Yuma Sun - Visiting In Yuma - - NEWS -

Yuma is rich in his­tory cen­tered on the Colorado River. Long be­fore the dams were built on the Colorado, cross­ing was,at best,dif­fi­cult and dan­ger­ous.The river’s course would change from sea­son to sea­son and in the flood­plains, the river would of­ten spread across 15 miles, form­ing back chan­nels and pock­ets of quick­sand.

Na­ture, how­ever, placed two large gran­ite out­crop­pings near what would later be Yuma that squeezed the river into a nar­rower chan­nel. Just down­stream was the eas­i­est and safest place to cross — what is to­day known as theYuma Cross­ing.That cross­ing shaped the his­tory of our com­mu­nity and our na­tion.

It was that cross­ing that at­tracted Na­tive Amer­i­cans and later Eu­ro­peans to the area. It was that cross­ing that opened the West Coast and po­si­tioned Yuma as a bustling river town.

In 1849,Yuma’s rope ferry pro­vided a river cross­ing for more than 60,000 Forty-Nin­ers in search of gold in Cal­i­for­nia. Be­tween 1850 and the late 1880s, Yuma hosted the Colorado steam­boat in­dus­try.Dur­ing that time,the river was nav­i­ga­ble from the Gulf of Cal­i­for­nia to the Grand Canyon – a 500-mile stretch. The sand­bars and quick­sand re­quired boats to be shal­low-driven and wide,and the steam­boat fit the bill.

In the 1860s, gold and sil­ver were dis­cov­ered along the Colorado, bring­ing thou­sands through Yuma to make their claims. In 1864 the U.S. gov­ern­ment es­tab­lished Yuma Quar­ter­mas­ter De­pot to sup­ply all the Army posts with cloth­ing, food, am­mu­ni­tion and other goods. Goods were brought into Yuma by steam­boat and shipped out on steam­boat or 20-mule teams.

In 1877,the first lo­co­mo­tive came to Yuma on tracks built at the Yuma Cross­ing. It sig­naled the end of the steam­boat days, and when the La­guna Dam was built in 1909, the steam­boats were dealt their fi­nal blow.The rail­road pre­vailed and to­day nearly 50 trains pass through Yuma daily.In 1915,the first road­way span over the lower Colorado River was opened and called the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge. A group of en­ter­pris­ing Yuma busi­ness peo­ple got to­gether and raised $100 to erect the sign you see on the bridge to­day. In the 1980s the bridge was closed for struc­tural rea­sons,but in 2002 the City of Yuma and the Quechan In­dian Tribe joined forces to re­store the bridge and re­con­nect the com­mu­ni­ties.

We in­vite you to ex­plore this rich his­tory at any or all of the his­tor­i­cal

sites avail­able in or near Yuma. COLORADO RIVER STATE HIS­TORIC PARK 201 N 4th Ave. 928-783-4771 www.azs­tateparks.com/ parks/YUQU

Hours: Open 9-5 p.m. seven days a week.

Ad­mis­sion: $6 for adults, $3 for chil­dren 7 to 13.

The Yuma Quar­ter­mas­ter De­pot was used by the U.S.Army to store and dis­trib­ute sup­plies for all the 19th cen­tury mil­i­tary posts in Ari­zona, plus some in Ne­vada, Utah, New Mex­ico and Texas. Five of the orig­i­nal de­pot build­ings re­main on the park grounds, and four of these build­ings con­tain ex­hibits that cover both the mil­i­tary his­tory of the site and the his­tory of the Bureau of Recla­ma­tion’s con­struc­tion of ma­jor ir­ri­gation works in the Yuma area dur­ing the early 1900s.


Giss Park­way and Prison Hill Road 928-783-4771 www.azs­tateparks.com/park­sYUTE

Hours: Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week

Ad­mis­sion: $8 for adults, $4 for chil­dren 7 to 13 and $3 for ac­tive mil­i­tary per­son­nel.

The Yuma Ter­ri­to­rial Prison housed pris­on­ers from 1876 un­til 1909,hous­ing 3,069 pris­on­ers,in­clud­ing 29 women.Af­ter its clo­sure it be­came the tem­po­rary site of Yuma High School.

PIVOT POINT IN­TER­PRE­TIVE PLAZA Madi­son Av­enue at Colorado River www.yuma­her­itage.com

The Yuma Cross­ing Na­tional Her­itage Area part­ner­ship tells the story of the Yuma Cross­ing with an in­ter­pre­tive plaza lo­cated at the Pivot Point Con­fer­ence Cen­ter and Hil­ton Gar­den Inn Yuma/Pivot Point prop­erty.


240 S. Madi­son Ave. 928-782-1841 www.ari­zon­ahis­tor­i­cal­so­ci­ety.org.

Hours:10 a.m.to 3 p.m.Tues­day-Satur­day

Ad­mis­sion: Gen­eral ad­mis­sion $6, Se­niors $5

Visit the charm­ing 19th cen­tury adobe home of E. F. San­guinetti,Yuma’s pi­o­neer mer­chant, and en­joy a cup of tea. Sur­rounded by lush gar­dens,his home is now an Ari­zona His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety mu­seum chron­i­cling San­guinetti’s life as a civic-minded busi­ness­man who for­ever changed the com­mu­nity he loved.Treat your­self to a de­light­fully deca­dent sweet from the San­guinetti Choco­late Shoppe, too.


County 15th Street & Av­enue G www.co­co­pahrv.com/tribe/mu­seum

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon­day-Fri­day/ Ex­hibit hours 9 a.m.to 4 p.m.

Ad­mis­sion: Free but do­na­tions are ap­pre­ci­ated

This mu­seum is a re­or­ga­nized fed­eral repos­i­tory of ob­jects and de­pic­tions of Co­co­pah his­tory and cul­ture.Mu­seum guests will see ex­am­ples of tra­di­tional cloth­ing,such as bark skirts and leather san­dals, bead­work, bas­kets wo­ven of ar­rowweed, pot­tery, tra­di­tional tat­too de­signs,mu­si­cal in­stru­ments and the Co­co­pah war­riors’ dis­play.


Felic­ity, Calif.

Take In­ter­state 8 to Exit 164, fol­low signs to the north. 760-572-0100 www.his­to­ry­in­gran­ite.com

A unique at­trac­tion, the mu­seum cap­tures the his­tory of hu­man­ity and other sub­jects on huge gran­ite mon­u­ments.


High­way 95 to Cas­tle Dome Road (Mile Marker 55) 928-920-3062

Hours: Daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. till April 15

Ad­mis­sion: $15 adults, $7 kids 7 to 11, free for chil­dren 6 and un­der

A boom town dur­ing the Colorado River min­ing era, Cas­tle Dome City is now memo­ri­al­ized at Cas­tle Dome Mines Mu­seum.

Now open is the Hull Mine.Vis­i­tors take a tour 600 feet into the mine, where they will be treated to a beau­ti­ful mul­ti­col­ored vis­ual dis­play as a black­light is shone on the mine’s walls.

Tours will be given for adults and chil­dren 8 and older ac­com­pa­nied by adults.Tours are $75 per per­son.For tour reser­va­tions, call 928-920-3062.


1398 York Road, Bard, Calif. Take 4th Av­enue across the Colorado River, turn right on S-24, fol­low the signs to Im­pe­rial Dam. 760-572-0188 www.cloud­mu­seum.dy­na­mite­dave. com

Hours: Call ahead

Check out more than 115 vin­tage ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing 75 Model T Fords.


When it opened in 1915, the Oceanto-Ocean Bridge was the first and only ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic bridge over the lower Colorado River. One of the ear­li­est and long­est trusses in Ari­zona, it is still in use to­day as a link be­tween the city of Yuma and Fort Yuma.


Yuma Prov­ing Ground High­way 95, north of Yuma 928-328-3394 www.yuma.army.mil/gar­ri­son Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,Tues­day-Fri­day Ad­mis­sion: Free

The pub­lic is in­vited to visit the Her­itage Cen­ter to learn more about the his­tory of the Army as well as YPG’s role in the na­tion’s de­fense.

ST. THOMAS IN­DIAN MIS­SION Lo­cated on In­dian Hill near the Ocean-to-Ocean High­way Bridge

Still in use to­day,the St.Thomas In­dian Mis­sion is a replica of the mis­sion founded by Span­ish mis­sion­ary Fran­cisco Garces in 1780 and de­stroyed in 1855 in an In­dian up­ris­ing.


500 W. 1st St.

Owned by the Lutes fam­ily, the chapel has been the set­ting for wed­dings since the



Lutes, jus­tice of the peace in Yuma for four terms be­gin­ning in 1941, mar­ried thou­sands of peo­ple, among them celebri­ties and oth­er­wise prom­i­nent fig­ures such as Tom Mix, Paul Kelly, Con­stance Ben­nett, Gilbert Roland, Fran­chot Tone,Vic­tor Ma­ture, Joe Louis and Stan Lau­rel.


The site of the first air­plane land­ing in Ari­zona on Oct.25,1911,is high­lighted with a his­toric marker in front of the Yuma Land­ing Restau­rant, 195 S. 4th Ave.


An Aeronca Sedan AC-15 that set a world record in 1949 for the long­est non­stop flight – 47 days – is on dis­play in Yuma City Hall, One City Plaza, and can be seen dur­ing reg­u­lar hours,7 a.m.to 6 p.m.Mon­days through Fri­days and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.ev­ery other Fri­day.

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