Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

Morristown: Another Look

January 2011
A year ago, Sharon and I took the same route to Wickenburg and then to Prescott where we stayed the night.  Along the way we stopped in Morristown because a large abandoned building was right on the road just begging to have its picture taken.  Behind it was a trailer we figured the owners must have lived in at one time.  We couldn't pass it by on this trip, so we decided to take another look to see what a year and the harsh desert elements did to the structures.  

The building looked basically the same with the vines growing up the side looking a bit more dead than they did a year earlier.  The trailer looked like it took a beating and looked much more haggard than the first time around.  Time was not kind to this poor little trailer sitting under the huge tree.

January 2011
January 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Wickenburg: Just Good Country Living

Traveling to Kirkland from my house takes you through Wickenburg.  This city is located about 60 miles northwest from Phoenix in the southwest Sonoran Desert.  On the town's brochure, they refer to Wickenburg as the place with "clean air, good country living, western hospitality and all-around high quality of life".  I would have to agree.  It is the perfect mix of old west/modern with its historical downtown and beautiful large homes on the outskirts of town.  And yes, the air is clean.

Wickenburg was founded in 1863 and named after Henry Wickenburg, who also founded Vulture Mine.  He was a farmer and prospector who donated or sold much of his land in the area where Wickenburg now sits. Surrounding the city is Weaver Mountains, named after Pauline Weaver, with Vulture Mine nearby. Sadly, Vulture Mine is still closed but we were able to get pictures from the outside which I will post later.

If you find yourself in Wickenburg, check out the chamber of Commerce, grabbed a brochure from the nice people working there, and take a walk around town to check out all the historical sites.

Friday, January 27, 2012

First Stop, Whittman

Around 35 miles from Phoenix on Grand Avenue stands the tiny town of Whittman.  Most people traveling from Phoenix to Kingman or Las Vegas would just pass this place by and not even realizing they just drove through it.   Sharon and I are not most people, so we went exploring.  It didn't take long before finding abandoned structures which used to be someone's home.  Now these houses stand empty and alone with only its memories hidden within the decaying walls.  I am sure the town's folks probably thought we were crazy taking pictures of these buildings, but we didn't care and just snapped away.  This is what we found on  our first time through Whittman.  We decided to hit this town again on our way back and I will show all those pictures on another post.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Road Trip 2012

Sharon and I are taking our first road trip of 2012.  We are on the look out for great abandoned places and ghosts. Be looking for our posts, pictures and videos from the trip.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Arizona’s Meteor Crater

About 50,000 years ago, a deep hole was formed when a meteor struck the Earth about 35 miles east of Flagstaff, Arizona.  This crater measured three-quarters of a mile wide and was about 700 feet deep.   This impact caused hurricane-force winds blowing in all directions with about 175 million tons of rock thrown into the air.  It only took 10 seconds to form the meteor crater causing a huge void surrounding the area.

At first, it was thought that a volcanic blast caused the large gap in the Earth’s surface, until in 1903, Daniel Barringer, a Philadelphia mining engineer, went to the site.  He determined that the huge cavity was made by an enormous meteor.  Barringer bore holes at the bottom of the crater to prove that he was accurate.  He found oxidized meteorite fragments which convinced other researchers that his theory was correct.

The owners of the Crater proclaim it to be “the first proven, best-preserved meteorite crater on earth.”

I have been able to visit the Crater twice. My first visit was in the summer with my family when my kids were little and another time was in February with friends of ours from Pennsylvania.  It was so cold and windy on the February visit.  The place has a visitor center with much information about the Meteor Crater.  You can watch videos on how it was formed as well as seeing pieces of the meteor itself.  You step outside and take various paths to landings that hang over the crater to get an amazing view of how enormous the hole is.  It is definitely a site to be seen if you ever get to Arizona.

Friday, January 20, 2012

What Is In a Name?

Every state has them, those bizarre and funny town names, creeks and rivers.  Arizona has no shortage of them.  I often wonder where the names come from.  Did a group of town councilmen have too much to drink or too much sun and decided that “Why” a good name for their town? Perhaps a bloody battle or another event occurred and the creek or town was named after that incident? Or better yet, it was named after a person with a wacky name?  I decided to check into the stories behind some of these unusual names to see if I can get to the bottom of where the names came from.

Wet Beaver Creek & Dry Beaver Creek: 
 Named for the abundant amount of beavers that lived in the area.  Mines out of the gutter people on other possible reasons for the names, lol.

Bloody Basin: This is a historical area where dinosaurs once dominated and in the early 1900’s a bloody battle against Yavapai hostiles and a military outfit once fought. Many were killed during this battle.

Horsethief Basin:  
Not much information found about this place but I imagine the name had to do with horse thieves (duh)

Is actually an area where retired aircraft are kept until they are turned into scrap metal.  The southwest is a great location for these boneyards because of the dry conditions which reduces corrosion.

Bootlegger Crossing:  This area is located near Williams, Arizona. I didn’t find much about the history of the name but I imagine that someone like Granny Clampit or Bo & Luke Duke once sold their “homemade remedies” or booze in that area.  Must have been a hot meeting place to make the exchange.

Bumble Bee:  This place now stands as a ghost town in the Bradshaw Mountains of Arizona. It once was a booming town with a stagecoach stop, outpost for the U.S. Cavalry and post office. With the downfall of mining and stagecoach runs, the town eventually was abandoned. Bumble Bee was named for the nearby Bumble Bee Creek.  And here I thought it was named for all the bees that were buzzing around the area.

Goobertown: I couldn’t get enough information on this town so I just figured it was named after a goober, lol. (Perhaps Goober Pyle?)

Goodyear: This town was named for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company that purchased it in 1917.
Nothing:  Stories were told by the people living this town to anyone who traveled through; the town was named by a bunch of drunks.  LOL, no surprise there.

Speaking of surprise, this Arizona town was founded in 1983 by developer Homer C. Ludden and named after his hometown of Surprise, Nebraska.

Why: This town sits in the Y-intersection of State Routes 85 and 86 and the founders were going to call it “Y”.  Apparently there was an Arizona law that required all city and town names to be at least three letters, the name was changed to “Why”.

Ajo: The word Ajo (pronounced AH-hoe) is Spanish for garlic.  Some say the Spanish may have named the place after O’odham or paint (o’oho), which sounds similar to Ajo.   The red paint pigment taken from the area by the Tohono O’odham aided in giving Ajo its name.

Hell Hole: In 1860, when Senator Benjamin Wade stated that Arizona was “just like Hell” because of the lack of water and prominent people, it created a song, “Hell in Arizona”.  Basically the song was about how the Devil was given Arizona because of various types of horrid animals and plants.  There are a few places around the state known as “Hell Holes”.   

Santa Claus and Christmas:
Someone had a sense of humor naming towns in Arizona after a person and winter season that we associate with the North, frickin’ cold, Pole.   Santa Claus is located northwest of Kingman and designed by Nina Talbot, a huge real estate agent in California.  Was it the fact that she sold many homes or that she weighed 300 pounds that made her huge?  Anyhoo, she opened the town of Santa Claus in 1937, modeling it after the North Pole and Santa’s workshop, using it as an attraction to sell the surrounding land.  Christmas: This town got its name when two mines that were thought to be dry and located in the Copper Springs Mountains were shut down and reopened after they resurveyed the area.  Since they were located outside these mountains, they were able to resurrect the mines which were now producing oodles of minerals.  The mines were reopened on Christmas morning and the name “Christmas” stuck. Today, the post office in Christmas receives letters from all over the world during the holiday season to get that Christmas seal stamped on it.

Two Guns: 
Originally this town was called “Canyon Lodge” until the National Trail Highway headed west and later became “Route 66”.  The town folks changed the name of the town to “Two Guns” after one of the local residents, Henry E. Miller, who liked to call himself, “Two Gun Miller.”

Arsenic Tubs: In a mineral hot springs located on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Graham County, the combination of the mineral substance in the water and the natural “tubs” in the rocks is what gave this town its name.

Total Wreck:
Named by John L. Dillon in 1875 when he thought the mine that stood firm and rigid, looked like, “A total wreck.”