Before the rise of the motor court and luxury resort, Phoenix tourism was defined by a different sort of refuge. Out in desert, the enterprising tourist could find himself staying at the guest ranch, a resort that catered to would-be adventures…

The prisoner of war camp that once stood in Papago Park was the site of stories like that of the ill-fated 1944 escape attempt of the "Crazy Boatmen," who planned on floating hand-made boats down the rivers they saw on their maps of the Valley.…