One of things that intrigues me about Pueblo Grande Museum is that it seems to be at the center of transportation in Phoenix. The museum is at the north east corner of Sky Harbor Airport with 449,351 takeoffs and landings last year and serving more than 38,554,530 passengers last year. Our eastern boundary is the State Route 143, Washington Street and the Metro Light Rail are our Northern boundary and the Phoenix Sky Train station and light rail connection are rising to our west and will begin carrying passengers in 2013. Historically the “Tempe Road” ran past Pueblo Grande from the earliest days of Phoenix and Tempe and there are references to ruins in the Salt River Valley noted by soldiers carrying freight from the Yuma Quartermasters Depot to Fort McDowell in their correspondence that may be referring to Pueblo Grande.
The earliest railroads to come to Phoenix bisected the site of Pueblo Grande (my favorite reference to the history of railroads in Phoenix is Railroads of Arizona Volume II, Phoenix and Central Railroads by David F. Myrick, Howell North Books, 1980), and steam locomotives were once a common site from the top of the platform mound at PGM. But not since 1976 when Arizona was celebrating the nation’s bi-centennial has a steam locomotive passed by Pueblo Grande Museum until Saturday, November 12, 2011 as part of a special run along the railroad corridor known as the “Sunset Route” to celebrate New Mexico’s and Arizona’s Centennial. The Union Pacific Railroad’s historic Steam Locomotive Engine #844 made a run past the museum as part of this special event celebrating the centennial. The Steam Locomotive No. 844 is the last steam locomotive built for Union Pacific Railroad and remains in operation for special runs. You can see a video of this historic steam locomotive shot from the top of the platform mound at PGM with room 11 in the foreground. The train made a return trip past the museum on Tuesday, November 15.
To see Steam Locomotive Engine #844 in action as it rides by Pueblo Grande, visit our Pueblo Grande Museum YouTube Channel.
Posted by Roger Lidman, Museum Director