Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Old Frontier

Monday it was hot and fairly windy, so we decided to find indoor activities for the day. First we visited the outstanding Arizona History Museum in Tucson. Arizona didn't become a state until 1912, so it truly was part of the frontier less than 100 years ago. The museum has excellent exhibits showing life in Tucson in the 1870s, early transportation in the area, a lot of information on the work done by the CCC in the 1930s and early 1940s, and a description of the conflict between the U.S. Army and the Apache Indians, including the life of Geronimo. I know I'd rather travel across the state in our Chevy 2500HD 4X4 truck than in this stagecoach.

So many Arizona county sheriff's offices used Studebakers that the company finally named one model The Sheriff. Can't you see the deputy chasing the bad guys in this car?

I wouldn't have been very happy if this was the best shopping I had available.

How about this for a stove?

I'll bet we would enjoy the bread baked in this horno.

The exhibit on Exploring 1870's Tucson is a hands-on exhibit for curious people of all ages. Don't I look uncomfortable carrying this water olla on my head, using a head ring?

John doesn't look much better with this basket. But it really was pretty comfortable.

Gold, silver and copper mining have played a big part in Arizona's history and development. Here you can see what an ore crusher looked like.

This diorama shows what it was like when the U.S. Army brought some camels to the Arizona desert and tried to use them as pack animals. That experiment didn't last too long. In the end, some of the camels were let loose to live on their own. Can you imagine encountering one while hiking?

During the Spanish Colonial period, many exquisite things were imported from around the world. Look at these silver items.

The war between the Apaches and the United States was one of the tragic periods of our history, with terrible things done by both sides. Geronimo was a warrior chief who refused for many years to live on a reservation in Florida. When he finally surrendered, he ended up spending 27 years in prison in Texas. This picture is from a photograph of his band of Indians, taken in 1886.

One exhibit showed how early residents escaped the heat in Arizona. One method was to sleep on a cot outdoors, using wet sheets.

The CCC played a big role in development of the national parks and forests in Arizona, especially at the Grand Canyon and Colossal Cave, as well as building forest roads and fighting forest fires. The CCC workers even did anthropological excavation here!

After leaving the museum, we went to the Tucson Mall and spent two hours shopping--me for clothes, John for shoes. Would you believe neither of us bought a thing?

I also have to share these two pictures, one of the full moon rising above the Catalinas Saturday night and the other of the blooming Palo Verdi.


  1. I loved the pictures of the historic museum. I must ask my son if he as ever visited it. His mother lives in Tucson and my so says he just loves the heat there. Apparently is enjoys the cold Winters here less and less.

  2. That museum looks interesting. Just recently I heard somebody mention Arizona's centennial celebration next year. That really shocked me since I remember attending the BIcentennial celebration in Philadelphia 35 years ago. Geez, when I was was born, Arizona had only been a state for 40 years! Imagine that!