Thursday, March 3, 2011

THE Trip, Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park, Yuma Arizona

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Even tho Man and I technically stayed in Winterhaven California, we were really here to see and experience Yuma Arizona.  We stayed for 3 nights in one park, then moved to another to stay for a week. The second park is less than 2 miles from the California/Arizona state line, we went back and forth so many times, crossing state lines, that we lost count just how many times we really did go back and forth!  (Reminds me of one of the ancestral homes and accompanying lands on my mother's side, the land was right at the Virginia line, up the road less than 2 miles, West Virginia.)  Anyway, we visited several of the historic state parks, first the Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park, here is the official web page, lots of great descriptions there on the history and such.

To, heavily quote this page:

"The Yuma Quartermaster Depot was used by the U.S. Army to store and distribute supplies for all the military posts in Arizona, and some in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas. Five of the original depot buildings remain on the park grounds, and four of these buildings contain exhibits which cover both the military history of the site and the history of the Bureau of Reclamation’s construction of major irrigation works in the Yuma area during the early 1900s."

Here are some of my favorite photos taken during our visit:

I just love these tall windows and shudders.
One section of one of the buildings was not being
used, looks like it might be undergoing some
rehab.  The floor is dirt!.  Love the fireplace and the door,
would not mind either in my stick built home, eh?
Somewhere I missed why there was a building full of really neat old cars and trucks, but, who can resist a 1913 Ford Model T?  However, the really interesting thing to me, was the plank road.  A plank road was the way you got across portions of what is now known as the Imperial Sand Dunes, also known in earlier years as the American Sahara.  Notice the tags on each piece of plank, they are numbered, telling me that this chunk of plank road was disassembled and reassembled later for the museum, following the order, 1, 2, 3, etc.

However, I think maybe the most unusual display at the park/museum was this map, researched and drawn by Perry C. Van Arsdale of Tijeras New Mexico, which he sold for $5.00.  In a little net research I found that you can purchase reproductions, (and at least one that claimed it was an original Van Arsdale) of this and several others he drew.  One for the Southwestern area of the US can be purchased for about $35.00, the seller indicated the map was about 35 years old, an original.  I found one, of the Eastern US, like this one, for sale for $30.00, which gave a copyright date of 1969, size about 36 by 50 inches (not sure if it was original or reproduction).

Map was behind glass, setting off glare issues with the
Sony.  Photo included so you could see, or sorta see,
the detail Van Arsdale put into the maps.
Just one of several areas of the map with symbols.
Michigan, our home state.
(Try clicking for a better view.)
I did a few minutes of internet snooping on Perry, and found that he was born in 1910 in New York and died in 1976 in New Mexico.  We enjoyed our visit  and the displays at the Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park, lots of opportunity for learning here.  There is also a Visitor's Center on the grounds with helpful staff, so this is a great place to start a visit to Yuma Arizona.

*Plank roads were used in the late 1830's in our home county, Lenawee, Michigan, so I rather enjoyed this display.


Michelle Goodrum said...

I love the pictures, especially the auto and the plank road.

Barbara Poole said...

The red car is fabulous. And your first pic. of the window, it doesn't look like it belongs in Arizona, more eastern style...but nice.

Perry Van Arsdale Maps said...

I was so happy to read your site and your mention of the maps of Perry C. Van Arsdale, who was my grandfather. As the maps and the copyright was passed to me, I am reproducing them and have a website So many people were searching for the maps when they found me, that I decided to build a website about my grandfather and his maps. Thank you for such nice comments about his map.I was the reason he put history into a map format. I was still a child when he began, he thought it would be an easy way for me to learn history. Thank you so much! Cheryl Van Arsdale Hagen