If you’ve lived in Arizona for awhile, you know that you don’t have to look far to find bits and pieces of our state’s history. Here are some of Arizona’s historic spots that reveal telling information about Arizona’s past but often go under the radar.
1. Besh Ba Gowah
This old archaeological site is located on the outskirts of Globe and dates to 1200 AD. Once the expansive homes of the Salado people (who may have been a subset group of the Hohokam), the ruins are among the largest found in the state. The original site had approximately 400 rooms, although a portion of those were bulldozed in the mid-1900s for construction projects. Today, you can visit to see partially-restored rooms and learn more about some of the ancient people who lived here.
2. Hunt’s Tomb
When visiting Papago Park in Phoenix, you might come across a strange sight: a pure white pyramid standing on a hill in the park. This is actually the resting place of Arizona’s first governor, George W.P. Hunt and his family members.
3. Murray Springs Clovis Site
If we go way back into Arizona’s history, we can find evidence of mammoths and the stone age. One such example is the Murray Springs Clovis Site in Sierra Vist, which operated as a hunting camp back in 9000 BC. You won’t be able to see mammoth bones sticking out of the ground today but you can walk an interpretive trail to learn more about what this part of Arizona looked like so long ago.
4. Navajo National Monument
This Navajo Nation park near Kayenta is home to three different cliff dwelling ruins: Kitsʼiil, Bitátʼahkin, and Tsʼah Biiʼ Kin. The first two are open to the public for tours to learn more about the Anasazi (or Ancient Puebloan people) of the area.
5. New Windsor Hotel
This hotel is located at the northeast corner of 6th Avenue and Adams Street in downtown Phoenix. Originally named the 6th Avenue Hotel, it is one of the few original hotels in Phoenix and is also the only 19th century hotel still in use today. The hotel’s patrons these days, however, are elderly poor and homeless people looking for a place to sleep.
6. Painted Desert Inn
This lodge sits in the middle of Petrified Forest National Park and, as the name suggests, it overlooks the Painted Desert. The inn was initially designed in a Pueblo revival style, was later revised by Mary Jane Colter (well-known for her Grand Canyon structures), and murals were painted by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie. Today, it functions as a museum and you can tour the historic building.
7. Phoenix Indian School
Today, the northeast corner of Central and Indian School is home to Steele Indian School Park and a community garden. But the site was previously home to Phoenix Indian School, a boarding school for American Indian students that operated from 1891 to 1990.
8. Pipe Spring National Monument
Sitting just shy of the Arizona-Utah border, Pipe Spring National Monument is located along the isolated Arizona Strip. In the 19th century, it played a key role for Mormon travelers seeking refuge or a space to rest while traveling. It houses an old fort (also called Winsor Castle), a garden and pond, other structures, and an interpretive trail about life in the area.
9. Strawberry Schoolhouse
The one-room schoolhouse is the epitome of childhood experiences in Arizona’s territorial days. This one hidden within Strawberry’s pine trees dates to 1885 and is one of the oldest one-room schoolhouses still standing in the state.
10. Titan Missile Museum
This one-of-a-kind spot near Tucson is the home of a former missile launch control center and is one of the few remnants of the Cold War. You can take a tour into the silo and even see the deactivated, 103-foot missile for yourself.
How many of these places have you heard of or visited? Be sure to let us know where you would like to head for your next trip in Arizona!