Arizona’s capital city might have been called “Salina,” “Stonewall,” or even “Pumpkinville,” had it not been for a spurious English “Lord” named Darrell Duppa. Duppa was a well-educated world traveler who, it was rumored, was given a substantial allowance by his wealthy English relatives to remain permanently at large. His raucous lifestyle, highlighted by epic bouts with dipsomania was, no doubt, a source of embarrassment to his relatives and contributed to his banishment to Arizona.
It’s not as big as the Taj Mahal in India, but a little church in the desert north of Yuma was also built for the same reason — in memory of one man’s beloved companion. The Taj was erected between 1632 and 1654 near Agra, India, as a mausoleum for Mumtaz-I-Mahal, a favorite wife of Mogul emperor Shah Jahan. It stands about 330 feet tall at its highest points and features a massive double dome sitting atop a 260-foot pinnacle. An estimated 20,000 men worked on the project.
Yuma area farmer Loren Pratt’s tribute to his late wife, Lois, is a tiny wooden chapel that sits on a flat spot in the middle of his cotton and lettuce fields. The building stands about 15 feet tall and can seat six to eight people. With the help of friends and relatives, Pratt constructed it in a few months in 1966.
Here at the Valley 101 Research Center and Windshield Squeegeeing Service, we have amassed a collection of three questions about saguaros, those noble cactuses that symbolize Arizona just as surely as do recall elections.
And we now endeavor to answer these queries with, as always, the help of Patrick Quirk of the Desert Botanical Gardens, who has forgotten more about saguaros then you’ll ever know.
Most scientists believe the Hohokam arrived in Arizona from Mexico around 300 B.C. Apparently, they arrived with a strong culture intact and had an immediate influence on the area and the people already living here. In time their influence would be felt as far west as the Colorado River, to the east, New Mexico and north to the Flagstaff area.
The 13,000 square-mile watershed above the Salt River provided a reliable water supply. During normal years, the river was probably a hundred feet wide and five to six feet deep. The banks were held in check by tall stands of willow and cottonwood trees. Digging by hand without beasts of burden (the Spanish didn’t introduce oxen, horses or mules until the 16th-century) they engineered the largest prehistoric irrigation project in North America.
Two huge Celtic crosses keep silent watch over the landscape of Cochise County. One graces the Holy Trinity Monastery, a Benedictine community just south of St. David. The second is on a hillside overlooking Our Lady of the Sierras Shrine near Hereford. Both tower more than 75 feet over their surroundings, and both are the result of a journey Pat and Gerry Chouinard made to a shrine in Medjugorje, in what was then Yugoslavia. When they retired in 1995, the couple decided to build a similar shrine on their property near Hereford.