We went to Tuzigoot and Jerome, Wednesday last

Juli Kearns Everyday Stories 5 Comments

So, Wednesday last, we then went to Tuzigoot and Jerome.

The visitor’s center at Tuzigoot was built as a WPA project in the 30s. I wondered about the individuals who built it and what their professions had been previously and how many had already been skilled in construction. It houses I suppose a fairly nice exhibit. Not that I would know much about it. One’s ability to peruse, absorb, reflect is not enhanced by a seven-year-old who sees nothing interesting in grinding stones and pottery shards. The National Park Service website on Tuzigoot says Junior Park Ranger activity guides are provided on request but we weren’t aware of the availability (whatever the guides are) and didn’t request and they weren’t offered.

Outside are specimens of local flora identified with plaques, which I appreciated because I was always asking what such-and-such was and I took pictures of each one.

Here’s a map to Tuzigoot.

There are two trails. The Loop trail and the Tavas Marsh Overlook trail which is wheelchair accessible. I wasn’t even aware of the Marsh Overlook trail, from which one can view one of the few freshwater marshes in Arizona. Wish I’d known. I was managing a seven-year-old but we walked in, did the processing, and weren’t given any info by the ranger behind the desk. I read that a trail guide is available on request but the ranger didn’t make us aware of the fact and so we didn’t request. (Marty passes by and says he didn’t know there were guides available and says it’s another form, he guesses, of don’t ask, don’t tell.)

Outside the front of the visitor’s center looking up the path to the ruins.

A grinding stone. There was also a metal folding chair leaning against the wall. The folding chair was not an enhancement but I took a picture of it as I was amused by the notion of it being part of the Tuzigoot exhibit.

Imagine no roads and what your daily view might have been like as a dweller at Tuzigoot.

You don’t get a sense of the size of Tuzigoot, built around 1000 AD by the Sinagua. Neither through these photos or through the walk. But it was 11o rooms.

It was remarkably cool inside. In all the illustrations one sees of roof-top living, the people are shown exposed to the sun and elements. But I have to assume they were as anxious for shade as we are and on the rooftops there would have been open shelter? Am I right here? Maybe Stone Bridge knows something about it.

Now this is an impressive shot of Tuzigoot.

We then drove on to Jerome, Arizona, which used to be a hill-top mining town and is now a tourist stop and artist’s center.

I really liked Jerome, as did Marty.

Comments 5

  1. I don’t know about open shelters on the roofs of Tuzigoot. The only puebloan shade-providing open shelters I have ever seen, or even seen pictures of, were at Taos Pueblo and they are at ground level.

  2. When in Portugal, we stumbled upon a two thousand year old moutaintop Celtic ruins national monument known as Briteiros. All dry stack stonework round huts and enclosures. Later,at the seashore, we encountered a more modern, similar style using mortared stonework.

    FYI, the WPA employed master craftsmen, teachers, and musicians to instruct young shiftless men with nothing else to do. It was like a giant apprenticeship program in everything from masonry to forestry to welding and mechanics. And it gave them food, shelter, and pocket money to send home to families devastated by the Depression. My former skipper in Alaska was one of those young men, so was my domestic partner’s uncle. We visited the stone and timber state park shelters they built several times, and marveled at their unusual rustic utility.

  3. Oh, I meant the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, another New Deal program. But the WPA was similar in that it employed older men building bridges and so forth. The CCC actually had camps for the younger guys. And one of those programs employed playwrights and actors and other artists. It’s hard to appreciate how wonderful it all was, and what a difference it made in the lives who experienced it, until you talk to one of them.

  4. I love seeing stuff that was done by the CCC or WPA (my dad was in the CCC.)

    It’s almost like that stuff is part of a whole new kind of archeology…it’s from a time period that we no longer understand, and has a beauty we can no longer create.

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