Archive for July, 2011

HOMOLOVI RUINS STATE PARKS

July 29, 2011

In the 14th century, an ancient people found a home along the Little Colorado River. These people, the Hisat’sinom (Anasazi), farmed the rich flood plain before continuing joining people living on the mesas, known as the Hopi. Homolovi is Hopi for “Place of the Little Hills” — the traditional name for Winslow, Arizona.

The Hopi people of today consider Homolovi to be part of their homeland. Broken pottery and stones are now part of the land, and are mute reminders that the Hopi continue to follow the true Hopi way. Migrations ended when the people settled at the center of the world, the Hopi Mesas north of Homolovi. However, when the Diné (Navajo) and later the Europeans arrived, the Hopi saw the newcomers destroy their ancient homes while digging in sacred sites for curios.

To protect lands from further desecration, the Hopis supported the creation of Homolovi Ruins State Park. This park was established in 1986 and it opened in 1993. Homolovi Ruins State Park now serves as a center of research for the late migration period of the Hopi from the 1200s to the late 1300s. While archaeologists study the sites and confer with the Hopi to unravel the history of Homolovi, Arizona State Parks provides the opportunity for visitors to visit the sites.

The Homolovi Visitor Center features exhibits explaining the archaeology of the ancient people of Homolovi. Exhibits describe the continuing tradition of Hopi pottery, carving and other art forms. The work of various artists, including the art of Hopi children, is incorporated in a changing exhibit. The First Works exhibit is a collection of children’s art work. In addition, the park maintains a collection of returned artifacts from within the Winslow area. These pieces include prehistoric pottery wares, stone and bone tools. There are also historical art works by Fannie Nampeyo, Charles Loloma, Paqua Naha (First Frog Woman) and Helen (Feather Woman) Naha dating from the late 1880s to the late 1960s.

Homolovi’s gift shop is operated by the Homolovi Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society. They offer books on the natural and cultural history of northeastern Arizona, including unusual and rare books. The shop has an excellent selection of Hopi and Navajo artwork.  Suvoyuki in the Hopi language means to accomplish work through a joint effort. The annual Suvoyuki Days event in July starts with an open house day at the park that celebrates the partners who have helped to protect and save Homolovi area archaeological and cultural sites from destruction. The event features corn roasting, a morning
run, archaeological information, and artist demonstrations. The next day, the event moves into the community at Sipaulovi Village where visitors can see meet artists and learn more about the Hopi tribe.

Hiking Homolovi provides the visitor with the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the ancients. Nusungvö which means “Place of Rest” in the Hopi language is a 1.2 miles primitive hike across high prairie grasslands. Tsu’vö which means Path of the Rattlesnake in Hopi, is a half mile loop trail between the twin buttes within the park. It is a nature trail and an archaeological trail where the visitor can see milling stone areas and petroglyphs.

Diné is a one and a half mile trail that goes to Diné Point. The Homolovi I trail is an easy quarter mile stroll on an old dirt road. The Homolovi II Trail is a half mile paved trail that is wheelchair accessible. The 100-yard trail allows access to the largest of the Park’s archaeological sites and contains an estimated 1,200 to 2,000 rooms.

Homolovi Ruins State Park, HCR 63, Box 5, Winslow, AZ 86047

Tel: 928-289-4106  Web site: www.pr.state.az.us/parks/HORU

Yuma Territorial Prison

July 2, 2011

On July 1, 1876, the first seven inmates entered the Territorial Prison at Yuma and were locked into the new cells which they had built themselves. At Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park the visitor
has a chance to walk through the strap iron cells and solitary chamber of Arizona Territory’s first prison. A total of 3,069 prisoners, including twenty-nine
women, lived within the walls during the prison’s thirty-three years of operation. Twenty-six successfully escaped but only two of these were from within the prison confines and eight prisoners died from gunshot wounds. The youngest prisoner was 14 years old and the oldest was 88. No executions took place at the prison because hangings were a function of the county sheriff’s office.

An exhibit in the Visitor Center along with photographs introduces the visitors to territorial prison life. Other displays include original cellblocks, water tank, guard tower, sally port (entrance gate), library room and the dark cells. Interpretive panels are located throughout the historic site. The 3600 sq. ft. museum houses a video presentation and original prison artifacts. A large mural painting of Arizona Native Americans and by a World War II Italian prisoner of war graces one of the walls.

Despite its infamous reputation, largely put forth by films such as 3:10 to Yuma, the prison was a model institution for its time. Early pioneers such as John Cady referred to the prison as the “country club on the olorado.” Punishments included the dark cells for inmates who broke prison regulations, and the ball and chain for those who tried to escape.

Crimes ranged from murder to polygamy, with grand larceny being the most common. Most prisoners served only portions of their sentences. One hundred eleven prisoners died while serving their sentences, most from tuberculosis. Prisoners worked but during the free time they hand-crafted many items which were sold at public bazaars held at the prison on Sundays after church services. Prisoners received regular medical attention, and many convicts learned to read and write in prison. The prison housed one of the first “public” libraries in the territory, and the fee charged to visitors for a tour of the institution was used to purchase books. An early electrical generating plant furnished power for lights and ran a ventilation system in the cellblock.

By 1907, the prison was severely overcrowded, and there was no room on Prison Hill for expansion. When the prison became overcrowded, as many as ten prisoners were packed into a cell, which measured 8 feet by 10 feet. The convicts constructed a new facility in Florence, Arizona and the last prisoner left Yuma on
September 15, 1909. The Yuma Union High School occupied the buildings from 1910 to 1914 and the football team was known as the Crims. Empty cells provided free lodging for hobos riding the freights in the 1920s, and sheltered many homeless families during the 1930’s Great Depression. Townspeople used the complex a
source for free building materials which along with plus fires, weathering, and railroad construction,  estroyed the prison walls and all buildings except the cells, main gate and guard tower.

While it was active the prison kept excellent prisoner records. The boxes are at the Arizona State Archives, 1700 West Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007. Those prisoners who died while incarcerated and were not claimed by family were buried in the graveyard just outside the penitentiary. A shallow grave was dug where a wooden casket containing the body was lowered, covered with the soil and then overlaid with rocks. Since 1950, most of the grave markers have been taken by souvenir hunters or deteriorated under the weather. Only the grave marker of J.F. Floyd has been found and it is now on display inside the prison
museum. Grave markers were typically made into a slab of wood, with the prisoner’s name, number, and date of death.

Prison T-shirts, baseball caps, key chains, handcuffs, and books about the prison are available in the gift shop inside the Visitor Center.

Yuma Territorial Prison, 1 Prison Hill Road, Yuma, AZ 85364

Tel: 928-783-4771

Web Site: www.azstateparks.com