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New riverfront plaza opens window into history of Yuma Crossing

YUMA, ARIZONA – The “ghost train” arrived in Yuma this summer with the grand opening of Pivot Point Interpretive Plaza by Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.

This outdoor exhibit area is located on the site where the first railroad train entered Arizona in 1877 and features as its centerpiece a restored 1907 Baldwin steam locomotive. But the plaza also incorporates some 21st century technology: a surround-sound audio system that re-creates the arrival of a steam locomotive at the old Southern Pacific Hotel – a.k.a. the “ghost train” – and a nightly laser display that shows where the tracks of the original rail bridge crossed the Colorado River. Day and night, the free public plaza also offers interpretive panels to orient the visitor to the Yuma Crossing National Historic Landmark. Distinctive elements of the Yuma Crossing showcased on panels include the Yuma Territorial Prison, Fort Yuma, the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Bridge, the historic rope ferry, the Quechan Tribe, the Southern Pacific Hotel, the Quartermaster Depot and the Yuma Siphon irrigation project, project, which made the desert bloom the same year Arizona became a state. Other panels detail the three rail bridges that stood at the site, the operation of the swing span bridge, the Southern Pacific settling tanks and the Baldwin locomotive. The plaza preserves one of the few remaining artifacts of Arizona’s first rail line, the concrete pivot on which the rail bridge turned to allow steamboats to pass. A water feature adds cascading river sounds alongside a pedestrian link to Gateway Park. One of the plaza’s colorful panels also features a large-scale map showing nearby links to the city’s paved and lighted multi-purpose trail system, which stretches for about 10 miles along the riverfront and East Main Canal. Development of the $1.6 million Pivot Point Interpretive Plaza was facilitated by the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, with funding assistance from the Arizona Office of Tourism, the City of Yuma, the Arizona State Heritage Fund, the National Park Service and federal transportation enhancement funds from the Arizona Department of Transportation. Completion of the plaza provides the keystone link among earlier riverfront projects, including: • Renovation and reopening of the historic Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge (2002) • Development of West Wetlands Park (first phase opened 2002) • Development of East Wetlands environmental restoration area (begun 2004) • Development of more than 10 miles of multi-use trails along the river and canal • Design and development of Gateway Park (opened 2007) • Public/private development of Pivot Point Conference Center (opened Nov. 2008) and Hilton Garden Inn at Pivot Point (opened May 2009) The Heritage Area’s master plan projects won the 2009 Governor’s Arizona Preservation Award as the “most significant contribution toward the preservation of some aspect of the natural, cultural or aesthetic legacy of Arizona.” Contact Information Ann Walker, YVB Media Relations specialist: 928-376-0100 (office), 928-210-9044 (cell), or email Visitor Information Center: 1-800-293-0071

The Yuma Visitors Bureau is always happy to assist members of print, digital and broadcast media, either on assignment or pitching an idea with a Yuma angle.

Visit Yuma team can suggest itineraries and facilitate visits, or provide you with the inspired details to help nail down an assignment.  We pride ourselves on always going "above and beyond."

You can download background and "anytime" materials below; dated press releases appear "most recent first" at left. Call or email us for photos and B-roll video.

YVB periodically hosts group and individual press trips, and is glad to partner with other Arizona or California DMOs to coordinate a visit to several regions.

For more information, contact Linda Morgan at 928-376-0100 (office), email Thanks for your interest in the Yuma area.

'Anytime' releases:

Around & about - a quick Yuma overview

Brilliant! Yuma wears 'sunniest' label with pride

Last link in river restoration under way


Background info:

Fast Facts About YVB

 Fast Facts About Yuma 

Yuma history - narrative

Yuma historic timeline


Research and statistics

Yuma Winter Visitors Study 2017-2018

Yuma Winter Visitors Study 2017-2018 Executive Summary

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