A Completely Different Desert

A Completely Different Desert

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Narrator: Williamson

Despite being a National Monument, Papago Saguaro was nearly impossible to access. Visitors had to tackle cholla, mesquite, palo verde and other brush to reach the buttes. The Phoenix Chamber of Commerce organized a committee to make the park more accessible. On February 14, 1916 – Arizona’s fourth birthday – many Phoenicians gathered to build a road through the buttes that stretched almost a mile. After their day of hard labor, the women hosted a barbecue for the temporary construction crew. Since then, Papago Park has evolved into a completely different desert.

  • Papago Park in 1938. Several years after the WPA built the Bass Fish Hatchery, the CCC built two additional ponds as well as roads, picnic ramadas, and a stone cottage for the caretakers.
  • Governor Howard Pyle addresses Gold Star and POW mothers at a Mother’s Day chapel service and military demonstration in 1953. After four decades of volunteer projects and federal, state, and local funding for additions and improvements, Papago Park served the community in many different ways.
  • One of the remaining lakes from the Hunt Bass Hatchery, circa 1980. The landscape of the photograph implies it was taken anywhere other than the desert.


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