National Geographic : 1964 Apr
Archeologists have traced 250 miles of ancient canals in this area. The Hohokam farmed by irrigation, as do those who live in the Gila watershed today. U. S. 89 north bound crosses the dry bed of the Salt River, a tributary of the Gila, just before entering Phoenix. A series of dams in the mountains upstream impounds the waters and sends them down to the "Valley of the Sun." Phoenix Pushes Back the Desert Arizona's capital has more room to spread out than Tucson and is taking advantage of every sandy acre. In the older residential areas people build little six-inch-high dikes around their lawns, uncap a waterpipe every two weeks and flood the lot. The house sits 550 there like an island until the water soaks in. Result: greener lawns than in rainy cities. In the "exurbs"-places beyond Camel back Mountain and Scottsdale-houses are put where a well can drive deep to water. In front there is usually a garden of saguaro and other cactus, palo verde, yucca, and the like. Many homes are L-shaped, their arms cra dling a swimming pool and a few square yards of grass, all walled in from the desert.* The desert doesn't seem so grim when viewed from such a patio-as was our privi lege when we visited a home in Paradise Val ley. A water-polo game for our children, a moonlight barbecue, a watermelon feast all seemed a far cry from the Old West. *The extraordinary growth of Phoenix is described in "Arizona: Booming Youngster of the West," by Robert de Roos, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, March, 1963.