South Mountain Community College Historic Walking Tour – Stop 2

Holy Family Catholic Parish

Historical Period: Spanish Arizona, 1528-1821


When you look north from here, you should see the two towers of the Holy Family Catholic Parish, our neighbor just up the street. The college began offering classes a year before the campus was fully constructed, so some of our original classes and student services were held at the church.


Have there been any changes in recent times to the church itself?

The towers didn’t exist, back in 1980. They were part of a recent renovation done by the church in the mission architecture style. Mission architecture is common in the Southwest – think about the pink-tiled houses you see in the sprawling suburbs of Phoenix and LA. Mission architecture references Spanish colonization, when Catholic priests and conquistadors sought to dominate the Southwest through the Three Gs – Gold, Glory, and God.

Question: Have missions been established anywhere else in the United States?

The Spanish established missions all across the California coast in places like Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and San Diego to convert and Christianize native people. For nearly 300 years (from 1521 to 1821) Spanish religion and political influence was dominant in the American Southwest. Today, evidence of Spanish culture and religion is still evident in our community.

Tour Map

Click the image to see the tour map.