Archive for the ‘old buildings’ Category

lowry pueblo   7 comments

Posted at 11:20 am in Colorado,history,old buildings

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything, but there is a reason. I’ll get to that below. Once again, this is a “catch-up piece” from this year’s trip down to Arizona. In my last post, I wrote about the visit to Hovenweep National Monument which lies on the most eastern boundary of Utah. After camping a night there, the dogs and I carried on with our travels. Hovenweep is contiguous to an area on the western boundary of Colorado which has been designated as Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. That area encompasses a number of ruins and countless archaeological sites, including the Lowry, Painted Hand, and Sand Canyon Pueblos. On this trip, I visited only Lowry Pueblo due to time, weather, and the amount of hiking I was prepared to do. My goal for the day was to visit Lowry, then drive onward through a couple of Colorado villages before re-entering Utah and driving north to camp near Moab.

Leaving Hovenweep, I followed a narrow paved road that led through a high desert landscape of rock and sagebrush. I passed several roads leading off to ruins I had elected not to visit on this occasion. Shortly, I crossed the state line between Utah and Colorado. I was a little surprised to see the high desert suddenly give way to huge rolling tracts of irrigated hay fields. Roofed hay shelters, jammed to the rafters with large rectangular bales, dotted the countryside. A couple of long transport trucks were being loaded with bales that were probably bound for some region where hay is scarce. It was all a little puzzling as I had read that there are so many archaeological sites throughout this area, but I suppose that many of these farms were established awhile ago and fields must have been picked clean of rocks, then in more modern times, irrigation set up, to tame what must otherwise be fairly hostile lands.

As I neared the end of the 20-odd mile route between Hovenweep and Lowry Pueblo, I began to wonder where these ruins must lie as the farms seemed to be becoming increasingly developed and prosperous. As I drove the final short stretch of road, I caught sight of a sign pointing off to the left, a bit past a farm operation. Turning in, the road wound between some junipers before ending in a small parking lot. The pueblo ruins lay atop a knoll just a little further on. I had been told that they had a partial roof, so was not surprised by their appearance, but more by their location. This rocky, natural area lies just beyond neighboring irrigated hay fields. I parked and wandered along the trail to the ruins, stopping to read the interpretive signage. I’ll leave it to those who are interested, to check out the above-linked BLM page on the ruins – there’s quite a bit of info there, along with a map of the site. Suffice to say that the ruins are, in many ways, similar to those that I would soon visit at Chaco Canyon, in New Mexico, but are not quite so large. They have been excavated, but roofed over, and part of them reburied. It should probably be mentioned that many ruins are now left either undisturbed, or excavated and then reburied, as exposure to the elements is very hard on these structures and causes them to deteriorate without continuous maintenance. What we see as excavated and “stabilized” ruins, are just a small fraction of those which are left buried throughout the entire Four Corners region.

Within the main settlement structure, there is a kiva which one can view by entering the ruins through a low door opening. As the structure is roofed, that area is dimly lit, but probably gives a feel for how it would actually have looked during use when these ruins would have been sheltered by roofs made of branches and other materials. I stood awhile, imagining a time when the kiva would have seen ceremonial use. After leaving that space, I walked the short distance to view the great kiva which lies a bit separate from the village ruins.

This kiva (see above photo – click on all photos for larger views), is quite impressive in size. Although I visited several ruin sites in the region, I did not see any so large again until Chaco Canyon. I’ve included a photo of the interpretive sign at the kiva (see below) as it contains several interesting bits of information including the note that it seems this is a very old kiva, and that objects excavated at this site seem to show that it was in use over many centuries. Also, that stones on the floor are arranged in a way which creates symbolic figures of winter and summer people.

After leaving Lowry, I continued onward to the town of Pleasant View, Colorado. then turned northwest onto route 491, which passes through the village of Dove Creek before crossing into Utah and arriving at the town of Monticello. Along the way, I noted several buildings with signs for dry bean companies. A few old trucks were parked around a couple of these, so I stopped to shoot a few photos (I love old trucks). Approaching Monticello, I could see storm clouds dropping snow on the high peaks of the Abajo Range just to the west. It seemed that my decision to move on from Hovenweep was sound. Turning north, I headed for Moab, hoping to find a campsite somewhere outside town. More about that in my next post.

Above, I mentioned being quite busy lately. For the past month, I’ve been working on several pieces of art for an installation at the annual Mystery Ball fundraiser for the Central School Project (the community arts center) in Bisbee. I’m just in the process of putting up images of the pieces that I’ve created. I’ll be adding more today and again after the event this evening. You can find the images on my pbase photo gallery at this location, and there will be more about the event coming up on my blog soon.

Written by bev wigney on February 5th, 2011

on the road from sevier to kanab   13 comments

Posted at 5:09 pm in old buildings,traveling alone,Utah

old house north of Marysville, Utah

I’m now picking up where I left off in my autumn travels through Utah. After leaving Fremont Indian State Park, I followed Route 4, which runs parallel to I-70 for a few kilometers, ending at the junction with Route 89 near Sevier. Turning south, I followed 89, with the intention of camping at a favourite spot near Kanab. It’s an interesting route which I’ve taken a few times before, but always under overcast skies. Each time I’ve passed that way, I’ve told myself that I should stop and photograph some of the old buildings when the weather is a little nicer. This time round, I got the sunlight I’d been hoping to find.

The top photo of the old house was taken near the town of Marysville (click on all images to see larger versions). I didn’t really know anything about the town, but a staff member at Fremont Indian State Park had mentioned that the rock formation just north of the town (see photo below) has a connection to the old song, Big Rock Candy Mountain, by Harry McClintock. I did a bit of looking around on the net and found the following on Utah Department of Natural Resources geology website.

Shortly after the release of the song in 1928, some local residents, as a joke, placed a sign at the base of a colorful mountain in Utah naming it “Big Rock Candy Mountain.” They also placed a sign next to a nearby spring proclaiming it ‘Lemonade Springs.’ These names stuck, and the mythical Big Rock Candy Mountain of the song became perhaps one of the most recognized geologic sites in west-central Utah.

Big Rock Candy Mountain, near Marysville, Utah

I hadn’t actually put two and two together on where Big Rock Candy Mountain might be, but just turned off to photograph this formation as it was so colorful – not in the way of many of the painted sandstone hills I have seen during my travels, but with deeper yellows and browns. Again, quoting from the Utah DNR page: The yellow, orange, and red colors are from the presence of iron minerals, such as jarosite, hematite, and pyrite. The white color is due to the presence of alunite and kaolinite, minerals rich in potassium.

a neat old building that looks to have been a service station – in the town of Junction, Utah

The above building caused me to stop, turn around, and backtrack a mile or so. I do a lot of that when I’m driving alone as I don’t usually notice buildings or other interesting landmarks or objects until I’m right upon them. It then takes me a couple of minutes to circle around to take photos. Some days, I am willing to do plenty of this, but other times, not so much. Fortunately, I was in the right mood to do so and stopped to admire this old structure which looks to me to be an old service station. It’s located in the village of Junction, Utah, and was interesting from just about every angle. I sure wouldn’t mind owning a cool old place like this – well, that is, if I could have it materialize in southeast Arizona!

old farm buildings just south of Panguitch, Utah

The last photo was taken just south of the junction of Route 89 with Route 12 (the road that goes east to Bryce Canyon). This site is in a bad spot for stopping, but I was able to turn the van onto a dirt road that passes along behind. I love the way these old unpainted farm buildings weather in the arid climate of the southwest. I have seen their like on countless old roads winding through the high plains and deserts of Montana, Idaho, Oregon, California, Utah and Arizona. Most are now abandoned and it probably won’t be all that many more decades until they’re gone, but in the meantime, I make time to photograph them during my travels.

Written by bev wigney on December 20th, 2010