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The man who saved Besh Ba Gowah

According to a benchmark study done on travel and tourism in the Globe-Miami area, Besh-ba-Gowah ranks in the top ten attractions in the area, and it is estimated 45-50,000 people visit it each year.

But if it hadn’t been for the intervention of a local Councilman, Louie Aguirre, in the 1980’s, Besh-ba-Gowah might not have survived into the 20th century.  The historical site had been largely neglected after excavation ceased in the 1940’s until 1980 when Louie Aguirre, a Globe Councilman, stepped in and rallied support from the City, and local community to bring in the Department of Anthropology at Arizona State University to undertake a re-excavation and reconstruction of the site

First surveyed and mapped in 1883 by Adolph Bandolier, the ancient ruins occupied by both the Hohokams and the Rio Salado Indians beginning in A.D.1600 came to be known as Besh-ba-Gowah. It means “a place of metal” in Apache. Later in 1920, a local woman, Irene Vickery supervised the excavation for the next 20 years and uncovered nearly 200 rooms and 350 burial sites. After her untimely death in the 1940’s the site was left unattended. In fact, part of the site was destroyed to put in the parking lot for the community center just to the north. It was Aguirre, who put a stop to the deterioration.

Louis Aguirre, will be gratefully remembered for his efforts to preserve this site.

Louie Aguirre
Louie Aguirre

“He was a masonry person and he knew what to do.  He knew the value of what he was looking at, and it was his passion to preserve it.  He did a good thing for this community when he stood up for Besh.”

The many artifacts retrieved from Besh-ba-Gowah when it was first excavated in the 1920s represent one of the largest single site collections in existence. And today the site is maintained with a small stipend from the city and donations from well-wishers.

Located off Jess Hayes Road, 1-1/4 miles north of downtown Globe, the park lies just west of the Community Center.  The Visitors’ Center is open seven days a week.  Also a conference center is available for meetings, special events, and wedding receptions (see more details under Meeting & Conference Space in the Miami-Globe Area).  Admission to the park is $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for seniors.  Children under 12 get in FREE.  For more information, please call 928-425-0320.


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About Linda Gross

Writer, photographer. Passionate foodie, lover of good books and storytelling. Lives in Globe. Plays in the historic district. Travels when possible.

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