Saturday, April 21, 2012

Besh-Ba-Gowah - A Portal to the Past

Friday we traveled a few dozen miles to the city of Globe, Arizona, to experience Besh-Ba-Gowah, a 700 year old pueblo community that had housed the Salado people between 1225 and 1400 A.D. Before that, the Hohokam had lived there, digging shallow basins for their mud and wood homes. In recent centuries, the site was ignored by the Apache -- they were warrior-nomads with no permanent homes -- looked at by nearby prospectors -- who were more interested in gold, silver and later copper --, dug into by archaeologists -- who really "dug" the opportunity to learn --, and partially reconstructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. To get to Globe, we drove along the Old West Highway, "where history still lives," ...

...past the memorial to Melvin Jones, the founder of Lions Club International, in his hometown of Fort Thomas, ...

...and the Apache Gold Casino, where this fine specimen of Native American manhood stands guard.

Now, back to Besh-Ba-Gowah. Our tour started in the Visitor Center / Museum, which houses the world's largest single collection of Salado pottery, both plainware and more ornate pottery, along with arrowheads, and some textiles.

The ornate pottery was used for ceremonies or trade, while the plainware would have been used in everyday life for cooking and storage.

Outdoors we wandered the grounds, walking where the Salado had walked, gazing into the assorted rooms, most with incomplete walls and no roof. Many rooms had no doors at all, as the main point of entry was most often through the roof. The rooftops were the areas where much of their living took place.
In one two-story structure I climbed a reconstructed ladder to the second floor.

Going up was a lot easier than coming down!
Suzy didn't follow, except with her eyes!

From the second floor, an additional ladder gave access (for the Salado but not for the tourist!) to the roof.

Many of the rooms, those where we did not have access, displayed artifacts of the time, or perhaps replicas. We took pictures through iron-barred windows into the cool dark spaces.

Besh-Ba-Gowah gave us a glimpse into the life of a serene and peaceful people. Along with many other cultural groups of the time (such as the more northern cliff dwellers), they seem to have disappeared near the beginning of the 15th century. The reason isn't entirely certain, but it is believed that climate changes, drought and the resultant competition for water and comfortable living space drove them all to more hospitable regions.

Many more pictures can be found in our web album of Besh-Ba-Gowah Day. If you get an opportunity to visit this area, you'll want to see the place for yourself.

We'll write about our trip back to Roper Lake State Park another time. But we have to mention dinner. We are still working our way through the Salsa Trail, and selected this unlikely restaurant in the town of Pima. Except for its link to the Salsa Trail, we'd not have found the place, and if we had found it, we'd never have gone inside to taste the wonderful green chile dinners!

Bush & Shurtz had been the name of the hardware store that was converted to a Mexican restaurant. They didn't change the name because "everybody knew where it was." What an unlikely spot for us to find a grand dinner this day in ... Our Life on Wheels!


  1. I really "dug" your tour of Besh-Ba-Gowah. | Those kinds of historical places are very interesting. I don't know if I'll ever get a chance to visit that site, so I was glad to see it through your camera lens!

  2. Good to see Suzy up and about too!

  3. that was a wonderful armchair trip. In fact, so good that I tried to get to you Picasa link for the rest of the photos. Sad to say, I got a "that page does not exist" message. maybe you still have to open it up to people seeing it? Great tour.

  4. Looks like a very neat place & yet another glimpse of Suzy, who is looking good!

  5. Liked the lighting in that wall shadow photo....

  6. What a super post. I love visiting places like this. You two look like you had a wonderful time. Thanks for taking me along!
    Got a glimpse Of Suzy...or at least what is left of her. You go girl!

  7. I like places where you can actually walk through and imagine what it must have been like all those many years ago. Thanks for a very interesting tour. And Suzy sure seems to be getting around pretty darn good. Good for you, Suzy.

  8. Wonderful tour, great pics - you find the most interesting places to visit. And Suzy's looking terrific! The link to the web album didn't work for me, either. Thanks for sharing your visit.

  9. I find the sites of the ancient cultures always fascinating. Thanks for the virtual trip to this one.

  10. Loved the tour! And Suzy looks fantastic!!
    Thanks again for sharing.

    Donna D.


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