Monday, June 9, 2014

Old locomotive marks Yuma Crossing

Interpretive sign at Pivot Point
Pivot Point is a nice place to relax while learning a bit about the history of Yuma. Located near Old Town Yuma along the Colorado River, the spot commemorates the spot where the first train crossed into Arizona in 1877.

A huge old Southern Pacific locomotive, a 1907 Baldwin, stands on the spot today. A public address system recreates sounds that train engineers and passengers might have heard after crossing. These sounds include the train’s arrival, a passing steamboat and the bridge over the river being cranked open.
Old locomotive at Pivot Point
Part of the original rail line is still on-site. That’s the concrete pivot that was turned to allow boats to pass. Pivot Point Plaza is part of the Yuma Crossing National Historic Landmark.  Nearby is the Yuma Territorial Prison (think “3:10 to Yuma”) and the Ocean to Ocean Highway Bridge, the last link connecting the southwestern transportation system between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Pivot Point Interpretive Plaza, which sits above Gateway Park, is a colorful place to be at night between October 1 and May 31. That’s when the city park puts on a laser light show.  The show goes on hiatus during the summer months because of Yuma’s heat: the lasers need to be chilled to work properly.

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