TRAVEL THEME: WALLS
CARVED IN THE WALLS OF A MOUNTAIN
Montezuma’s Castle is a five-story cliff dwelling consisting of about twenty rooms, built into an alcove 100 feet above the floor of Beaver Creek Canyon. The ruin faces south, a characteristic of most cliff dwellings that allows them to catch and retain as much warmth from the sun as possible. The cliff face into which the structure is built consists of a whitish, fairly soft limestone that has weathered to produce numerous alcoves and caves, many of which have been walled off to create living or storage spaces.
Today we gaze through the windows of the past into one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. This 20 room high-rise apartment, nestled into a towering limestone cliff, tells a story of ingenuity, survival and ultimately, prosperity in an unforgiving desert landscape.
The walls of Montezuma Castle are built of fieldstones held together with a mortar of mud and clay. “Fieldstones” are rocks that have not been worked, or that have been worked only to the extent that they may have been broken from larger pieces, or had some inconvenient nubs lopped off to make them fit more closely. Interior and exterior walls are covered with a layer of mud “plaster” about an inch thick, to produce a relatively smooth surface and protect the load-bearing components from weathering.
Visiting this National Monument was an amazing experience. Seeing what the mind of man can accomplish with simple tools and ingenuity is astounding.
WALLS OF THE WATCHTOWER
The Watchtower was designed by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter who is often referred to as the architect of the southwest. (see link to view the attaching of the rocks to the round steel beams to form the walls.)
As you get closer to the building you can see how well it blends into the environment. It is difficult to tell where the rock of the canyon walls end, and the tower begins. Ms. Colter said:
“First and most important, was to design a building that would become part of its surroundings; one that would create no discordant note against the time eroded walls of this promontory.”
To obtain this result she insisted that the rocks not be cut or worked, so they would not lose the:“weathered surfaces so essential to blend it with the canyon walls”.
HOPI INDIAN ARTIST
Fred Kabotie’s best known work is in mural form. The above picture is perhaps his most popular. The mural is located on the walls in the popular “Watchtower” at Grand Canyon National Park.
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Related Article: Montezuma Castle
BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!