If you love historic sites, now’s the time to get out and visit them as many are under threat of closure due to budgetary concerns.
A year and a half ago, Arizona closed several state historic sites, including the Hopi/Anasazi ruins of Homolovi, as well as the Yuma Territorial Prison and Fort Verde. Thankfully,we’re seeing re-openings, although with reduced hours of operation.
Now, 70 California state parks are slated for closure Spring 2012, including Fort Tejon – located north of Los Angeles. Tejon was first garrisoned in 1854, to provide protection from the Paiutes and other desert tribes.
Also on the closure list is the San Pasqual Battlefield, just north of San Diego. It’s here that an 1846 battle raged between U.S. soldiers and and Californio forces in the midst of the Mexican-American War. Kit Carson was the guide for the Army troops, who had traveled all the way from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Just a Few Thoughts About Homolovi
If you’re in the Winslow, Arizona area, get up to Homolovi. It’s located just north of town, on the Little Colorado River, and dates to three main periods of population: AD 620-850, AD 1050-1225, and AD 1260-1400. Members of the Hopi Nation consider this area an important ancestral site and return to Homolovi for religious purposes.
The ground around the ruins is littered with broken piece of pottery, with designs ranging from a simple polished yellow surface to the intricate black and white designs of the Anasazi. If you’ve never been to this area, it’s hard to describe the sky; standing up on the ruins you have a 360 degree view of the world. Look north and you’ll see the Hopi Mesas.
It’s the pottery that intrigues me, though. It’s so easy to imagine the people who crafted each pot or bowl – living out their lives in this place of unimaginable beauty. I look at the broken pieces and wonder about the people who made them, used them, and broke them. Who were they? Not my ancestors, but definitely someone’s – these places always make me want to know more.
Homolovi also contains a small cemetery from a group of 19th century Mormon settlers who founded the city of Sunset. Sunset Cemetery still stands, but on one of the most wind-blown pieces of real estate I’ve ever seen. I’ve posted a short video of Sunset Cemetery – I apologize for the poor sound quality – the wind just about blew me off my feet! If you’re interested in the cemetery, you can download an information guide and list of interments at the cemetery from the official Homolovi website.
If you have time this summer, get out to those local historic sites – I know we’d all hate to see important places in the country’s history closed to future generations.