Poston Butte

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Florence, Arizona

Charles D. Poston (1825-1902) was instrumental in creating the territory of Arizona, and for this he is known as the "Father of Arizona." He was also Arizona's first Superintendent of Indian Affairs, the first delegate to Congress from Arizona, and the territorial agent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But his later life was decidedly less orthodox; he traveled to the Far East and became interested in the Zoroastrianism and sun worship. In 1878, on top of a 250-foot-tall hill near the town of Florence, he built a "fire temple"; the hill subsequently became known as Poston Butte (or Poston's Butte). In 1925, 23 years after Poston's death, his remains were moved from a cemetery in Phoenix and interred in a pyramid on the summit of the butte. The structure still stands as a monument to this unique man; a plaque on its side reads simply CHARLES D. POSTON, ERECTED BY THE TERRITORY 1907. Standing beside the pyramid, gazing out over the Arizona desert, I was reminded of Shelley's poem Ozymandias: Nothing beside remains ... boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away.

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Directions: 2 miles north of Florence on Highway 79, then 1.5 miles east on Hunt Highway. At this point a dirt road goes north under the railroad tracks and can be followed a short distance to the east side of the butte. I recommend parking here and walking the rest of the way; the road continues to the top of the butte but is extremely rough.

Last visited: November 2008.

Standard disclaimer: Sites are described for entertainment purposes only, as they were at the time of my last visit. I can not vouch for the current condition of the site or its accessibility.


Revised: November 15, 2008
Copyright © 2008 Joe Orman (except poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley)
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