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The Gila River snakes west through Avondale. A recent effort to clean up and clear the banks of the river can be seen from Monument Hill.

A bridge crosses the mostly-dry riverbottom of the Gila River. Before the bridge was built, a road ran through the riverbottom that was susceptible to fl ooding.

X marks the spot

Hill served as survey point for entire Valley in 1851

Monument Hill provides a birds-eye view of Phoenix International Raceway to the west. PIR has incorporated the hill into its seating arrangement.

A concrete monument marks the top of

Monument Hill, the site of a survey that would lead to the grid layout of the entire Valley.

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that continues to shape Arizona today. Since 1851, 61 years before statehood

onument Hill not only of- fers a spectacular view of the Southwest Valley, but also serves as a reminder of a past

on Feb. 14, 1912, the steep knoll just east of Phoenix International Raceway has remained as an important landmark. The rugged and strategic high spot, which overlooks the confl uence of the Gila and Salt rivers, has been the starting point for most Arizona surveys. Today, hikers can enjoy the vista by inching their way to the top of the 150- foot summit, about a 10-minute climb. From there, they can catch a great panoramic view of the Valley and try to imagine the Arizona of yesteryear. They might envision the Hokokams, who had a thriving Sonoran Desert agri- cultural society, complete with irrigation

canals, before abandoning their settle- ments by the late 1300s.

They might imagine what it was like for the fi rst Europeans who began ventur- ing into Arizona in the 1500s, including Coronado and Marcos de Niza. Also, they may feel a kinship with the

fi rst territorial settlers, including outlaw Billy Moore, who established Coldwater in 1880, a freight station that later was renamed Avondale in 1911. And, fi nally, hikers may contemplate other settlers who arrived, especially dur- ing World War II, laying the foundation for today’s diverse society. On the other hand, hikers simply may

Phoenix to the northeast. However, some of those sites are a far

cry from 1851 when John R. Bartlett, a government offi cial, selected the hilltop for a reconnaissance survey of the United States-Mexico boundary. In 1865, John A. Clark, a surveyor for

Arizona and New Mexico, picked the site as the starting point for the initial survey of Arizona. Today, two imaginary lines bisect a

gaze at the 360-degree view that includes much more than the two rivers. The panorama also takes in Avondale

Boulevard to the north, the racetrack to the west, the Estrella Mountains to the south and the tall buildings of downtown

Vista — West Valley View, Avondale, Arizona

Salt River Base Line and Meridian. It divides Arizona into east and west. The other is an east-west line, called the base line, which divides Arizona into north and south. That is how Baseline Road of today got its name. During territorial days, the lines were the point from which Arizona was sur- veyed, mapped and parceled out into the

concrete monument atop the hill. One is a north-south line, the Gila and

Spring/Summer 2012

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