Message #141:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: RE: Two SWA Editorials
Date: Thu May  9 11:53:21 1996
Encoding: 25 TEXT


From: Don Dove
To: Brian Kenny

I noted your comments re: Bruce Babbit.  Babbit did a respectable job as
governor and throughout his career.  Despite our political differences, I
thought enough of him to vote for him once.  I met him on 2 occasions during
the first signing of Archaeological week into law and the subsequent
archaeological week. He is a fine conservationist.  I can't say the same for
some other members of the Babbit family.  As I'm sure you are aware, Henry
Fountain Ashurst was the first senator from Arizona.  I became acquainted
with the background of Mr. Ashurst as a result of discussions with Mr.
Dennis McCarthy, director of the State Parks Board in the 1960s.  Senator
Ashurst was a beautifully articulate individual.  He wrote almost poetically
as one soon learns by reading his diary which was published by U of A Press
as "A Many Colored Toga" (Forward by Barry Goldwater). The things he wrote
of can bring one to tears and laughter. During the 60s, the Babbit family
owned the little ranch and cabin in  which Mr. Ashurst was born.  The State
Parks folks had attempted to purchase the property to preserve the cabin and
place the site into the State Parks System.  Unfortunately, the Babbit
family wanted more money than the State Parks system could pay and,
according to McCarthy, negotiations collapsed.  When I first visited the
site, the cabin roof was badly deteriorated, but inside, was still the stove
which Henry's mother had shipped in from San Fransisco in the 1870s.  The
cool spring in which his mother placed butter was still flowing and the
canyon walls in which the family "..hid from the Indians on the warpath..."
was surrounded by wild roses. Somewhere nearby was the grave of his baby
sister who died in the cabin.  The  setting would have been a magnificant
addition to the park system.  Shortly after my visit, the boy-scouts were
permitted to dismantle the cabin for re-construction in Pioneer Park, well
out of its proper context.  Following the dismantling, I visited the site
again.  Foundation logs were left behind and portions of the wooden frame
were strewn about. The old cast iron stove was now broken in pieces on the
ground and the stove pipe was full of bullet holes. It was a terrible thing
to see.  Unfortunately, this portion of the Babbit family story is the part
that lacks the conservation theme.  I would encourage anyone to read Mr.
Ashurst's diary, especially about his early life at the cabin.  Then this
travesty hits home a bit harder. --  Don Dove

[SASIG Ed. NOTE:  The editorial expressing comments about Babbitt may be
accessed through the SWA website.  Simply point at the 'Editorial' 
hypertext link, and click. The comments about Babbitt are located toward 
the bottom of the page.]