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Title: A Pictorial Guide to Mesa Verde National Park
Author: Hall, Ansel F. (Ansel Franklin)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

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    [Illustration: Cliff Palace]

                        MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK

                           A PICTORIAL GUIDE

                           FRANCISCO, CALIF.

    (Get detailed road map from any service station.)]

    [Illustration: CLIFF PALACE]

    [Illustration: MESA VERDE—the “green tableland” rises 1,500 feet
    above the Mancos Valley, here seen in its colorful October foliage.
    In the foreground, Highway 160 bears westward to the pioneer town of
    Mancos, 1 mile distant, and to the Park Entrance, 8 miles farther,
    just below the distant bulk of Ute Mountain. Beneath the bold
    promontory of Point Lookout the Park Entrance Highway can be seen
    climbing to the top of Mesa Verde.]

    [Illustration: THE PARK ENTRANCE HIGHWAY, paved and engineered for
    high-gear travel, begins its tortuous climb beneath Point Lookout
    shortly after branching south from Highway 160.]

    [Illustration: MESA VERDE—NORTH ESCARPMENT Air view of the “Green
    Table” not possible when named by Escalante in 1776.]

    [Illustration: AERIAL VIEW OF MESA VERDE

    ENTERING THE PARK: Entering Mesa Verde is a breathtaking experience.
    Spectacular views confront the visitor as the road ascends for 5
    miles to a high valley. This valley is an important activity
    center—the MORFIELD CAMPGROUND-VILLAGE complex. Just off the
    entrance road are 500 individual and group campsites, a 1500 seat
    amphitheatre, horseback riding and a shopping center. Approximately
    10 miles past Morfield the road reaches another important point of
    activity. The National Park Service has located there the NAVAJO
    HILL VISITOR CENTER. On the gentle summit above the visitor center
    is the FAR VIEW MOTOR LODGE. On the road one mile south is Far View
    Ruin, a large surface pueblo important to the interpretation of Mesa
    Verde. The final four miles of the road descend gently through the
    forest to SPRUCE TREE, the Park Headquarters Area. The principal
    interpretative activity is here overlooking Spruce Tree Ruin, the
    third largest and, perhaps, the best preserved of the classical
    pueblo cliff dwellings.]

                         PLAN YOUR SIGHTSEEING

In the Museum, at Park Headquarters, ranger-archaeologists are on duty
to provide maps and guide leaflets, and to advise how to make the best
use of your available time. You could spend a week in Mesa Verde’s
spectacular environment, seeing something new every day and absorbing
the fascinating story of 2,000 years of pre-history of the Stone Age
people who built these cliff cities. But if your time is budgeted to
only one day or less, the Museum Staff will help you plan your
sightseeing so as to see the more important ruins as a prelude to your
next—and longer—visit.

    [Illustration: Get your first view of SPRUCE TREE RUIN from the
    balcony in the Museum area—then ...]

    [Illustration: Carefully plan your sightseeing to Cliff Palace and
    the other big ruins.]

                         THE RUINS ROAD DRIVES

The main sightseeing drives are normally open from 7:00 a. m. to
sundown. There are two 6-mile loops starting from the Spruce Tree Museum
Area. Use your own car or join the tour-guided sightseeing bus trips.
When following the Ruins Road Drives, park your car and walk to
overlooks, viewpoints, and down trails to the major ruins where
ranger-archaeologists are stationed to explain all details.


    [Illustration: At CLIFF PALACE, archaeologist-guides conduct
    visitors through the ruin.]

    [Illustration: SQUARE TOWER RUIN]


Principal features of this very informative trip are: five groups of
mesa-top excavations showing the development sequence of prehistoric
dwellings; a spectacular close-up rim view of Square Tower, the tallest
cliff dwelling structure; rim views of many ruins; and opportunity to
climb to the top of Sun Temple. Three to four hours should be allowed to
absorb fully the facts interpreted by means of viewfinders, labels,
models and maps at various stopping points.

To enter this loop road you will bear right at the first junction beyond
the Spruce Tree Museum Park lot. Stops at the sign, “Pit Houses,” and at
four additional surface-ruin sites in the next two miles, enable you to
look into homes of the pueblo farmers dating from 600 to approximately
1200 A.D. These exhibits warrant more than superficial study.

You must not miss looking down on Square Tower Ruin. To reach the
viewpoint from which the photograph on page 7 was taken, leave your car
at designated parking space and follow a 200-yard mesa-top trail.

Allow ample time at Sun Point to enjoy the wide panorama and a view of
the greatest concentration of big ruins. From this point be sure to note
Mummy House clinging to the cliff below Sun Temple, across Fewkes

Just west of Sun Point the road parallels the south rim of Fewkes
Canyon, named for the famous archaeologist of the Smithsonian
Institution who directed the excavation and stabilization of these big
ruins between the years 1908 and 1922. Stop at nearby rim viewpoints to
look down on Oak Tree House, New Fire House Ruin, and Fire Temple.

Climax of your trip will be the stop at Sun Temple where you may climb
to the top of the walls of this great structure that was left
uncompleted, at the time of the great drought of 1276-1298.

    [Illustration: FIRE TEMPLE AND NEW FIRE HOUSE RUIN as seen from rim
    of Fewkes Canyon. ]

    [Illustration: OAK TREE HOUSE RUIN as seen from south rim of Fewkes

    [Illustration: SQUARE TOWER RUIN as seen from rim viewpoint
    (200-yard walk from road).]


Outstanding features of this 6-mile loop are: the opportunity to be
guided through Cliff Palace and Balcony House ruins by well-informed
ranger-archaeologists; and stops at many overlooks, from which smaller
and inaccessible cliff dwellings are pointed out by viewfinders. Before
starting, go to the Museum for a time schedule of guided tours. The
turn-off to the Cliff Palace loop is the second junction after turning
east at the Spruce Tree Crossroads. Rim viewpoints are all marked by
rustic signs and provided with viewfinders and other informational
material. Allow three to four hours for this spectacular sightseeing

    [Illustration: View into Cliff Canyon from SUN TEMPLE.]

    [Illustration: SUN TEMPLE as seen from Sun Point, across Fewkes
    Canyon. Note Mummy House Ruin under overhanging cliff.]

                              CLIFF PALACE


This majestic ruin, the greatest of all cliff dwellings, is not only an
architectural masterpiece, but also a remarkable historical record.
Preserved within its walls is a fascinating story of a primitive people
who learned to work, and build, and live together in harmony and mutual
interdependence while our own European ancestors were struggling under
the harsh yoke of feudalism. It is this inspiring story that should be
carried away as your principal memory of Mesa Verde, rather than an
impression of crumbling walls.

To carry you back through the ages, the National Park Service stations
knowledgeable archaeologists here to tell you how the ancient people
lived, to point out many significant details of their environment, and
to lead you as intimately as possible into the life of this Stone Age

The telephoto view of Cliff Palace on the two following pages endeavors
to picture the sweep and grandeur of this largest known cliff dwelling.

    [Illustration: Cliff Palace]

                              CLIFF PALACE

    [Illustration: CLIFF PALACE occupies a large cave in the precipitous
    wall of one of Mesa Verde’s 28 canyons. At the right in this photo
    is the back of the so-called “Speaker Chief Tower” which is pictured
    on page 5.]

    [Illustration: There are 23 kivas, circular underground ceremonial
    chambers, each of which was used by the men of an individual clan.
    When visiting ruins, note these features: fire pit, ventilator
    shaft, deflector, 6 pilasters, and the Sipapu (spiritous entrance to
    the underworld).]

                       THE TRAIL TO CLIFF PALACE

The trail trip through Cliff Palace ruin requires approximately
three-quarters of an hour. Leave your car at the designated parking
space. Walk first to the railed rock promontory about 100 feet from the
road, from which point a splendid panorama view is obtained; then make
the 5-minute descent down the foot trail to the Ruin where you will be
met by the ranger-archaeologist.

    [Illustration: View of the south section of the CLIFF PALACE from
    the point where visitors are met by the ranger-archaeologist, who
    here outlines what is known about the life and culture of the
    ancient inhabitants.]

    [Illustration: THE ROUND TOWER is one of the most perfectly built of
    all the architectural features of Cliff Palace. Individual blocks
    were curved by chipping with stone axes.]

                       THE TRAIL TO BALCONY HOUSE

Of all Mesa Verde’s cliff dwellings, Balcony House Ruin is the most
dramatically situated and offers the most exciting personal exploration
experience. National Park Service archaeologist-guides meet visitors at
the designated parking space to lead the 1¼-to-1½-hour trip over a
half-mile ledge trail, up the famous approach ladder, and through the
ruin. Time schedule of trips may be obtained at the Museum.

    [Illustration: Interior, BALCONY HOUSE RUIN, looking north. Note the
    approach ladder at the lower right.]

    [Illustration: Climbing the ladder to Balcony House Ruin provides
    one of the most remembered thrills of the Mesa Verde experience.]

    [Illustration: View into Soda Canyon from the parapet of BALCONY
    HOUSE RUIN. The balcony in the foreground is more than 700 years


    [Illustration: LUNACHUKAI MTS. FROM PARK POINT (EL. 8,572) A VAST

No trip to Mesa Verde National Park is complete without a visit to Park
Point Lookout, 8,572-foot summit on the north rim. You must not miss the
thrilling and inspiring full-circle panorama of mountains, mesas, and
wide reaches of desert.

In many ways, the section of the panorama pictured in the above sketch
is most significant: it looks southward and westward into the vast
distances of the Navajo and Ute Indian Reservation—the “Four-Corners
Country,” where sixty thousand Navajos herd their sheep and live their
primitive nomadic life.

The fire guard will point out to you the volcanic spire of Shiprock, 50
miles distant as the buzzard flies. He may also call your attention to
the notch just north of the huge bulk of The Sleeping Ute, where the
McElmo Canyon Road leads to Hovenweep Ruins—and beyond, to the vast
colorful Monument Valley. You will certainly want him to identify the
spectacular 14,000-foot peaks of the northern and eastern skyline.

Overshadowed or concealed in all this vastness are many features that
determined the very lives of the people who once lived here—factors that
literally created their hospitable environment. Earth movements in
long-past geologic ages had raised the Mesa’s rocks from beneath the
seas; other more violent displacements had thrust up the high peaks of
the San Juans and the La Platas to the northeast and, in so doing,
elevated and tilted our Mesa. The resulting elevation—8,500 feet at the
north, sloping down to 7,000 feet at the south—encouraged the slight
margin of rainfall that invited trees and all manner of plants and
animals to form a natural community that welcomed the first hunters and
Stone Age settlers when they arrived.

There is deep meaning in the lovely unbroken green mesa-top forest you
see spread out before you. Stop for a moment and picture how nature has
reclaimed the fields of corn and beans and squash that lay hidden
between piñon groves a thousand years ago—and how the stream of human
life is not lost, but persists through the ages: in this case, in the
pueblo dwellers who live today beyond the mesas and distant mountains of
the southern horizon.

  “May the public interest in America’s remaining wilderness areas
  continue to grow in the years ahead, and may the National Parks
  forever be able to provide an outlet for those who would adventure in
  the wilds far beyond a road’s end.”

                      CONRAD L. WIRTH, _Director, National Park Service_
                          Reprinted from “THE NATIONAL PARK WILDERNESS.”

    [Illustration: The green top of MESA VERDE as seen from Park Point
    Lookout. In the middle ground is the Knife Edge; at the far right,
    Point Lookout. On the northeast skyline are the 13,000-foot peaks of
    the La Plata Range of the southern Rockies.]


In this area you will see your first Cliff Dwelling.

You will walk; everything is conveniently near.

You will visit the Museum—probably several times—to plan trips and to
better understand what you see here.

You may hike on the Mesa Top, ledge and canyon trails—but be sure to get
maps and a permit at the Museum.

You will enjoy the variety of several evening campfires at the canyon
rim amphitheatre.

You may worship at the inter-denominational services Sundays.

You will find food and refreshment at the SPRUCE TREE TERRACE.

You may want to relax in the sightseeing bus with the guide driving
while you look at the Ruins.

                       ACTIVITIES AT NAVAJO HILL

An important area is Navajo Hill, 15 miles from the Park Entrance (refer
to perspective map on page 4). The Park Visitor Center is located here.
This is the junction of the Wetherill and Chapin Roads.

You will find food and refreshment in the Lodge.

You may want to relax in the sightseeing bus with the guide driving
while you look at the Ruins.

You may hike to Far View Ruin ¾ mile south.

You will watch a breathtaking sunset over 4 states.

                                 ★ ★ ★

    [Illustration: THE EVENING CAMPFIRE. Nightly, at the Campfire
    Circle, informal talks are given by members of the archaeological
    staff. The subjects: modern Indians, food plants, archaeology, etc.,
    vary each night during the week. Frequently the Navajo Indians, who
    work in the Park, present tribal dances and chants (their beliefs
    prohibit photographs).]

    [Illustration: HIKING along the rim rocks and into the canyons leads
    to spectacular views and ruins that cannot be seen from the roads.
    Most trail trips require strenuous exertion, and because of the
    danger of getting lost, hikers must obtain maps and a permit before
    leaving the Headquarters Area.]

    [Illustration: SPRUCE TREE RUIN, one of the best preserved of the
    larger cliff dwellings, is a 5-minute walk from the Museum. For full
    enjoyment of this one-hour experience, get a guide leaflet before
    you start. Archaeologists are stationed here to show and explain
    some of the 114 living rooms and 12 kivas.]


The Mesa Verde story has all the elements of the most thrilling

Scene 1. Father Escalante and his cavalcade of Spanish explorers camped
at the northeast edge of the Mesa on August 11, 1776—without even
suspecting that its deep canyons hid ancient stone cities.

Scene 2. Antonio Armijo, with his caballeros at nearby Mancos Creek, on
November 19, 1824, searching for a route from Santa Fe to California.

Scene 3. Secret inroads of the Mountain Men—beaver trappers who may have
poached in this remote section of the southern Rockies in the 1830’s and

Scene 4. The hectic rush of the gold and silver prospectors of the 50’s
and 60’s into the nearby La Plata Diggings.

Scene 5. Arrival of the pioneer photographer, William Henry Jackson, at
the mines; his search for vaguely reported ruins—and his discovery and
first photograph of a Mesa Verde cliff dwelling, Two Story House, on
September 9, 1874.

Scene 6. The government survey party led by H. H. Holmes, surveying the
new West, the next year, and finding a large cliff dwelling which he
called Sixteen-Window House.

Scene 7. Pioneer ranchers settling in the Mancos Valley in the 1870’s
and 1880’s, especially the Wetherills who made friends with the Utes,
and were permitted to run their cattle on the forbidden Mesa Verde.

Scene 8. In 1885, the coming of the first, and possibly the most
willful, young lady tourist, Virginia Donahoe, who was given protection
by the officers of the Indian fighting cavalry and advised to “go home”;
but, instead, stayed at the Wetherill ranch and went hunting arrowheads
and prehistoric pottery with the five Wetherill boys—and returned the
next summer to equip her own expedition that penetrated Cliff Canyon and
“discovered Balcony House Ruin on October 6, 1886.”

Scene 9. The friendly old Ute chief, Acowitz, enjoying the Wetherills’
hospitality and telling them of “Big Cities” in Mesa Verde’s canyons.

Scene 10. Richard Wetherill and his cousin, Charley Mason, searching for
lost cattle on the Mesa—and their dramatic “discovery” of Cliff Palace
and Spruce Tree Ruins on December 18, 1888—and Square Tower Ruin the
following day.

Scene 11. The local cowboys “treasure hunting” in cliff dwellings during
the next few years—permissible digging for relics which were beautiful
curiosities and sometimes saleable.

Scene 12. Systematic field investigations by Dr. F. H. Chapin, W. R.
Birdsall and Baron Gustaf Nordenskiold, whose scientific reports of
1890-93 resulted in the dawning recognition of the scientific importance
of these ruins and buried artifacts.

Scene 13. The women of Colorado rallying to the standard of their Cliff
Dwellings Association, through the 1890’s and early 1900’s, for the
establishment of a national park.

Scene 14. Many congressional postponements and final action establishing
Mesa Verde National Park on June 29, 1906.

Scene 15. Subsequent palaver and a treaty with the Utes to rectify the
boundaries and to get the big ruins into the Park—and controversy with
these recalcitrant neighbors that persists to this day.

Scene 16. Dr. J. Walter Fewkes of the Smithsonian Institution and a
digging crew repairing Spruce Tree Ruin and stabilizing its walls in
1908, and Cliff Palace during the following year, and most of the other
big ruins during the next thirteen years—stabilization and research that
continues today under the National Park Service, assisted by the
National Geographic Society.

Scene 17. George Mills surveying the “carriage road” to the Mesa top
which was painfully pioneered from 1907 to 1914.

Scene 18. Announcement: “On May 23, 1921, Mr. Jesse Nusbaum of Colorado,
a young archaeologist of great experience and reputation for successful
work in the Southwest, was appointed” as Superintendent of Mesa Verde
National Park.

                                 ★ ★ ★

The new Superintendent’s wide and practical experience enabled him to
lead the way in coordinating and directing many important activities:
overall plans for the general functional layout; architectural plans;
road construction; establishment of public campgrounds; development of
water supply and other facilities needed by the vastly increased number
of visitors who were beginning to discover this fascinating, unique, and
hitherto almost unknown National Park.

Outstanding among the permanent achievements of this constructive decade
were the development of the Ranger Guide Service made up for the most
part of trained young archaeologists, under the direction of a permanent
naturalist-archaeologist; the building and equipment of a museum from
funds contributed by public subscription; the establishment of evening
campfire lectures, and demonstrations by the Navajos of their tribal
chants and dances—activities that today form the pattern of the
inspiring interpretive program conducted here by the National Park

                               THE MUSEUM

    [Illustration: Sketch of museum]

An ancient medicine man’s pouch with its magic treasures—mummy of a
Basketmaker maiden who lived 1,500 years ago—the primitive hunter’s
atlatl—might pique your curiosity and lure you to visit the Mesa Verde
Museum. Soon you would discover, however, that this is not just a
storehouse for dry-as-dust dead things, but rather a living center of
knowledge and its interpretation—the key to your understanding and
enjoyment of the real museum which is the Park itself.

    [Illustration: Decorative border]

    [Illustration: CLIFF PALACE IN 1270 A.D.
    From a Painting by PAUL COZE]

Collaborating with the staff of the Mesa Verde Museum, the artist has
shown typical activities at 3:00 P.M. on a sunny autumn afternoon in
1270 A.D.

In the left foreground an unmarried girl with butterfly hair-do is
husking corn of several colors and gossiping with a married lady who has
the matron’s two rolls of hair behind her ears. Three women in the
painting wear the pueblo dress, while the others have string aprons;
both would have been used in the summer. Nearby is a ladle and a
corrugated pot—on the wall top a Classic Mesa Verde mug and a decorated

Between the girl and the wife fixing her husband’s hair lies a snare.
Close to the couple are a bowl, a squash, a stone axe, and a peculiar
submarine-shaped jar.

Above the couple a dog barks at a youngster who has broken a big jar.
Two women are making pottery; behind them two women replaster the lower
room of a two-story house, on top of which a man is pointing out to some
children that the town crier is making an announcement, and they should
keep quiet. Two priests, one with ceremonial kilt and evergreens, climb
a one-pole ladder.

Beneath the crier a woman closes the doorway of her house with a stone
slab, and below her on the near roof an old lady keeps warm with a
rabbit-skin blanket, while her daughter grinds corn. In front of the
house a woman, whose baby snoozes in a wooden cradle, bakes blue corn
meal “pancakes” on a hot stone slab. The kiva door is closed with a mat,
turkeys wander about, and the woman in the right-hand corner, sitting on
the beautiful brown textile (to be seen in the Park Museum), strings
turquoise beads.

To the right, two bow-and-arrow-makers ridicule a returning unsuccessful
hunter, women bring water in jars from the spring, and turkeys pick over
the trash pile.

Visible in the painting are a round and a square tower, ten of 23
exceptionally small kivas which occur in the ruin, and rectangular and
T-doors. Beyond the square tower with its balcony, people are finishing
a third-story room.

Cliff Palace had 200 living rooms and sheltered perhaps 400 persons.


                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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