“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Tucson in Pima County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)

El Tiradito

(The Wishing Shrine)

El Tiradito Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, December 30, 2009
1. El Tiradito Marker
Inscription.  This is the only shrine in the United States dedicated to the soul of a sinner buried in unconsecrated ground. It is affectionately called "El Tiradito"- the castaway. The many legends about its origin all involve a tragic triangle love affair in the early 1870s. The mysterious powers of "El Tiradito" are still an important part of local Mexican lore and culture. This site is on the National Register of Historic Places.

[ Spanish Translation: ]
El Tiradito
(La Capilla de Anhelos)
Ésta es la única capilla en los Estados Unidos que haya sido dedicada a el alma de un pecador sepultado en tierra que no fuera consagrada. Se le llama afectuosamente “El Tiradito” - significado “rechazado”. Las muchas leyendas de su origen implican una trágica historia de amor que ocurrió en la temprana parte de los años de 1870. Los misteriosos poderes de “El Tiradito” aún se conservan como importantes en la erudición y cultura Mexicana local. Este sitio se encuentra en el Registro Nacional de Lugares Históricos.
Erected 1988 by Tucson
El Tiradito Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, December 30, 2009
2. El Tiradito Marker
Spanish translation of marker text.
Historical Committee and Arizona Historical Society.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionHispanic Americans. In addition, it is included in the Arizona, The Presidio Trail series list.
Location. 32° 12.972′ N, 110° 58.472′ W. Marker is in Tucson, Arizona, in Pima County. Marker is on South Main Avenue, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 221 South Main Avenue, Tucson AZ 85701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Carrillo Intermediate School (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Teatro Carmen (about 400 feet away); Cushing Street (about 700 feet away); McCormick Street (approx. 0.2 miles away); Convent Street (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sosa-Carillo-Frémont House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Stone Avenue (approx. ¼ mile away); Ochoa Street (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tucson.
Regarding El Tiradito. Perhaps the most unusual of Tucson's historic landmarks is the Mexican religious shrine known as "El Tiradito" (The Outcast), which is dedicated not to a saint, but to a sinner who died violently and dishonorably. This "Wishing Shrine," manifesting the complete antithesis of San Augustin Church, or any other religious edifice,
The Wishing Shrine image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, December 30, 2009
3. The Wishing Shrine
for that matter, has, for over three-quarters of a century been revered by Mexicans, Indians and Anglo-Americans. They believed, and still do, that their wishes would come true if their candles burned through the night. In 1928, the Shrine was moved from its original location on the southwest corner of Meyer and Simpson (the inner Barrio) to its present location on the west side of the 300 block of South Main Street (the edge of the Barrio). It has been stated that the mystic power of the Shrine did not suffer in the short move, yet our interviews suggest that the Shrine does not have the importance it formerly had. While it may not be a vital part of the Barrio residents' daily lives today, it still maintains its position as a major element in their culture and ethnic identity. The magnitude of its importance to the individual has not changed, only the number of people who regularly patronize it. In November, 1971, El Tiradito was entered on the National Register of Historic Places.

Regarding El Tiradito (The Wishing Shrine).
El Tiradito (The Wishing Shrine) is #10 on the Presidio Trail Walking Tour.
The description reads:
“This shrine is typical of small shrines in many communities in Mexico, where people come to burn candles and pray, asking for help with their problems. One legend associated with this shrine involves a tragic love triangle
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in the 1870s, with a husband killing his wife’s lover. A priest would not let the man be buried in the consecrated cemetery so local people lit candles at this location to pray for his soul.”
Credits. This page was last revised on July 26, 2018. It was originally submitted on January 3, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 2,976 times since then and 16 times this year. Last updated on May 6, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 3, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 1, 2021