Friday, September 04, 2015

Interesting Museum in a Sad Town

We are slowly making our way toward Arizona, waiting for the temperatures to cool down a little. For some reason, we decided to spend 3 nights in Green River, Utah--I guess because the name of the town was familiar. The John Wesley Powell Museum was right across the street. We had both heard about his trip down the Green and Colorado Rivers to explore the area and we have twice been on Lake Powell, so we were eager to check out the museum.

The 20-minute film showed how dangerous the trip was in wooden boats. Most of the narration came from diaries and writings of the people who survived the trip. This panel on the front of the museum shows a boat going through some of the rapids.

The group started with four boats. One was lost early in the trip, as well as many of their supplies. Looking at this replica of the lost boat, No Name, I can hardly imagine going across a quiet lake in it, much less an unknown fast-flowing river.

We weren't aware that Powell had made two trips down the rivers, in 1869 and 1872. On his second trip, he often rode on a chair like this, strapped to the boat. Can you imagine?

This sculpture in the museum gives an idea of how the explorers faced and overcame numerous challenges.

Powell was an amazing man. With almost no formal education, he learned geology on his own and was a college professor in that field  at Illinois Wesleyan University.  He fought in the Civil War, losing an arm during the battle at Shiloh.   During his time in the American west, he became an expert in Native Americans of the region and in their languages. He published several books in that field.

There had been earlier expeditions to explore the river and this unknown part of the American west. Powell was the first person to complete the entire trip from Flaming Gorge in Wyoming clear through the Grand Canyon in Arizona. In addition, some of the Mountain Men had attempted to navigate parts of the river in bull boats, like this.

I enjoyed listening to this Mountain Man, who told the stories of these other river runners.

We were glad to find this museum in Green River. Other than the Tamarisk Restaurant, where we had an outstanding breakfast, there wasn't much to do there. Like I said in the title, it is a sad town. Obviously, it was a major stopping point in years past. Whether I-70 and the fast travel it provided caused a decrease in travelers stopping or what, we saw lots of abandoned motels, gas stations and other businesses. This shows on of the creative uses of an old gas station.

This bank went out of business years ago. At one time, it was used as a souvenir shop. Today it is one of many abandoned buildings in town.

This house has obviously seen better days.

A motel and cafe that are still in business had neat old Route 66-type signs.

It has been many years since this truck has driven down the road.

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