Tuesday, February 24, 2015

That Big, White Pyramid

    That big, white pyramid of Papago Park, right next to the zoo’s big horned sheep exhibit and which new comers to Phoenix always ask, “What is that?” is one of Phoenix’s best known landmarks.
     Papago Park is a great place for springtime family outings and has a long history of serving the people of Arizona.  In 1879 the area served as an Indian reservation for the Maricopa and Pima tribes. In 1914 the beautiful desert area was proclaimed the Papago Saguaro National Monument.
     During World War II a German prisoner of war camp was located here, once holding over 400 prisoners. In 1959 it became the Phoenix city park we know today.
     Papago Park covers 1,200 acres and is home to the Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Gardens, a fire museum, a municipal golf course, fishing lagoons, picnic ramadas and miles of hiking and bike trails near Hole-in-the Rock.  It is also home to that big, white pyramid, the tombstone of Arizona’s 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th governor, George W.P. Hunt. 
     George Wylie Paul Hunt would have been a hard sell for the image conscious political world of today.  With his walrus mustache, thick-rimmed glasses, totally bald head and always dressed in a white linen suit, he probably wouldn’t have made it far in today’s television world.
    When the telegraph clattered at  8:55 a.m. on February 14, 1912 confirming that Arizona was now the 48th state of the United States, it was George W.P. Hunt who led the Statehood Parade down Washington Street to the capital building. There he stood on the second floor balcony celebrating with his fellow citizens Arizona’s statehood.
     So next time family or friends are visiting one of the many wonderful attractions of Papago Park, follow that road by the lagoons, go up the hill by the big horned sheep exhibit and visit the final resting place of an Arizona legend, George W.P. Hunt.  It’s right at that big, white pyramid of Papago Park. 

That famous pyramid is actually a tombstone.

View from Hunt's tomb
Hole-In-The-Rock of Papago Park

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