Jerome AZ: Tales from the Seventies

Here are more tales from the seventies. They do not appear in my book Home Sweet Jerome, Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City. Like the tales told in the book, these serve to illuminate the condition of the times and town in the seventies. The book is about how the town was rescued. (homesweetjerome.net)

Pat Jackson (early seventies) “When I moved in to the house in the Gulch, I found that the owners had let the chickens roost in there and that they also shucked all their corn for their tamales and left all the shuckings there. It didn’t have windows. In the little tiny kitchen, the sink board was rotted out. Maggots were in the sink board. Here it is, I’m eight months pregnant with Ian and all my friends in Jerome got together and helped me put together that house. Somebody brought a toilet. First they had to put in a new floor in the bathroom because if you sat on the old funky toilet, you’d fall through the floor. Then somebody brought me an old tin shower and installed it. Somebody else put a nice wood sink board in and a piece of nenolium—it was nenolium in those days—over it. And then somebody else found an old window and enclosed the window.“ Pat was the first licensed mid-wife  in the Verde Valley, a round woman with a kind face and a lot of energy. She has children by four husbands, and was a political organizer, mostly on behalf of women. She now lives in Alaska.

Charley Aughe Charley Aughe was a humble man who lived in the gulch sometime during the seventies with his wife Faye and was known as the “Curator of the Sedona Dump.” He was one of the lucky ones who had a county job. When people would leave stuff off, he’s pick out anything useful, and set up rows, like garden rows, and sell it for not much money.

Caroline Talbot Caroline Talbot was Kim’s second wife. When I interviewed her, she wanted to tell me about Kim who moved to the Gulch in 1967. His first wife was Gayle.

“In 1967, things were always getting ripped off from their house. Kim actually saw them take a coffee mug and a shirt and then chased them, but never caught up with them. They turned up a week later with a six-pack and an apology. Someone even tried to steal two gallons of anti-freeze when Kim was under one of the cars changing the oil. The cans had water in them. He moved away and toured Europe as a musician, lived in Phoenix, and then returned to Jerome in 1977. When Kim got here, rednecks ran the town. The hippies were starting to move in. They didn’t want anything to change. They tried to run the hippies out of town. I understood because I grew up in similar small towns in the Adirondacks, so it didn’t phase me. People get at each other’s throats and then later they’re best buddies again. They would fight over their different vision of how something was to go. Build something like this and not like that. It can be real comical.

Richard Flagg, circa 1976 “One of my early dreams was to be a vagabond. I was living in Flagstaff and visited a natural food store there, which turned out to be owned by friends of mine living in Chino Valley (Kit and his wife) right next door to Molly and Gary Beverly (the Chino Valley potters then). I saw a sign: “House for sale in Jerome, $4500.” Holy smokes, I said to myself. I could swing that. I bought it and rented it out. Jeanne Moss lived up stairs; and John Binzley lived down. Jeanne used to shampoo and cut people’s hair from an upstairs porch and the water and hair came drifting down. Then I went vagabonding. River trips down the OMO with Sobel expeditions where I made the cover of the first issue of Outside running a rapid and being chased by hippo. Sailied out of Somalia, traveled in Afghanistan and India. When I came back to Jerome I started an expedition business of my own, called Sacred Monkey Expeditions. Paul Nonnast designed the logo.” Richard Flagg still lives in Jerome but he is still a vagabond, spending some 8 months a year traveling in Cambodia and other countries in Asia.

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Jerome AZ: Tales from Arriving Hippies

“There were a lot of interviews and stories omitted from Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City, which are included in this blog and many of others on this site. www.homesweetjerome.net

Barbara  Henley: 1970

“For two summers, Guy [her husband way back then] and I camped out in Sycamore Canyon helping a friend dig out a gold mine that he had a claim on. We never did find gold, but we did have a lot of fun. We went back to California to retrieve a small inheritance of $1500 and decided to move to Mexico. We packed our stuff into a van and stopped in Jerome to see our friend Ed. He offered us three houses that he owned for $500 in Mexican town, just below the post office. We gave him the money, moved in, stuffed the holes in the walls with rags and used an oil drum to heat the house and cook on.”

Barbara lives in Jerome, with her new partner Rick in a home below the Hotel Jerome. 

Baehr: A Hippie Reincarnates Himself Twice

As you walk down Gulch Road, where citizens have now added speed bumps to slow cars and discourage traffic, you can still see a tiny  shack, bramble and weed laden with a sign over the door: ‘Baehr the Painter.’  I always wondered about it and now I do.

Baehr the Painter

The shack, rehabilitated from a wrecked garage, is now covered with vines. Photo by Bob Swanson (www.swansonimages.com) was taken circa 1985.

Quote is not attributed because I can’t remember who commented:  “Baehr was one of Jerome’s earliest hippies, long hair, denim dressed, came in to the Candy Kitchen for coffee barefoot and drank it as he squatted near the booths of the Candy Kitchen. He was one strange hippie in a town full of them. He disappeared from town in the sixties and a few years later I saw him at a wild New Year’s party. He walked in, hair cut short to half an inch and wearing a polyester suit. It was his new incarnation as a cop. He was hardly recognizable. Rumor now has it that he is a truck driver in Texas.”

It turns out this was a garage that was rehabilitated when Pat Jackson lived in the house above it and that the sign came from uptown. Here are the before and after photos.

Baehr the Painter

The ruin of the garage before it got rehabilitated. Photo collection of Richard Martin

Baehr the Painter

After garage was cleaned up.
Dan Ellis, Pat Jackson, Patty Westbrook, Leon Nelson finishing up cleaning of Gulch Rd Shed. Photo collection Richard Martin.

Jane Moore just commented on this new blog (see comments below) for further illumination. The comments on these blogs are often as good as the stories.

Mimi Currier, 1970

Jerome looked like Dogpatch. Hardly anything painted. Lots of sagging wood. Lots of boarded up windows and torn up roofs.

The day we moved into our house in the Gulch, it rained and rained. The only ones who stayed dry were the cats who stayed on the bottom floor under the bed. The support posts were eaten by termites and the whole house sat on its doorposts. Nothing was painted. $25 per month plus fixing. We put up a new roof. We jacked it up and put on support posts. We couldn’t hook up the water because we didn’t have a septic. We hauled water from Hilde’s [Rippel Barber] or the nearby stream. We got three ‘burros,’ from John Dempsey who wanted to get rid of and they always got the first drink. We carted up an old outhouse that still had WPA labels on in the back of our ‘57 blue Chevy Air Force pickup that still had AIR POLICE written on the sides and roof. Little truck. Big outhouse.

Mimi  lives in Jerome and is active on the Jerome Humane Society. Her husband Lew is serving on the Jerome Town Council

Scott Owens, Sculptor
I arrived in 1971 after graduating college with a degree in English. I thought I was on my way to get my master’s degree at a university in Oregon. On the way, I visited my friends Benny and Val and ended up living for a few months in a tiny garage in the Gulch. Jerome was a magical place and I couldn’t leave. A few months later I bought a house for $2000 and started carving pipes from pipestone.”

Scott is a fine arts sculptor, working primarily in marble in part of a warehouse he rents from Freeport McMoran.

 

New Life for Jerome Arizona’s Holy Family Catholic Church

When Scott Kolu sang “Salve Regina,” a traditional hymn to the Virgin Mary, from the balcony of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Jerome a few years ago, I was transfixed. I felt as though heaven was singing right through me and down to the beautiful old altar. The church’s acoustics were perfection.

Interior corner of the HOly Family Catholic Church in Jerome AZ

These sweet statues that were once part of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Jerome AZ are being repaired. The window painting was removed in the nineteen nineties. Photo by Bob Swanson. http://www.SwansonImages.com

Scott, a baritone, who once sang with the Royal Hawaiian Opera Company, is the cantor, caretaker, historian and advocate for the restoration of the oldest church in Jerome.

He wasn’t always Catholic. He was a renegade from growing up in a family of conservative Orthodox Jews with a Rabbi father and converted to Catholicism eleven years ago. Today, he lives in the Holy Family Catholic Church’s convent, where he can monitor day-to-day restoration.

A year and a half ago, Scott outlined the structural problems of the church and his dreams for renovation to Father David Kalesh, pastor of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Cottonwood. The three-story brick and stone back wall facing Main Street is bowed, its foundation crumbling, mortar for its brick and stone façade in need of repointing.

The Holy Family Catholic Church is one of the oldest churches in JErome, AZ

Image of the Holy Family Catholic Church as depicted in an old postcard of Jerome, AZ.

Not surprising for a building that was built in 1896, burned in the fire of 1898, and was rebuilt as a brick and stone structure in 1899-1900. It was known as the ‘miner’s church.

Father David and Scott Kolu became strong allies.

Together they are bringing Jerome’s Holy Family Catholic Church back to life. Father David conducts Mass on the third Saturday of each month at 8:30 a.m. When long-time and much loved Jerome resident Don Walsh died in late September, a funeral service was held to a packed church of family and friends.

“The church has immense historic value,” Father David told me. “Most important are the memories the church holds for former parishioners and their families who visit Jerome. I would like to help the church become the polished jewel that it once was.”

After Father Juan Atucha Gorostiaga (Father John) died in 1979, the church interior was in shabby condition. Some funds for repair came from money that was recovered from the discovery of its theft from the church. The night after Father John died, one of Jerome’s hippie newcomers discovered someone coming out of the church with garbage bags. The thief fled, and the garbage bags, full of silver coin and old bills, were handed over to the police. When they looked inside the church, more money was found. According to Ron Ballatore, one of the policemen, $8000 was recovered. “The Phoenix diocese asked that it be given to three of his loyal parishioners for fixing up the church,” said Ballatore in an interview that I did with him in the 1980’s. “What happened to it after that I don’t know. I do know that Tony [Anthony Lozano, Sr.] spent years repairing that church pretty much on his own.” (A more complete version of these stories are found in my Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City. www.homesweetjerome.net)

Lozano’s work included cleaning the interior of the building, repainting the altar and sanctuary, and making repairs to the antique pipe organ. “Unfortunately, the roof leaks above the organ were neglected, and a big rainstorm in 1981 inflicted a lot of damage,” Scott Kolu said as he showed me the rotten felt and damaged rubber gaskets on each key.

Interior HOly Family Catholic Church, Jerome AZ.

This is how the interior of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Jerome AZ looked in 1985. The lifelike statue of Saint Anthony Mary Claret was stolen then mysteriously returned and thrown on the floor of the church, breaking it into pieces. Photo by Bob Swanson. www.SwansonImages.com

The organ, designed especially for smaller churches, was built by the prestigious Kilgen and Sons Pipe Organ Company in St. Louis in the early nineteen hundreds. Only two others of the same compact design still remain in the United States. (Perhaps the most well known Kilgen church pipe organ is housed in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.)

“We are ecstatic that Mr. Charles Kegg, President and Artistic Director of Kegg Pipe Organ Builders (www.keggorgan.com) is willing to take on the restoration project,” Scott said.

I sent an email to Mr. Kegg and asked him why.

“I would like to restore it to its original condition so that it can remain an example of this almost extinct style of American pipe organ,” he said. “The pipe organ in Jerome is rather unusual. . . It was being sent to a place where electricity probably didn’t exist at all at the time, so this organ was built using methods from the mid-19th century and with the intention that it must play under difficult circumstances with little or no maintenance. This was not uncommon at all for remote locations. . . Jerome must have been an outpost much more remote than other locations that would want a pipe organ. Another thing that makes it unusual is that it has survived, virtually intact.”

Scott is in the process of restoring the altar and sanctuary to some of the glory that Tony Lozano accomplished. During the nineteen-nineties, well-meaning seminarians repainted the altar and painted over the two golden images of The Holy Ghost and All-seeing Eye of God with their white fluffy clouds above them. “You can still see their faint outlines beneath the paint, so they can be redone,” Scott said.

The seminarians also removed the old window paintings of the Twelve Apostles in the sanctuary and The Holy Family that graced the large window in the church’s balcony. “Eventually we will find a way to replace them,” said Scott. “I already have an arrangement with Penelope Davis, who runs the kid’s art program in Jerome, to repaint a more modern holy family in the large balcony window.”

“At least the tin ceiling wasn’t repainted,” I remarked. “In 1984, I walked in to the church to see Tony Lozano painting the blue fleur de lis designs on the ceiling with his fingers. He was a most devout man.”

“I sorely miss the statue of Saint Anthony Mary Claret that used to stand in the back of the church.” I told Scott. “It was so lifelike that it unnerved me every time I visited. Sadly, the statue was stolen sometime in the nineties.” (St. Anthony founded the Claretian order.)

“The finale of that story is that the statue was returned,” Scott said. “Someone dumped it on the floor of the church, and it broke into pieces. Now only the bust remains. Such a desecration.”

Scott’s passion for restoring the church is equaled by his love of the town of Jerome.

“I’ve been coming to Jerome since the nineteen eighties,” Scott said. “The beauty of this town isn’t just the view, but like the church, every step you take, you know someone else has taken that same step. I love the fact that I fit in. There’s a belonging that you get here that you don’t find anywhere else.”

I quoted him the lines from Kate Wolf’s song “Old Jerome.” (Complete lyrics are found in the author’s book Home Sweet Jerome.

They say that once you live here, you’ll you never really leave,          

The town has a hold on you until the day you die.

“I don’t know whether you never really leave Jerome or whether Jerome doesn’t leave you,” Scott replied.

Before I left the church, Scott rang the well-functioning bell, made and smelted by a 17-year old living in Jerome who went on to become a bell maker. Its peals resounded throughout the church and town. “You have to know how to pull it straight for the clobber to hit it decently,” Scott said. I tried. It was too heavy for me to even get a good pull. I thanked him for his time.

The article was first published in the Verde Independent newspaper in Cottonwood, AZ. The photo gallery featuring Vyto Starinskas’ photos are spectacular. http://verdenews.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=63344

Today, I heard from my Facebook friends that a new business downstairs was going to replace Scott. Worse, Scott was going to have a hard time finding a place to live in a town that always made room for people it loved that had contributed positively towards the town. Jerome has turned scrooge: what counts these days, more than compassion and humanity is money, and this in a place that professes those values. A blasphemy, indeed.

(Diane Sward Rapaport is the author of Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City. www.homesweetjerome.net The blogs are different from the stories that are included in the book, but the book does include some great stories about Father John, the beloved priest who died in the late 1970’s.  The book is available in many stores in Jerome or for $18 post paid by sending me a check at Box 398, Hines OR 97738. Happy New Year. I’ll include an autograph. Diane Rapaport )

Ghosts of My Verde Street Home

If you are a student of Jerome AZ’s history, as I am, you study ghosts, the people that came before you, that grew up in the house you live in, planted the crab apple and apricot trees you eat from, plundered the mountain where you now walk your dog and try to figure out what they created or destroyed has to do with the present and future.” (From the prologue to Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City.)

Meeting the Ghosts  Sometimes you get to meet the ghosts that built the house you lived in; who whispered to you when you buried Whiskers the Manx cat near the apricot tree, “Thanks for giving us a cat to be our companion. We’ve been wishing for one for a long time.”

Verde Street Home in Jerome AZ

The house at the end of Verde Street in Jerome AZ built by Nikolai Domjanovich in 1926. (Photo by JoAnn Braheny)

I was visiting Jerome AZ in May and received a phone call from Barbara Beneitone, one of the children that lived in our home at the end of Verde Street before the mines closed. “My Mom and sister and brother are going to be in Jerome. We’d love to take you to lunch.” I had been corresponding with Barbara through Facebook: she was one my loyal blog readers. At Grapes Restaurant on Jerome’s Main Street, I met Barbara’s 91-year old mother, Doris and her first-born son Don Schumacher and his wife Mary, Barbara and her sister Suzy and her partner Roy Harbin. Missing were Louis and Debbie, two other children. Doris was a sturdy, lovely woman with a lot of energy and a big heart, much like her children. After lunch, we went over to their old house, unlived in since we sold it three years ago, full of foxtails, neglect, and a lot of memories. My husband Walt and I, children Max and Michael, Amanda the dog and Whiskers the cat lived there for 35 years. The house sits sentinel over Deception Gulch.

The Beneitone family in Jerome AZ

The Beneitone family in May 2014 on the driveway of the Verde Street home in Jerome AZ: left to right: Suzy, Barbara, Doris. and Don. (Photo by JoAnn Braheny)

History of the Ghosts

“The house was built in 1926 by Marguerite and Nikolai Domjanovich, my parents,” Doris told me. “They were Croats from Delnice, Yugoslavia.  I was 3-months old when we moved to the house. Mr. Lopez, Sr. helped us build it. He lived in the house below you. Sometimes the kids threw stones to see if they could hit his tin roof.” Doris and her husband and four kids lived on the bottom floor of that old house.  Suzy slept in the closet in the bedroom Louis, Don and Barbara slept in the hallway in bunk beds. Upstairs lived Mitzi Bobbitt, Doris’ sister and her husband. “We were one big happy family in a little house,” Barbara said.

The first house that Marguerite and Nikolai lived in was near the baseball field (now a big, open flat spot near the Gold King Mine). Nicolai’s brother George was accidentally killed by a baseball hitting his chest. The family built the home at the end of Verde Street because they did not want to confront the ghosts of that memory every day. The family and I walked back to the patio where Walt built his last wall, the one with the drill press embedded in it, and stood under the mesquite tree. It was a particularly tranquil, private spot. The men admired the walls. I told them Walt built ten massive walls to protect the house from tumbling down the mountain. Don showed me the remnants of the walls his father built. I showed him the one Mr. Bobbitt built.

Drill press wall Jerome AZ

Wall with drill press in Jerome AZ built by Walter Rapaport. (Photo by Diane Rapaport)

The apricot tree their family had planted just below the patio was still there, barely alive through a few winters of drought and disregard. They made jam from the fruit, Don told me. Just below was the garden his parents kept, full of beets, turnips, cabbage and carrots. Doris made sauerkraut from the cabbages in barrels located in the old shed. She’d serve it with ‘pigs in the blankets.’ The spot was protected from the smoke of copper smelters in Cottonwood and Clarkdale AZ. “On special occasions, we’d go up to Walnut Springs for a picnic and a swim with pails full of sauerkraut and potato salad,” Don said. The remains of the concrete swimming pool are still up there.

The old Walnut Springs Pool near Jerome AZ

The swimming pool at Walnut Springs, two miles up the mountain from Jerome AZ circa 1918. (Private collection)

Their father and grandfather were miners, such a different life than the one we led in Jerome. What seemed like plundering the mountain to me was a better job for their grandfather and his brother than ones in the mines in Michigan, where it was brutally cold, and those in the low-ceilinged coal mines of New Mexico, where her grandfather to had to work stooped. He was six feet, nine inches tall and had to work stooped. Most of the family moved away in 1950. The men helped tear down the interiors of the electrical plumbing and woodworking buildings on the 500-level and recycle tools and materials for mining elsewhere. Doris’ widowed mother stayed behind. She did not want to leave Jerome. I stood with Doris at the top of the steps. “My grandfather made the copper railings and set them in iron pipes.” It gave us something to hang on to when we went down the two sets of steps. By now they were tipping toward the patio ten feet below the wall. Where my peace roses still bloomed was the location of an old bin for storing coal for the stove her mom and she cooked on.”

The Tug of Jerome

I didn’t have much desire to go down those steps with Don, Barbara and Suzy and look around. Neither did Doris. We hadn’t back since we left and we felt sad.  Lifetimes had passed, not to be measured in years. We both had tears. What we had in common is our love of Jerome, the home that meant so much to all of us in our lives, the children that grew up there and scrambled over those craggy cliffs like goats. We understood without words what it was to feel the tug back as we left Jerome for another life in another city, another set of people and circumstances. Doris and her family had always hoped to move back to that house. For them, as for me, Jerome was a favored place on earth and we shared an almost supernatural attachment to it. For us this crazy, patchwork town will always be home sweet Jerome.

Jerome, Arizona: Spook Hall and the Ghost City that Never Existed

Visitors to the 49th Annual Home Tour of historic homes and buildings in Jerome on May 17 and 18 reported many treats: homes beautifully restored by their owners and furnished as miniature museums of their lives. Because Spook Hall was a hub of this tour, readers might like to know how it got its name how Jerome became a ghost city.

Jerome, Arizona 1953

In 1953, less than a dozen businesses were still open in Jerome, Arizona— two bars, one Chinese restaurant, and two small grocery stores uptown. There was a mortuary near the elementary school, a small grocery store and gas station in the Gulch, and a pig farm out on the hogback.

The town was dying. Less than three hundred buildings remained. A population of 15,000 had dwindled to two hundred and nineteen people, 87 of them children, uncertain of what the future would bring. An eerie quiet settled into the town. No more explosions. No smoke wafted up from the Clarkdale smelter. No trains and whistles. Not much traffic, especially at night. No birds sang.

Jerome, Arizona, a ghost city that never existed.ver

View of Jerome, Arizona and Cleopatra Hill from the old cemetary. Photograph by Bob Swanson (Swanson Images.com)

And into that silence came the question, “What now?”

Spooks of Jerome, Arizona

In 1953, the Jerome Historical Society was formed and opened a mine museum, right where it still is on Main Street.

Society members spent their evenings gathered in the “Salt Mine,” their term for the saloon that had been located in the basement of the new museum. They churned out signs and brochures. They joked among themselves that they were a bunch of spooks. Once the word “spooks” was mentioned, the members jumped on it as part of the theme for promoting Jerome.

They made new hand routed ‘spook’ signage. The letters were white on a black background: “Spook’s Crossing” on Main Street across from the Mine Museum and “Luke the Spook,” their adopted mascot. Society members wrapped themselves in sheets and were photographed with the signs. The photographs appeared in newspapers and brochures.

The Spooks of the Jerome, Arizona  Historical Society

Jerome ‘Spooks’ on Main Street, Jerome, Arizona in the nineteen fifties. Courtesy Jerome HIstorical Society.

At the August 1953 meeting, society members discussed plans for an annual event. They gave it an official name: “Annual Spooks Homecoming, Potluck, and Dance” and invited present and former Jerome families. The free event was held in the Salt Mine.

The second Spook Night was held in Lawrence Hall (previously the J.C. Penney store), which the Jerome Historical Society purchased in 1954. The old wooden floor was a wreck and members worked many nights to make new flooring and nail it down. Some of the kids helped strip the old wood. The building became affectionately known as Spook Hall. Although faded, the J.C. Penney sign still remains. Today the hall is officially named the Richard Lawrence Memorial Hall, in memory of Jerome’s postmaster and first member of the society’s executive board, but those of us who live in Jerome call it “Spook Hall.”

The Invention of a Ghost City in Jerome, Arizona

One evening, some society member, nobody remembers who, dreamed up a sign that cemented the words “Jerome” and “ghost city” in visitors’ minds. The sign dramatized Jerome’s dwindling population in a sequence of descending numbers, each with a line crossed through it: 15,000, 10,000, 5,000, 1,000. At the end of the sequence were the words, “GHOST CITY.”

The ghost city of Jerome, Arizona that never existed.

The sign showed zero population in Jerome, Arizona, part of the Jerome Historical Society’s invention of a ghost city. Photo courtesy Jerome HIstorical Society.

Two signs were made and society members placed one on the hogback road that led out of town towards Clarkdale and one at the top of town. From either direction, the town looked desolate.

The signs were photographed and sent out with a press release that proclaimed Jerome, Arizona as “America’s First Ghost City.” Hundreds of newspapers and magazines picked up the story. Postcards of the image were sold in the Mine Museum.

Jerome Historical Society members that had never worked in an advertising agency had accomplished the most difficult marketing task of all. They branded Jerome as a ghost city.

Magazine and newspaper writers loved the ghost town moniker and readers of their articles never saw the name of the town without it.

Tourists told Mine Museum personnel for decades after that they had come to Jerome because of the ghost town stories. They took photographs of each other next to the signs. The signs disappeared sometime during the 1970s. . .

Thus, the history of a wealthy mining mecca became intertwined with the mythology of a ghost city that never really existed.

Excerpts from Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City (www.homesweetjerome.net)

Diane Sward Rapaport's history of Jerome. Arizona after 1953

Book Cover of Diane Sward Rapaport’s history of Jerome. Arizona after 1953.

Environmental Activist and Author Katie Lee and her Triple Tizzy

Katie Lee, now 95 years old, may be seeing the edges of her considerable legacy as one of the Southwest’s most outspoken environmental activists and authors. She just returned from Colorado from a screening of award-winning film DamNation.The Ghosts of Dandy Crossing, Katie Lee’s newest book, has just been published by Ken Sanders’ Dream Garden Press. Hance Editions in Flagstaff has just released a special edition of a dozen black and white classic portraits taken by photographer Martin D. Koehler of a nude Katie at 37 years old in the canyons of Glen Canyon that she so loved. No wonder Katie Lee is in a triple tizzy.

Katie Lee near Dandy Crossing

The cover of Katie Lee’s book published in 2014 by Dream Garden Press (Salt Lake, Utah).

May 17, Katie Lee Reading in Sedona, Arizona

Katie Lee will be reading excerpts from her newest book, The Ghosts of Dandy Crossing Saturday, May 17, at Well Red Coyote, 3190 West Hwy. 89A, Sedona, AZ at 2. p.m.  The book is a triple love story: the affair between Katie and a cowboy/miner; the characters that lived in Dandy Crossing before the river rose to drown it; and, the love of the beauty of Glen Canyon that would soon be drowned. www.katydoodit.com.  She is one of the few writers I know whose words can weave us into the magic spell that the canyons of the southwest have.

Sharing the billing will be Diane Sward Rapaport, reading from her newest book, Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City. www.homesweetjerome.net

Glen Canyon Betrayed: Let the Colorado River Run Free

Katie Lee is a remarkable woman. Ever since Glen Canyon was buried by Reservoir Powell, Katie Lee has sung, stomped, photographed, written about, fought to let the Colorado River run free. She has inspired many to reconsider the issue of dams, particularly the ‘deadbeat’ dams that are have become obsolete, and to consider the considerable environmental damage they have spawned. The words “Dam Dams” is the license plate of her Prius.

Katie Lee's book about Glen Canyon.

Cover of Katie Lee’s book Glen Canyon Betrayed

Katie Lee makes audiences cry when she shows her photographs of the old Glen Canyon and describes what was lost. Her book Glen Canyon Betrayed is a paean to a place perhaps more beautiful than the Grand Canyon.

Naked Katie: Classic Portraits

Anyone who has ever hiked or boated with Katie in the wilderness knows she will shed her clothes as quickly as she possibly can, and not put them on again until she gets close to her car. In her words, [I have been]” hiking freely and in tune with nature for at least half of those years. When I met Glen Canyon it was love at first sight— a place far from the inbred taboos of our society— closer to a dreamland than to reality. I have never posed as a model and am not doing so here…only doing what I always did in Glen Canyon— climbing, dancing, walking, touching, talking to the stone, swimming in the river, lying in the shallows, sliding down the falls, crawling through ruins, inching up crevasses, hanging from tree limbs, covering myself with mud, playing, singing, living with the canyon. I can always tell when a model is photographed in a place she’s never seen or experienced before; it’s in body language that can’t be hidden.”A poster of a nude Katie in Glen Canyon hangs in the offices of Patagonia (outdoor clothing). www.patagonia,com 

Katie Lee in Glen Canyon

This is a way to truly be in touch with Mother Earth. I swim the pool with tennies, chimney up the crease to the vulva, throw my tennies into the pool and rest here, ten minutes or more—then Marty clicks the shutter. I wedge half way down and jump into the pool—no way out the top. Photo by Martin D. Koehler

 

The limited edition of black and white portraits of Katie Lee at 37 years old is now available from Hance Editions, http://katie-lee.hanceeditions.com/about-us.

The Films: “DamNation” and “Wrenched”

In 2014, two films show Katie being interviewed and singing about the loss of Glen Canyon—“Wrenched” and “DamNation.“  Both will be shown at the Mountain Film Festival in Telluride May 24-27. Check the schedule around May 15. http://www.mountainfilm.org/festival/schedule

DamNation

The film “DamNation” is a documentary about the adverse environmental effects of dams

“DamNation” is about America’s lost and endangered rivers and the dams that block them. Producers Travis Rummel and Matt Stoecker dub Katie Lee“The Grand Dame of Dam Busting.” Stoecker recently wrote Katie Lee a letter: “I just wanted … to say how thankful I am to you for all you do and for being the heart and soul of our film. Every time we show it, folks come up after and are just in awe of you and teary eyed about what happened to Glen Canyon. Your description, humor, and pure joy while immersed in that beautify place is inspiring a lot of people to take up the sledgehammer and get ready for battle.” www.damnationfilm.com

Producer ML Lincoln’s film “Wrenched” is a gut-wrenching documentary about the community of activists that were inspired by the work of Edward Abbey, who wrote so eloquently about the lonesome and beautiful places of the Southwest. www.wrenched-themovie.com.

"Wrenched"-the film

Cover of the DVD of ML Lincoln’s film Wrenched.

Abbey fought with his pen to help prevent wilderness desecration from industries that care only for the money they produce. Today, profits from pollution are virtually synonymous with big business.  Katie Lee sings and talks her way right into your heart in that film.

 

 

 

 

Headless Ghosts: Jerome, AZ Mining Days

Papa Lozano’s father came to Jerome in the early 1900’s from a village in Sonora, Mexico where he worked on the assembly line in a sewing machine factory. His boss regularly beat him for minor infractions. After his boss slit off a corner of his ear, Lozano ran away, came to Arizona and signed on as a mucker for the United Verde Copper Company, owned by Williams Andrews Clark.

Deep under the ground, six days a week, Papa Lozano stood ankle deep in an oozy muck and shoveled newly blasted ore into carts. The drilling and blasting around him would produce a layer of fine dust that slowly infected his lungs and caused pneumoconiosis.

Life was hard, but there was no anxiety. The bosses were strict but not cruel. They allowed the muckers an after shift shower on company time in the building on the 500-level that was known as “The Dry.”

After his shift, Lozano would trudge with 400 other miners out of the belly of the mountain, blackened with muck and dust and climb the steps of the building known as “The “Dry.” He pissed shoulder-to-shoulder with his compadres in the long rows of urinals, set up like horse troughs along the building’s insides walls.

Photo by Bob Swanson (www.Swanson Images.com. The urinals in the Dry. The building has been razed.

Photo by Bob Swanson (www.Swanson Images.com. The urinals in the Dry.

He pulled off his steel toed boots, placed them in lockers, and stood shoulder to shoulder with his compadres under the long rods with the shower heads, still fully dressed, to rinse off the muck and the dust. He undressed and hitched his clothes to pulleys and hoisted them high up into the rafters to dry for the next day’s shift. Then he showered again, the steam smelling of sweat, urine and rock. Above, suspended clothing swayed slightly in the rafters, vaporous headless ghosts of the 400 men underneath.

Photos of the Dry by Bob Swanson (www.SwansonImages.com).

Photos of the Dry by Bob Swanson (www.SwansonImages.com).


Lozano was paid $2.00 a day for a 12-hour shift.

Perhaps only in comparison could you say that a life like that was sweeter or better.

(Diane Rapaport interviews with Papa Lozano and Andy Peterson (1981-1991)