Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Evolution of SR89 Through the Dells

The Dells top my earliest memories of Prescott -- I'm old enough to have picnicked at the long-gone Granite Dells pavilion and swimming facility in the rocks! And I've long been curious about the major road building project that must have taken place way back when.

It was a grey day that friend Georgene drove me through the Dells earlier this year; unfortunately, this is the best picture of the lot and I haven't been back since. Consider it merely an introduction to a brief pictorial history of the highway through that wonderful collection of ancient granites north of town.

Ever wondered what the original trail might have looked like? Here is a photo of the Prescott- Williams road from the Forest Service files, dated 1921, though that seems rather late for such a primitive back road. If that is indeed a vehicle, not a cart, it looks more like my dad's racer from about 1916 ... or is it possibly a motorcycle with a sidecar?

Obviously, a lot of dynamite came into play between the previous picture and this postcard shot. The highway, for such it is at this point, still looks to be unpaved. Mid to late 20s, perhaps?

The cars from this postcard appear to be from the mid-30s; the highway is almost the same as today -- tho the shoulders aren't nearly as wide.

Two fellow bloggers have cool photos of the Dells today. Oddball Observations aimed his camera at the rock formations earlier this summer; Rich over at Gadget's Airstream Chronicles is living in an RV park in the Dells, has been climbing those monster rocks, complete with pictures and a new blog, Climb Arizona.


Avus said...

Fascinating! I like these "evolution" photos. I guess that is a motor cycle with its big old "yankee-type" sidecar

Gadget said...

Granny J,

Thank you so much for sharing this post with all of us. I really enjoy Prescott and the Dells. Seeing the old views of the Dells is FANTASTIC!

Thanks so much!

Chickenbells said...

It's one of my favorite places to go rock hopping..and so beautiful at times...well, all the time really!

I think I have some vintage pictures of The Dells around here somewhere as well...

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I wouldn't mind visiting the Dells, someday.


Granny J said...

To everyone, I was delighted to find those early pictures!

Avus -- thank you for the ID on the vehicle.

Gadget -- I have envied you, living over in the Dells. My late husband and I did a little wandering in there, tho not enough. But then we were not climbers.

CB -- Vintage photos, wow! Do unearth them and post one of these days. Any of the old swimming place in action?

Steve -- The Dells are a fascinating place to visit or, if you're gadget, to live.

smilnsigh said...

Great pictorial history of this highway!

And I love your beginning. Of how you're old enough to remember... I love such. We who have been around 'for awhile,' do remember things long gone. :-)

And yes, I think that very early pic has a motorcycle and sidecar in it.


smilnsigh said...

Oh.... and why is the area named 'The Dells'?


Granny J said...

SnS -- I checked the Merriam Webster which said: a secluded hollow or small valley usually covered with trees or turf. There are indeed not one, but two such secluded, very small valleys in the midst of all those humongous granites. One has a year-round live creek and the other an intermittent creek (thanks to a dam) and are shaded by equally huge old cottonwoods. So that's the sort of place that the farmer from the song farms in...

Anonymous said...

GREAT comparison photos! My husband went to college (Embry-Riddle) in Prescott - so it's a place dear to our hearts. I'm really enjoying your photography and commentary! (I found your blog while searching the web for stone wall images). Cheers! Carolyn G, Woodinville Washington USA

Granny J said...

welcome, Carolyn and do visit again! -- I was really fortunate to find those views of the Dells on line. Aren't they wonderful?

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