Pioneer Living History Museum: An Arizona Frontier Town

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Pioneer Living History Museum: An Arizona Frontier Town

The Pioneer Living History Museum’s more than 30 buildings recreate the historical culture of a 19th Century Arizona frontier town, right here in North Phoenix. The buildings, both original and historically accurate reproductions, are scattered across the 90-acre site, inviting visitors of all ages to interact with and experience the daily challenges and joys of living on the desert more than a century ago.

pioneer living history museum school
A schoolhouse from a different era at the Pioneer Living History Museum. Photos by Linda and Dr. Dick Buscher

Why You Should Go

The Pioneer Living History Museum is a family friendly destination that highlights many examples of daily life on the Arizona frontier. History buffs will especially enjoy the authentic displays while leisurely exploring the museum.  

When To Go

Late October to May, when the days are cool, is the best time to visit the living museum.

A significant amount of walking is required to visit all of the displays of the museum. Be sure to wear good walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Check website for event calendar. When school groups visit, all buildings are open with knowledgeable docents available.

pioneer living history museum bank
A bank from a simpler time (simpler in some ways, anyway).

History

Like most great undertakings, the Pioneer Living History Museum was the dream of a many people, in this case a Who’s Who list of Arizona men and women who came together in 1956 to preserve a small part of Arizona that they realized was rapidly being destroyed by the progress of their day. Together they formed the Pioneer Arizona Foundation, Inc. and begin a labor of love to bring their dream alive.

Land was donated “way up north” from downtown Phoenix by Mr. & Mrs. Robert Lockett. Political power for the foundation came from: Paul Fannin, who would become governor in 1958; Carl Hayden, who served Arizona for 57 years as United States Congressman/Senator; and Wesley Bolin, who was then Arizona’s current Secretary of State. Community support for the history village came from influential Phoenix attorney Robert Weaver, journalist JoAnn Graham and George Babbitt, Jr., of the historic Babbitt clan. 

One final member of this group was Mr. Arizona himself, Barry M. Goldwater, who was at this time a United States Senator who would make a run for the U.S. Presidency eight years in the future. 

The Pioneer Arizona Foundation, Inc. just might have been the most amazing group of Arizonans ever joined together for a common cause — to preserve the history of Arizona.

Their dream took the first step toward reality on Feb. 15, 1969 when Phase 1 of the Living History Village opened to the public. What we visit today is still Phase 1 of that dream; the remainder of the plans await completion some 60 years later — if and when sufficient public interest and funds become available.

IF YOU GO: Pioneer Living History Museum

Distance from I-17/Carefree Highway: 2 miles

HOURS:

Sept. 6-May 31: Wednesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

June 1 – Sept 5: Wednesday-Sunday, 7 a.m.-11 a.m.

Closed Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving & Easter

COST:

$10 Adults
$8 Children under 18
$8 Veterans and Seniors
Parties of 15 or more $8 per person
Children under 5 are free

623-465-1052
3901 W Pioneer Rd, Phoenix, AZ
85086
Linda and Dr. Dick Buscher
Linda & Dr. Dick Buscher are retired Arizona public school educators who brought their wealth of Arizona knowledge to the In&Out Publications team in 2007. Together they have been teaching and writing about the state since the 1970s. The Buschers co-authored an Arizona history program titled “Ali-Shonak: The Story of Arizona,” which is still used in many of the 4th grade classrooms in Anthem and around the state. The Arizona history portion of this program is available in the iTunes bookstore under the title “Arizona: The Grand Adventure.” The Buschers are also authors of “Historic Photos of Arizona,” available at local bookstores.
Linda and Dr. Dick Buscher on Email
  • Pioneer Living History Museum: An Arizona Frontier Town
  • Pioneer Living History Museum: An Arizona Frontier Town
  • Pioneer Living History Museum: An Arizona Frontier Town
  • Pioneer Living History Museum: An Arizona Frontier Town
  • Pioneer Living History Museum: An Arizona Frontier Town