Arizona November 12, 2017
Most People Don’t Realize How Remarkable Arizona’s Canals Are
Centuries old, Arizona’s canals are not only our source of water and life but they also contain an interesting history that some people don’t even know. Let’s check out some fascinating facts about our state’s canals, which are certainly more than just ditches.
1. Arizona’s canals are centuries old. The canals were built by the Hohokam and Sinagua peoples more than 1,000 years ago, like the one pictured below at Montezuma’s Castle at Camp Verde.
2. Arizona has more miles of canals than Venice and Amsterdam combined! Phoenix alone has more than 180 miles in canals, while the two European cities only have 26 and 60 miles, respectively.
3. Until a couple decades ago, canals were popular swimming areas in the hot summers. This changed over the years as swimming pools became more popular and the canals became larger and deeper, making swimming in them dangerous.
4. The canals are regularly cleaned... by fish! White carp swim through the canals, feeding on weeds, algae, and are vital to keeping the waters clean.
5. Prisoners of war from World War II were used as labor to maintain and widen canals. A POW camp once sat at present-day Papago Park and the captured German and Italian soldiers there were put to task.
6. A hidden waterfall park sits on the canal. Near the intersection of Indian School Road and 56th Street in Phoenix is Arizona Falls, a hydroelectric power plant turned urban waterfall park.
7. There’s a bat cave hidden at the entrance of one canal! Located near Camelback Road and 36th Street, you can spot thousands of bats flying in and out of the tunnel between May and October.
Want to read more fascinating history about Arizona? Check out
7 Things You Didn’t Know About The History Of Arizona for a peek into our state’s strange history.