I thought it would be a good thing to write a blog posting about the community that we frequent in the winter months- Ajo, AZ.
As you can see from the location of the push pin above, the town of Ajo is located about half way between Tucson in the east and Yuma in the west, and coincidentally, just above the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The town site is also about 40 miles from the Mexican border, and 100 miles from the ocean at the Sea of Cortes.
|By Mortadelo2005 Wikipedia|
As you can see on the map at the right, there are three layers to Arizona, a high plateau on the top right, a mid line transition zone and a basin and range area to the bottom and left side.
The Plateau area averages 5,000- 8,000 foot elevations (Flagstaff 6,910') while the Basin and Range zone averages sub-2000' elevations. (Tucson 2400' and Yuma 141')
Ajo comes in at the high end of the basin and range at 1760' feet high. The relative height above the lower parts of the basin keep the Ajo area just a tiny bit cooler and a little wetter, making this a very green looking desert compared to most.
|Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument|
In 1911 John Campbell Greenway came to Ajo and bought the Cornelia Mine and became the manager for the newly formed Calument and Arizona Mining Company. Greenway had plans to modernize and expand it on a grand scale. Greenway laid out a town site with churches, schools, a hospital,markets and general stores, and the jewel of Ajo, a grand plaza.
|Ajo Plaza circa 1911-12|
|Ajo's railroad terminal anchors one full side of the plaza|
Greenway felt very strongly about making the town wholesome to attract good employees and families. The mine paid to have two churches built, one Catholic and one Federated
|Ajo Catholic and Federated Churches|
Schools, of course were very important and Greenway made sure Ajo had a very good one.
|Ajo's Curley School built circa 1919|
Ajo would also need a first class medical facility, and Greenway did not skimp here either.
|Ajo Hospital built in 1930|
This modern 29,000 sf hospital was competed in 1930 and served the mine and the community for 55 years until the mine closed in 1985. The hospital sits on a 4 acre site and has commanding views of downtown and the surrounding desert. The building has sat empty for 31 years. Ownership has changed hands a few times, and schemes and plans have been kicked around for years. At present it is on the market for $350,000.
Stay tuned for part two on a brief history of Ajo.
Your Traveling Friends
Jeff and Joan