Most communities adorn their water towers and tanks with either the town’s name or first initial, but in Yuma they opted for something more artistic — a giant tryptich that spreads across the city’s three huge water tanks. The city council received gallons of flak when it approved the $50,000 project in 1999, but the criticism died down a year later when the work received an award from the Governor’s Pride in Arizona Committee.
For better or for worse, it is not “What is Legend City?” but “What was Legend City?” That 58-acre chapter in the Valley’s pop culture history closed in 1983, but there remains a certain age group of Valley residents who hold its memory in fond regard.
Legend City was an amusement park that stood near 56th and Washington streets. Actually, it was originally planned more as a Wild West theme park than an amusement park by investors who dreamed of a Disneyland on the desert. There was a steam locomotive running on a 1-mile track, an Indian village, a ghost town, a Mexican village, miniature golf, a roller coaster and other rides.
t was not the cow that made the cowboy; it was the horse. In the early days, it was a range mongrel known as the mustang, those sturdy, unpampered descendants of the Spanish breed that were the greatest contributors to a cowboy’s self-image. There was an aura of aristocracy, shared by the fraternity of horsemen, that bridged all cultures.
The thing most people notice right away when they enter the Quartzsite Cemetery is a stone pyramid topped by a copper camel, and there’s quite a story behind its presence. The cairn marks the grave site of a man they called Hi Jolly, who came to this country in the 1860s to act as a camel driver for the U.S. Army during an ill-fated attempt to use the animals as beasts of burden for military purposes in the deserts of the Southwest.
Today’s question is about the saguaro, so those of who you have lived in Arizona for more than a few years are free to talk quietly among yourselves or put your heads down on your desks and rest a bit.
The rest of you, the newcomers, should pay careful attention because, like indicting a governor or driving badly, few things are more purely Arizonan than the saguaro, the bloom of which, after all, is our official state flower.