very cool yet simple form. Take a look around and hopefully you will find something to keep you entertained.

Part of the original concept of Virtual Tucson Magazine is to editorially advertise local Tucson business, so let us know if you are interested in having a page in our site. We do have one national advertiser whose ads will start next month. They're a large firm and we're proud to show off their wares - starting with their paper towels. The owner is a fan of Tucson, and our mag. My new agent markets my stock photographs online, click on the Alamy link to see the images I have available 24/7. I also have two other web sites, the lightning site, and, the book web site. So click and go!

Thanks for stopping by A.T. Willett


Map of the Tucson Valley
This aerial map of the Tucson Valley will allow you travel across Tucson with the click of your mouse. Click on the map and go! Or click on the images bellow.


Virtual Tucson Magazine will take you to Tucson from any computer in the world. Take a Hike to Seven Falls, bike the trails of Starr Pass. Travel across Tucson from the Airplane Graveyard to the San Xavier Del Bac Mission. Meet local artists, musicians, professionals and the other unusual local characters. The Virtual Part of this experience will come from Arizona's Finest Quick Time Virtual Reality Panoramas and coming soon Quick Time Video.
Your first time Visiting Tucson?
If this is your first trip to Tucson, this web site will help you decide where to go, what to do, where to stay and what to eat. If your a Local we provide information on the coolest places to see, places to eat and places to find shelter from the heat wind or cold depending what time year. We will guide you to the best of Tucson.


Virtual Tucson Site Development

What is the concept of Virtual Tucson Magazine? Virtual Tucson magazine is the premier online Tucson visitor and resident information resource. This site is designed for residents, visitors, tourists, or anyone who might be searching for information on where to stay, what to do, what to see, what to hear, and what to eat while in Tucson Arizona. A guide of the most interesting people, places, businesses, and desert locations in the Tucson Valley. The virtual experience part of this site comes from the Quick Time panoramas, outstanding local photography, and the personal points of view of our Virtual Tucson Experts. Click on a link and become a Virtual Tucson Visitor.

Our pledge to you: This site is not a link based hollow advertising website, all of the content in our site is created by our staff which strives to present a complete view of whatever we post on our site. What we say about local businesses and attractions is not based upon whether or not we receive revenue from such businesses. We will not have flashing banner advertising, misleading advertising nor will we include any businesses or attractions, which we would not personally recommend to our own friends or families.

Where did the idea for Virtual Tucson magazine originate?

The origination of this site came from a combination of many different ideas and talents. In the Fall of 1998, while working on images for the new 2000 Fodor's Arizona Travel Guide, I could see how a guide book like this was missing much of what Tucson has to offer its residents and visitors. When my friends would come to Tucson I would take them around town on a show and tell adventure, I had my own stories to tell having lived in Tucson for over 30 years.

My 18 year background as a local Tucson based photographer began at the Tucson Citizen where I worked as a photojournalist for the local Gannett newspaper. The last 15 years I've spent creating award winning images, which were used by corporations and magazines all around the globe. In the spring of 1999 I began to learn about the Quick Time Virtual Reallity software, which creates a 360 degree view of a location where the user controls the movement of the panorama, just like controlling a remote video camera. This interactive view of any place around the globe could be downloaded from the web to any computer screen. This enables anyone with the QTVR Plugin to become a Virtual Visitor to many web sites around the world.

I became a Virtual Visitor to the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and clicked through Hidden New York, the Virtual Parks site, through an abandon Missile silo and then inside a Russian Submarine. With QTVR I became a Virtual Visitor traveling to locations all around the world with just a click of my mouse. I decided I needed to learn how to create QTVR content. When I visited the website Virtually Vancouver, I could see how all of these ideas could be developed into the Premier Tucson Visitor website. If you combine all of these ideas together you get Virtual Tucson Magazine, oh yeah and a lot of work.

Thanks for visiting,

A. T. Willett


Virtual Tucson Magazine Sacred Places


Sacred for thousand of years: There are places in the Tucson Valley which have been considered sacred for thousands of years. Some of the oldest sacred places are those left behind by the ancient Hohokam Indians who vanished from this area 700 years ago. Where did they go and what happened to their entire culture, religion and history? Unanswered questions to this day. All that remains of their thriving civilizations are Petraglyph rock drawings and a few small artifacts found at a several sites around the Valley. Signal Hill is a place where you can stand on a rock and try to interpret the messages of this long vanished tribe. This will probably create more questions than answers, but take pleasure that someone who lived in this Valley a thousand years ago is making you think today.

Spanish Mission architecture: The spread of Christianity followed on the heels of the arrival of Spanish Conquistadors who were in this region by the late 1500's. An early Spanish account of the Tucson area was written in 1699. A few years later Father Eusebio Kino was marking the foundation plans for Mission San Xavier del Bac. This mission and many others were part of aggressive efforts by the Spanish, to convert the native inhabitants to Christianity. The mission, which was completed about 1798, is an excellent example of Spanish Mission architecture. The White Dove of the Desert, as it is often called, seems to glow at dusk against the fading desert sky.
A tiny shrine with a huge heart: One of the most mysterious Sacred Places is the El Tiradito Shrine. The myth, or true story of how a tragic love affair in the late 1800's led to the creation of the so-called "Wishing Shrine" located in South Tucson. This shrine is on the National Historic Places Registry and the mythology of El Tiradito is well known in Hispanic culture. Even today, the shrine is a popular place for people to pray or ask for a little bit of help now and then. You never know what will happen if you light a candle down there and ask for something. It’s a very beautiful quiet place, the secrets of the people connected to this shrine will always be a mystery.
An artists idea: One of the newer sacred places is the DeGrazia Chapel built by local Tucson Artist Ted DeGrazia. Even though this chapel is less than 40 years old it is a beautiful hand built chapel which came directly from the heart and mind of Ted DeGrazia. Inside this tiny chapel there are beautiful angels painted by DeGrazia and a small shrine in the back of the chapel where many people leave a momento with their prayer or offering.
San Augustine Mission: San Augustine Cathedral, or in the English pronunciation, Saint Augustine, was originally built in 1897, with the imposing adobe and stone facade added in 1928. In the late sixties, the structure was deemed too small for the needs of the parishioners, and the entire church, except for the towers and facade, was razed and rebuilt. The designation of Cathedral, means that San Augustine is the seat for the Bishop of the Tucson Diocese.
Where does love go?: This roadside shrine for Matthew Preston who was Killed in bicycle accident Ocotober, 3rd 2001 is located on Tucson Blvd. at Lester Street. His freinds, family and girlfriend have kept fresh flowers and candles burning every day since that tragic day ten months ago. Matt was a University of Arizona Student who graduated from the University of Arizona last May with a degree in molecular and cellular biology, he was studying toward a doctorate in genetics and working as a research technician in a biochemistry and molecular biophysics lab.
San Pedro Chaple:
To see additional photographs and learn about Tucson's Sacred Places click on the images above or the links below to go to the sacred places which are summarized above.

Something to think about: When you set foot into Tucson's Sacred Places think about the people who built these buildings with their hands in the hot desert sun, think about the people that have worshiped in these places over the years and think about the future. What will these areas look like 200 years in the future?

What are your Sacred Places?
We are considering other sacred places in Tucson. If you have a place you would like us to consider send us an Email and maybe we will use your idea. Want to write about your favorite sacred place in Tucson? Maybe you can have a page in Virtual Tucson Magazine.



Adventure around every corner: Whatever brings you to Tucson, adventure can be found around almost every corner. There are vast trail systems throughout the desert valley, canyons and mountains. Visitors from across the globe come to hike Tucson's trails. Tucson is Number two in the country for "The best places to ride a bicycle" according to Bicycling Magazine. Mountain biking in Tucson offers many different types of terrain. The lower desert fields of cacti at Starr Pass offer great cross country style riding. The rolling hills and canyons of Redington Pass are a good place to practice your balance, rock climbing and stream crossing skills. The steep dropoffs of the Mt. Lemmon trails are a great place to practice your fearless downhill techniques in the cool pine trees. Road biking in Tucson offers many options, a few favorites are the early morning Sabino Canyon ride, the Saguaro National Monument East and West rides and the Colossal Cave Loop ride. Whether you are hiking biking or exploring Tucson, the Old Pueblo’s mild winter temperatures and brilliant blue sky make outdoor activities a vacation in paradise. Many local resorts/spas offer guided tours and there are several biking and hiking tour companies located in the Tucson area.

Giant Saguaros: Tucson tourists come to see the wild desert landscape of the Sonoran Desert. Saguaro National Monument East and West offer visitors a chance to feel the desert. Ouch! Don't forget to bring your tweezers. The steep rocky Santa Catalina Mountains offer a serious challenge to visiting rock climbers. Winter visitors come to escape the cold back home to play game golf while wearing shorts on a 75 degree day in January. In the springtime dealers and curious shoppers come from all over the world for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show about that same time of year Spring Training baseball games take to the field. As a child I dreamed about going to the real Wild Wild West of Old Tucson Studios to see the shooting location of my favorite TV show "High Chaparral". If your coming to Tucson or already here, the pages bellow will provide information on having fun in Tucson.

An image in spring, shows the Seven Falls trail filled with wildflowers.



Updated 8/08/03 Most of the canyons are running with blackish brown silt from the The wildfire burn areas in the Rincon and Catalina mountains. I have not found a clear running canyon yet this year. Send me an email if you have a place for me to go check on in the Tucson area. Maybe a few big flash floods will clear out the muck.

Running Water in the desert?
June through September moisture flows up from Mexico on a southerly wind called a Monsoon, creating huge thunderstorms on the mountains and Valleys. The rainwater from these storms forms streams, natural pools and cascading waterfalls. Summer thunderstorms saturate the air with the smell water in the desert, a combination of dust, wet greasewood bushes and ozone fills the air. The run-off from these storms fills the canyons with cool refreshing water. Three quarters of Tucson’s rainfall is produced in the Monsoon season.

Water year round: There is water year round in Hutches Pool which is well over 60 feet deep although this water is very cold in the winter months and usually takes about an 80 degree day to jump in to cool down. Hutch’s is located about 2-1/2 hours hike beyond the final tram stop in Sabino Canyon. Sabino is also a great place for a hike on the night of a full moon, when the stream is running don't be surprised to hear a fox in the brush near the top of the road, or see a rattler warming his belly on the pavement, and take this as a warning stay away from the Albino Skunk.

Danger and beauty at the same time: Check the weather conditions if you are going to hike and you are not familiar with these desert canyons. Every year in Tucson people are seriously injured if not killed, by slipping on rocks or by diving into shallow pools. Flash flooding can also be a danger if there are thunderstorms in the area or further up stream. Most of the time the canyons are a peaceful way to spend you day hiking with the sound of a slow running stream or waterfall. Water is precious resource in the desert and if there is a way to cool off in Tucson when it’s over 100 degrees the locals will find it.

Click on the Images above or below and visit a Desert Oasis today!

Want to see pictures of lightning and Monsoon thunderstorms take a look our other site:

Need to bring:
Water to drink at least one liter per person, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, something to snack on, a Clif bar, some chips maybe even a mushy PB&J sandwich? A swimsuit under your shorts. A camera so you can prove you were there. Friends! If you are hiking at night bring a flashlight, its really frightening to hear a Rattle Snake and not be able to see it three feet away.
Take a dip, don’t slip and don’t drink the water!