Carl Henning

Besh Ba Gowah

Because they were built by indigenous peoples before written history, America’s earliest cities are often ignored. In Arizona there are thousands of these cities and villages. Many are protected in our National Parks. But we visited one today that is in a city park, Besh Ba Gowah Archaeological Park and Museum in Globe, Arizona. This 200-300 room pueblo was built and occupied from the 1200s into the 1400s. We call the people who built it Salado. They are an outgrowth of the Hohokam. (The Hohokam were the peoples from what is now the Phoenix area. And whose canals were modernized to move our water around today.)

I was surprised to discover the extent of trade they enjoyed; from the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Gulf of California. Macaws, shells, and more were traded for turquoise and pottery.

We don’t know what the people who built Besh Ba Gowah called themselves. We get the name from the Apaches, “Place of Metal.” Globe was founded as, and is still, a place of metal. Mining is still a big contributor to the local economy; copper today, gold in the beginning.

Some of the ruins have been stabilized, some reconstructed, and some undisturbed.

In a harbinger of things to come, the ruins are adjacent to the city’s youth baseball fields. We stopped here as we were headed to Houston to see our grandson play baseball (and probably the Astros, too). The only downside to taking this route is nothing, or rather No Thing.

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