by Dick Wiedhopf
(for the program of the 1995 biennial
convention of the CSSA in Tucson)
The Tucson Cactus Club was the dream of Cactus John Haage,
Curator of Plants at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. His position
at the Museum provided him with an opportunity to talk with many
local visitors. They convinced him in 1960 to advertise in the
local newspaper, to invite the public interested in cacti to a
meeting at his home on November 13, 1960. So many people attended
that there was standing room only for this first organizational
Cactus John took charge and explained the object of the meeting;
to form a club that would entail reading sessions, discussion groups
and field trips. This club was organized among amateur and advanced
hobbyists and collectors to promote interest in cacti, succulents,
and other desert plants. In addition, the club would use its influence
with local, state and federal governments to pass necessary legislation
for the conservation of native desert plants wherever they grow.
Not bad ideas for 1960.
In due time, a name for the club was decided upon: the Tucson
Cactus Club. Officers were elected, with Dr. W.G. McGinnies
as founding President. The Club was on its way. At every following
meeting, more and more people joined. From the start, John Haage
offered to deed the equity in his house and garden to the Tucson
Cactus Club, with the stipulation that he could live there as
long as he liked. Cactus John Haage passed away suddenly in 1962
without completing the land deed.
Sometime in 1962, the name was changed to the Tucson Cactus
and Botanical Society, and more recently changed again to
its present name, the Tucson Cactus & Succulent
Society. There have been many notable members who have contributed locally, nationally and internationally to the knowledge and advancement of our Society and the study of cacti and succulents in general.
The Tucson Cactus & Succulent Society, Inc. (TCSS) is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3)tax-exempt organization dedicated to education, information, conservation and discoveries about cacti and succulent plants. Our monthly programs feature knowledgeable individuals who can educate you and help you understand more about these fascinating plants. Any donations to TCSS are tax-deductible in accordance with Code section 170.