South Mountain Community College Historic Walking Tour – Stop 1

View of South Mountain



Our campus faces South Mountain, which was formed by shifting tectonic plates about 30 million years ago. Petroglyphs on the mountain date back to as early as 1AD, and are believed to be left behind by the Hohokam, whose name loosely translated means “vanished.” The Hohokam lived and farmed in the South Phoenix basin until about 1450 – 100 years or so before European contact. They left behind quite a legacy.


Where is the front of campus? What do you think about the way our campus faces?

Our campus is oriented in a way that is different from traditional campuses. The front of our campus doesn’t face the busiest street, it’s not right on the corner. It’s not even easily accessible from the main parking lot. That’s because our entire campus is built to reflect a deep appreciation and respect for our heritage. We face South Mountain. The South Mountains are of a metamorphic core complex, meaning they were formed by the movement of tectonic plates about 20 million years ago.

Question: Have any of you been to South Mountain Park?

South Mountain is home to thousands of petroglyphs created by the Hohokam people, who farmed this area from the beginning of our common era, 1AD. Does anyone know what the word “Hohokam” means? Loosely translated, it means “vanished.” It is a mystery as to what happened to the Hohokam people after 1450, about 100 years before European contact. But they left behind a lot, including these petroglyphs, and one other thing, which we will discover later today. The building we are standing in front of today is the Performing Arts Complex, known simply as the PAC. It’s home to all of our performing arts classes. It was built in 2003 and has won dozens of design awards for architecture and materials.

Tour Map

Click the image to see the tour map.