There's a big white pyramid in the heart of Papago Park. The shiny white tile structure is as flashy a standout as the man buried within it.
This is the tomb of George W.P. Hunt, Arizona's first governor, who served seven terms between February, 1912 and January, 1933. Hunt stood 5 feet 9 inches and weighed nearly 300 pounds; he reportedly called himself the "Old Walrus."
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Hunt supported things like women's suffrage and secret ballots, and he was also Freemason. So he was proud of this remarkable pyramid tomb, which he built for his wife after she died in 1931. The pyramid sits atop a hill and offers spectacular views of Phoenix in every direction.
Hunt was interred here after his death from heart failure on December 24, 1934. The pyramid is also the resting place of his wife Helen, her parents, and her sister.
The tomb was in a state of decay for years; the top had fallen off and several of the 4-inch white tiles were chipped or missing. Restoration began in 2006, and was completed in 2009 at a final cost of $76,000. Funding came from the George W.P. Hunt chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Phoenix Parks Department, and local businessman Gary Banker.
Now, Hunt's Tomb looks shiny and new. The pyramid itself is enclosed in a black wrought iron gate, and is surrounded by several new benches. It's a short but somewhat steep climb from the parking lot to the pyramid, but it's well worth the walk.
From the top of the hill where the tomb sits, there are amazing views of downtown Phoenix, north Scottsdale, Tempe, and the Phoenix Zoo, which is next to Papago Park. The pyramid can also be seen from the Phoenix Zoo, down by the pronghorn deer, mountain lion, and javelina exhibits.
For more information on Papago Park and Hunt's Tomb, call the Papago Park Ranger Office at 602-261-8318.