With stories as big as Arizona, Vail is old and new at the same time. Over 100 years old it has never incorporated and has grown close to 400% since 2000. The story of growth and the growing pains that often accompany progress resonate with many communities across Arizona and our nation. Vail is quickly transitioning from a rural to an urban bedroom community of Tucson. The Voices of Vail film is an extension of our oral history interview project, almost 60 to date.
Sometimes life offers many opportunities, sometimes there is only one. We need your help to complete the Voices of Vail film. The stories are as big as Arizona, but they are also the universal stories of home and belonging: of powerful businessmen, poor Hispanic cowboys and homesteaders working to make a life. This rural community framed by a stunning landscape and western friendliness has only one remaining landmark from its early days as a railroad siding in 1880. The humble adobe Old Vail Post Office sits at the crossroads of development. Strong community connections are built upon relationships. Will a dollar store or the restoration of the sole remaining pre-statehood building at the Vail town site provide a place for generations to mix, mingle and build a strong foundation for a growing community. Parking spaces are important, but at what cost? The Old Vail Post Office is in the path of “progress” as so many rural post offices are today.
The film captures the beauty of Cienega Creek and a snapshot of the traditional rural Vail while recording the reasons newcomers have moved here. We are committed to keeping production values high as we also involve local youth in this multi-generational effort. Creation of the film has truly been a grass roots effort led by professional film maker Dennis Farris. His dedication to his craft is evident in the exacting care he takes with every film shoot. Living in Vail he is part of the nearly 400% growth. How do we present the future with the best of our past? Film has the capacity to tell the stories that would otherwise disappear as landmarks become parking spaces and old-timers voices are silenced by death.
What is the role of a post office, beyond stamps and envelopes? These buildings play host to connections within a community and beyond. Communication defines human interaction, whether is over the counter of the neighborhood post office, contained within the lines of a letter, or building business and commerce by way of a mail order or bill stamped and sent by first class mail. The Voices of Vail tells the roll of the post office to a rural population.
Vail is a community in transition; we believe this film will be an important part of building a strong foundation for the vibrant future we envision. We invite you to be a part of this historic project 132 years in the making. With your help the Voices of Vail will be completed! Every contribution is important; with your help we will tell the stories of rural southern Arizona and save our only original landmark.