A survey marker at Phoenix International Speedway also marks the starting point of the state's history.
by Richard Nilsen - Jan. 16, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Locally, it's called Rattlesnake Hill. Officially, it is Monument Hill. For many, it is the cheap seats.
Situated at the eastern end of Phoenix International Raceway, the hill gives those willing to climb its gravelly slopes a great view of the auto races.
The hill is only a small bump, 150 feet high, that rises over the confluence of the Salt and Gila rivers, on the outer fringe of the Estrella Mountains. But at its top is the state's navel, the omphalos - the center point for all of our state's land ownership.
If you climb to the top, you will find Arizona's cadastral survey marker, the starting point of all land surveying used for property deeds and real-estate taxation. It is a 15-foot concrete "X" at the summit, a little bruised by vandalism, but secured, as if with brass tacks, by round U.S. Geodetic Survey discs.
It gives this insignificant little rocky carbuncle a legal and historic significance all out of proportion to its size. ...