Arizona Adventure Tour Guides

Ghost Stories and Legends

September 12th, 2013 02:38:09 pm


There is a local ghost story most Phoenicians’ do not know about. But was so widely talked about back in the late 1800’s that the New York Times wrote a story on it.  It is still said today that you can see the Squaw sitting at the entrance to the cave.

The Weird Sentinel at Squaw Peak  (now known as Piestewa Peak)

There is a cave under the highest butte of Squaw Peak range, Arizona, Where a party of Tonto Indians was found by white men in 1868. The white men were on the war-path, and when the Tonto fell into their hands they shot them unhesitatingly, firing into the dark recesses of the cavern, the fitful but fast-recurring flashes of their rifles illuminating the interior and exposing to view the objects of their hatred.

The massacre, the cries and groans were hushed, the hunters strode away, and over the mountains fell the calm that for thousands of years had not been so rudely broken. That night, when the moon shone into this pit of death, a corpse arose, walked to a rock just with the entrance, and took there its everlasting seat.

Long afterward a man who did not know its story entered this place, when he was confronted by a thing, as he called it, that glared so fearfully upon him that he fled in an ecstasy of terror. Two prospectors subsequently attempted to explore the cave, but the entrance was barred by "the thing." They gave one glance at the torn face, the bulging eyes turned sidewise at them, the yellow fangs, the long hair, the spreading claws, the livid, mouldy flesh, and rushed away. A Western newspaper, recounting their adventure, said that one of the men declared that there was not money enough in Maricopa County to pay him to go there again, while the other had never stopped running -- at least, he had not returned to his usual haunts since "the thing" looked at him. Still, it is haunted country all about here. The souls of the Mojave roam upon Ghost Mountain, and the "bad men's hunting-grounds" of the Yuma and Navajo are over in the volcanic country of Sonora. It is, therefore, no unusual thing to find signs and wonders in broad daylight.

 

The Legend of Spider Rock

Spider Rock stands guard with an awe for the beauty and majestic dignity of nature, in Canyon De Chelly National Park. Long ago, the Dine (Navajo) Indian tribe named it Spider Rock.

For many centuries the Dine lived in these cliffs where they built caves, most of the caves where located high above the canyon floor, protecting them from enemies and flash floods.

At the time of creation, it is said when the Dine emerged from the third world into this fourth world, that Spider Woman possessed supernatural power.

Dine children heard of warnings of Spider Woman, if they did not behave themselves Spider Woman would drop down her web-ladder to carry them up to her home and devour them! They were also told that on top of Spider Rock was the white of sun bleached bones of children who did not behave!

It is told, that one day a young Dine was hunting in the canyon, when he saw an enemy who chased him farther into the canyon. As he ran the Dine looked for a place in which to hide or escape through.

When directly in front of him stood the giant obelisk-like Spider Rock. What could he do? He knew it was too difficult for him to climb. He was near exhaustion. Suddenly, before his eyes he saw a silken cord hanging down from the top of the rock tower.

The Dine youth grasped the magic cord. Quickly he tied it around his waist, for it seemed strong enough. With its help he climbed the tall tower, escaping from his enemy who then gave up the chase.

When the peaceful Dine reached the top, he stretched out to rest. There he discovered a most pleasant place with eagle's eggs to eat and the night's dew to drink.

Imagine to his surprise when he learned that his rescuer was Spider Woman! She told him how she had seen him and his predicament. She showed him how she made her strong web-cord and anchored one end of it to a point of rock. She showed him how she let down the rest of her web-cord to help him to climb the rugged Spider Rock.

Later, when the young Dine felt assured that his enemy was gone, he thanked Spider Woman warmly and he safely descended to the canyon floor by using her magic cord. He ran home as fast as he could run, reporting to his tribe how his life was saved by Spider Woman!

 

Sources: The Weird Sentinel at Squaw Peak

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9802E6D71730E633A25751C1A9609C94669FD7CF

http://www.legendsofamerica.com/az-legends.html

The Legend of Spider Rock; editing done by Lydia Brown

http://www.indigenouspeople.net/spiderro.htm





Leo the Lion

August 27th, 2013 01:35:38 pm


Hollywood comes to Payson

Sources: Oral histories and articles by Frank Gillette and Ralph Fisher; article by Joseph Stevens in American West magazine, July/August 1985, page 23.

Source: Payson Roundup written by Stan Brown

 

Although Hollywood film crews had filmed Zane Grey stories on location around Payson in the early 1920s, the year 1927 brought a new rush of Hollywood excitement with the arrival of the MGM mascot, Leo the Lion.

 

It was never anyone’s plan to bring Leo to Payson when the saga began in the late summer. The movie company had decided to fly their famous trademark lion from California to New York as a good publicity stunt. Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic solo flight was still creating a frenzy everywhere he landed, and the studio figured to cash in on this new interest in aviation. They hired pilot Martin Jensen and custom built an airplane to accommodate the 350-pound beast. The B-1 Ryan Brougham flying machine was a duplicate of Charles Lindbergh’s famous plane. It was overloaded with 3,200 pounds of gasoline and had a built-in 400-pound cage. The pilot could reach a lever that released milk and water from an overhead tank into the animal’s cage to pacify his objections to the bumpy ride. However, Jensen secretly equipped himself with a pistol should Leo break out. Bold, black lettering on the plane’s taut canvas skin could easily be read from the ground, “MGM LION.”

 

The original plans to take off from the studio in Culver City had been blocked by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Then on Sept. 16 film crews recorded the take off from an airstrip outside of San Diego. The overloaded plane got off the ground and headed east across the desert. It was noon when it crossed the Colorado River, and even though the hot desert air currents caused the plane to jerk about, Leo was snoring peacefully. The route took Jensen over the north end of Phoenix, but upon approaching the Mazatzal Mountains the plane was not able to rise over the top. The pilot snaked his way through the canyons and into Tonto Basin. Suddenly, before him loomed the black ramparts of the Mogollon Rim and he knew the 220 horsepower Wright Whirlwind engine was not going to make it.

 

That same afternoon, Payson merchant and postmaster Bill Boardman was headed for Rye. Going over Ox Bow Hill he heard the roar of a faltering airplane overhead and stopped his truck to watch the plane sputter as it lost altitude in a struggle to mount the Rim. He later reported seeing the strange shape of a metal cage built into the fuselage just behind the pilot’s seat as the plane headed over the hills toward upper Tonto Creek. He had no idea of the cargo, and when the hum died out Boardman continued on his errand.

 

In Little Green Valley, east of Payson, the sputtering of an airplane engine alerted the Haught family, and they gathered outside their cabin. Seeing what it was, Pappy Haught exclaimed with humorous wisdom, “Those things are pizen. One drap’ll kill ya.”

 

As the plane disappeared over the hill, so did the noise of its engine. Pilot Jensen had opened to full throttle, but the light air could not sustain the weighted plane. A canyon was closing in and he was boxed in. There was no place to land, and putting the plane into a glide he stalled tail first into a clump of oak trees. With a screeching crash, the plane plowed through the treetops, rolled over on its wing, and crashed to the ground in a cloud of dust, stripping the wings from the fuselage.

 

Jensen hung upside down in the cockpit, stunned but unhurt except for bruises and a cut on his nose. Remarkably, the steel cage was in one piece, and Leo was still inside. Jensen took water from the nearby Tonto Creek and put it in the lion’s trough, shared his sandwiches with the animal, and started hiking downstream.

 

During the first seven miles from its headwaters, Tonto Creek cuts its snake-like course from the Mogollon Rim south through sedimentary rocks, surrounded by dense forests and shallow canyons. Then it suddenly enters an extremely rugged area known as the Hellsgate Wilderness, where the creek plunges into steep gorges and impassable waterfalls, one after another. The rock is metamorphic, and the canyons are jagged, deep, and colorful. Beautiful pools lie enclosed, sometimes at the bottom of 1,000-foot deep canyons.

 

The Hellsgate Trail traverses a rough seven miles along a ridge, and then it drops 1,500 feet into a gorge near the junction of Haigler Creek. The rugged trail continues through a main canyon until it opens onto the pioneer community of Gisela.

 

Jensen had crashed about 2:20 p.m. and had no way of knowing where he was. He became exhausted fighting the boulders and manzanita thickets and when night closed in he lie under a bush and fell asleep, cursing the lion tamer’s costume the studio had insisted he wear.

 

Before crash landing, Jensen had observed a ranch, and in the morning he headed there.

 

He did not know that if he had hiked upstream instead of down he would have emerged at Kohl’s Ranch in a few hours. As it was, he spent three nights in the wilderness. Soaked from the late summer rain and suffering the jolt of the crash, he finally broke out into the open. He followed a small herd of cattle thinking they would lead him to a ranch, but they led him in a circle.

 

Then, just before his fourth night in the wilderness Jensen came upon an irrigation ditch. Following it he came to the ranch of George Booth near Gisela, where he shared the incredulous news of what had happened.

 

The Booth family fed the stranded pilot and allowed him to sleep off his troubles for 12 hours. He was better able to relate his story after that, and told his hosts, “I’ve got to get to a phone.”

 

George Booth took him to Payson in his Model T Ford. It was noon on Sept. 23 when they pulled into Grady Harrison’s garage and the nearest telephone.

 

The plane had been scheduled to land in Amarillo, Texas the evening of Sept. 16, but lookouts posted along the route reported no sightings.

 

By the next day it was obvious to family and friends in California something ominous had happened. On Sept. 18 a squadron of search planes took off from the naval air station in San Diego, and in one of them was the lost pilot’s wife, Peg Jensen. The posse of search planes fanned out, but there was no trace of the missing plane. After Jensen finally reached his wife by telephone from Payson, his wife Peg and representatives from the MGM studios were soon on their way, flying to Phoenix. Moviemaker Pete Smith ordered Jack Flower, a studio animal trainer, and troubleshooter Leo Kratzberg to drive to Phoenix. They were to rent a truck and go get the lion.

 

During this same time, Lewis Bowman and Ham Eubanks were rounding up a wild cow in the Hellsgate area. Suddenly the scent of lion upset their horses, and the cowboys found the crash site. They determined the lion was weakened, but safe in its cage. Not finding the pilot anywhere in the vicinity they went back to their camp and prepared to report their find.

 

Back in Payson almost a week had passed since the crash when the movie people arrived, and suddenly all attention was riveted on the rescue of Leo. Somewhere out there in the Rim Country the lion was alone in his cage, without food or water.

 

Bill Boardman remembered how he had seen the faltering plane come overhead six days before. He suggested they organize a volunteer posse to go in after the animal before it starved. So a pack train was organized, including both ranchers and town folk. Sam Haught offered his horses, and butchered a yearling calf to feed the lion in case it was still alive. He took a door off a small shed, hitched it to a team with a chain and pulled the butchered calf on it. The sled could also serve in bringing the lion out of the wilderness.

 

Columbus Boy Haught of Bear Flat was along, and knew the land well since his homestead was near the crash site.

 

The posse met up with Lewis Bowman and Ham Eubanks on the trail, and since they had already located the lion they were able to lead the posse directly to the crash site. The lion lay immobile in its cage; its ribs were showing, its hide was covered with fly infested sores. After taking water and devouring the meat, Leo became active in his cage. The cowboys hoisted the cage onto the sled and the long drag to civilization began. The trail out of there was a difficult and winding, exhausting men and beasts. After many hours they reached the Haught ranch on Bear Flat, where pilot Jensen met them. The cowboys enjoyed marking up a Rim Country first, rounding up an African lion and treating its wounds for screwworm. They loaded Leo on to Dave Martin’s truck and headed for town.

 

When Leo arrived in Payson he was a sensation. School was dismissed so the children could come and look. Martin and Peg Jensen flew back to California, but Leo remained a few days at Harrison’s garage feasting on Arizona beef before the long drive back across the desert. Pete Smith’s publicity stunt hit America’s headlines after all, and Leo lived many years after that to die a natural death in a zoo.

 

Thirty-four years later Martin Jensen, his son-in-law, and some friends returned to the site of the crash. They found the rusted remains of the old Ryan plane, and later enjoyed knowing that the Forest Service had named the place “Leo Canyon.”





Bike-Packing

January 27th, 2012 12:51:16 pm


What adventures are on your bucket list?  Everyone's list is different, I'm sure.  Some people are probably uber-interested in making the trek to Mecca, others may not want to go at all.  Hiking or rafting the Grand Canyon is on more than a few people's bucket lists, as evidenced by the thousands of people doing it every year.  But what about "bike-packing" across Arizona, or America for that matter?

 

Wait, what's "bike-packing" and how is it different from a bicycle touring adventure?  Well, in short, bike-packing is the off-road version of bicycle touring.  Where a touring adventure will take you along paved, scenic roads, bike-packing takes you along dirt roads, paths & trails.  Think backpacking with a bike.  It's a great way to get deeper into the middle of nowhere than by foot or car.  And, you can cover some serious ground in a day, making an 800 mile odyssey seem do-able.   That's where this bucket-list adventure question started . . .

 

I have a bucket list so long that it'd be impractical to discuss it in detail so suffice it to say, that riding the entire Arizona Trail is an adventure that's on my list.  The hard part is that on a few segments you either have to walk or go around.  Places like the Grand Canyon, and various other Wilderness areas, don't permit mountain bike riding.  Other segments are pristine mountain trails linking towns & remote areas - perfect for bike packing.

 

Anyway, I digress.  Bike-packing, in my opinion, is a more comfortable way to enjoy back-country routes.  Don't get me wrong, I love backpacking, but being able to NOT carry the load on my back is awesome!  By utilizing a series of racks, bags & trailers a cyclist can carry up to 100lbs of gear, more than enough for a multi-week expedition; partner with someone and you can cut the load without sacrificing comfort.

 

Imagine getting dropped off at some remote trailhead and pointing your bike south.  As you meander along the trail, soaking in the view, the miles pass.  When you finally stop for lunch you've covered 25 miles; now you're stopped under a cottonwood tree, next to a clear stream enjoying lunch.  That evening you can enjoy a hearty dinner before dozing off under an amazing, diamond studded desert sky.  A few days later you meet a re-supply crew, camping out near your route.  They've got fresh . . . well, everything.  The next morning after an amazing fresh breakfast you're back on the trail . . .ride & repeat.

 

360 Adventures is considering developing a different style of Arizona exploration package intended for experienced adventure travelers.  A series of outfitted & supported, self-guided backcountry expeditions where a participant is responsible for day to day activities as well as navigation.  Bike packing tours are perfect for this style of travel.  We'll plan the routes, outfit your party, and help with re-supplies when necessary; you just take care of getting from point A to point B within a given timeframe.  At least that sounds fun to us . . .what do you think?

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Bruce Leadbetter

bruce@360-adventures.com





The Battle of Picacho

November 9th, 2011 09:58:01 am


The Battle of Picacho

by Marshall Trimble (with permission)

 

Picacho is a steep-sided titanic altar of ancient volcanic remnants, rising several hundred feet into the air some fifty miles northwest of Tucson. Through the ages, it has stood gaunt and grim above the desert floor, acting as a beacon to weary travelers—much the same as Chimney Rock and Independence Rock were for the wagon trains bound for California and Oregon.

 

Prehistoric Hohokam travelers stopped off on their way to and from commerce dealings further south. Their modernday descendants, the Pima and Papago, did the same. Spanish missionaries, on their way to Christianize natives along the rivers to the west and north, quenched their thirst at one of several springs near the base of the mountains. The Mormon Battalion built the first wagon road across the Southwest in 1846. They, too, stopped to rest at Picacho, a Spanish word meaning "peak." Anglos, in their eagerness to apply easily understood descriptive place names to the lands they traversed, gave it redundant Picacho Peak—or simply "Peak Peak." In the 1850s Butterfield-Overland Stage line had a station in the pass. Today, Interstate 10 and the steel rails of the Southern Pacific Railroad run through the pass connecting Phoenix and Tucson with the rest of the outside world. Lengthy winter rains transform the harsh grey-buff desert in the foothills near Picacho into one of nature's finest tapestries of variegated colors, as galaxies of wild flowers carpet the earth, heralding the coming of spring.

 

It was in the spring of 1862 when two American military units clashed briefly at the foot of the ancient Picacho. That skirmish is generally referred to as the westernmost battle of the Civil War.

 

At the outbreak of hostilities between the North and South in 1861, large numbers of Southern-born officers in the Federal Army resigned their commissions and went home to fight for the Confederate cause.

 

One of these, a tall, bewhiskered, swashbuckling, ex-major named Henry Hopkins Sibley went immediately to the Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia, and presented President Jefferson Davis a grandiose plan for making the upstart Confederacy an ocean-to-ocean power. Sibley, who had campaigned extensively in the Southwest, proposed a territorial conquest that included New Mexico, Arizona, California and the northern state of Mexico. If successful, the rich gold and silver bullion being produced in the West would fall into Confederate hands. Thousands of new recruits would be enlisted for the Southern cause. A transcontinental railroad line would link the southern states with the West Coast and the Mexican and California seaports would be in Confederate hands.

 

It would be impossible for the Union Navy to impose an effective blockade over such a vast area. President Davis had to agree; the plan was pregnant with possibilities. The conquest and its amenities would likely bring support from European countries, something the Confederates needed desperately. Its success could guarantee the secession of the eleven Southern states.

 

The campaign began in July, 1861, when Lt. Colonel John R. Baylor, a hard-bitten, frontier Indian fighter, led three hundred Texas Mounted Rifles into New Mexico and occupied Mesilla, near present-day Las Cruces. The Texans received an enthusiastic welcome from the Anglo population of the bustling community who were mostly Southern sympathizers from Texas. One of Baylor's first acts as leader of the army of occupation was the creation of a new territory which was called Arizona. This new territory did not have the same boundaries that Arizonans would later come to know, but consisted of all lands in the New Mexico territory south of the 34th parallel and ranged from the Colorado River on the west to the 103rd meridian on the east.

 

There were fewer than 2,500 federal troops in New Mexico. The men hadn't been paid for several months and morale was low. The commander of the New Mexico forces, Colonel E. R. S. Canby, was determined to consolidate his troops along the Rio Grande to meet the expected entrada (entrance) of Texans.

 

He ordered the troops stationed in Arizona to destroy what supplies they couldn't carry and march to the Rio Grande to reinforce his demoralized army.

 

These orders caused a great deal of resentment among the residents of Arizona who accused the federales in Santa Fe of leaving them to the mercy of hostile Apaches, especially the Chiricahuas under Cochise, who had been on the warpath for the past several months. The Arizonans had been clamoring for separate territorial status for several years, claiming their needs had been largely ignored by territorial officials in Santa Fe. Removal of federal troops from the area was the last straw.

 

In late January, 1862, General Sibley invaded New Mexico with an army of 2,600 men. He immediately ordered Captain Sherod Hunter to take a company of 54 mounted riflemen and occupy Tucson. Hunter's arrival in Tucson was a welcome sight to the local citizenry, as the Apaches had pretty much created a reservation for whites at the "Old Pueblo." The locals didn't care whether the soldiers wore blue or grey, as long as they offered protection from the hostile tribes.

 

Sibley's grand scheme to take the Southwest was two-pronged. One force would march north and occupy Santa Fe; the other, Hunter's, would join with the Californians. One of Sibley's assumptions was that secessionists in southern California would gain control and open the entire West for the Confederacy.

 

Captain Hunter's tactics in Arizona were to create the illusion of a much larger force than he actually had on hand. Using friendly Tucson as his base of operations, the vigorous Confederate officer dispatched troops along the Old Butterfield-Overland Trail to Yuma, destroying supplies gathered for the pending invasion of the California Column. His deception was successful. Union spies reported at least eight hundred Confederates in the Tucson area.

 

Meanwhile, the threat of a Confederate invasion of California had prompted Secretary of War, Simon Cameron, to authorize the raising of volunteers in that state. A flinty-eyed, hard-core regular army officer, Colonel James Carleton was selected to lead this "California Column" of some 2,000 volunteers across the harsh, inhospitable desert and re-conquer Arizona and New Mexico. For the next several months, Carleton, a professional who left nothing to chance, concentrated his men and supplies at Fort Yuma, in preparation for the long journey across the Arizona desert.

 

Colonel Carleton dispatched Captain William McCleave and nine men up the Gila River to the Pima villages near today's Sacaton, where he was to select a defensible site to store supplies for the Californians. A Union sympathizer named Ammi White owned a mill in the area and McCleave's orders were to locate a storehouse nearby. The officer was then to take his force on to Tucson where, under cover of darkness, he was to capture or destroy the Confederate garrison.

 

Before McCleave's patrol arrived, the resourceful Captain Hunter had occupied Ammi White's mill, taken the owner prisoner, and since he had no wagons to carry the large supplies of flour and wheat back to Tucson, distributed them among the Pimas. When Hunter learned that 50 wagons were coming up the trail from Yuma to pick up supplies, he decided to hang around White's mill and capture the wagon train. These plans went awry when Hunter's scouts noted the approach of Captain McCleave's tiny force riding in advance of the wagon train. Hunter quickly changed into civilian clothes and assumed the role of Ammi White.

 

McCleave unwittingly stumbled into a Confederate trap. When he asked the disguised Southern officer if he knew the whereabouts of a Mr. Jones, Hunter replied he didn't know any "Mr. Jones," but wondered where the rest of McCleave's troopers were. When informed that there were no more Union soldiers nearby, Hunter pulled his revolver and informed the surprised officer that he was now a prisoner of the Confederacy. At that instant, several Texas soldiers stepped out of the brush with rifles aimed and ready.

 

McCleave was so angered by the ruse that he challenged Hunter and his men to a bare-knuckle, winner-go-free, fist fight—Californians against Texans. Even though Texans outnumbered the Californians nearly 2 to 1, Hunter politely refused the offer and ordered Lt. Jack Swilling to take the feisty Union officer and his men to Mesilla.

 

A few days later, while scouting the California Column at Stanwix Station, some eighty miles east of Yuma, Hunter's troops fired upon some Union pickets, wounding Private William Semmilrogge. The skirmish confirmed Hunter's suspicions of a large army approaching. He made a hasty march back across the Butterfield-Overland Trail towards Tucson. At Picacho, he left Sergeant Henry Holmes and nine men at the pass to keep him posted on Union activities.

 

When Colonel Carleton learned of McCleave's capture, his ire was raised. Determined to rid himself once and for all of the troublesome Rebels, he ordered Captain William Calloway to take a force of 272 men to drive the Confederates out of Tucson. At the same time, they were to attempt to rescue McCleave and his men before they could be taken to New Mexico. Furthermore, on personal orders from Carleton, they were to capture "Mr. Hunter and his band of renegades and traitors."

 

In his haste to engage in combat with the Rebel force, the ever-cautious Calloway spent a couple of leisurely days at the Pima villages recuperating from his desert ordeal. After being informed by his Pima scout presence of Confederate soldiers at Picacho, Calloway ordered Lie James Barrett and Ephraim Baldwin to take a detachment to the pass was to take 12 men and circle around behind the Confederate pickets & wait, while Baldwin would advance on the pass from the west. Calloway's main force would follow Baldwin.

 

The route of march was up the old Butterfield-Overland road, following today's Interstate 10, southbound towards Tucson.

 

Sometime around noon on April 15, 1862, Barrett, a brave but reckless young officer, located the Confederate encampment in a dense thicket and attacked without waiting for support. He took three prisoners including Sgt. Henry Holmes. Although several shots were fired, there were no casualties in the first encounter. The rest of Holmes' troopers, alerted by the gunfire had retreated further into the thick brush and taken up defensive positions.

 

At this point, Barrett's scout, J.W. Jones, suggested they dismount his troops and enter the thicket afoot. Barrett disregarded the advice and charged single file, headlong into the regrouped Texans. A fierce volley of rifle fire greeted Barrett from the thicket and, when the smoke had cleared, four Union saddles had been emptied. Barrett rallied his small command and this time entered the thicket on foot. The furious battle lasted some 90 minutes and when it was ended, the brash young lieutenant and two enlisted men lay dead on the ground along with three wounded. At this point, the Californians broke off the fight, gathered their wounded along with the three prisoners and rode back towards the Gila. The dead were left in the field where they had fallen, One soldier, Bill Tobin, could thank the brass ornament on his hat for saving his life. He suffered a serious, but not fatal, head wound, when a lead ball ricocheted off the metal.

 

The Confederates suffered two casualties in the skirmish, both of whom would die from their wounds. Casualties were high—of the 24 involved, eleven were killed or wounded. After the battle, the Texans took their wounded, and rode to Tucson to warn Captain Hunter of the approach of Calloway's large force.

 

For reasons never fully explained, Calloway took his command with the three captives, and retreated all the way back to the Pima villages.   Although it is only a footnote among the vast volumes of Civil War the Battle at Picacho Pass is considered to be the westernmost halt war.





History of the Grand Canyon

October 3rd, 2011 10:28:04 am


The known history of the Grand Canyon area stretches back 10,500 years, when the first evidence of human presence in the area is found. Native Americans have inhabited the Grand Canyon and the area now covered by Grand Canyon National Park for at least the last 4,000 of those years. Anasazi, first as the Basketmaker culture and later as the more familiar Puebloans, developed from the Desert Culture as they became less nomadic and more dependent on agriculture. A similar culture, the Cohonina, also lived in the canyon area. Drought in the late 13th century likely caused both groups to move on. Other peoples followed, including the Paiute, Cerbat, and the Navajo, only to be later forced onto reservations by the United States Government.

 

In September 1540, under direction by conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado to find the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola, Captain Garcia Lopez de Cardenas led a party of Spanish soldiers with Hopi guides to the Grand Canyon. More than 200 years passed before two Spanish priests became the second party of non-Native Americans to see the canyon. U.S. Army Major John Wesley Powell led the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition through the canyon on the Colorado River. This and later study by geologists uncovered the geology of the Grand Canyon area and helped to advance that science. In the late 19th century, the promise of mineral resources—mainly copper and asbestos—renewed interest in the region. The first pioneer settlements along the rim came in the 1880s.

 

Early residents soon realized that tourism was destined to be more profitable than mining, and by the turn of the 20th century the Grand Canyon was a well-known tourist destination. Most visitors made the grueling trip from nearby towns to the South Rim by stagecoach. In 1901 the Grand Canyon Railway was opened from Williams, Arizona, to the South Rim, and the development of formal tourist facilities, especially at Grand Canyon Village, increased dramatically. The Fred Harvey Company developed many facilities at the Grand Canyon, including the luxury El Tovar Hotel on the South Rim in 1905 and Phantom Ranch in the Inner Gorge in 1922. Although first afforded federal protection in 1893 as a forest reserve and later as a U.S. National Monument, the Grand Canyon did not achieve U.S. National Park status until 1919, three years after the creation of the National Park Service. Today, Grand Canyon National Park receives about five million visitors each year, a far cry from the annual visitation of 44,173 in 1919.

 

More info here . . .




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