Print Friendly, PDF & Email

We are back to the Stagecoach and the second in the series of 7 postcards from our property. The postcard dates from the mid 1950’s. The picture is taken from the old buildings that I so fondly recall from our days at the hotel. I swear, when I buy my second home in Phoenix, it is going to be reminiscent of that adobe and tile sanctuary.

The gentleman lounging in the cowboy hat owned the property two families before us. About the time of this postcard, a news article states: “Directors of the Phoenix Motel Association yesterday broke all precedent by electing a lady president.”  Mrs. C. A. Walther – President. Further: Mrs. Fred Engker (Mrs. lounging cowboy hat on the postcard), of the Stagecoach Motor Hotel, Secretary-Treasurer.”  I’ve also discovered that one of the buildings was purchased from a Mr. C. W. Freelove, who bought that building from his former employer, to use as an office, then sold it to the owners of the Stagecoach Motor Hotel, who moved and refurbished it as a “handsome bungalow.”

None of us knew about that re-purposing and having spent a great deal of time, myself in those rooms and on that property, I had no idea one was a former small office building. This gives an entirely new meaning to the idea of re-purposing! My parents told me another few buildings came from the Air Force Reserve at Papago Park. At some point, I need to figure out how exactly those brick buildings were moved!

The unprecedented appointment of a woman to head the Hotel and Motel Association sent me down the mental road of Arizona women who stepped out of the box and into the freedom afforded by the great and wild west.

One day, while looking for postcards in a junk shop in rural Arizona, I found an interesting book, entitled Through Our Unknown Southwest by Agnes C. Laut. Agnes goes on my list of great Arizona women (joining Nell, Mrs. Walther and the woman who owned the printing press). Agnes was born in Canada, became a journalist before 1895 and then explored North America. Dear Reader – a photo of Ms. Laut can be found on Wikipedia, should you wonder what this woman looked like. This book covers her travels in the Southwest. In 1913, she wrote the following:

“I am sitting in the doorway of a house of the Stone Age – Neolithic, paleolithic, troglodytic man – with a roofless city of the dead lying the valley below and eagles circling with lonely cries along the yawning caverns of the cliff face above.

My feet rest on the topmost step of a stone stairway worn hip-deep in the rock of eternity by the moccasined (sic) tread of foot-prints that run back not to AD or BC, but to those post-glacial aeons…

A few doors away from the cave door where I sit lies a little body…that of a girl of about eighteen or twenty, swathed in otter and beaver skins with leg bindings of woven yucca fiber…”

Agnes must have been in the Four Corners at the time of this writing, describing something like Mesa Verde, Montezuma’s Castle, or one of the literally thousands of archeological sites of the Southwest. She spends a chapter covering costs and logistics of a trip like hers – tents (miner’s tent is more practical than a teepee), grub boxes, clothing and train tickets to towns from which to launch one’s adventure.

Closing with thoughts from Agnes, “There are two ways to travel even off the beaten trail. One is to take a map, stake out pins on the points you are going to visit, then pace up to them lightning-flier fashion. If you want to, and are prepared to kill your horses, you can cross Navajo Land in from three to four days.” WOW!

I am certain there is a film here, Lara Croft, Indiana Jones, but starring a completely live, real woman.

In the course of researching this, I continue to learn the most amazing things about Arizona and its people. I look forward to new discoveries, new people (alive and dead) and the taste of exploration, if only from a postcard’s perspective.

Sherry

Subscribe to this site for updates

Loading