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Located west of downtown Phoenix, Pioneer and Military Memorial Park was established in 1988 to preserve seven historic cemeteries that date back to the late 19th century. Several notable local and state politicians and businessmen are interred here. It is estimated that 3,700 people are buried here but only around 600 headstones remain. Interestingly, archaeological excavations have revealed that the park was once the site of a pre-Columbian Hohokam village abandoned sometime between 350 to 850 A.D. Also at the park is the restored Smurthwaite House, named after one of the families who owned it. Built in 1897, it was restored then moved here in 1994. It is an excellent example of Shingle Style architecture and the only one left in the city. It houses the park's office and also serves as a repository for research. Both the park and the house are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in 2007 and 2001, respectively.
Backstory and Context
Another cemetery had already been established by the early 1880s, but as the town began to grow, residents wanted it to be outside city limits and also away from the recently constructed train station. They thought the cemetery would be an unwelcome sight for visitors upon their arrival. The city agreed and established the present location for the cemetery and called it "Block 32" in 1884. In 1914 the city ended the use of the cemetery and it fell into disrepair. The Pioneer's Cemetery Association was founded in 1938 to help preserve the cemetery but it disbanded during World War II. It was not revived again until 1983.
Brevoort, Roger. "Smurthwaite House." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. May 17, 2001. https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/226c918f-d186-42be-ba2f-fc357beea897.
Brown, Jodie. "Pioneer and Military Memorial Park." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. February 1, 2007. https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/226c918f-d186-42be-ba2f-fc357beea897.
Homepage. Pioneer and Military Memorial Park, Phoenix, Arizona. Accessed March 15, 2017. http://www.azhistcemeteries.org/PMMP.htm.
Photos: Marine 69-71, via Wikimedia Commons