History, Heritage & Tradition

Ajo sits at a tri-national intersection of peoples and cultures, where influences from the indigenous Tohono O’odham Nation, the Mexican state of Sonora and the Southwest borderlands of the United States are all readily apparent. And although mining is deeply rooted in the history and architecture of Ajo, the town continues to evolve into a community that is carving out its own identity while still respecting the traditions of its past.

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ajo mine lookout center

The Ajo Mine Lookout Center is owned and operated by Ajo natives and a previous mine employee and offers a unique opportunity to see the colors, depth and impact of an open pit mine.  With easy access from the Historic Ajo Plaza, the lookout is open from 10-2 Mon-Sat in the winter with limited summer hours. You can also check out the museum and mine hospital on your trip.

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the historic ajo plaza

The historic plaza was built in phases beginning in 1916 with completion in 1947. The plaza encompasses the old train depot and features 90,000 square feet of commercial space. The plaza’s center park acts as the town’s center and is a beautiful place for local festivals, celebrations, local gatherings and exercise. It truly is an oasis...a verdant respite from the stark beauty of the Sonoran Desert.

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ajo historical society museum

The Ajo Historical Society was founded in 1975 and the Ajo Historical Society Museum was opened in 1976. The Museum is located just a few minutes away from downtown Ajo at the St. Catherine's Indian Mission. “If the flag is flying, we’re open!”

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ajo visitors center

The Ajo Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center sits in the heart of the Historic Ajo Plaza and serves a variety of visitors daily. The Visitors Center is the perfect place to begin your exploration of the area and will provide a multitude of suggestions for how best to experience all that Ajo has to offer.


2nd saturday walking tours

On Second Saturdays, the International Sonoran Desert Alliance offers walking tours of Ajo's historic town center. Don't miss out on this behind-the-scenes look at the only fully realized 'City Beautiful' town center in the state of Arizona along with a fascinating exploration of the ongoing revitalization efforts. Tour departs from the Plaza Park at 10 AM every 2nd Saturday from October through May