“Out Wickenburg way,” you’ll find a nice photo opportunity in the town’s much advertised jail tree.
It’s two thousand-years-old mesquites, tucked absentmindedly behind a Circle K near the corner of Tengner Street and Wickenburg way.
According to legend, and the tree’s metal sign, the ancient mesquite served as Wickenburg’s “hoosegow” from 1863 up until 1890, when the town finally got itself a real jail house.
Myth has it that convicts were sentenced to the tree and chained there until they either died exposure or, if lucky, they completed their sentence. But in truth, the tree was simply a holding facility. Offenders were slashed or tied to the tree only until a Phoenix lawman could make it up that way to retrieve them.
Still, according to Wickenburg’s Chamber of Commerce, this could be anywhere from 2 to 5 days. At least they had a little shade.