Yuma High School’s “Criminal” Past and Present

Yuma Territorial Prison

YUMA -- The Yuma Territorial Prison was a key player in the drama of the Old West. For 33 years, it served as a place of incarceration, and some of those who stayed within its walls were indeed desperate men and women with few redeeming qualities. But the prison was closed in 1909 and the inmates were moved to the new facility in Florence. In 1910, the local school district … [Read more...]

Oddities Need Updating, Too

79 marilyn

It is not unusual that some Arizona Oddities have differing stories behind their origins. Take, for example, the big sign made of rocks on Signal Butte in the Usery Mountains. The most common belief is that in the 1950s, Boy Scouts scouted up the rocks, painted them white and arranged them to spell <PHOENIX with the arrow pointing toward Sky Harbor Airport because at that … [Read more...]

All About Oddities: Third Edition of “Arizona Curiosities” Now Available

AZ Curiosities

At the risk of being accused of tooting my own horn, I am compelled to note that the Third Edition of Arizona Curiosities is now on the market. It is bigger and fatter than the previous two and contains this really good photo of me, the author, taken on one of those days when I wasn't looking overly peculiar. The book is a compilation of about 250 of the strangest, weirdest, … [Read more...]

How Coyotes Quench Their Thirst in the Dry Desert


Excerpt from Valley 101: Great Big Book of Life, a collection of Clay Thompson’s columns for The Arizona Republic. (Originally published May 7, 2004.) Q: I live in the East Valley near Usery Mountain Park. There are a lot of coyotes that hang out in my neighborhood. However, I can’t figure out where they get their water. As far as I know, any canals or rivers are miles away, … [Read more...]