Arizona’s National Monuments

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The book “Arizona’s National Parks and Monuments” gives details about Arizona’s 20 federally-recognized parks and monuments. Donna and George Hartz will talk about their book.

Richard Ruelas: A new book titled "Arizona's National Parks and Monuments" gives details about Arizona's 20 federally recognized parks and monuments. Here to talk about their book are coauthors George Hartz and Donna Hartz, Donna Hartz actually is mentioned first on the cover.

Richard Ruelas: You'd think if we were going to talk about Arizona's parks and monuments we'd begin at the Grand Canyon. But actually it begins with Casa Grande. Tell us about the fight was over realizing we need to save those ruins.

Donna Hartz: At the time the westward movement happens after the Civil War, people began to see these monuments and see these ruins out there and people started -- Casa Grande was just deteriorating from weather. But a lot of other ones were in danger because of people going out and digging up pots. At that point with Casa Grande it was an effort by people both here in Arizona and some also in other places in the country to get it preserved and try and stabilize it so it wouldn't continue to fall apart.

Richard Ruelas: Were the people taking things, doing so -- was there a big market for relics? Or were they doing it not really realizing they would damage the archeology?

Donna Hartz: A lot of them were being pulled out for relics. It was a real big problem. People were -- they became very popular and valuable and people would just go in and willy nilly dig them up. The sort of damage done was often indescribable.

Richard Ruelas: What was said at the time that made Casa Grande the first one to get things going in Arizona? What was it that made people think, we need to save this?

George Hartz: One of the things was it was very visible. It was along a road that prospectors or soldiers were traveling. There was a visible documentation of the deterioration. It excited the interest of some archeologists in the northeast who worked with friends on -- in Washington, and got $2,000 raised. Not a lot but enough to at least begin the process of stabilizing it. And it was the first ever national archeological reserve in the United States in 1892. It started with Casa Grande.

Richard Ruelas: It started with the idea that this is still a relatively new country at the time, there is stuff here that needs saving. Next, Montezuma Castle. The Grand Canyon comes deep into the story. I don't know if that surprised you when you started researching your book but the Grand Canyon was not the first. Tell us about the efforts to save Montezuma Castle.

George Hartz: It was one that suffered significantly from the pot hunters and vandals. This is a picture from the late 1890s, we do not know if these are good guys or bad guys. But they are digging up pots and they are probably going to take them and sell them to a collector. They certainly aren't taking the sort of records you wish were taken as you're digging these up.

Richard Ruelas: Is part of this simply the fascination from back east of what this western life was like and the frontier?

Donna Hartz: Absolutely. There was a tremendous amount of publicity. One of the big things that occurred up at Mesa Verde was we had a man from Sweden who came in and dug up, took things back to Sweden and did this really fabulous picture book that got wide distribution in the United States. That really sparked it. But it was an impetus to really start saving these. The damage was done and things are gone and most of them are still not back in the United States.

Richard Ruelas: So far we look at these first two, they are big things. The Casa Grande, the castle sort of dug in, the well sort of off to the side. Then we get to the Petrified Forest, which again, you just -- it's amazing when you flip through the book to think, this was just out there. This was not protected. We were not told to be in reference of this, and please don't take this home and make it a coffee table. This was just out there.

Donna Hartz: Yeah, just sitting there.

Richard Ruelas: What was the thought, what got to us sort of say that is good thing to say?

George Hartz: The scientists and geologists were fascinated by it. It was a huge collection of petrified wood and it drew a lot of interest scientifically. The publicity that surrounded Petrified Forest caused a lot of people to come in and big up chunks of petrified wood and cart them away. That was, again, part of the impetus to get this antiquities act signed in 1906 that gave the President the authority to unilaterally proclaim national monuments and protect these properties. John Muir came down to Arizona in 1905 to publicize how important it was to protect the Petrified Forest. It all led to the Antiquities Act.

Richard Ruelas: I guess as we hit the Grand Canyon, it sort of shows before it was protected what free range kind of commerce was going on. The Bright Angel Trail was not free, right?

Donna Hartz: It started as a mining trail. And there were quite a few mines in the Grand Canyon at that point in time. There were also other entrepreneurs who were mining the tourists.

Richard Ruelas: The mining didn't seem to be going really well.

Donna Hartz: There wasn't a lot coming out.

Richard Ruelas: But people came with money so let's mine the tourists, as you say.

George Hartz: As the picture shows, Bright Angel Toll Road. So we had entrepreneurs charging the public for crossing public lands. They just set up a toll road. They had no authority or right. But because business interests were so strong, even a President like Teddy Roosevelt was hesitate to move real quickly on the Grand Canyon. He proclaimed 10 national monuments before the Grand Canyon. It was the fifth one done in Arizona amazingly.

Richard Ruelas: Why? Because there was so much revenue being made?

Donna Hartz: There were a lot of political issues because there was a lot of pressure to not protect it, not to pull it away from the ability to go in and mine or go in and set up your businesses.

Richard Ruelas: The state was already running it in a way, it already allowed businesses to set up, why are the Feds coming in.

George Hartz: Yeah, I think it's a matter of rights. You know, does the federal government have the right to do this, versus the state. And it didn't become a national park until 1919 , it was just amazing.

Richard Ruelas: And soon after, even though I was born and raised right next to it, I had no idea that Papago Park was one of eight national monuments, hole in the rock, right there.

Donna Hartz: The folks in the Phoenix area really wanted that preserved because it was ready to be put out for use.

Richard Ruelas: Like, use meaning it could have been anything.

Donna Hartz: It could have been a ranch or anything.

Richard Ruelas: Of course.

Donna Hartz: Once it got to that point the people in the area recognized they needed to preserve it. It was a recreational place even at that point in time at the turn of the century. They wanted to keep it protected. They didn't have the money to buy the land. There was a lot of pressure in Washington to get it named as a national monument. Once that was done they started pressuring Washington to make it recreational, put in a pool and a fish hatchery. It didn't take very long. By 1930 the government had enough and gave it back to the state of Arizona so we got it for free, which was really good. but it was indeed first a national monument.

George Hartz: For 16 years.

Richard Ruelas: Then Arizona gets a bunch, it's been used in Arizona more than any other state.

George Hartz: More than any other state. The Antiquities Act has been used 23 times in Arizona. All of our national parks and monuments except one were originally preserved under the Antiquities Act. They couldn't do it under the act here because it was part of an Indian reservation. They need to do work with the Indian tribe and Congress, and site got made a national monument by congressional action.

Richard Ruelas: Yeah, the book is available and I'm assuming on Amazon and in bookstores? From Arcadia Publishing. Seems like you had a lot of fun researching this, and the government helped you out by preserving a lot of these stories.

George Hartz: The government has terrific photographs and we had a great time putting it together.

Richard Ruelas: Sure, and thank you for joining us. It's a wonderful read with a lot of great photos. I appreciate your both being here tonight.

Donna Hartz:Author, Arizona's National Parks and Monuments; George Hartz:Author, Arizona's National Parks and Monuments;

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