Who would have expected that Tempe would take a hilarious and fascinating part in World War II? After all, the city is in the area of Phoenix, Arizona. When people think of the Second World War, they do not generally think of the sunny, desert land of Arizona.
The city was established in 1865. Irrigation to the area meant that the agricultural industry could thrive. It was named Tempe in 1879 when two local communities joined to form the town that exists today. The Maricopa and Phoenix Railroad came to Tempe in 1887, bringing greater population. Tempe began to grow bigger and bigger.
It was during World War II that the city had the unusual distinction of earning the almost sole place in Arizona history for the war. Papago Park is a municipal park of Tempe and Phoenix, and it was here that there was a prison camp with a capacity for 3000 Axis troops (Germans and Italians).
Most people in Tempe may not be aware of this fantastic part of their history. The prisoners were from the German Navy, and it was no accident that they were sent there. For men who were used to water and the sea, what could be more demoralizing than to put them in a desert?
It was not demoralizing enough. The largest Axis escape from an American prisoner of war camp took place here. It was small compared to the famous escapes of Allied prisoners out of enemy lands, but the fact that 25 Germans managed to escape the camp is still a testimony to their resourcefulness.
The prisoners were well-treated, but they were determined to get to Germany by way of Mexico. They got out of the camp by creating a tunnel that was 178 feet long. They had forged papers and a planned route to Mexico. The escape was made two days before Christmas in the year 1944; just one year before Victory in Europe. The prisoners planned a huge, noisy celebration to cover the escape. It worked, and the 25 men got out in the middle of winter. Because of the location, they did not need to worry about frostbite!
However, thanks in part to the citizens of Tempe and the surrounding area, the prisoners didn't get very far. Besides FBI involvement and the soldiers who searched for the men, Native American scouts played their parts. All of the men were captured within a month, but the escapades of some created more hilarity than concern.
A few of the men stayed in the area, and even visited some of the nearby towns before they were caught! One man got back into prison and escaped multiple times again without the faculty ever realizing he had returned. He did this to get food to his friends. Finally, he was caught, and all 25 men nervously awaited punishment. After all, the Germans were known for atrocities committed against prisoners, and they feared retaliation. Their only punishment was to be on bread and water for about the same amount of time that they had been out of the camp.
Now, this municipal park of Tempe is an area of natural beauty and attraction. It includes Hunt's Tomb, which is in the National Register of Historic Places. Hunt's Tomb is the white pyramid that serves as the resting place of the first governor of Arizona. It has hiking trails and pretty red soil. The remarkable red rock formations are set off by stunning sunsets in the evening.
Papago Park was one of the major areas set aside to enjoy nature around Tempe. It has been there for a long time, and it remains a testimony to the love of the natural world that characterizes even this desert area. It isn't all cactus! There are some truly lovely desert trees in the landscape. The people themselves have been committed to sustainability and improving the appearance of the landscape.
One way people in Tempe do this is by planting lawns and planning landscapes. Grass can help improve air quality by removing carbon dioxide and various toxins from the air. However, lawns can take a lot of time and work to upkeep.
That is why you may want to outsource your work to the professionals. Lawn Love is a landscaping company that can help meet your every need on your schedule. Don't slave away in the heat of Tempe, but schedule Lawn Love's professional landscaping services today for your perfect landscape.