Sunlit Water

February 21, 2009

Day Four

Filed under: Personal — by teofilo @ 7:33 pm

After breakfast at Biff’s Bagels, I headed south from Flagstaff to Montezuma Castle.  It’s a pretty neat place.  Not exactly a hidden gem, however; I couldn’t believe how many people were there.  It’s pretty easy to get to and apparently pretty well-known, and today was a gorgeous day, so it was packed.

The same cannot be said of the next stop I made, Tuzigoot.  This is also a pretty interesting and impressive place, but it seems to be much less popular.  One thing that’s particularly notable in light of certain recent topics of discussion is that this monument owes its existence entirely to the New Deal.  Many national parks and monuments benefited significantly from the CCC and WPA, of course, but the story here goes well beyond that.  Before the New Deal, this was just an obscure, unexcavated ruin on a hill owned by a copper mining company.  When the depression came, the mining stopped, and the economies of the nearby towns of Clarkdale and Jerome totally collapsed.  When Roosevelt began putting programs into place to put people to work, someone realized that this was a pretty big ruin that would probably make a good tourist attraction if it were excavated and interpreted, which would benefit the local economy even beyond the obvious immediate stimulus effect of paying unemployed miners to excavate it.

The only problem was that it was on private land, where New Deal funds could not be spent, so the local school district bought the land with the intent of eventually transferring it to the state or federal government, and work began.  In addition to excavating the site, the workers built a wonderful visitor center and museum, one of the few museums from that era to still survive in more or less its original condition (although it is slated for a major update this year).  Once work was complete the school district couldn’t really afford to manage the place, so in 1939 Roosevelt declared it a national monument and that’s what it’s been ever since.

It’s a pretty cool site too, perched up on top of a hill.  The views are fantastic.

On the way back I went through Sedona, where I saw firsthand the problems with free parking.  I decided as I was going through to stop there to eat.  This wasn’t something I had intended, but I was getting hungry and it was on the way.  When I got to the cool little main street section, however, it was just mobbed with tourists.  There was no available parking on the street, and I turned into a parking lot advertising free public parking only to find it packed as well.  There were a lot of other people circling around trying to grab spaces as they came available.  I decided I’d had enough and just kept going back to Flagstaff.

Free parking is cool and all, but there’s a real price to it in all that circling around and the resulting waste of gas and time.  If the on-street parking had a price to it, people with spaces wouldn’t hold on to them all day and it would be a lot easier for people newly arriving to park.  Just a thought.



  1. I liked seeing your Flagstaff photos. I think we only have one that’s the same, the “When You See Only the Dark” mural. And it’s a different car parked in that space. So you didn’t stop in Sedona? I haven’t been there in a long time but I remember really liking it, in spite of how kind of weird it is. And I don’t really need to say anything about Montezuma Castle. I’m glad you went there! When I’m back in the Southwest I’m definitely going. After I go back to Pie Town for some more of that Blue Moon pie. It’s worth it.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 21, 2009 @ 10:50 pm |Reply

  2. I forgot I was using a different computer before…I wasn’t trying to be anonymous.

    Comment by McMegan — February 21, 2009 @ 10:58 pm |Reply

  3. You just want to force people into dense, overcrowded cities. Actually, I’m pretty much converted to sensibly priced parking. I do wonder how some of the ideas – like changing the price according to different demand at different times – work as a practical matter. At some point people need to be able to know the cost before arriving.

    Comment by andrew — February 21, 2009 @ 11:58 pm |Reply

  4. As I understand it, the idea is that in practice people generally don’t actually need to know the price before arriving. There’s supposedly some research showing that people don’t actually pay much attention to the cost of parking. I certainly couldn’t say offhand how much parking meters cost, well, anywhere, really. Most of the practical concerns can be met with meters that are set up to take cards as well as all types of cash. They have these already in many places; Albuquerque is one.

    And no, I didn’t stop in Sedona, though it did look kind of cool. There was nowhere to park!

    Comment by teofilo — February 22, 2009 @ 6:35 pm |Reply

  5. I can see how the card reader would solve a lot of problems. I guess I haven’t paid attention to meters much, either, except when parking for more than a couple of hours (which I think performance parking is supposed to prevent on street spaces). But that’s partly because meters haven’t been expensive where I’ve been (except for a certain university campus, but they took cards). Assuming that pricing is going to be rather high at times and lower at others during the day, I wonder if people will start to notice the differences and object. If it’s just something familiar like peak and off-peak, I doubt that would be a problem.

    Comment by andrew — February 22, 2009 @ 8:14 pm |Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: