Oracle, Arizona

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Oracle is a census-designated place (CDP) in Pinal County, Arizona, United States. The population was 3,563 at the 2000 census.

Buffalo Bill Cody owned a mine in Oracle briefly and, in 1911, appeared as "Santa" for a group of local children.[1] The community is the location of the Biosphere 2 experiment and was the official residence of environmentalist author Edward Abbey. Oracle is becoming a bedroom community for Tucson, Arizona, but large-scale development is opposed by many residents.

Oracle State Park is adjacent. The Arizona Trail passes through the Park and community. Oracle is the gateway to the road up the "back side" of Mount Lemmon, which starts off of American Avenue and currently offers a secondary route to the top. Previous to the construction of the Catalina Highway on the opposite side of the Santa Catalina range, the Oracle Control Road was the only road access to the mountain community of Summerhaven. The term "control road" derives from the fact that the direction of traffic was restricted to one-way only, either up or down at alternate times of day, to prevent motorists from having to pass one another on the narrow, steep road. This route is now popular mainly with off-road 4x4 drivers and with off-road or dual-purpose motorcyclists, and should not be attempted by regular passenger cars or street motorcycles. This road ends at the Catalina Highway near Loma Linda.

Contents

History

The name "Oracle" comes from early prospectors. Albert Weldon came to the area looking for gold and silver. He and some other companions named their first mine The Oracle after the ship Weldon had traveled on. The community was later named after its first mine, and thus, indirectly, after a ship.

The community began to grow in the late 1870s, as gold and silver were discovered, and the Christmas and New Year mines opened. By 1880, a post office had been established.

The community also became a retreat for people suffering from tuberculosis. The Acadia Ranch – built in Oracle in 1882 by Edwin S. and Lillian Dodge – was, during this time, a sanitorium.

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