October 6, 2022
established December 8, 1906
Montezuma Castle is the third National Monument dedicated to preserving Native American History
Nestled in a towering, limestone cliff, the 20-room apartment tells a story of ingenuity, survival, and prosperity in the unforgiving Arizona desert. “Authorities” think the main castle took about three centuries to build and was inhabited for over 400 years.
The monument encompasses 826 acres and lies in the Verde Valley at the junction of the Colorado Plateau and Basin and Range physiographic provinces.
source: National Parks Service/Montezuma Castle
The castle was built and used by the Sinagua people, a pre-Columbian culture closely related to the Hohokam and other indigenous peoples of the southwestern United States, between approximately AD 1100 and 1425.
When the monument was first opened, visitors could climb a series of ladders to visit the castle, but that stopped when the castle was being damaged. This was in 1951.
The Montezuma Well is a sub-unit of the castle. It is thought that the area was home to many prehistoric groups of people since as early as 11,000 CE. The first Anglo-Americans to settle at Montezuma Well were Wales and Jennie Arnold in 1870. They operated a mail station and used the well to water their land.
Beneath the well sits a “wall” of volcanic basalt that acts like a dam, forcing water back towards the surface, hence the “well”. Many, many years ago, water reached the area via snow melt from the surrounding mountains, and the little rain the desert received also settled there. It is said the well holds 15 million gallons of water.
The Hopi, Zuni, and Yavapai all recount oral histories of their ancestors living here. The Western Apache, as well, have revered this landscape for centuries.
Some images of the well and surrounding area:
~ Chief Seattle
hope you have a great day!
thanks for stopping by!!