South Mountain Park: Picnic Ramadas – Phoenix AZ


South Mountain Park in Phoenix AZ was developed for public recreation by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from 1933 to 1940. Among the works of the CCC were two ramadas, which are large, elaborate picnic areas, with stunning views north over the city of Phoenix.

The ramadas consist of polished concrete picnic tables protected from the desert sun by wooden roofs raised on stone or concrete pillars, with large central spaces surrounded by stone walls.  The big ramada is very extensive and reached by stone steps. 

Low stone walls line the approach road to the ramadas and the complex includes a path up to a stone-walled lookout and a restroom near the large ramada.

The covering roofs are raised on pyramidal pillars, which at the large ramada are made of thin, flat, dark stone, in the same style as the Ranger Station (former museum). The effect is striking, indeed. 

As the National New Deal Preservation Association report on the site notes, “The early buildings were designed by Park Service architects to reflect a romanticized version of Hopi Pueblo construction. Those constructed after 1937 imitate early Papago-Pima adobe construction style. The design and choice of building materials were intended to harmonize with the local surroundings.” (NNDPA 2012)

While there is no date on the site of the ramadas, it is fair to assume that the large one was built in 1934, like the ranger station, and the smaller one is later, perhaps 1937.

Source notes

History panels at South Mountain Park

"The New Deal in Arizona: Connections to Our Historic Landscape," The New Deal in Arizona Chapter of the National New Deal Preservation Association, 2012.

Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on April 9, 2022.
Additional contributions by Joan Greer.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Phoenix, AZ 85042

Coordinates: 33.346240, -112.0890

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