Saturday, March 21, 2009

RRPC: The Old Fort

Two weeks ago when I posted the topic "The Old Place" for today's Round Robin Photo Challenge, I had a vague idea of going to Old Tucson for my photos, or maybe downtown. Over the years I've taken many hundreds of photos of historic places around Tucson - old office buildings, the courthouse, a movie location built in 1930s, midcentury modern buildings, old hotels and motels, even my own church. I could fill this entry up many times over with file photos, but I'd rather post something new!

This week when Friday afternoon arrived, I hadn't taken any new pictures for it yet; so I selected a closer, probably more appropriate locale: Fort Lowell. Please excuse my delay in posting - aside from one tv show and four hours of sleep, I have been alternating between this and my CPA review course auditing assignment for the past 19 hours.

From Fort Lowell, Arizona

Fort Lowell was established in 1873, near what is now the corner of Craycroft Road and Fort Lowell Road in Tucson, Arizona. At the time it would have been at the edge of town, or more likely beyond it.

The fort soon became a supply depot, garrison and trading center. From here troops were dispatched to protect settlers, wagon trains and supply wagons, and to fight the Apaches. After Geronimo's defeat, the need for the fort declined. Despite local protests, the army shut it down in 1891.

The main site is now Fort Lowell Park, located on the east side of Craycroft near the end of Ft. Lowell Rd. The photo above is of historic Cottonwood Lane, the tree-lined dirt road that nowadays leads from the modern parking lot past the Fort Lowell Museum.

The buildings were made of Sonoran-style adobe brick. This was a common, relatively quick and easy building material around here - still is, really. A disadvantage is that over the decades it crumbles away unless maintained and repaired.

The museum is housed in the reconstructed Commanding Officer's quarters. Two sides of this have overhangs for shade, edged with ocotillo ribs. Ocotillos are a spiky, tall flowering shrub that dries into sticks, only to grow new leaves and flowers during the monsoon.

If you look closely, you can see that at least some of the ocotillos in the museum's two fences are living plants.

The dogs were very interested in the closed museum entrance. Cayenne in particular wanted in!

The post hospital is in an advanced stage of decomposition. This is what happens to adobe during a century of neglect.

The hospital ruin is fenced off, with a roof over part of it to protect it from the desert sun. Carved letters can be seen on an inner wall of the remaining structure. I'm not sure whether that is old or recent graffiti. It could easily be both. At least it's not spray paint!

The historic site extends beyond the park onto Fort Lowell Road, where ruins and near-ruins co-exist with private homes. Here is an old house on which you can see the more modern facade added to the caved-in adobe.

San Pedro Chapel is also part of this historic neighborhood. I don't know anything about it other than that it has an historic marker, an adobe crypt and a sign about a concert.

As usual, I took many more photos than I can show here, so I've set up an online album for the best ones on Picasa. Click on any photo to get to it, and see larger versions of these and other photos.

Now let's tour the other Robins' old places!

Linking List

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Julie's Web Journal

Carly - Posted!

Suzanne R - Posted!
SuzyQ421's Photo Blog

Jama - Posted!
Sweet Memories

QuickSilver Dreams

Monica - Posted!
Click Shots

Ways I See the World

Gattina - Posted!
Keyhole Pictures

Chris - Posted!
Camera Obscura RRPC

Visual Counterpoint

Molly Mavis - Posted!
Visual Dialogues

Nancy - Posted!
Nancy Luvs Pix

-P ***Welcome new member!***
Its Only Words

Sherrie - Posted!
Sherrie's Stuff

Mojo - Posted!
Why? What Have You Heard?

TJ - Posted!

Linda - Posted!
Mommy's Treasures

Rita ***Welcome new member!*** - Posted!
Cashjocky and the Old Salt

Marina - Posted!

Connie - Posted!
Far Side of Fifty Photos

Duane - Posted!

Teena - Posted!
It's all about me!

Wammy - Posted!
The Ellis Family Cincinnati

Leslie **Welcome New Member** - Posted!
Empty Nest

Vicki - Posted!

Karen **Welcome New Member** -Posted 03/22/09
In The Moment

And be sure to check the Round Robin blog for a heads up on the next topic!



Carly said...

Hi Karen

It looks like a fascinating place to explore. San Pedro Chapel reminds me of some of the Missions here in California. Alan and I have spent many a afternoon photographing them and visiting their information ctrs. You're giving me the bug to go visiting them again. Well done.


Suzanne R said...

A very nice, thorough job of photographing an interesting spot. It's too bad parts of it are crumbling, though. I guess that's part of the natural process. I would like to see it personally!

Wammy said...

Your side of the US sure looks different from where we live. Sometimes I lose site of that. Such different surroundings. I find that dead lookiing some green plant very interesting. And thank you for the history lesson. Great job.

MyMaracas said...

Great tour! I love seeing places that are so different from what I've experienced. This place is like another world for me. Fascinating!

Family Affair Photography said...

That looks like a great place to explore! The chapel reminds of several I've seen in CA and Mexico. I'd love to go there with my camera.

Gattina said...

That really is a shame that it is not preserved for visitors or tourists. It looks so interesting !
From all the States I have visited during 7 years, the one I liked the most for its "red" rocks and beauty was Arizona ! the neighbors of my aunt bought a little winter house there where they escape the cold winters of Madison/Wisc.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking me to Fort Lowell. So refreshing for someone who is currently living in Hong Kong (7 million population).

Great pics and write up.
I played too, do drop by my blog and comment.
I do value your input.

Let's play again RRPC.

Linda said...

Oh, I want to go there!! Great pictures!

barrettmanor said...

Very cool pictures. At least you have some history in your neighborhood!

Mojo said...

One of the advantages to using adobe for a fortress is that it's pretty bulletproof. It's relatively soft, meaning it can dissipate a lot of energy without shattering. Those Adobe bricks acted almost like sandbags when they were being used for their original purpose.

Cool series of shots, I'd love to see the place up close.

fdtate said...

A great tour of a neat old place.

Jama said...

What a waste not to preserved the historical building to it's full glory! I would have love to spend some time there .