Monday, November 14, 2011

Wilcox, Arizona

In the previous postings I have focused somewhat on the Native Americans who once roamed the hills of Arizona and New Mexico. Wilcox is a town of cowboys, past and present. The statue above is that of Rex Allen (1920-1999). He was born in Wilcox and raised on a ranch north of town. After high school he found fame in radio, movies and television. In a railroad park of Wilcox lies his ashes and horse, along with his statue. This town was, from the 1880s to the late 1930s, one of the country's major cattle shipping centers. Another big influence on the town was the railroad. The central business district, comprising of mercantile companies, banks and saloons, developed on the blocks facing the station. The railroad brought in supplies to several Army posts during the Indian wars, as well as to ranchers who were settling in the area. Today many of the buildings from that era are still around in this town. Pictured below is the Norton-Morgan General Store. The adobe structure has remained on the same location since 1880.
 It was in the Headquarters Saloon (now a gift store) where Wyatt Earp's brother was shot to death in 1900. And, while wandering this historic district, John and I came to the old hardware store of the town, which is now the Chiricahua Regional Museum. Looking into the windows of the museum we saw several musicians. Their music drew us into the museum. That was an interesting experience, touring a museum while listening to live music! While in the museum an elderly man with a very weathered face and wearing a cowboy hat approached me. He looked like he had just come into town on his horse (I was almost right on that, he is a local rancher, owning about 400 sections of land just outside of town). He was quite anxious to show me around the museum and tell me about the town. It was from him that we learned where in the area to find the sandhill cranes which migrate in by the thousands every November and feed in the local grain fields. We did look for them while heading home. It would have been a bit of a drive over gravel roads to see them up close, but it was still impressive to see large flocks of them flying overhead and hear their trumpeting loud calls which filled the air. We did see one by the side of the road,  not sure why he was hanging out by himself.

No comments:

Post a Comment