Oracle was named after a ship that was built in Bath, Maine and launched on October 3, 1876. Albert Weldon came across the sea in this ship. A storm overtook the clipper. Through the raging gales and mountainous sea the ship rode. The Oracle floated to port crippled, Its canvas in shreds and her masts broken. Nothing but providence, Weldon said, saved her from the reefs and cliffs. On her name plate, in salt-flecked letters, were the words "The Oracle." Weldon came to Tucson with Jimmy Lee and Alex McKay to hunt for gold. Weldon staked the first claim and in gratitude and in his faith in providence called the mine "The Oracle."
Oracle became well known for its beautiful scenery and moderate climate. In the pre air-conditioned days, people often traveled to Oracle's mountain location in the summer. The town also earned a reputation as a health resort. Doctors often referred tuberculosis patients and others with respiratory problems to the various guest ranches. The main industries in the area were mining and ranching.
The All Saints Church was built in 1901. Donations came from wealthy patrons in the area. This church was built entirely from stones quarried in the area. It is now called the Oracle Union Church. This building was placed on the National Register of Historical Places on May 3, 1984.
The Acadia Ranch, home of the Oracle Historical Society, was built in the 1880's. It served as a boarding house, guest ranch house, and later as a tuberculosis sanitarium. Ownership of the building was taken over by the Oracle Historical Society in 1978. Acadia Ranch was placed on the National Register of Historical Places February 22, 1984.
The Mountain View Hotel was built in 1895 by William Neal at a reported cost of $90,000 including furnishings. The Mountain View hosted many famous people. Among the patrons were Stewart Edward White. US Ambassador to the court of Saint James; William Blackwell, who once owned Blackwell Island and sold it to New York; royalty from Italy and Russia. It is said that the sheriff stopped in the Mountain View with his prisoner, Pearl Heart, after her capture for robbing a stagecoach east of Riverside, Arizona in 1899. William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody was a frequent visitor from 1909 to 1916. Mr. Cody had mining interests in the area. The Mountain View was purchased by the Baptist Church in 1957.
Several guest ranches including the Arcadia Ranch, thrived in the area. Rancho Linda Vista was owned by George Stone Wilson who ranched it, then later turned it into a guest ranch. It is now home to a community of artists and home to the Rancho Linda Vista Gallery. Novelist Harold Bell Wright stayed at Rancho Linda Vista while he wrote "The Mine with Iron Door", which is based on tales of a lost mine in the area. The silent movie of the same name was filmed in town in 1924. The Triangle L Ranch was home to many of the cast and crew during the filming. Triangle L is now operated as a bed and breakfast. Rancho Robles was built by Mr. Charles Gilliland, and currently serves as rental housing.
Oracle is at an elevation of 4500 feet. The hilly countryside is covered with mesquite, scrub oak, manzanita, bear grass, prickly pear and cholla cactus. There are large outcroppings of granite. It is located on the northern slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
There is diversity of wildlife which includes, but is not limited to, many species of hawk, javalina, coyote, quail, and occasional mountain lion or bobcat.
The climate is moderate with summer days averaging in the mid 90's. Summer also brings spectacular monsoons from the Gulf of Mexico. In winter you might see a light dusting of snow, which never lasts long.