In 2006, when I was researching our planned summer camping trip in the west I really wanted to go to Petrified Forest (we didn't) so I had learned that it was in Holbrook. I was therefore delighted when I saw that our route would take us right through Holbrook and it would be a great stopping time to boot. By then, too, a number of people had said the Petrified Forest was well worth visiting so Don was looking forward to it as much as I. I was curious about this town though and found that it had a typically varied past, was named after the first chief engineer of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad and was founded as a US town in 1881/2 when the railroad came through. Since the opening of Petrified Forest NP in 1906 (and probably by the late 19th century when the importance of preserving the area was recognized) it had become the gateway to the National Park.
|This is a relatively new sign since Exit 285 is off I-40 for Holbrook (the Park is exit 311)|
What I had not known until we drove into town to explore was that we were in for yet another fantastic small museum that is filled with history and artifacts. Housed in the original Navajo County Courthouse-which is itself preserved-there are rooms and rooms of history all well laid out and labeled.
|The courthouse when it was first built in 1898|
|The jail has been preserved with the paintings and drawings made by prisoners|
|and a very secure door|
|There are displays of everything, including all the types of barbed wire|
|Native Nations items (this is an Apache burden basket)|
|and even an old mimeograph machine that took me hurtling back through the years to when I would welcome being held in "detention" after school so I could print out the copies of papers needed for the various teachers.|
|The display covering WWII was touching especially when I read of the way the cadets were regarded in the town|
|I am intrigued with the frequency with which I began to note this sign displayed in the museums we went to. It seems it was a problem in many places|
|As usual in many of the old buildings we visit the attention to detail and high standards of craftsmanship in every one of them was true here both on the inside woodwork and|
|the exterior masonry|
|Driving through downtown Holbrook|
After our brief visit we drove back to our campsite at the Crystal Forest Museum for our last night before heading out to Cottonwood and a reunion with old friends.
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