Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Road Trips Through Arizona, 1925

When I was in high school, our history teacher was a guy named Marshall Trimble.  We all knew Mr. Trimble really loved Arizona history.  We didn't know, at the time, that one day he would become the official Arizona State Historian.

I thought about him when I came across an old photograph album on my "road trip" to Alva, Oklahoma last fall.  It seemed odd to find the album at a small antique store in the Midwest, since the photographs were of some Arizona "road trips" by car, taken by a group of young ladies during 1925.

I knew when I first opened the album and saw the old photos -- held in place by heart-shaped stick-on corners -- that they hadn't been taken in Oklahoma.  After all,
 Winslow is in northern Arizona.

Apparently the young women had driven themselves to a variety of locations around the state.  That was rather an adventurous thing to do in 1925.

Although at least one road trip had a few glitches...

...they found some help along the way.

Other photos in the old album show a number of women.  There were no notes about where these pictures were taken.  It's interesting to look at the variety of clothing styles in 1925.

Minnie and Mabel

Miss Harvey and Mrs. Hall.

C.E.R. and Miss Van Buren.

There were several photographs of a road trip the young women made in October 1925.  Note the dresses they wore while eating breakfast in the open air.

They went to the town of Florence, between Phoenix and Tucson.

They went to Roosevelt Dam, northeast of Phoenix.

Many of the photos showed groups of young women (and a few men) swimming or just standing together.  The names on the photograph below are Eleanor Robles, Panchita Gallego, Mary Brady and Maria Ortega.  On the right, in the swimming pool, Lillian Nicholas.  (The other photos just had first names written in the borders.)

Also in the album was a postcard of a dude ranch in Oracle, Arizona.

And a postcard of the University of Arizona in Tucson.  (I wonder if the young people in the photos were students at the U of A?)

A photograph labeled "The Ruins" intrigued me because I knew I'd seen that place before.  I believe this is part of the compound wall that still surrounds the prehistoric ruins of the Casa Grande, south of Phoenix. 

I wonder why the photographer didn't take a picture of the main building, the Casa Grande itself?  Or did she, and the photo was removed or fell out of the album?  We'll never know.    

Here's a 1915 photo I downloaded from the National Park Service website showing the compound, the Casa Grande, and a house on the right side.

And indeed, one of the young women on that 1925 road trip had taken a picture of the house.

I found a web page devoted to Frank Pinkley, a  real icon of the National Park Service.  The NPS notes:

Frank Pinkley was born on May 27, 1881, near Chillicothe, Missouri. Diagnosed with tuberculosis, he moved to Arizona for his health in 1900. The following year, he accepted a position with the U. S. General Land Office to be the first permanent, on-site custodian at the Casa Grande Ruins reserve. Pinkley's strong vision and organizational skills brought him increasing responsibilities after the National Park Service took over in 1918. By 1923, he was promoted to Superintendent of all Southwestern Monuments, and over the next 17 years, he set professional standards for his employees and provided them with improved facilities, many which can still be seen today. At Casa Grande Ruins, the large shelter roof, support buildings, and the entrance road and parking lot are all due to Pinkley.

This collection of old photographs deserved better than just to be liberated from an antique store and stored in a box in my house.  It's truly a little snapshot (okay, pun intended) in time of travels by car in the desert Southwest.  So I donated the album to a museum in Arizona.

Here's a link to the Arizona State Historical Society website:

There are more views of Rancho de los Robles (El Rancho Robles) online:

If you're really interested in Arizona history, talk to Marshall Trimble sometime.  Here's Mr. Trimble's bio:

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