CHAPTER VI. GILA CITY—A FRONTIER HOTEL—TAKING THE CENSUS...
OUR course to the Santa Rita Mountains lay along the Gila Valley Our start from Yuma not being made until the sun was high in the heavens, only twenty-two miles were made the first day, to Gila City. Gila City! The remnants of an ambition often revived, and as often overthrown; a living skeleton of a miner's hope and fancy, and the scene evidently, in days gone by, of all the vicissitudes of a miner's and prospector's life on the borders of our country. In 1861 the population of this city numbered about twelve hundred persons. To-day it is composed of a stable for the stage company's vehicles and animals, a corral for sheep or stock, a square box-like building, built of mud, one story high, and called the ‘‘Gila Hotel,’’
Attractive mountains profusely distributed on all sides made an interesting back-ground, while between them and the hotel (or city) scores of sand and gravel hills from three to ten feet high, like humps on a camel's back, gave to the scene an odd appearance. In one of these little knolls, just opposite the hotel, was a ‘‘dug-out,’’ protected from the rains or scorching sunlight by a few cacti barks and frames, in which dwelt a remnant of some roving band of Indians.
Nothing exciting disturbed the quiet of this place at the time of our visit. Only one man had been shot the day before our arrival, and the perpetrator was then off in the mountains looking for more gold heaps. I said there was nothing stirring in town; I had forgotten our own arrival. Imagine what a stir, to increase a town to double its size at one time, would produce. As we drew up in front of the hotel, the
When the landlord, however, found that we were an ambulance corps and commissary department combined, his lower jaw dropped like the tail of a cat in distress. I do not know whether he had or had not paid for his last bill of goods from Yuma.
As we approached the city (by the way, it seems like a cruel pollution of the English language to call these squatting places, cities, but when you are ‘‘among the Romans you must do as the Romans do’’) we were struck with the peculiar immediate change in the surrounding country. It was our first introduction to
H.H.NICHOLS. SC AN INDIAN WARRIOR.
The table was spread—on the ground. Seats were arranged—on the ground. Our table was the ground, our table cloth was the ground; our seats were the ground. At night our bed was the ground with a goodly supply of blankets. Of course, the
[From Hinton's Hand book to Arizona.] PRESCOTT, CAPITAL OF ARIZONA.
These phenomena are frequent in this clime and these latitudes, and are one of the many allurements that will attract the tourist to the Territory It seems to me that in Arizona you meet, in an extended and more extensive form the sunsets of Southern California, so wonderfully described by Bayard Taylor. Italy, I think, can scarce excel them in beauty; and in the various phenomena of their lights, science still finds a work to do in analyzing their causes.
A dingy haze of crimson stretched from the horizon and covering a third of the heaven's disc. So dense was the mist that the outline of the Sun which was just approaching the horizon could barely be traced; and yet the light thrown over this third of the heavens seemed as thongh the sun had dissolved, and distributed its rays equally throughout. The heavens were a complete glow from horizon to zenith, and was rapidly changing in colors and densities. Here was
To the atmosphere is due to a large extent these many phenomena. We had not arisen from our supper table. We were all seated on the ground. Darkness stealing over us brought us to our senses and a general rustle was made to clear the supper débris.
Supper cleared, (put your own interpretation on the word ‘‘cleared’’) and we all proceeded down to the corral, a few rods from our camp, to get straw for a comfortable bed. Each grabbed an armful of hay and proceeded back to the scene of dirty frying pans, mutilated biscuit, and broken cups of custard. We spread our beds of straw and retired. Never did the stars seem so bright to me, or to have such a significance. Never was I in better humor, or felt more vigorous. I commenced counting the stars, but like every one else who ever attempted it, I stopped in short metre. Then I commenced muttering over to myself such phrases as these: ‘‘“God's footstool for my bed, and his firmament for my canopy,”’’ ‘‘—but the son of man hath not where to lay his head.’’ ‘‘The heavens declare thy glory, Lord.’’ ‘‘A stone
This panorama was supplemented by a ‘‘grey of the morning’’ peculiar to Arizona's light, and interesting. The electric tints of gold and crimson that so gracefully bedecked the mountains the night before, had changed to a peculiar deep greyish-blue; and in this transformation had apparently brought each particular peak or range from a glorious pinnacle of brilliant light, down to the positive and austere condition of something more substantial. The whole range seemed to be transformed from a mission of Aurora to reflect and charm the world broadcast, to a massive wall of some creation's ampitheatre austerely hemming us in. Thay seemed to have come down to half their height, and to have encroached to within half the distance
[From Hinton's Handbook to Arizona.] TUCSON.
Such effects are constantly presenting themselves to the traveler in Arizona, in all species of mirage and looming. Col. Boyle, a member of the Geological Society of London, remarked in his enchantment at one of these mirages, that ‘‘“It is, in itself, worth a trip all the way from London to see.”’’ Often, scenes, such as those just alluded to will have a controlling effect upon man and beast alike. Frequently, in the dcad of night or at a noon day's sun, when the heavens blaze with a glaring light; or the near firmament, with its billions of atomic lenses make a panorama of of itself for the portraying of the world at large, the wild beasts will suffer the most strange effects. Foxes will leave their holes and howl a requiem mass to all the nation's quadrupeds at once; and the coyote will follow in their wake with no less zeal. At night the scene is often weird, and although the lamentations of the brute creation will strike terror and discomfort to the tender heart; even in these a suggestive interest predominates. At night or day, phantasms, and illusions