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Pioneer & Military Memorial Park, Phoenix, Arizona

List of burials in the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park

        The Pioneer & Military Memorial Park is located at 15th Avenue and West Jefferson, near the Arizona State Capitol complex in Phoenix, Arizona.  Geographical coordinates are Lat: 33° 26' 43"N, Long: 112° 05' 22"W.

        The eleven-acre cemetery grounds have low-maintenance desert landscaping and are surrounded by a wrought-iron fence and gates which are kept padlocked unless volunteers are present.  The grounds are open to the public on selected days throughout the year. To arrange a private tour, please email pioneercem@yahoo.com well in advance so that arrangements can be made.

        Of the estimated 3700 burials, only about 600 graves have headstones, many of which are broken or otherwise illegible.  Donations for restoration/preservation through our Adopt-A-Tombstone program are gratefully accepted.

        Archaeologists have determined that much of central Phoenix is built upon the ruins of a pre-Columbian Hohokam community.  Beneath the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park are the remains of a Hohokam village now known as La Villa.  Pottery sherds can be found throughout the cemeteries, and archaeological digs have uncovered pit houses and a canal.

        The cemeteries at this location were not the first in Phoenix.   During the 1870s, when Phoenix was still a small settlement, burials took place in the 'old' city cemetery which was located approximately between Fifth and Seventh Avenues and Jackson and Madison Streets, near the downtown train station.  After Phoenix incorporated as a city on February 25, 1881, citizens and community leaders became concerned that train passengers' first glimpse of Phoenix was a cemetery "right at the door of our beautiful city and in the most irregular, dilapidated, and disgraceful condition...a disgrace to the town" [Daily Herald, 27 May 1884].

        To remedy the problem, the fraternal orders of the city purchased Block 32, Neahr's Addition, keeping the east half to establish their own cemeteries and selling the west half to others for cemetery use.  Families moved their loved ones from the old cemetery to the new one, and the City reburied the unclaimed bodies in a common grave.

        The Pioneer & Military Memorial Park is comprised of seven historic cemeteries which were in use between 1884 and 1914.  They are:  Ancient Order of United Workmen (AOUW), Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), Knights of Pythias (K of P), Loosley, Masons, Porter and Rosedale.  Loosley was also known as City Cemetery.  After a law forbidding further burials within city limits went into effect in 1914, the cemeteries were declared closed. They fell into disrepair until private citizens rallied decades later to restore them.

        In May 1988, the seven historic cemeteries were officially designated as the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park with the dedication of the Avenue of Flags and the new fence.  Over the years, visitors from all over the United States and several foreign countries have come to pay their respects to Phoenix's pioneers.  Among the notables buried here are Darrell Duppa, King Woolsey and Jacob Waltz.

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The Pioneers' Cemetery Association welcomes your comments.  Please email us at pioneercem@yahoo.com.

© Copyright 2004-2012, Pioneers' Cemetery Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Last revised  28 December 2012.