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Papago Park

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Title: Papago Park  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: George W. P. Hunt, Phoenix, Arizona, East Valley (Phoenix metropolitan area), Phoenix metropolitan area, List of prisoner-of-war escapes
Collection: Buildings and Structures Completed in 1932, Former American Indian Reservations, Geography of Tempe, Arizona, Lakes of Maricopa County, Arizona, Landforms of Maricopa County, Arizona, Monuments and Memorials on the National Register of Historic Places in Arizona, National Register of Historic Places in Maricopa County, Arizona, Native American History of Arizona, Parks in Maricopa County, Arizona, Parks in Phoenix, Arizona, Phoenix Metropolitan Area, Phoenix Points of Pride, Pyramids in the United States, Visitor Attractions in Maricopa County, Arizona
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Papago Park

Papago Park
Location Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona
Nearest city Scottsdale, Arizona
Area 1,496 acres (6.05 km2)[1]
Operated by Cities of Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona

Papago Park is a municipal park of the cities of Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona, USA. It has been designated as a Phoenix Point of Pride.[2] It includes Hunt's Tomb, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


  • Description 1
  • History 2
  • Hunt's Tomb 3
  • Papago Ponds 4
    • Fish Species 4.1
    • Other Species Living at Papago Ponds 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


View from the Phoenix Zoo entrance

Papago Park is a hilly desert park covering 1200 acres in its Phoenix extent and 296 acres in its Tempe extent. Tempe refers to its section of the park specifically as Tempe Papago Park.

Papago Park is notable for its many distinctive geological formations and its wide variety of typical desert plants, including the giant baseball and softball fields, picnic ramadas, a small lake, and other features. Rolling Hills Golf Course is within the park between its Phoenix and Tempe extremities.[3]


Hole in the Rock
Inside Hole in the Rock
Sandra Day O'Connor's House. O'Connor's house was moved from the town of Paradise Valley, Ariz., to Papago Park.

The distinctive red sandstone geological formations of Papago Park were formed some 6-15 million years ago. One such formation, Hole-in-the-Rock, is a major landmark, thanks to the openings (tafoni) eroded in the formation over time. There is some evidence that the Hohokam—a now-extinct aboriginal tribe that once lived in the Phoenix area—used the openings and sunlight to track the solstices.

There are also some signs of Precambrian granite in the park. The bedrock is concealed by only a thin layer of topsoil.

Papago Park was designated a reservation for the local Maricopa and Pima tribes of aboriginal Americans in 1879. It became the Papago-Saguaro National Monument in 1914, but this status was recalled by Congress, April 7, 1930, because the area was not considered suitable for a national monument.[4] It was divided amongst the state of Arizona, the city of Tempe and the Water Users Association, later known as the Salt River Project.[4] Federal Government reserved all oil, coal or other mineral rights.[4] During World War II, the park housed a POW camp and contained as many as 3,100 prisoners from 1942 to 1944. It was also the site of the largest mass escape from any United States prison camp in World War II. The Great Papago Escape occurred on December 23, 1944 when 25 prisoners, including German U-boat commander Jürgen Wattenberg, escaped the camp using a 178-foot tunnel and made their way to the Arizona desert. Many prisoners quickly realized that they knew nothing about the landscape or climate and turned themselves back in. Wattenberg was the last to be captured, on January 28, 1945.[5] After the war it served as a VA hospital from 1947 to 1951, then an Army Reserve facility. The state owned portion of the park was sold to the city of Phoenix on February 25, 1959. A portion of the Tempe park was conveyed to that city in 1935, and a parcel within that portion was conveyed to the Salt River Project in 1955. An 18-hole championship golf course was built by the city of Phoenix and completed in 1963

The park was also the finish line in the fourth season of The Amazing Race.

Hunt's Tomb

Hunt's Tomb
View of Hunt's Tomb in Papago Park, Phoenix, Arizona
Papago Park is located in Arizona
Location 625 N. Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, Arizona
Area less than one acre
Built 1932
Built by Webb, Del E.
Governing body Local
MPS Pyramidal Monuments in Arizona MPS
NRHP Reference # 08000526[6]
Added to NRHP June 12, 2008

Hunt's Tomb is a small white pyramid behind a fence at the top of a hill within Papago Park. Governor National Register of Historic Places in 2008.[6]

The tomb can be seen from anywhere in Papago Park, and offers a panoramic view of the eastern part of the Valley of the Sun.

Papago Ponds

The Ponds have a surface area of 6 acres (2.4 ha) with an average depth of 8 ft (2.4 m), the elevation of the area is 1,100 ft (340 m).

Fish Species

Other Species Living at Papago Ponds

See also


  1. ^ 
  2. ^ "Phoenix Points of Pride". Retrieved October 18, 2006. 
  3. ^ Papago Park: A History of Hole-in-the-Rock from 1848 to 1995, Pueblo Grande Museum Occasional Papers No. 1, by Jason H. Gart, 1997
  4. ^ a b c Arizona Place Names, Will C Barnes, U of A Press, page 317
  5. ^ webpage on Jürgen Wattenberg
  6. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  • "Arizona Fishin' Holes". Phoenix, AZ:  
  • Papago Park - The Golf Course and its History, copyright 2007, William Godfrey, author, resident of Phoenix, AZ.
  • "Sexual selection in Woodhouse's toad (Bufo woodhousei)". Journal of Animal Behavior:  

External links

  • Geographic data related to Papago Park at OpenStreetMap
  • Papago Park Facts - provided by the City of Phoenix
  • Tempe Papago Park provided by the City of Tempe
  • Papago Park : a history of Hole-in-the-Rock from 1848-1995 prepared by Jason H. Gart ; foreword by Roger Lidman
  • Arizona Fishing Locations Map
  • Arizona Boating Locations Facilities Map
  • Papago Park Photos - Photos of Papago Park landscape, wildlife and surrounding area.
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