Francine In Retirement
Seeing Life Through Photography





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.

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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.


The Watchtower at Desert View Grand Canyon

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”.




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.


To see more entries to Travel Theme: Walls, click here.

Related Article: Montezuma Castle



24 Responses to “TRAVEL THEME: WALLS”

  1. Perfect post for the theme WALLS. Nicely done, Francine.
    Hope you are keeping warm and are not driving around in this snow and ice tonight. xxoo Ruth

  2. your photo collection and your trips have produced a wonderful result for walls francine, thanks for the information too …love the hopi art!

  3. Awesome castle! Great pics, Francine!
    God Bless You, Francine!

  4. Marvelous photos for this challenge, Francine. 🙂

  5. Great post, Francine – these are remarkable sites and you’ve shown them beautifully!

  6. When I first moved here in 1987, we traveled all around the state, exploring the ancient ruins and magnificent natural wonders. How sad that I have not seen these incredible sites in almost 20 years. Your posts about your Arizona trip have lit a fire under me and I want to see them again, this time with camera in hand.

  7. What an achievement to build in the rock like that. I love the Hopi art work the style is just beautiful. Another super post Francine!

  8. Very cool. I’m so glad some of these places have survived. Taking a step back into time–how neat!

  9. Incredible subject matter, Francine, and all beautifully shot. Another great response the the challenge.

    • The more I read about this subject the more fascinating it became. There is another place like this somewhere near but we didn’t have time to visit it. Maybe next time.

  10. Remarkable how it blends into its natural surroundings! Great entry Francine.

  11. Beautifully captured. This is one of our favorites, and your portrayed it perfectly.

  12. these are great Francine…it is amazing how naturally it sits in that rock face

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