Apache Junction ‘Old Timer’ Bites the Dust

 By Trish Hoagland

The community was saddened by the sudden demise of a local landmark. The majestic saguaro that stood just north of Superstition Boulevard in front of Shady Way Gardens fell to ground last Wednesday night.

The majestic cactus when it was still standing. Photo by Mr. Bill

Shady Way employee Gin McMahon smiled as she shared photos of the “old-timer,” who has graced the business at 566 W. Superstition Blvd for more than 20 years.

Owner “Mr. Bill” (as he is known to employees) purchased the business 20 years ago. The bonus was that it came with a magnificent desert sentinel to stand guard.

McMahon said Mr. Bill received a phone call around 10:45 p.m. from a neighboring businessman who reported their mighty protector had fallen.

It took most of the next day to remove the massive cactus. Its estimated weight was 5 tons, and some of its cross sections were more than two feet in diameter.

Speculation on the old-timer’s age is ongoing. According to the Saguaro National Park, saguaros are a slow growing cactus, and it may take up to 100 years before arms appear. Judging from the many arms on this giant, he passed the century mark several years ago.

Photo above: Fallen saguaro by Gin McMahon

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