Now on her ninth book, 80-year-old Barbara Marriott’s most recent book “Legendary Locals of Marana, Oro Valley, and Catalina” highlights the impact of three smaller communities of Tucson.
“It’s about the people who really made the history of the area,” said Marriott. “Who by their actions and involvement decided this historical direction now and for the future of these three small communities.”
Marriott has a Ph.D. in Anthropology, which has helped her know how to research on such topics. All but one of her books is non-fiction history and five of them are about Arizona.
“People deserve to know more about the communities here,” said Marriott who focuses mainly on how the people in the communities made Tucson what it is today. “People make history and the history is the people.”
The publisher of the Legendary Local Series approached Marriott to write a book about Tucson that they could add to their series.
Marana was one of the communities Marriott focused on in her book. She shares how Marana use to be historically known for its means of transportation. In 1775 there was a trail that ran through the Marana area and that many travelers had to use in order to reach other parts of the country. Over time, the trail was replaced by a train track, which provided faster transportation for travelers. Now, Marana is most known for their agriculture and more specifically their cotton growing.
On the other hand, Oro Valley was historically known for its ranching community, but over time the people realized that the topography of the area was not best for ranching. So over time Oro Valley became more known for its scenic views and is now known most for its emphasis on arts and education.
The smallest of the three communities is Catalina that started with ranching as well but was once again seen as not good ranch country. Like Oro Valley, Catalina became known for it’s beautiful views of the mountains and was seen as a place to do more upscale development. People saw it as a place of leisure living where they could enjoy the views, relax, and experience the wildlife up close.
“Tucson is a treasure, but you got these little communities that are gems,” said Marriott. “I write because there is so much more to learn and it fascinates me so much.”
Marriott is in the middle of writing her second fiction and said that after this she will probably not write any more on the Tucson area. Marriott will be at Tohono Chul on Dec. 8 from 10 to 2 p.m. to sign books.