Did You Know: Hunt's Tomb Pyramid Is In Papago Park

August 23, 2013

There is a pyramid in the Valley, and it is the resting place of Arizona’s first governor. It is hidden in plain sight.

tomb The first governor of Arizona, George Hunt, is buried in this white pyramid tomb along with several relatives. (Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez-KJZZ)

George Hunt was Arizona’s first governor and served for seven terms. Did You Know former Governor Hunt is buried in a pyramid in Papago Park?

“Obviously being on a summit here and then white and a pyramid, it sticks out,” said Phoenix park ranger Cody Huggins.

And It does, but you have to know where to look to find it. The pyramid is located next to the Phoenix Zoo, adjacent to the Bighorn Sheep rock. The pyramid stands about 15 feet tall and sits on a hill.

“You can really see everything from here ,” added ranger Huggins.

Stand next to the pyramid, and the valley is clearly visible. With a 360 degree turn you can see Camelback and South Mountain, downtown Tempe, Mesa and Scottsdale.

That is why Hunt chose to be buried here. Huggins explained the late governor got the idea of a pyramid mausoleum when he traveled abroad and visited Egypt. Hunt wrote in his will he wanted to be buried overlooking what he called the ‘splendid valley.’ When his wife died in 1931, Hunt chose to have a pyramid mausoleum erected at the top of this hill to bury her, himself and family members.

“Don’t tell people about this spot. Nobody comes here, and that’s what makes it so good,” said Phoenix native Dustin Ernst. 

Ernst and his friend Celeste Rodriguez came to Hunt’s Tomb for their morning workout. He said he came across the mausoleum six months ago.

“That’s not why I come here though. I don’t care about the pyramid," Ernst added "That’s just where we walk to get the view.”

Ranger Huggins said Hunt was an influential man who loved Arizona and the Valley. According to the Arizona State Museum, Hunt was a progressive. He was directly involved in creating the Arizona Constitution, supported organized labor, women's suffrage, income tax, prison reform, labor reform and opposed capital punishment and advocated for Arizona's rights to Colorado River water. Huggins said in death Hunt continues to influence the community.

“Quite a few people come up here. More they just see it as they’re driving from a distance and wonder, ‘Wow what is that white pyramid up there' and that usually brings them here. It's just curiosity,” said Huggins.

Six people are buried in Hunt’s Tomb, including his in-laws, his wife’s sister and a daughter. Hunt said in his will that  he knew the Valley would become "the mecca of those that love beautiful things."