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100 Years Ago: June 1921

This is the 77th post in my series of abridgements of National Geographic magazines upon reaching their centennial of publication.



The first article in the month’s issue is entitled “Across the Equator with the America Navy”.  It was written by Herbert Corey, the author of many articles in The Geographic, including “On the Monastir Road”, “Cooties and Courage”, “Shopping Abroad for Our Soldiers in France”, and “A Unique Republic, Where Smuggling is an Industry”.  The article contains fifty-three black-and-white photographs; nineteen of them are full-page in size.

During the winter of 1920-21, Mr. Corey accompanied the American battleship fleet on its winter cruise.  The Atlantic fleet of seven battleships, eighteen destroyers, and accompanying auxiliary vessels, under the command of Admiral H. B. Wilson, joined the precisely similar Pacific fleet, under Admiral Hugh Rodman, at Panama.  The combined fleets cruised together to a short distance south of Callao, Peru.  There they separated, the Atlantic fleet turning back and paid a ceremonial visit to Peru, while the Pacific fleet continued on to Chile.  The fleets then joined up again and steamed back to Panama where the annual inter-fleet athletic competition was held.  Upon a second separation, the two fleets left for their winter practice grounds, on opposite sides of the continent.  Throughout that period of close association, the author saw evidence, over and over again, of the truth of the conviction of the leaders of the American Navy that “a navy is not ships, it is men”.  They made every effort to produce officers and men of high intelligence.  They provided them with the best ship, guns, submarines, and airplanes money could but, but they were only instruments through which the genius of the men could be expressed.  Because the American enlisted man did not, as a rule, care to serve more than one term afloat, it was the Navy’s purpose to make the recruit into an excellent sailor, but likewise into a better American.  With that end in view, he was offered every opportunity to gain an education; he was taken on jaunts around the world; he was well fed and well clothed; and his physical and moral health were well guarded.  Upon his return to civilian life, he had attained to a higher and more intelligent standard of citizenship.

The Atlantic fleet departed from the Brooklyn navy yard at dawn on the morning of January 4th.  Battleships and destroyers worked down the Ambrose Channel single file and effected fleet formation well out to sea. The vessels of the train – colliers, supply-ships, tenders, and cruising foundries wallowed in their wake.  Without those support ships the fighting craft had best not put to sea.  On board the Black Hawk, an old Grace liner, once she was in blue water, the toilet operations began.  While in dock it was not worth the effort to clean, so she was dirty, just as all the other ships in the fleet.  Many of the new recruits had never seen the sea before.  The regular rise and fall of her deck were agonizing to them.  They clung to the cargo boom cursing the sea and the sailors who loved it.  As the worst passed, the crew began to scrub the caked grime, and before the Black Hawk was in southern waters, they were being swung alongside in cradles to paint her sides.  They were already critical of other ships which had not been polished up.  The Black Hawk was officially classified as a tender for the destroyers.  On board she was known as “the mother”, and that was a better title.  Almost anything that could happen inside a destroyer could be patched up by the magicians on board.  The crew of the tender held their comrades abord the destroyers in low regard; they couldn’t do anything without their mother.  The crew felt that “all destroyer men [were] idle, irreligious, improvident, and insane”.

By the time the fleet reached Cape Hatteras, in January, it had shaken down and steaming in a precise formation that was rarely broken for the duration of the cruise.  Ahead of the author reached seven battleships plowing in a row then came the vessels of the train, guarded by the cruiser Columbia.  On either broadside were the lines of the destroyers, the thoroughbreds of the sea.  The fleet was steaming at twelve knots an hour, an economical cruising speed for battleships, but torturously slow for destroyers.  The battleships cut through the tumble of water knifelike while the destroyers rolled and jerked, and rumbled like drums in the waves.  When the sea was rough, there was no sleep on a destroyer.  One night, a vicious rain squall woke the author aboard the Black Hawk.  Through the open ports he saw the line of destroyers had approached his starboard.  The waves were piling up due to the Gulf Stream running counter to the winds.  Between lack of sleep, battened airless cabins, and seasickness, the men of the destroyers, and tenders, looked as though they were stricken by the wrath of Heaven at the end of a grueling seven-day run.  On board the larger ships one might hardly have known there had been wind or sea, but the men on the destroyers had been unable to bathe, shave, or sleep.  Their food had been sandwiches, which they were able to eat by hooking one arm around a stanchion.  They were bruised and battered, but in surprisingly good spirits.

On the morning of January 9th, Mr. Corey awoke to find himself in the sheltered bay of Guantanamo, at the southern tip of Cuba.  The men of the fleet had swapped their blues for whites, and the blue uniforms were stowed away for another year.  Now the gobs stripped off their blouses and wore only sleeveless singlets.  They were pasty and frail looking.  Then the sunburning began.  By order of the Navy, one sunburned, just as one got vaccinated or shaved.  While red and blistered in Cuba, in another month, they would be muscular and tan.  Guantanamo Bay consisted of a body of water, almost completely landlocked, covering about 10,000 acres.  Around the bay was a circle of low, brown hills, covered by a mesquite scrub.  Long narrow valleys thrusted like the outstretched fingers of a hand.  The water’s edge was bordered by mangroves, except for occasional warm, sandy beaches.  There, the United Stated had rented from Cuba, “for so long a time as it desires”, an area of 30,000 acres, in which the bay is included and enclosed.  A rent of $2,000 was paid annually.  At the station were 1,100 men at the time of the fleet’s visit, enough marines to preserve order and the remainder were workmen.  The striking features was the rifle ranges, 264 rifle targets and 60 pistol targets, up to 1,000 yards range. It was the largest and finest range used by the U. S.  A golf course had been replaced by a landing field for the ship-planes.  They were to be carried on especially built vessels from which they would takeoff, and upon which they would land.  There was a balloon school where observers were taught to ascend in captive balloons.  During the prior year, three balloons were brought down by lightning.  There were hospitals, clubhouses, and canteens.  On flat land, ten baseball diamonds had been laid out, and ground had been cleared for more.  There were tennis grounds and handball courts.  The base was designed to train 15,000 to 20,000 seamen a year, and provided for their healthful recreation.  The wild animals of the hills had learned that the base was sanctuary.  The author saw the occasional deer and kicked flocks of guineas from beneath his feet.  There were good roads, pleasant walks, and charming gardens, but the main attraction was the “pig-pen”.  Officially, the pig farm was for utilitarian reasons; each animal earns the government one hundred dollars.

Caimanera was a town of one thousand assorted smells.  They hit the author as he climbed onto the rickety boat-wharf.  Small dogs slept in the sun, or scratched themselves vigorously.  Naked babies were everywhere.  At intervals, the towns waterworks was dragged through the plaza on a cart pulled by two goats.  Saloons wooed thirsty customers with displays of stacked bottles.  The buildings along one side of the principal street were half supported by piles.  On their verandas, overhanging the water, the author saw dark-skinned women dressed in flowing white, fanning themselves as the ship’s barge came in.  All the way up the Guantanamo River the banks were curtained by mangroves.  Mr. Corey saw a sugar schooner bake lazily in the sun, next to a bar.  An American sailor stood outside with a black-and-green badge of the shore patrol.  There were various areas in Caimanera which were off limits.  At Caimanera the officers on liberty – gobs never get ashore here – hurried to Pablo’s or the American Club.  Pablo’s was hectic.  There were pitchers filled with Daiquiri, and a boy grinding at the ice-shaving machine in the rear.  On Sundays the cockfights lasted all day long.  Laborers thronged in from nearby plantations in their newest clothes to watch, and bet on them.

The paint was glistening when the fleet set sail for the second leg on its long cruise to Peru.  It was a different fleet entirely.  The rust of winter had been rubbed off ships and men alike.  The next stop was Colon, the Atlantic end of the Panama Canal, where the Strangers’ Club opened its hospitable doors.  The author temporarily abandoned the fleet at Guantanamo in favor of the seaplanes.  The Atlantic flotilla of FL-5’s had hopped down the coast from Philadelphia on its way to the Panama Canal.  He made his temporary headquarters aboard the Shawmut, the mother-ship of the airboats.  Flying to Jamaica in one of the seaplanes did not seem like a stunt at all.  Compared to most airplanes, they were giants, with a wingspan of 107 feet and weighing 7 tons.  Mr. Corey rode in the rear cockpit and enjoyed the flight.  It wasn’t until he sat the Shawmut’s deck in the calm waters of Kingston harbor that he learned how fragile the seaplanes were compared to the force of the sea.  Ten seaplanes began this cruise, but only seven made it to Colon.  They only flew when weather was perfectly.  The trouble was to make a boat totally seaworthy; it would be too heavy to fly.  On the first day of flight from Kingston to Colon, No. 4311 was forced down on Sarrana Reef.  The air was perfect, no fog and there was a following wind.  The squadron commander wanted to fly straight though to Colon, a distance of 630 miles, but was convinced to stop off at Old Providence Island, about half way between, at 380 miles.  They began to hammer through the Caribbean Sea.  A day of full steaming brought the Shawmut to the Sarrana Banks.  The crew had been rescued.  The reef, a trap for ships, had protected the seaplane, which otherwise would have broken apart in rough seas.  A mine-layer, the Sandpiper was used to try to salvage the plane.  It was hoisted on deck, but a storm, during the trip to port, snapped off a wing.  The seven remaining airboats waited at Old Providence Island for news of the foundered plane.  The island was four miles long and eleven hundred feet high, and everywhere a vivid green.  The locals did their best to entertain the crews.  Then it was on to Colon, the Panama Canal, and the Atlantic fleet.

The warships passed through the canal’s great locks.  Their decks seemed whitewashed, so thick the sailors had gathered to watch the electric mules and lock mechanisms.  It was known that every bug that flew or crawled lived in the topics, but the Canal Zone was clean, shaven, and bugless.  It was at Panama, the two fleets joined up, and the combined fleets steamed for Peru and Chile in company.  Most of the days were spent on tactical exercises, or maneuvers.  This trained the crews, and the ships, to work in concert.  Mr. Corey felt the spectacle of sixty ships of war moving in harmony was a superb one to see.  Then the fleets had a night battle practice.  The author could see nothing but blackness in the calm Pacific.  There were no lights, but he knew there were fourteen battleships and thirty-six destroyers playing the war game together.  Suddenly he became aware of a sinister shadow which kept his ship company.  It seemed only a blob of deeper black.  It was a destroyer.  When the author asked why his ship hadn’t fired, he was told that they were sunk ten minutes prior and were out of action.  The heat had been blistering when the fleets lay at anchor at Panama.  As they steamed south, the air cooled, even though they were heading toward the equator.  Eventually, they saw the green shores of Colombia and Ecuador.  When Ecuador was reached, light coats were needed at the evening movie shows.  The men who shunned coats huddled by the engine-room hatches for warmth.  The coolness was due to the Humboldt Current, an anti-Gulf Stream which cooled the coastline instead of warming it.  It had shoved the Southern Temperate Zone north.  That deep, cold current swept alga north, the fish followed the algae, and the bird followed them.  Much of Peru’s wealth was derived from bird guano mined on the islands along the coast.

The chief interest on board was the preparation for the arrival of Neptune and his courtly party.  This was a tradition held on American ships when they “crossed the line”.  More than 25,000 men appeared before Neptune’s court on the sixty-odd ships.  Only about 5% of the 31,000-combine crew had ever crossed the equator before.  At 8 o’clock of the morning of January 24 every ship in the fleet paused and a ponderous, crowned figure climbed aboard.  Neptune, Amphitrite, a court jester, and company held court, and sentenced each newbie to a hazing of physical abuse culminating in a series of dunkings.  South of Callao, Peru, the two fleets separated for a time.  The Pacific fleet went on to Chile, while the Atlantic fleet turned back to Peru.  The Atlantic fleet skirted along Peru’s arid coast.  Both Peru and Chile were bordered by a belt of desert country, lying between the Andes and the sea.  Bodies of animals found on the plain had been mummified without decay due to the dryness.  A foreigner discovered an irrigation system buried in the sand, built by the Incas.  He bought a tract of land from the Peruvian government, cleared out the old ditches, diverted water to them, and at the time of the visit had one of the greatest sugar estates in the world.  The Peruvian government took the hint, and, with the help of an American engineer, was mapping out and clearing the lines of that ancient system, restoring thousands of acres to cultivation.  As one ascended the Andes, the rainfall increased.  On the other side of the summit was a typical tropical jungle.

The Atlantic fleet entered the harbor of Callao on January 31 for a weeklong goodwill visit.  Callao was Peru’s principal port.  Every Peruvian was friendly and welcoming.  To his surprise the author had no difficulty paying a visit to the President, Augusto B, Leguia.  He was a slender, quick-spoken, frank-eyed man who made a fortune in business before entering politics.  He spoke English very well.  He was engaged in trying to modernize his country.  It was eight miles from Callao to Lima, the capital of Peru, but the sailors thought nothing of it.  They had been provided with concise, little manuals, edited with the cooperation of the National Geographic Society, in which the things worth seeing had been set forth, a plan of the city given, and the monetary system explained.  [A Travel Guide prototype perhaps.]  There were 13,000 men on the vessels of the fleet and most of them had several days’ liberty, yet not one unpleasant incident marred the visit.  Every man gazed upon Pizarro’s bones, and most knew his story.  They walked endless miles through Lima’s dusty streets.  At least every fourth man had a camera, and they bought picture postcards tirelessly.  In every café, the author saw groups of sailors sitting about the round tables enjoying drinks.  So far as the gobs were concerned. The greatest event of the week was the bull-fight.  It was given by the Peruvian Government in honor of the American visitors.  Belmonte, one of the most celebrated Spanish matadors, played his spectacular part.  The Lima ring was the largest in the world, giving the bull more of a chance than he had elsewhere.  In the first fight, a section of Belmonte’s breeches was torn away and a bloody gash appeared.  Then a horse was gored.  The sailors rooted for the bull.  The bull refused to charge for the most part, but when he did, he charge straight at the man and not the cape.  In three minutes, he had cleared the ring, the matadors were behind shelter smoking; the banderillas had climbed to safety; The picadors were silent; and the horses were asleep with their chins resting in their knees.  So, the door was opened and the little brown bull went triumphantly out.  During the visit, the taxi chauffeurs were on strike.  The Peruvian government had advertised in all the papers that the rate of $1.50, and no more, was to be charged per hour.  While the cab drivers were happy to carry fellow Peruvians at that price, they took umbrage with the government that they couldn’t fleece the Yankees, and went on strike.

Hard work began with the fleet departing Callao, and the resumption of maneuvers.  The Pacific fleet rejoined the Atlantic squadron.  As the fleets steamed northward, every effort was made to keep the engines smokeless.  A plume of black could be seen by an enemy at twenty miles.  In the thirty-odd days Mr. Carey spent on board the flagship Pennsylvania, he did not see any smoke from her stacks.  There were other ships in the fleet that smudged the skies like so many factories.  On board an American battleship, everything else is subordinate to shooting.  Gun crews watched and gossiped during target practice.  They practiced speed loading and firing without orders.  The author found it fascinating how the young mathematicians in the plotting-room juggled with curves and logarithms to discover how to hit the enemy’s ship with the first salvo.  Using adding machines and established formulas, they got the range using the presumed distance between the two ships, the speeds of each, wind and air pressure, and the temperature of the powder-magazine.  Upon returning to Panama, the fleet paid a visit of ceremony to the ruins of Old Panama.  The men of Sir Henry Morgan sacked the town in 1671, after struggling through the jungle for days.  After capturing many mule-loads of gold, Morgan had it loaded on his own ship.  He then sailed to the nearest port, bought a pardon and a knighthood, and then blithely set about hunting down his old comrades for the bounty.  One visit to Old Panama was enough, as was the trip on the old country road which led to it.  Most of the men devoted themselves to investigating the town.  Many purchase an extraordinary assortment of pets – pigs, dogs, parrakeets, ducks, and rabbits – which were taken aboard the battle fleet.  One man even brought a tiger cub aboard the Pennsylvania.

The men were ready for inter-fleet competition.  The Atlantic fleet won most of the boxing, wrestling, and aquatic competitions, but the Pacific fleet won all three baseball games.  The Atlantic fleet had a band of 195 pieces, a cheering section, and an immense banner 100 feet long with A-T-L-A-N-T-I-C printed on it six feet high.  Throughout the series, the gobs cheered their team and their favorite players.  Then the Atlantics were beaten; the band crashed into a chorus.  The banner was paraded about the field followed by a cheering section of five hundred men, who, in turn were followed by a crowd of loyal Atlantics.  Homage was paid to the victors, and then the Atlantics marched back to their seats, passing the box where the admirals stood and saluted.  It was a fine and sportsmanlike thing to do.  Then the fleets parted for the winter’s work with the guns.


At the bottom of the last page of the first article in this issue (Page 624) there is a notice regarding change of address.  If a member wanted the magazine to be mailed somewhere else, the Society needed a month’s notice in advance, starting on the first of the month.  If a member wanted the August issue redirected, the Society needed to know by July first.


The second article in this month’s issue is entitled “Familiar Grasses and Their Flowers”, and was written by E. J. Geske and W. J. Showalter.  This article is another in the ongoing series of field guide which were published periodically in the National Geographic.  Its “8 Illustrations in Color” are eight full-page color paintings by E. J. Geske.  The field guide has the same components as the others in the series – an introduction, the plates illustrating the items in question, and a series of descriptions, with a common name, genus and species, and a short paragraph or two documenting the grass’s range, habitat, and other qualities.  This particular field guide is so short (8 items) that an index is not required.  The Plates are numbered I through VIII in Roman numerals and represent pages 627 through 634 of the issue.

The dynasty of the grass family dates back to the days of the forefathers of the horse, the camel, and many other herbivores of the present day.  The evolution of those animals was greatly facilitated by the advent of the grass family.  Of all the plants that cover the earth, grass was the most important.  It fed men and his livestock.  There were 10,000 species of the order, of which 1,300 were indigenous to the U. S.  They were distributed throughout the world, and range in size from a few inches to the height of trees, 60 feet or more tall.  Wherever there was sufficient rainfall, with temperatures above freezing for part of the year, one could find grasses growing.  Regions that afforded ideal conditions were the great prairies of the U, S. and Canada, southern Russia, Siberia, the grassy plains of South America, and Africa.  Wherever rainfall was insufficient for forest, but not too arid, grasses prevailed over all but the hardiest of vegetation.  In those areas often more than 90% of the indigenous plant life belonged to the grass order.  Except where cultivation of one species had excluded all rivals, it was not uncommon to find twenty to sixty distinct species inhabiting almost any location.  Rice, wheat, corn, oats, barley, and rye were grasses.  They were so important to mankind, that the country which was best able to supply the world with those foodstuffs commanded the destinies of nations.  Several groups of grasses, like sugarcane, furnished sugar and its byproducts.  Brooms, paper, rugs, hats, and innumerable other articles were made from grasses.  Even some houses and furniture were made from their products.

The giants of the order were the bamboos, which furnished material for and endless number of articles.  The pygmies were the various foraging grasses, which furnished pasturage for domesticated animals, and beautified our parks and lawns.  Grasses were the overseers of the soil.  Wind and water drove and shifted the sands in deserts and on beaches, but the grasses pinned the soil down.  Every raindrop was a vehicle upon which a grain of soil could ride down to the sea.  A barren hillside might become a mass of gullies, but a grassy one stood true.  Even the trees and shrubs would not possess sure footing if it were not for the grasses holding down the soil around them.  Of all the common plants, grasses were the least known.  Grasses have been found in the geologic record as far back as the days of the eohippus, the progenitor of the horse.  Our food grasses had been so domesticated that they could no longer survive without our help, but the wild grasses have developed many tactics for survival.  Their seeds traveled hither and yon, until they effected a foothold in thousands of new locations.  Some seeds were born by the wind, while others are burs which attached to passing animals and thus spread far and wide.  The terrell grass produced seeds encased in a cork-like hull, which floated to a new field on the waters of the brook beside which it grew.  Beach grasses had learned to outgrow the rising sands of a dune while sending down deep roots to anchor the dune to the earth.  Many grasses spread by sending out runners, each taking root and sending out more runners.  Others only had fibrous roots, and grew in bunches or tufts.  The seeds of some species go undigested by the animals that fed on them, and build new colonies through those carriers.  Grasses have developed methods for burying their seeds in the grown.  Some seeds had a prickly callus with stiff hairs.  Once the points had penetrated the soil the held the seed down.  Some grasses twist their way into the soil with an awn.  It would uncoil when damp and coil again when dry, thus working it way into the soil.  At high latitudes, and corresponding altitudes, entire spikelets were transformed into leafy shoots, with rootlets at the base, ready to take hold when they fell.

All grasses have joints, or, technically speaking, nodes.  They were not to give strength to the stem, as popularly believed, but to help keep the stem standing upright.  The cells of the nodes were “geotropically sensitive” – attracted to the earth or driven from it.  When a wind bent the grass, the cells in the node slowly lengthened on the now lower side, thus the stem resumed its upright position.  Using corn as an example, the different parts of grass were presented.  The tassels were the stamens, the ear was a “spike borne in the axils of the leaves”, and the grains were “the fertile flower”.   The corncob was a “thickened rachis”.  The chaff covering the cob was “the flowering scale and pallet”, and the silk formed “the elongated pistils of the flower”.  Under the microscope one saw the true glory of the unpretentious grasses.  In the accompanying color series, the power of our eye had been multiplied so that the beauty that lied hidden could be beheld.  The flowers of the small grasses were perfect, and their components were readily comparable to the larger, better-known flowers.  In grass flowers the petals and sepals were replaced by glumes; there were usually three anthers and an ovary, or pistil, surmounted by one or two stigmas, those latter often branched and feathery in form.  The plates each show a stalk of grass at normal scale and an enlargement of the grass’s flower.  The scale of the magnification it posted with each plate.

The list of the plates, descriptions, and magnification is as follows:

I.       Barnyard Grass          Echinochloa crusgalli     x 25

II.      Timothy                       Phleum pratense             x 50

III.     Kentucky Bluegrass  Poa pratensis                   x 50

IV.     Purple-top                  Triodia Flava                     x 25

V.      Yellow Foxtail            Chaetochloa lutescens    x 50

VI.     Rye-grass                  Lolium perenne                 x 50

VII.    Redtop                       Agrostis palustris             x 54

VIII.   Orchard grass           Dactylis glomerata           x 25



The third article in this month’s issue is entitled “A New National Geographic Society Expedition”.  Note: the article “A” does not appear on the cover, but only in the internal title.  There is no byline.  The article has a subtitle which reads “Ruins of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, Nature-Made Treasure-Chest of Aboriginal American History, to be Excavated and Studied; Work Begins This Month”.  Although no one is credited for writing this editorial, the illustrations are from photographs taken by Charles Martin, of the National Geographic Society Reconnaissance Party of 1920.  The article contains seven black-and-white photographs, of which two are full-page in size.

This article announces plans for an expedition to excavate and study sites in the Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico, a region which was once densely populated, and a region where prehistoric peoples lived in vast communal dwellings.  While the architecture was impressive, nothing was known about the inhabitants’ customs, ceremonies, or even name.  Through this expedition, the Society hoped to reveal the hidden history of our country.  The expedition promised to rival such ones of the Society as those to the marvelous city of Machu Picchu and to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.  Chaco Canyon was a segment of the Chaco River which was cut out near the borderland of San Juan and McKinley counties, New Mexico.  Its sheer walls of sandstone rose from the floor anywhere from one hundred to several hundred feet.  From the upper ledge stretched semi-desert wastes, making for an isolation which added to the mystery of that bygone metropolis.  It was unknown where they got the lumber to build those structures, or the water to grow their corn, beans, and squash.  To answer those questions, the expedition included agriculturists and geologists.  From the patchwork of ruins, they hoped to build a complete picture of the lives, customs, and culture of those early Americans.  In or bordering that waterless canyon were a dozen huge ruins that looked like giant apartment houses, containing hundreds of rooms, with associated temples and lesser dwellings.  Some of the larger structures, such as Pueblo del Arroyo, were built after the E-shaped ground plan of modern office buildings, with the addition of a curved wall binding the ends and forming an inner court.  The expedition planned to concentrate on Pueblo del Arroyo and a second ruin, Pueblo Bonito, a D-shaped building, with its curved wall 800 feet long.

This ancient island, surrounded by a sea of sand, could be described as “a hundred miles from nowhere”; for it was 100 miles north of the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde, 100 miles south of the ancient Zuni towns, and 100 miles west of the ancestral site of the Hopi.  A reconnaissance party sent in the summer of 1920 made a report which bristled with interesting scientific problems that an expedition was authorized and financed by the Society.  The expedition would be under the leadership of Neil M. Judd, curator, American Archeology, U. S. National Museum.  Within an area half that of Washington D. C. there were eighteen enormous community houses having 100 to 800 or more rooms.  There were also other structure types, such as the three- to twelve-room dwellings, groups of “talus” pueblos under the cliff of the canyon, and tiny cliff houses and storage cysts built into the canyon wall.  Then there were the circular structures, adjacent to both the large and small dwellings.  A subterranean home, built of mud instead of stone, was discovered by the scouting party.  The existence of that structure had not previously been suspected, and points to an even earlier time.  If the major groups were inhabited at the same time, the population would have been more than 10,000.  This Indian city laid in a region so unfriendly that even the nomadic Navajo had not attempted to go there.

Pueblo Bonito was the largest of the ruins, the most complex, and the most impressive.  Its 800 rooms probably housed 1,000 to 1,200 people.  Those mysterious tenants tilled the soil of the canyon floor, hunted deer and antelope on the mesas, and probably waged war on the Navajo, who pressed from the north.  Already, ceramic remains of rare artistry had been taken from Pueblo Bonito, exquisite ornaments, tools, and utensils of bone, stone, and wood.  Tons of earth and stone had been removed, yet the great ruin still guarded its priceless secrets.  The architecture remained to be studied, and further evidence of the pursuit of its people needed to be found and interpreted.  Less than a city block west of Pueblo Bonito was Pueblo del Arroyo.  It occupied a perilous position on the arroyo’s bank.  The pueblo was virtually unexplored.  It probably stood four stories, but the upper story was gone and the first story was buried leaving only the second and third stories exposed.  Beneath the pueblo, exposed by the caving of the arroyo’s bank, was a dwelling of the “small-house” type.  It was thought that two periods of occupation at one site, each with its distinctive remains, offered an unparalleled opportunity for study of culture sequence.  This was the only known site in Chaco Canyon where such superposition occurred.  The fortunate proximity of Pueblo del Arroyo and Pueblo Bonito afforded one advantage to the expedition in a region where many handicaps must be overcome.

Geographically, the Chaco Canyon ruins had a special interest.  They denoted admirably the exceptional characteristics that resulted from an exceptional environment.  Being a people hemmed in by natural barriers, their area of activity was restricted.  They were able to meet their material needs by expending only a fraction of their energy.  The surplus found expression in religious ritual.  The great ceremonial chambers attested to that fact.  The black and white ware of the Chaco Canyon had been cited as the highpoint of that art in the Southwest.  Other departments of science will learn much from the expedition.  Archeologist will study the architecture and masonry.  The builders themselves, where they came from and how long they stayed, and where they went, where questions for ethnologists.  The Chaco Canyon was a desert today, except for floods in the rainy season.  The geologist would determine the conditions of water supply and crop when the structures were occupied.  Specialists in desert flora would cooperate with the geologist to develop a picture of the economic life of those ancients.  Only by combined efforts of the various expert could it be determined why the inhabitants left.  Being within the Chaco Canyon National Monument, those ruins were reserved and protected for the American people.  The National Geographic Society’s investigations, made possible under a permit by the Secretary of the Interior, therefore constituted a gift to the public.  The excavations and repairs will help preserve the sites and insure longer life to the ruins.



The fourth article in this month’s issue is entitled “The Grand Canyon Bridge” and was written by Harriet Chalmers Adams.  It contains six black-and-white photographs, two of which are full-page in size.  One of the full-page photos is used as a frontispiece for the article.

The suspension bridge over the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon was practically completed.  Late this summer [1921] it would be possible to ride from El Tovar, on the south rim of the stupendous chasm, to the Kaibab plateau, on the north rim.  The bridging of the Granite Gorge of the Colorado opened up a new wonderland in the Grand Canyon National Park.  From the Kaibab Plateau, 1,000 feet above the south rim, new and amazing panoramas were presented.  A month prior, Mrs. Adams rode down to the river on a trail not yet opened to the public.  She dined with the bridge crew and spent the night in the gorge.  The bridge was 11 miles by trail from El Tovar and 4,700 feet below Yaki Point, on the Coconino plateau.  The saddle trail following the Angel and Tonto trails to the river, and up Bright Angel Canyon to the Kaibab forest, was about 31 miles in length.  Rim-to-rim travelers would spend the night in a camp near Ribbon Falls, about eight miles beyond the river.

It was a chilly morning when they set out for the bridge camp.  The “expedition” consisted of the Chief Ranger of the Grand Canyon National Park, the wandering lady he escorted, and their two mules.  Once down the hill, it was springtime.  Blue-jays chattered among the Douglas firs and butterflies zigzagged by.  High in the cliff, a canyon-wren piped up a love ditty.  The ranger, whose first love was Yellowstone, had been in the park service for many years.  He regarded the national playgrounds with reverence.  Down they dropped to the Tonto plateau.  There, wound a trail of romance.  In the shadowy past, this was the highway of the Cliff-dwellers.  Later, Spaniards adventured on that trail.  Occasionally, fur trappers would come from lands far to the north.  They were the first of the great explorers who dared to descend to the river.  Hardy miners had left their workings which bordered the Tonto trail.  The author saw wild burros, descendants of the pack animals abandoned by the miners.  Deer, mountain-sheep, and many other wild creatures found refuge in that vast wilderness.  The only other animals they saw besides the burros were woodrats, nearly the size of squirrels.  Those “trade rats” accumulated great mounds of trash.  They took soap and spoons from the camp leaving pebbles and sticks in exchange.

The pack-train, carrying the bridge material from railroad to river, made its half-way camp at Pipe Creek.  There, only a lonely black kitten welcomed the author.  It had been a tremendous undertaking to move the lumber, cement, and cables down the 11 miles of steep, winding trail to the bridge site.  On one trip, a horse went over a cliff, taking two others with him.  A resourceful lad cut the rope saving the remainder of the train.  Since January, those pack-trains had been steadily trudging up and down between the hidden river and the railroad on the rim.  To transport the 1,200-pound cables required loading each onto eight mules roped together, with the weight evenly distributed.  A man walked at the head of each mule.  The sun was high as the expedition made its final drop down the newly cut trail in the granite wall to the bridge camp by the river.  There were three sleeping tents, a dining-room tent, and a kitchen.  Mrs. Adams had the bridge explained to her by the contractor.  The bridge would be 420 feet along the roadway, with a span of 500 feet from center to center of the bearings.  The two main steel cables were placed ten feet apart, and were anchored to the canyon wall 80 feet above floor level.  Hanging galvanized steel cables carried the wood floor of the bridge.  A seven-foot wire meshing was strung along the sides as a protection for animals and pedestrians.  The bridge was 60 feet above the river, and 13 feet above the highest known water-mark.  This was the only bridging of the Colorado River above Needles, California, 360 miles to the south by river curve.

Mrs. Adams was impressed by the bridge crew.  They were all brawny and bronzed, and not a pound overweight.  One used to be a lumberjack in Alaska; another had mined in southern Chile; a third was a cowboy; and one was an amateur astronomer.  Several enjoyed photography, and one had a gift for whistling and could imitate bird calls.  They gave the author the tool and meat tent for an abode.  The tent framework was formerly the iron cage in which travelers crossed the river by cable.  Colonel Roosevelt crossed in that manner on his ride up to Kaibab forest.  That night, while the camp slept, the author slipped out of her sleeping bag and strolled down to the river.  A weird rock called the Temple of Zoroaster dominated the scene.  Jupiter rode high in the heavens.  Across the river laid the ruins of an ancient Indian village, its broken stone walls strewn with pottery.  Next morning, when the 10 o’clock sun looked over the cliff, they crossed the river in a leaky canvas boat.  They paddled upstream and then came back down with the current to the landing beach.  They climbed the bed of Bright Angel Creek to the clump of cottonwoods still called “the Roosevelt camp”.  There, they discovered the camp mascot, Little Bright Angel, a grey burro, who lived a care-free life, with clear water and plenty of grass.  They feed him pancakes sent by the cook, his favorite dish.  There were 113 crossings of the creek on the trail up Bright Angel Canyon, and the little burro knew every one of them.  He had guided the foreman up to the plateau, showing him just where to cross the stream.  The author had heard that a distinguished American from Philadelphia, would be the first to cross the bridge, but the foreman told her it would be Little Bright Angel.  Up in the Kaibab forest, “the island forest”, lived wild animals which had developed their own lines.  The Kaibab squirrel and its cousin, the Albert, were the only American squirrel with conspicuous ear-tufts.  A herd of mule deer was estimated a from 12,000 to 15,000 head.  Where there were deer, there were pumas, or mountain lions.  They called them cougars in that part of the country.  Other beast of prey were the big gray timber-wolf, the coyote, and the fox.  There were antelope on the green shelf under the north rim.  Uncle Jim, an old-timer on the north rim, had a promising herd of buffalo, 64 in all.  Isolated on a promontory and protected, the herd was sure to increase.



The fifth, and last, item listed on the cover of this month’s issue is entitle “Scenes from America’s Southwest”.  It has no byline, being instead a set of fourteen full-page photographs with caption, the captions being the only text in this non-article.

The caption headings are shown below:

Tiny “Warrior” of the “Peaceful People”: Arizona

Cliff Palace: Mesa Verde

Where Nature Upset Her Paint-Pot: Canyon de Chelly

Hopi Boys of Walpi, Arizona

Hopi Potters of Arizona Engaged in an Art that Survives the Centuries

El Roto de les Frijoles (Little Canyon of the Beans): New Mexico

Canyon de Chelly Monument: Arizona

“Braced-Up” Cliff at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon

Canyon del Muerto, a Branch Canyon of Canyon de Chelly: Arizona

Evening Effect: Walpi, Arizona

The Painted Desert: Arizona

Girl of Oraibi, the Metropolis of the Hopi

Three Little Maids Away from School: Hopi Indians, Arizona

An Old War Captain of Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico



Tom Wilson

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I thoroughly enjoy these Tom, thank you!

Very interesting Tom, thanks.

Coincidentally my copy of this edition just arrived from New York.

Only 100 years late then!

I was intrigued by the name on the back cover...

In my haste I missed Washburn and googled Cadwallader as a christian name I'd never seen before.

"Cadwaladr, Cadwalader or Cadwallader (with other variant spellings) is a given name and surname of Welsh origin. It was most notably held by Cadwaladr, a seventh-century king of Gwynedd, who was the last Welsh king to claim lordship over all of Britain."

So, both a christian and surname.

Also, it reminded of the surname Taugwalder.

A few years ago my cousin lived in Geneva and leased a flat in Zermatt owned by Willy Taugwalder. ( and

Eventually I got back to Cadwallader C Washburn and there was another interesting story!

How lucky we are to have this great publication.

So cool!!



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