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Thread: El Tiradito and the Elysian Grove

  1. #21
    Joel's Avatar
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    Woo! We're dredging up the ghosts tonight!

    http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/lifestories/209117
    Jesus Camacho: Early lawman a tough cop who patrolled a tough beat

    By Kimberly Matas
    arizona daily star
    Tucson, Arizona | Published: 10.31.2007


    Jesús Camacho wasn't afraid to crack a few skulls if it meant keeping the peace on his beat.
    He patrolled the Old Pueblo's red-light district Downtown during his days as a Tucson police officer. He joined the force in 1910, when prostitution was legal, opium dens were common and shootouts were routine.
    During his 33 years of service, Camacho was involved in gunbattles, killed two ne'er-do-wells and apprehended several high-profile murderers.
    Camacho was born in 1883 and grew up working in his family's restaurant on Meyer Street. He quit school in the sixth grade and worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad and as a carpenter while volunteering with the Fire Department as part of a team that pulled the 1,000-pound hose cart to fires. He married Ramona Valenzuela in 1900 and they had four children before Camacho joined the police force at 27.
    Standing more than 6 feet tall and tipping the scale at 215 pounds, the strapping Camacho had fallen behind on his bill at Andy Martin's drugstore. Camacho offered to do carpentry work to pay his debt, but the owner had another idea.
    "Jesús, you would make one **** of a fine policeman," Martin told him. "You know the language, the people and every alley in this section of town."
    Martin called in a favor and the next day Camacho had a badge pinned to his chest.
    He was assigned to cover the district where he grew up — south of Congress Street between Church Avenue and Meyer Street, south to 17th Street. The neighborhood was home to gambling dens, 48 saloons, Chinese markets, small hotels, pimps, petty thieves and 250 or so ladies of the evening who plied their trade along the two blocks of Sabino Street known as *** Alley — named for Tucson pioneer Mervin G. ***.
    Before joining the force, Camacho patronized the saloons, so many customers had little regard for the newly appointed lawman's authority.
    Camacho quickly earned the respect of the red-light district denizens. He developed a rapport with the residents, treating people fairly, looking the other way when widows made ends meet by selling tequila during Prohibition and pumping stool pigeons and drug addicts for information on crimes. Eventually, he earned the nickname, "The Mayor of Meyer Street."
    Camacho worked his way up the ranks to become a detective and even filled in as police chief for a couple of days in 1915.
    His first big capture came in 1922 when he nabbed Los Angeles "hammer murderess" Clara Phillips, who'd bludgeoned her romantic rival. Tucson police received a tip that Phillips might be aboard an eastbound train headed for El Paso. Camacho searched the train when it pulled into Tucson and found Phillips sleeping in a berth.
    A decade later, Camacho was one of the detectives assigned to investigate the kidnapping of a Tucson banker. Camacho and his partner followed marks left in a dusty road by worn tires that led to the kidnappers who were sweeping away the tracks in front of a small ranch house. The kidnappers opened fire and the detectives retreated to get their rifles. By the time Camacho and his partner returned to the house, the kidnappers were gone, but they found the banker, bound and gagged, at the bottom of a dry well.
    Camacho didn't let border issues interfere with capturing a fugitive, when he ventured into Nogales, Sonora, sans extradition papers, to capture a man who'd murdered a Chinese storekeeper. Camacho tracked the killer south of the border and convinced the local mayor and the police chief to lock up the prisoner for a few hours until he was ready to transport the man to Arizona.
    "At midnight I get them to turn him over to me. I put him in a taxi and take him to the Arizona side and put him in jail, and the next day I take him to Tucson," Camacho said.
    "The day after I brought the murderer … across the line, the authorities put the Mexican chief, the mayor and a corporal in jail and sent word to me to stay away from there," Camacho said. "I didn't go back for four years, until the administration changed."
    During his career, Camacho killed two men and made what was then the largest narcotics bust in Arizona. He and two other detectives seized more than $85,000 worth of narcotics stolen from a Nogales Army hospital by two men who hid the stash in their car trunk.
    Camacho shot and killed his first criminal in 1911, a year after joining the force, when he caught the man breaking into a bank vault. Later in his career he killed a man who wounded a fellow police officer.
    "I shot him through the side of the jaw with the .45 I've been carrying for 35 or 36 years," Camacho said. "The bullet came out his ear. He died."
    Camacho was shot at many times but wounded only once — with his own gun. Camacho and another detective were speeding along Meyer Street, then a rutted dirt road, in their police-issued Model T when Camacho's gun discharged and the bullet hit him in the butt.
    Camacho retired in 1945, but continued working for then-Sheriff Ed Echols, transporting prisoners from Tucson to the prison in Florence until Camacho's death four years later at age 66.
    "He was one of the typical, old-style police officers," Echols said. "He learned this job by hard knocks and experience."


    http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/lifestories/209117

    When were you here Ghostdancer?
    "Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas."

    H.L. Mencken

  2. #22
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    Dratted auto censor! A Tucson pioneer was named Mervin G. G a y. Don't take our history away from us in the name of PC!
    "Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas."

    H.L. Mencken

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel View Post
    Woo! We're dredging up the ghosts tonight!

    http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/lifestories/209117
    Jesus Camacho: Early lawman a tough cop who patrolled a tough beat

    By Kimberly Matas
    arizona daily star
    Tucson, Arizona | Published: 10.31.2007


    Jesús Camacho wasn't afraid to crack a few skulls if it meant keeping the peace on his beat.
    He patrolled the Old Pueblo's red-light district Downtown during his days as a Tucson police officer. He joined the force in 1910, when prostitution was legal, opium dens were common and shootouts were routine.
    During his 33 years of service, Camacho was involved in gunbattles, killed two ne'er-do-wells and apprehended several high-profile murderers.
    Camacho was born in 1883 and grew up working in his family's restaurant on Meyer Street. He quit school in the sixth grade and worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad and as a carpenter while volunteering with the Fire Department as part of a team that pulled the 1,000-pound hose cart to fires. He married Ramona Valenzuela in 1900 and they had four children before Camacho joined the police force at 27.
    Standing more than 6 feet tall and tipping the scale at 215 pounds, the strapping Camacho had fallen behind on his bill at Andy Martin's drugstore. Camacho offered to do carpentry work to pay his debt, but the owner had another idea.
    "Jesús, you would make one **** of a fine policeman," Martin told him. "You know the language, the people and every alley in this section of town."
    Martin called in a favor and the next day Camacho had a badge pinned to his chest.
    He was assigned to cover the district where he grew up — south of Congress Street between Church Avenue and Meyer Street, south to 17th Street. The neighborhood was home to gambling dens, 48 saloons, Chinese markets, small hotels, pimps, petty thieves and 250 or so ladies of the evening who plied their trade along the two blocks of Sabino Street known as *** Alley — named for Tucson pioneer Mervin G. ***.
    Before joining the force, Camacho patronized the saloons, so many customers had little regard for the newly appointed lawman's authority.
    Camacho quickly earned the respect of the red-light district denizens. He developed a rapport with the residents, treating people fairly, looking the other way when widows made ends meet by selling tequila during Prohibition and pumping stool pigeons and drug addicts for information on crimes. Eventually, he earned the nickname, "The Mayor of Meyer Street."
    Camacho worked his way up the ranks to become a detective and even filled in as police chief for a couple of days in 1915.
    His first big capture came in 1922 when he nabbed Los Angeles "hammer murderess" Clara Phillips, who'd bludgeoned her romantic rival. Tucson police received a tip that Phillips might be aboard an eastbound train headed for El Paso. Camacho searched the train when it pulled into Tucson and found Phillips sleeping in a berth.
    A decade later, Camacho was one of the detectives assigned to investigate the kidnapping of a Tucson banker. Camacho and his partner followed marks left in a dusty road by worn tires that led to the kidnappers who were sweeping away the tracks in front of a small ranch house. The kidnappers opened fire and the detectives retreated to get their rifles. By the time Camacho and his partner returned to the house, the kidnappers were gone, but they found the banker, bound and gagged, at the bottom of a dry well.
    Camacho didn't let border issues interfere with capturing a fugitive, when he ventured into Nogales, Sonora, sans extradition papers, to capture a man who'd murdered a Chinese storekeeper. Camacho tracked the killer south of the border and convinced the local mayor and the police chief to lock up the prisoner for a few hours until he was ready to transport the man to Arizona.
    "At midnight I get them to turn him over to me. I put him in a taxi and take him to the Arizona side and put him in jail, and the next day I take him to Tucson," Camacho said.
    "The day after I brought the murderer … across the line, the authorities put the Mexican chief, the mayor and a corporal in jail and sent word to me to stay away from there," Camacho said. "I didn't go back for four years, until the administration changed."
    During his career, Camacho killed two men and made what was then the largest narcotics bust in Arizona. He and two other detectives seized more than $85,000 worth of narcotics stolen from a Nogales Army hospital by two men who hid the stash in their car trunk.
    Camacho shot and killed his first criminal in 1911, a year after joining the force, when he caught the man breaking into a bank vault. Later in his career he killed a man who wounded a fellow police officer.
    "I shot him through the side of the jaw with the .45 I've been carrying for 35 or 36 years," Camacho said. "The bullet came out his ear. He died."
    Camacho was shot at many times but wounded only once — with his own gun. Camacho and another detective were speeding along Meyer Street, then a rutted dirt road, in their police-issued Model T when Camacho's gun discharged and the bullet hit him in the butt.
    Camacho retired in 1945, but continued working for then-Sheriff Ed Echols, transporting prisoners from Tucson to the prison in Florence until Camacho's death four years later at age 66.
    "He was one of the typical, old-style police officers," Echols said. "He learned this job by hard knocks and experience."


    http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/lifestories/209117

    When were you here Ghostdancer?
    In Tucson? All my life until three and a half years ago.

    And I wasn't aware of this article. Thanks for posting it.
    "Here lies Lester Moore; four slugs from A-44. No Les no more." - Grave marker at Tombstone's Boothill Cemetary

  4. #24
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    And speaking of ghosts, there's a home in the area on Simpson St. said to be haunted by the ghost of a child who off and on for years would appear to the family living there. Can't find any links to the story though, it is my favorite Tucson ghost story.
    "Here lies Lester Moore; four slugs from A-44. No Les no more." - Grave marker at Tombstone's Boothill Cemetary

  5. #25
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    Thanks! We do have a ton of history here, but it's begging to be unearthed from the sands of time! Forgotten, ignored and neglected!
    "Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas."

    H.L. Mencken

  6. #26
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    This home in Barrio Historico has been the site of many a ghostly happening, according to Tucson Citizen archives. For instance:
    • Unexplained noises have been reported, including the sounds of a radio playing.
    • Herminia Suarez lived in the house in 1946 and she and her five children, including Mary Rivera, frequently spotted "la muchachita,"a girl age 7 or 8. "Rivera's husband, Alfonso, had an experience in the house - one that so unnerved him that he never stayed there overnight again," Citizen reporter Paul L. Allen wrote in 2003. "He awoke to a noise, and intended to get up and investigate. As he tried to sit up . . . he felt strong, cold hands pressing his chest, pinning him to the bed. Struggling against the pressure, he half-rose, only to be pressed forcefully back to the bed."




    http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/ss/lifestyle/101245.php

    Here's one story. Though I am a hard core skeptic myself. I won't call anyone a liar for first hand stories, I will slam my fist down on the table for a friend of a friend story jazz though.

    I remember the night when they cleared out the Desert Diamond back in the early '90's when some security guard thought he saw a demon on the security cameras. I don't think I ever laughed so long or hard.
    "Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas."

    H.L. Mencken

  7. #27
    Joel's Avatar
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    I also remember when they were widening Speedway at Stone in the '80's when they came across the first bodies and put in the call to TPD. By the end of the day, the University of Arizona Archeological Department was in full swing. Seems there was an old Indian graveyard there that everyone had forgotten about.
    "Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas."

    H.L. Mencken

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel View Post
    This home in Barrio Historico has been the site of many a ghostly happening, according to Tucson Citizen archives. For instance:
    • Unexplained noises have been reported, including the sounds of a radio playing.
    • Herminia Suarez lived in the house in 1946 and she and her five children, including Mary Rivera, frequently spotted "la muchachita,"a girl age 7 or 8. "Rivera's husband, Alfonso, had an experience in the house - one that so unnerved him that he never stayed there overnight again," Citizen reporter Paul L. Allen wrote in 2003. "He awoke to a noise, and intended to get up and investigate. As he tried to sit up . . . he felt strong, cold hands pressing his chest, pinning him to the bed. Struggling against the pressure, he half-rose, only to be pressed forcefully back to the bed."




    http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/ss/lifestyle/101245.php
    That's the story that I'm referring to. Funny, when I searched the ADS archives on line I didn't get anything. I like the story as I find it more charming than scary.
    "Here lies Lester Moore; four slugs from A-44. No Les no more." - Grave marker at Tombstone's Boothill Cemetary

  9. #29
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    It's from the Tucson Citizen which is almost at the end of its life span. Anyone want to buy a newspaper?


    Jesús Camacho Doesn't he resemble Orson Wells from A TOUCH OF EVIL?


    Tucson Police Department 1916.

    You can look and snicker if you're from back east or the mid-west, but these guys caught Dillinger and his gang years later. We're talking real COPS here.
    Photos from the Arizona Daily Star!!!
    Last edited by Joel; 03-24-2009 at 08:09 PM.
    "Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas."

    H.L. Mencken

  10. #30
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    You may even get a kick of these. http://regulus2.azstarnet.com/gallery/tag/joels
    "Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas."

    H.L. Mencken

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