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Series highlights sites, people who shaped Yuma
The Yuma County Historical Society is organizing a series of lectures and tours from January through April that will provide expert insight into the events and individuals responsible for shaping modern Yuma.
“The tours are being offered to Yuma-area residents, returning winter visitors, our Arizona Historical Society members and to the general public with the hopes of educating them in the rich history of Yuma and the desert Southwest,” said Karla Catanzaro, administrative assistant for the Yuma County Historical Society.
The Sanguinetti House Museum serves as the Yuma County Historical Society's headquarters.
“These tours and garden lectures have been offered for years now by our organization,” Catanzaro said. “We highly encourage people to stay involved with the education and preservation of Yuma's history.”
Guide Steve Cook will lead a walking tour through the Historic North End from 10 a.m. to noon every Tuesday and Thursday beginning in January and ending in April. The cost of the tour is $10 per person.
On Jan. 12, Bruce Gwynn will give a presentation detailing the life of E.F. Sanguinetti, his grandfather. The presentation will be held from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Sanguinetti House Museum Gardens, 240 S. Madison Ave. Tickets are $6 per person. Arizona Historical Society (AHS) members and volunteers can attend for free.
According to AHS, Sanguinetti was so well known throughout the state during his lifetime that a letter simply postmarked Sanguinetti, Arizona, would reach him. Sanguinetti spent 62 years building Yuma as a farmer, merchant, banker and all-around businessman.
Because he had been so extensively involved in the area's business, social and commercial life, there was actually no part of Yuma's development in which Sanguinetti did not play a prominent role, AHS added.
On Jan. 19, Lenore Stuart will give a lecture about the life of Jose Maria Redondo, one of her prominent ancestors. The presentation will be held from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Sanguinetti House Museum Gardens. Tickets are $6 per person, and free for AHS members and volunteers.
According to AHS, Redondo came to the Yuma area in 1859. He was responsible for damming the Gila River just east of where it flows into the Colorado River, and created Hacienda San Ysidro, the first irrigation ranch in Arizona. He was the first grower of lettuce in Yuma, and people from all over the world visited the ranch to study his methods.
Redondo was also involved in politics and was a member of the 1st, 7th, 8th, and 9th Arizona Territorial Legislatures. While in the Legislature, he helped bring the Territorial Prison to Yuma and was responsible for changing the name of Arizona City to Yuma.
On Jan. 20, Imperial Irrigation District representative Martin Bazel will lead a tour of Imperial Dam. The tour will be held from 9 a.m. to noon and will require attendees to travel to the dam, located 21 miles northeast of Yuma and two miles past Yuma Proving Ground.
Tickets are $10 per person, and free for AHS members and volunteers. Reservations are required.
According to AHS, construction of the Imperial Dam and its desilting works began in 1935 and was completed in 1938 under the authorization of the 1928 Boulder Canyon Project Act.
The dam's main function is to divert Colorado River water into the All American Canal, the Coachella Canal, the Yuma Project and the Gila Gravity Canal. Some of the dam's water also serves areas of northern Mexico.
On Jan. 26, Bureau of Land Management archaeologist Tom Jones will give a lecture about the Anza Trail. The presentation will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sanguinetti House Museum. Tickets are $6 per person, and free for AHS members and volunteers.
According to AHS, in November 1775, Lt. Col. Juan Bautista de Anza and a large band of Spanish colonists with nearly 700 horses and mules, and 385 Texas longhorns, emerged between the Laguna and Gila Mountains to encounter the once-mighty Colorado River and its verdant agricultural lands.
Desperate to cross the river, they enlisted the help of the Quechan Indians, who carried the Spaniards and their supplies across the river on their backs.
Jones will discuss Anza's expedition, the incredible history of that epic crossing and the fascinating implications it had on the history of Yuma. After the lecture, Jones will travel to the Arizona Territorial Prison to view the location of Anza's historic crossing and describe what Anza would have seen when he arrived there.
On Jan. 27, Jill McCormick, cultural resource manager for the Cocopah Tribe, will lead a desert tour to the Tinajas Altas (High Tanks). The time of the tour has yet to be determined. Tickets are $10 per person, and free for AHS members and volunteers. Reservations are required.
According to AHS, the Tinajas Altas Mountains are an extremely arid northwest-southeast trending mountain range in southern Yuma County, located about 35 miles southeast of the city of Yuma.
The range is named for a series of High Tanks, or waterholes, on the range's eastern side, about four miles north of the international boundary. The waterholes were important to the history of the area because they were the only reliable source of water for many miles.
The tanks were used by travelers as they traversed the El Camino Diablo on their way to the Gila or Colorado Rivers. Native Americans also used the waterholes as an important camp prior to European settlement. Several Native American Tribes still hold the area in high regard because it is such an important part of their history and oral traditions.
To make reservations, or for more information regarding the lectures or tours, call the Sanguinetti House Museum at 782-1841 or send an email to email@example.com.