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Dutch Ditch

Posted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:29 pm
by roc2rol
Hello Everyone!

This is Dutch’s Ditch!
That was a mammoth canal, long with others,
that was dug by the early settlers of Phoenix.
The canal runs north-east and ends at 24th & Van Buren.
A good few mile distance.
Most of it is covered over now
but I think this picture is original cut.
The picture is looking south right at the headway
to the Salt River which is on the other side of the freeway.

The canal system in Phoenix is quite a story.
The Hohokam Indians established a mighty canal network
which supported their thriving civilization f
rom 1050 until around 1400.
Then they abandoned the area.
No one is sure why.
Perhaps a drought?

Jack Swilling receives credit for having the vision
to revive the ancient canal system
and hence re-establishing Phoenix as major city.
Swilling is quite a character in his own right.
In 1867 he made his Irrigation Canal proposal
to some investors in Wickenburg.
Success! With a 10,000 dollar capital investment
the Swilling Irrigating Canal Company was formed and work begun.

Its fairly certain that Jacob Waltz was employed
in this endeavor. He had already homesteaded his land
that the Dutch Ditch diagonally cut thru. What a boon!
To have the land, have employment come thru,
and dig thru your property> A fringe benefit.
He certainly profited from having this water source on his land.
Yet, it may also have contributed to his ruin.
As this ditch probably made the flooding of his land
(late 1890) worse off. One can only surmise.

So in my picture taking I followed this canal
for a few blocks until the remnant of the canal faded away.
This neighborhood isn’t uptown! It wasn’t when
Jacob lived there and it hasn’t improved much.
Any where you go that the Dutchman was---
you need to always look over you shoulder.
But this picture here might very well be his homestead.
Sacred ground! Certainly I’m within a few acres.
And this noble tree? Heck it may be the tree
Jacob climbed to escape the flood.
It was just a sense I had.

This may not be of much interest
but I have put a lot effort into locating this canal.
I have other photos of maps and such t
hat got me in trouble for taking. Ha ha

In closing, all I can say is:
this may very well be the last verifiable place that
Jacob Waltz dug. :lol:


Re: Dutch Ditch

Posted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:35 pm
by Jim Hatt
Evening Ed!

If I remember correctly. The Dutch Ditch ran right across the S/E corner of Waltz's Homestead. Tom K. may have a map of it??



Re: Dutch Ditch

Posted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:54 pm
by roc2rol
Hi Jim !

I got a picture of a illustrated wall map
that on display at the Well Fargo building.
It was done in 1880’s and shows
the early settlement of Phoenix.
Dutch’s Ditch is prominently displayed!
It was sort of Chamber of Congress
type of map to entice people to Phoenix, I think.
I got into all kinds of trouble taking it!
No pictures taken in Joe’s jail :o
I’ll post it when I get out of jail! :lol:

But this as been an obsession locating this darn canal.
I hope Tom we’ll post if he as some pertinent documentation.

Re: Dutch Ditch

Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:16 am
by Jim Hatt

I found this map in my Jacob Waltz "Homestead" folder. I don't know who/where I got it from. It could be something I got from Tom K, Al Reser. or Clay Worst years ago. In which case I wouldn't know where they got it from.

Anyway it shows the Dutch Ditch (In 1868) running through the S/E corner of Waltz's Homestead, then N/E to the Airport, where it follows the Railroad Tracks East to the junction of the Grand Canal and the Salt River.

Hope this helps,



Re: Dutch Ditch

Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:15 pm
by roc2rol
Jim, that is very cool map !
I never have seen that one.
But first I want to back up a bit.

Most my information on Dutch’s Ditch
comes from Glover’s ‘Golden Dream’ book.
Most, but not all.

I had actually first saw a map of the D.D.
in Corbin book, “The Bible of the LDM..”
a couple years ago.
This is what put me on the search.

The map in Corbin book is similar to the one you posted.
But yours is much more detailed dated-- 1868
(I'll work on figuring out the initials)
The Corbin homestead map is dated 1872
There's not much difference, yet
enough to make me scratch head.

I have a general question to Dutch Hunter historians.
Did any other writers discussed the issue of
Dutch’s Ditch prior to Corbin book?

Thanks in advance

Re: Dutch Ditch

Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:51 am
by Jim Hatt

I found out where that map came from. It is on page 58 of TALES OF THE SUPERSTITIONS By Robert Blair - 1975.

Pages 56 & 57 have some history of the Dutch Ditch.

A little more history about it can be found on page 33 of Kollenborn's Book Superstition Mountain A RIDE THROUGH TIME - 1981 (Revised Edition).



Re: Dutch Ditch

Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:34 am
by silent hunter
Nice Edd. Do you have maps that show the names of the river that feed those canals?

Best Wishes
Kurt Painter

Re: Dutch Ditch

Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:38 am
by roc2rol
Hi Guys!

Thanks for the responses!

Ya know.. I’m long winded and can go on like a canal
that over- flowed its banks
But I have to go make a quarter this morning.
Sometimes I think ditch digg’n would be more profitable.
At least it rocks

But I have pertinent information to both responses
I'll fill-in later

I leave you with this pic
to give some sense of the size of this canal.
I’m standing at the head front of it
which is butted up against the I-10
(or Durango Curve of I-17) looking north.
The canal is a 100 yard stretch
then runs into the residential
neighborhood and is covered over.

I really think this is the original remanant

Re: Dutch Ditch

Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:41 pm
by roc2rol
This index is from the map at Well Fargo.
You can see many names of the major canal that feed the tributaries.

Cropped sections of this map are printed in Glovers book
Those pictures are on pages 172 & 195
His concern is mostly on who resided in building.

My espionage photo from Well Fargo is difficult to read
unless you bring it into a photo editor and enlarge it.

I hadn’t realized that this map is also on the net

Little easier to read & I supplied the index!
The other large canals mentioned in the index
are up at the top of the map.

It shows Dutch Ditch (#20 from the index)
on the right hand side.
But I don’t think this map is accurate.
The ditch is to symmetrical & running in a straight line
to be a faithful representation of ‘the Ditch.


Re: Dutch Ditch

Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:43 pm
by roc2rol
This canal business just keeps getting deeper & deeper!

Who dug Dutch’s Ditch?
I don’t think Swilling was involved.