Not the least among the phenomen

“_A spell is laid on sod and stone,
Night and day are tampered with.
Every quality and pith
Surcharged and sultry with a power
That works its will on age and hour._”


A June day in the Petrified Forests of Arizona is an experience that
can never fade from memory. Every excursion into this strange, uncanny
realm of Arizona, which is an empire in its area; every journey one
takes, every trail he follows, leads into strange and fascinating
locality; and Adamana, the gateway to the Petrified Forests, has its
own spellbinding power for the tourist. Adamana consists of a water
tank, the station, and two bungalows, in one of which very comfortable
entertainment is offered, and in the other of which dwells a character
whom all travellers meet,–Adam Hanna, a distant relative of the
late Mark Hanna, the original settler of this region. For a long
time the place was known as Adam Hanna’s, and when with advancing
civilization this designation became too colloquial for an up-to-date
twentieth-century world, the elision of two or three letters gave the
present attractive name,–Adamana.

To leave the comfortable ease of a Pullman sleeper at the witching hour
of five in the morning to stop over at Adamana and visit the Petrified
Forest requires a degree of fortitude beyond that usually calculated.
Left to one’s self, one would emulate the example of the man who
journeyed to the north pole to see a sunrise that occurred only three
days in the year. On the first two mornings he refused to rise on the
plea of the further extension of his opportunities; on the third, when
his servant reminded him that it was the “last call,” he turned over
and philosophically remarked that he would come again next year. But
the dusky porter allows the tourist no such margin for reflection, and
one finds himself standing in some wonderful place spellbound by the
witchery of the desert, and the long train vanishing in the distance,
almost before he knows whether he has exchanged the land of dreams for
the land of day and daylight realities,–for this weird and mystic
panorama of the infinite desert, with the bluest of turquoise skies
already lighted by the blazing splendor of the June sunrise, and the
grotesque, uncanny buttes scattered at intervals all over that vast
plain. The intense silence was unbroken save by the voice and footstep
of the man representing the little bungalow termed the Forest Hotel.
Contrary to one’s preconceived ideas of an Arizona desert, the morning
was cold, and the blazing fire and hot coffee were most grateful. But
where was the “Petrified Forest”? one marvelled. Away on the horizon
gleamed an evanescent, palpitating region of shimmering color. Yet this
was not the “quarry of jewels,” but the “Bad Lands,” which have at
least one redeeming virtue, whatever their vices,–that of producing
the most aërial and fairy-like color effects imaginable.

It is astonishing how swiftly one relinquishes preconceived ideas of
living and learns to get on without electric bells, long-distance
telephones, and elaborate conveniences in general, even to the
“prepared air,” strained through thin layers of cloth, as the latest
superfine condition added to a great New York hotel, and adapts one’s
self to a mode of life in which a simple but very clean room, primitive
food, wonderful air, good, kind people, and a petrified forest to amuse
him, take the place of the complex and elaborate life of the great
Eastern cities. At Adamana one finds himself seventy-five miles from
Gallup, New Mexico, the nearest town of any importance, from which
all household supplies must be ordered. When the coffee gives out,
for instance, seventy-five miles from a lemon; and when a Sunday and
a holiday have almost followed each other, thus delaying all orders,
one has then the most delightful and spacious opportunities for
experimenting on the simple life. The desert offers other things; and
while these do not include the menu of Sherry’s, for instance, they
do include certain allurements for which the country might be searched
in vain, as they only exist on the Colorado desert. The quality of the
air, the color of the sky, the marvel of color vistas,–all make up a
new world in which one finds himself fairly questioning regarding his
own identity. Nor has he any apparent test by which to determine–

“If I am I, as I do hope I be.”

Perhaps, indeed, he does not so tenaciously cling to that which he
remembers of himself yesterday, and is rather interested, on the
whole, in accepting some possibly new transformation of his being. The
locality seems to him sufficiently well indicated as being, according
to his first impression, simply somewhere in the magic and witchery
of space. This address might not be accepted by the government postal
service, but even that heretofore indispensable matter in some way
fades into comparative insignificance. What does one who has an Arizona
sky, and a bewildering shimmer of color afar on the horizon that might

“A painted ship upon a painted ocean”

or almost anything else,–what does he want of the sublunary detail
of eight postal deliveries a day, beginning at half-past seven in
the morning, with his first dawn of returning consciousness, and
ending with midnight, when he is, very likely, summoned out of his
sleep by the rap of a bellboy delivering more mail,–more,–as if he
had not been under an avalanche of it all day and had sought refuge
in dreamland for the very purpose of escaping the vigilance of his
national postal service. But one may as well accept the fact as one
from which there is no appeal, that in the heart of civilization he
cannot escape its burdens and its penalties. He can only evade them
by going to–Adamana, for instance; Adamana, the metropolis of the
railroad water-tank, the station, and two bungalows. Even these are too
many. One bungalow is enough. He cannot repose in two at the same time;
and as for neighbors and news,–has he not the stars and the sunsets?
What does Emily Dickinson say?–

“The only news I know
Is bulletins all day
From Immortality.”

There are no birds to

“… carol undeceiving things,”

as in Colorado; but there is, instead, intense silence,–a silence so
absolutely intense as to be, by a paradox, fairly vocal; and if one
does but catch the music of the spheres for which he finds himself
listening, it must be that his powers of hearing are defective. One
recalls the lines:

“Who loves the music of the spheres
And lives on earth, must close his ears
To many voices that he hears.”

The “many voices” are stilled; one has left them at least seventy-five
miles away,–in Gallup, for instance! Gallup, that for the time
prefigures itself to him as his New York, his Paris, his London. It is
the source of all his possible supplies; and that it does not assume an
overwhelming importance is simply because he does not want any supplies
of the particular nature that Gallup–or Paris–can furnish. He has
achieved something more than the power to satisfy all his (former)
multitudinous wants; he has eliminated them.

To be sure, the Chinese have a proverb that it is not worth while to
cut off one’s feet to save buying shoes. Yet, if instead of depriving
himself of feet he has achieved wings, why, manifestly, there is no
need of shoes. There are, when one comes to think of it, a vast number
of things in our late civilization for which there is no special need.

“For a cap and bells our lives we pay;
Bubbles we earn with a whole soul’s tasking:
‘Tis heaven alone that is given away;
‘Tis only God may be had for the asking.”

In fact, when one comes to reflect upon the aspects of his former life
(as he sees them in mental panorama from Adamana), he can only arrive
at the conclusion that life is unnecessarily choked and submerged
under an ever-increasing burden of _things_. Emerson, of course, whose
insight saw the universe as a crystal sphere which revealed to his
vision its entire working mechanism,–Emerson long since announced that

“Things are in the saddle
And ride mankind.”

Why should one be ridden by things? Why should he enslave
himself,–mortgage his entire powers of achievement, such as they are,
to pay his bills to the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker?
Is not the life more than meat, and the spirit than fine raiment? So he
may dream for the moment, gazing meditatively at the water-tank, the
station, and the two bungalows that comprise Adamana. Good for that day
only, at least, is its contrast to the bewildering din of _entrepôts_,
of ports, of custom-houses, of the general din and warfare of the world
he has left behind.

Holbrook, the other station for the Petrified Forests, is twenty miles
away. Flagstaff, a very thriving and interesting Arizona town, famous
as the site of the Observatory of Prof. Percival Lowell of Boston,
is one hundred and fifty miles to the west; and one hour of railroad
journey beyond Flagstaff is Williams, the town from which runs the
branch railroad to the Grand Cañon over the rolling mesas crowned
with the beautiful peaks of the San Francisco mountains, a distance
of sixty-three miles, the journey occupying three hours. The nearest
town to Adamana station, in which a daily paper is published, is
Albuquerque, in New Mexico, which is nine hundred and thirty-five
miles to the east, almost as far as from New York to Chicago. The
metropolis to which this region looks as its nearest large city is Los
Angeles, twenty-six hours distant. So here one is out of the world, so
to speak,–

“The world forgetting, by the world forgot,”–

with the vast rolling mesas, with sandstone cliffs offering an uncanny
landscape before the eye, with the eternal blue of Arizona skies
bending above, with a silence so deep brooding over the desert that one
might well feel himself on the moon rather than on earth,–a silence
only broken by the semi-daily rush of the long overland trains and
occasional freight lines that pass.


John Muir, the famous California naturalist, explorer, and author of
valuable books on the Western parks, passed the winter of 1905-06 at
Adamana with his two daughters, the Misses Wanda and Helen Muir, and it
is he who has discovered the new Petrified Forest which he calls the
“Blue Forest”–all the specimens having a deep blue tone, while the
other three are simply quarries of red moss, agate, amethyst, topaz,
pale rose crystals gleaming against a smoky green ground. The landscape
effect of the “Bad Lands” from the little bungalow known as the Forest
Hotel is of fairy-like enchantment. A shimmer of rose and gray and gold
and emerald, it gleams on the horizon. Lighted by a blazing sunset, it
might well be the gates of a New Jerusalem. Anything more exquisite,
and more ineffably ethereal in coloring, one might journey far to seek.

“Moreover, something is, or seems,
That touches us like mystic gleams,
Like glimpses of forgotten dreams.”

These lines may, perchance, come echoing around one in the air as he
loiters at night on the low, long piazza, while the myriad meteors of
Arizona skies blaze their way through the transparent air and a sky
full of stars contends with the moon for brilliancy; the unearthly,
delicate, ethereal coloring of the “Bad Lands” gleaming resplendent on
the distant horizon.

If the wanderer has fallen upon particularly fortunate days in his
horoscope and found Miss Wanda Muir–her quaint name coming from her
mother, the daughter of a Polish nobleman–to drive him out to this
marvellous “forest” of stone, he will have a pleasure enhanced by
interesting conversation. A graduate of Berkeley College in California,
and the constant companion of her father in his wanderings, Miss Muir
is indeed an ideal guide, and under her hand one June morning the
two horses sped along over the rough, stony ground at a pace to set
every fibre tingling. One of the features of the Arizona desert is the
arroyo, a dry stream, a ready-made river, so to speak, minus the water.
Some of these even have a stream of flowing water, only it is under the
bed of the river rather than on top of it, for Arizona is the land of
magic and wonder and of a general reversal of accepted conditions.

“Sometimes in driving out here,” said Miss Muir, “a cloudburst comes
up while we are in the Petrified Forests, and on returning the horses
have to swim this dry stream. Once the water was so high it came into
the wagon. Not infrequently, when we go out to the forest, some one
comes dashing after us on horseback to warn us to get back as quickly
as possible, or the torrents of water from a sudden cloudburst will
cut us off altogether, perhaps for a day and a night.” The pleasing
uncertainty of life in Arizona may be realized from this danger of
being suddenly drowned in the arid sands of a desert, and being
confronted with a sudden Lodore that descends from the heavens on a
midsummer noon. But, as one is constantly saying to himself, Arizona is
the land of surprises. No known laws of meteorology, or of any other
form of science, hold good here. The mountain peak transforms itself
into the bottom of a sea, and the sea suddenly upheaves itself in air
and figures as a mountain. Arizona is nature’s kaleidoscope; it is the
land of transformation.

Of the three petrified forests, each separated by a mile or two, the
first is reached by a drive of some six miles, while the third is more
than twice as far. The second is the largest and most elaborate, and
in the aggregate they cover an area of over two thousand acres. The
ground is the high rolling mesas, and over it are scattered, “thick
as leaves in Vallombrosa,” the jewel-like fragments of mighty trees in
deposits that are the wonder of the scientist. From the huge fallen
tree trunks, many of these being over two hundred feet in length and
of similar proportions in diameter, to the mere chips and twigs, the
forests are transmuted into agate and onyx and chalcedony. Numbers of
these specimens contain perfect crystals. They are vivid and striking
in color,–in rich Byzantine red, deep greens and purples and yellow,
white and translucent, or dark in all color blendings. Great blocks
of agate cover many parts of the forest. Hundreds of entire trees are
seen. When cut transversely these logs show the bark, the inner fibre,
and veining as perfectly as would a living tree. And over all these
fallen monarchs of a prehistoric forest bends the wonderful turquoise
sky of Arizona, and the air is all the liquid gold of the intense

At Tiffany’s in New York may be seen huge slabs and sections of this
petrified wood under high polish. A fine exhibit of it was made at
the Paris exposition in 1900, and a specimen of it was presented to
Rodin, the great sculptor, who was incredulous of the possibility that
this block, apparently of onyx, could have been wood. Through all the
forests are these strange rock formations called buttes, rising in the
most weird shapes from the sand and stones and sagebrush of the vast
desert. What a treasure-ground of antiquity! This region, which seems
a plain, is yet higher than the top of Mount Washington, and the
altitude insures almost perpetual coolness. Scientists seem to agree in
the theory that the petrified forests are a debatable phenomenon whose
origin eludes any final conclusion. It is possible that some mighty
sea suddenly arose–perhaps as the present Salton Sea in Southern
California–and engulfed them. The land is partly the “bad lands” and
partly a sandy plain covered with petrifactions. The third forest
contains hundreds of unbroken tree trunks, of which some are over two
hundred feet in length. Many of these are partly imbedded in the earth.

All around this high plateau rise on the horizon surrounding cliffs
to the height of one hundred and fifty and more feet, serrated into
ravines and gorges, variegated with the sandstone formations in all
their shimmer of colors, and indicating that this basin was once the
bottom of a sea.

It is the paradise of the ethnologist as well as of the geologist.
Besides cliff ruins and hieroglyphics, almost anywhere, by chance, one
may find traces of submerged walls, and following these, a man with
an ordinary spade may dig up prehistoric pottery, skeletons, beads,
rings, and occasionally necklaces. The pottery, both in design and in
scheme of decoration, shows a high degree of civilization. Who were
these prehistoric peoples who had built their pueblos and created their
implements and pottery and were already old when Plymouth Rock was new?
Much of the symbolic creation here still awaits its interpreter.

From these millions of tons of glistening, shining blocks and segments
and tree trunks the tourist is not allowed to carry away specimens
_carte blanche_, as formerly. The Petrified Forests are now a
government reservation, although not yet one of the government parks.
Small specimens, within a reasonable amount, are permitted the tourist
as souvenirs.

The Petrified Forests are quarries rather than forests; the great
fallen logs, branches, and chips, lying prostrate on the ground, are
seen glowing and gleaming like jewels. So far as the eye can reach
there is not a human habitation. Over the infinite stretch of sand and
rocks bends the bluest of skies, and here and there are prehistoric
Indian mines, and one ledge of cliffs on which are strange and as yet
undeciphered hieroglyphics. The graves of the prehistoric inhabitants
of this region are numerous, each containing rare and choice specimens
of pottery which are dug out intact. This region seems to have been
once thickly populated. The remains of pueblos are numerous. Skeletons
are constantly being found.

Although the visitor is not allowed to carry away with him a trainload
or so of specimens, he may still be permitted a beautiful cross-section
of an entire tree trunk, showing all the veins of the wood and the
bark, a specimen thin enough to be portable, and worthy a place in
any cabinet of curiosities, besides many chips showing all the range
of beautiful colors which abound in Chalcedony Park. In this park
lies a vast fallen tree trunk that forms a natural bridge over a
chasm,–a bridge that seems to be of solid agate. These forests are
among the great scenic wonders of the world, and if they were in the
heart of the Himalayas or some other especially inaccessible spot,
all good Americans would hasten to visit them. But our own wonderful
and incomparable scenic grandeur is neglected. These “Petrified
Forests” are the marvel of the geologist. What has happened, in all
the phenomena of nature, to produce this incredible spectacle? Many
scientific men believe that these forests did not grow on the spot
where they now would lie prostrate, but were swept down by floods when
this region was a vast inland sea, and that they became imbedded in the
sand; that then the sea vanished and volcanic eruptions poured over,
and the wood was hardened to rock. Again, a flood of water passed over
and washed away the sand and silt, and the erosion left these thousands
of acres of petrifactions exposed on the surface as now; and thus,
after millenniums have passed, we have these quarries of chalcedony and
agate, onyx, cornelian, topaz, and amethyst.

Every evening at Adamana disclosed a sky panorama of kaleidoscopic
wonder. Afar to the horizon the Bad Lands shimmered in a faint dream
of colors under the full moon. The stars seemed to hang midway in the
air, and frequent meteors blazed through the vast, mysterious space.
Adamana is nine hours from Albuquerque, the metropolis of New Mexico,
and five hours distant from Flagstaff, to the west. All the thousands
of acres of desert lands about require only water to render them richly
productive. But water is unattainable. There are no mountain ranges
near enough to produce water storage, and unless the twentieth-century
scientists discover some way of creating rain, these arid regions must
remain as they are. Yet even here American life and energy and progress
are seen. The scattered settlers unite in maintaining public schools
six months in the year, and with only from twelve to twenty pupils the
teacher is paid from seventy-five to eighty dollars a month,–more than
twice the salary paid in the country schools in New England. In the
little bungalow here at Adamana, where Mr. Stevenson, the government
guardian of the Petrified Forests, makes tourists strangely comfortable
during their desert sojourn, one finds a piano, a well-selected little
library, and young people whose command of the violin and piano
offer music that is by no means unacceptable. The children get music
lessons–no one knows how; they are eager for any instruction in
language, and acquire French and Spanish in some measure, and in all
ways the national ambition is sustained. From Albuquerque comes a daily
paper, and only one day behind date the Los Angeles papers arrive. One
is not out of the world (alas!) even on the Arizona desert.

It is a new world in itself,–the desert of Arizona. No region on the
earth is more diversified, more intensely interesting. This desert
comprises mountains and plains; it contains that one supreme scenic
wonder of the world, the Grand Cañon; in it are Cañon Diablo and the
Meteorite Mountain. Within its area also is the “Tonto Basin,”–an
incalculable chaos of isolated and unrelated cliffs, and crags of
mountains peaks that have lost their mountains, and general wreck and
ruin. One might fancy that at the end of creation, when the universe
itself was completed, all the chips and fragments and débris in
general were hurled into the Tonto Basin,–only that, of course, the
universe was never “made,” but is always in the making; only that the
physical configuration of the entire earth is always in process of
transformation into new aspects, and nowhere is this progress of the
ages more extraordinarily in evidence than in Arizona.

Leaving the Petrified Forest for the Grand Cañon, one has a wonderful
journey of six hours to Williams, and thence three hours over the
branch road to Bright Angel, where the new and magnificent hotel, “El
Tovar,” captivates the travellers, and from which a stage runs to Grand
View, thirteen miles away, where Vishnu Temple, the Coliseum, Solomon’s
Temple, and other wonders of the marvellous sandstone architecture, in
the depths of the Grand Cañon are viewed.

In waiting for the train on the branch road running from Williams to
the Grand Cañon over the beautiful San Franciscan mountains, the
hour of waiting at Williams is made a delight by a most unique and
interesting curiosity shop under the splendid Harvey management, where
all kinds of natural curiosities and Indian and Mexican things are
shown. The walls are hung with bright-hued blankets and rugs, the
ceiling is decorated and draped, easy-chairs and sofas abound, and
these tend to make the journey a kind of royal progress.

In 1540 Pedro de Tovar, one of the officers who accompanied Coronado
through his great expedition, passed through Arizona. Even then an
extinct civilization was already old. The ruins of the dwellings of
those prehistoric people abound near Flagstaff. In the recesses of
Walnut Cañon there are found cliff-dwellings in great numbers. “Some
of these are in ruins, and have but a narrow shelf of the once broad
floor of solid rock left to evidence their extreme antiquity. Others
are almost wholly intact, having stubbornly resisted the weathering of
time.” Nothing but fragments of pottery now remain of the many quaint
implements and trinkets that characterized these dwellings at the time
of their discovery.

“Fixed like swallows’ nests upon the face of a precipice,
approachable from above or below only by deliberate and cautious
climbing, these dwellings have the appearance of fortified retreats
rather than habitual abodes. That there was a time in the remotest
past when warlike peoples of mysterious origin passed southward
over this plateau is generally credited. And the existence of
the cliff-dwellings is ascribed to the exigencies of that dark
period when the inhabitants of the plateau, unable to cope with
the superior energy, intelligence, and numbers of the descending
hordes, devised these unassailable retreats. All their quaintness
and antiquity cannot conceal the deep pathos of their being,
for tragedy is written all over these poor hovels hung between
earth and sky. Their builders hold no smallest niche in recorded
history. Their aspirations, their struggles, and their fate are all
unwritten, save on these crumbling stones, which are their sole
monument and meagre epitaph. Here once they dwelt. They left no
other print on time.”

Flagstaff is a pleasant mountain town some seven thousand feet above
sea level, and is particularly fortunate in being the site of the
Lowell Observatory, founded by Professor Percival Lowell of Boston,
which brings eminent astronomers and scientists to the place. In the
Lowell Observatory some of the best work in modern science is being
accomplished, and Professor Lowell and his staff have for some years
been devoting themselves to the special study of Mars. Flagstaff was
selected for the site of the observatory on account of the singularly
clear and still air of Arizona. It is an atmosphere almost without
vibration. Never were distances more curiously deceiving to the eye
than in Arizona. A point that is apparently only a few yards away may
be, in reality, at a distance of two miles. Professor Lowell and his
staff have, therefore, exceptional facilities for their work, and Mr.
Carl Otto Lampland, the stellar photographer of the staff, has taken
impressions of Mars that seem to leave little doubt in the minds of
experts that canals on that planet reflect themselves by the camera.
This achievement is recognized by astronomers everywhere as marking
an epoch in the study of Mars and as fairly closing the argument
regarding the possibility of canals on that body by bringing their
construction there as an unquestionable fact. It was Schiaparelli, the
Italian astronomer, who first observed what he believed were canals
on Mars. His report was received with incredulity; but his theory has
been so reinforced and supported by actual results of observations
since then that it is now generally accepted. Early in the decade of
1880-90 Professor Lowell began a special study at Flagstaff with his
fine twenty-four-inch telescope, but it was in May, 1905, that the
first results of real significance were obtained. The light about Mars
is said to be faint, and the vibrations in the air, though less in
Arizona than is usual elsewhere, still produced disturbing effects on
the plate. It is said that Mr. Lampland overcame this difficulty after
a long series of experiments, “by using a diaphragm on the telescope,
cutting down the aperture from twenty-four inches to twelve inches,
as a rule. Though this diaphragming of a photographic lens is not
new, this was the first time it was applied to a glass as large as
twenty-four inches in diameter and for such faint objects. Hitherto
astronomers have been more concerned with availing themselves of the
light-gathering power of the large lenses. It was a distinct advance,
and is the one step to which the largest share of the credit is due of
successfully photographing the canals.”

In the vestibule of the Institute of Technology in Boston were shown in
the spring of 1906 a number of these photographs. To the uninitiated
they merely presented a black ground with white lines faintly defined.
Professor Lowell says that the special significance of the photographs
lies in the fact that they corroborate the results shown by other
photographers of Mars, and that they also corroborate the methods. That
the sensitive plate of the camera will record a star never visible
through even the strongest glass, and thus prove its existence, is a
wonderful fact in stellar photography.

Cañon Diablo is one of the volcanic phenomena of Arizona,–a narrow
chasm some two hundred and fifty feet deep, several miles long,
and five or six hundred feet wide, which the Santa Fé road crosses
on a wonderful steel spider-web bridge a few miles before reaching
Flagstaff. It is one of the curious things for which the tourist is
watching. For so intensely interesting is the entire journey westward
after leaving La Junta in Colorado, that the traveller who realizes the
wonderland through which he is passing is very much on the alert for
the landscape.

Between Adamana and Flagstaff is a strangely interesting country.
Here is Meteorite Mountain, where evidently a huge meteor fell into
the earth with terrific force, upheaving all the surrounding crust
and thus producing a mountain with an enormous cavity in its centre.
For five years men have been digging here to find the meteor. They
have excavated huge fragments of it. The vast hollow crater where the
meteorite is supposed to have fallen into the ground is a mile wide.
In some fragments of the meteor which were submitted to Sir William
Crookes for examination that great scientist found diamonds in small
but unmistakable quantities.

The Meteorite Mountain is situated not more than ten miles south of
Cañon Diablo, from which station the traveller may drive to this
phenomenal cavity. Within recent months shafts are being projected into
the earth to discover, if possible, whether the meteoric theory is
the true one. More and more, with every year, is science undertaking
to “pluck out the heart of the mystery” in this problematic Arizona.
Prof. G. K. Gilbert, of the United States Geological Survey, has made a
special study of this phenomenon, and it is he who experimented with a
magnetic test, assuming that if an enormous meteorite had hurled itself
into the earth until it was buried past excavation, the great mass of
metallic iron would still respond to the test, and furnish unmistakable
proof of its presence if subjected to magnetic attraction. A scientific
writer who has recently made a study of Meteorite Mountain thus reports
the conditions:

“The mountain is about two hundred feet high, and there are a few
stunted pines about its forbidding looking slopes. Going to the top
of this mountain, over huge masses of strange-looking rock, one
will find a great depression, generally called the crater, though
there are no evidences of its volcanic formation. This crater is a
huge bowl one mile across and six hundred feet deep. The winds of
the desert have blown much sand into the crater, evidently covering
the bottom of the depression to a depth of many feet. There is a
level space of about forty acres in the bottom of the crater.

“When the gigantic meteor fell hissing into the earth, if it
ever did so, the concussion must have been terrific. And in this
connection it is interesting to note that the Indians near by
have a legend about a huge star falling out of the heavens and
dazzling the tribe with its brightness. Then there was a great
shock and sudden darkness, and ever since then the Indians have
regarded Meteorite Mountain with awe. Some idea of the action of
the meteorite can be obtained by throwing a stone into the mud.
When the meteorite buried itself far into the earth the sides were
heaved up, leaving a rim-like circle about the depression. As
the meteorite sank into the earth it must have crushed layers of
red sandstone and limestone. It is believed that the white sand
found in the crater and on the sides of the mountain is from the
sandstone pulverized by the meteor in its descent. This sand was
blown skyward and afterward settled down on the mountain, covering
it thickly. No sand like it is to be found near the mountain.

“Men searching the ground surrounding the mountain for a distance
of several miles find small meteorites. Several of these weigh
as much as one thousand pounds, and others weigh only a fraction
of an ounce. The largest pieces were found furthest from the
mountain. These meteorites have been proved to be practically
non-magnetic. This may explain why the immense body of iron in
the buried meteor has not shown any magnetic properties. Needles
taken to the mountain have not shown the presence of any great
magnetic attraction, and this fact puzzled scientists until it was
found that the fragments found near the mountain did not possess

“Another interesting discovery is the presence of what is called
‘iron shale’ near the mountain. These are fragments of burned or
‘dead’ iron. They might have been broken from the meteorite at the
time of the terrific impact, or they might have been snapped from
the larger body owing to a sudden cooling process. Inasmuch as the
Cañon Diablo country was at one time an immense inland sea, another
interesting theory has been brought forth,–that the meteor fell
into this sea, and that the great number of splinters of iron in
the neighborhood were caused by the sudden cooling of the molten
mass. It has been discovered that these small meteorites contain

In the immediate vicinity of Meteorite Mountain several tons of
meteoric fragments have been found of which Prof. George Wharton James
has one, weighing about a ton, on his lawn at his charming residence in
Pasadena. There are also found in this vicinity large amounts of shale
which scientists pronounce analogous to the meteorite, but “dead”; yet
this shale is highly magnetic and possesses polarity,–one of the most
mysterious and incomprehensible properties of electricity.

Professor Gilbert did not meet success when he tried the magnetic
test, and in discussing this matter in an address on “The Origin of
Hypotheses,” delivered before the Geological Society in Washington last
year, he said:

“Still another contribution to the subject, while it does not
increase the number of hypotheses, is nevertheless important in
that it tends to diminish the weight of the magnetic evidence
and thus to reopen the question which Mr. Baker and I supposed
we had settled. Our fellow-member, Mr. Edwin E. Howell, through
whose hands much of the meteoric iron had passed, points out that
each of the iron masses, great and small, is in itself a complete
individual. They have none of the characters that would be found if
they had been broken one from another, and yet, as they are all of
one type and all reached the earth within a small district, it must
be supposed that they were originally connected in some way.

“Reasoning by analogy from the characters of other meteoric bodies,
he infers that the irons were all included in a large mass of some
different material, either crystalline rock, such as constitutes
the class of meteorites called ‘stony,’ or else a compound of iron
and sulphur, similar to certain nodules discovered inside the
iron masses when sawn in two. Neither of these materials is so
enduring as iron, and the fact that they are not now found on the
plain does not prove their original absence. Moreover, the plain
is strewn in the vicinity of the crater with bits of limonite, a
mineral frequently produced by the action of air and water on iron
sulphides, and this material is much more abundant than the iron.
If it be true that the iron masses were thus embedded, like plums
in an astral pudding, the hypothetic buried star might have great
size and yet only small power to attract the magnetic needle.
Mr. Howell also proposes a qualification of the test by volumes,
suggesting that some of the rocks beneath the buried star might
have been condensed by the shock so as to occupy less space.

“These considerations are eminently pertinent to the study of
the crater and will find appropriate place in any comprehensive
discussion of its origin; but the fact which is peculiarly
worthy of note at the present time is their ability to unsettle
a conclusion that was beginning to feel itself secure. This
illustrates the tentative nature not only of the hypotheses of
science, but of what science calls its results.

“The method of hypotheses, and that method is the method of
science, founds its explanations of nature wholly on observed
facts, and its results are ever subject to the limitations imposed
by imperfect observation. However grand, however widely accepted,
however useful its conclusions, none is so sure that it cannot be
called into question by a newly discovered fact. In the domain of
the world’s knowledge there is no infallibility.”

Sir William Crookes has been deeply interested in the phenomenon of
Meteorite Mountain, which must take rank with the Petrified Forests
and even with the Grand Cañon as one of the marvels of Arizona. The
meteoric shower which seems to have accompanied the falling of the
huge meteorite–if the theory of its existence is true–has recorded
its traces over a radius of more than five miles from the crater-like
cavity. The experiment of Dr. Foote is thus described:

“An ardent mineralogist, the late Dr. Foote, in cutting a section
of this meteorite, found the tools were injured by something vastly
harder than metallic iron, and an emery wheel used in grinding
the iron had been ruined. He examined the specimen chemically,
and soon after announced to the scientific world that the Cañon
Diablo Meteorite contained black and transparent diamonds. This
startling discovery was afterwards verified by Professors Friedel
and Moissan, who found that the Cañon Diablo Meteorite contained
the three varieties of carbon,–diamond (transparent and black),
graphite, and amorphous carbon. Since this revelation the search
for diamonds in meteorites has occupied the attention of chemists
all over the world.

“Here, then, we have absolute proof of the truth of the meteoric
theory. Under atmospheric influences the iron would rapidly oxidize
and rust away, coloring the adjacent soil with red oxide of iron.
The meteoric diamonds would be unaffected and left on the surface
to be found by explorers when oxidation had removed the last proof
of their celestial origin. That there are still lumps of iron left
in Arizona is merely due to the extreme dryness of the climate and
the comparatively short time that the iron has been on our planet.
We are here witnesses to the course of an event which may have
happened in geologic times anywhere on the earth’s surface.”

In this desert plateau of dull red sandstone worn by the erosion and
the storms of untold ages, does there indeed lie a submerged star? And
if there does, buried so deep in the earth as to elude as yet all the
research of science, what force projected it, “shot madly from its
sphere,” into the desert lands of Arizona? To visit these extraordinary
things–the Petrified Forests, the Meteorite Mountain, the Grand
Cañon–is to feel, in the words of the poet,–

“These are but seeds of days,
Not yet a steadfast morn,
An intermittent blaze,
An embryo god unborn.

* * * * *

I snuff the breath of my morning afar,
I see the pale lustres condense to a star:
The fading colors fix,
The vanishing are seen,
And the world that shall be
Twins the world that has been.”

Not the least among the phenomena of Arizona is that Emerson, who never
saw the Great West, should have left on record in his poems the lines
and stanzas that seem as if written from personal familiarity with its
unspeakable marvels of scenic and scientific interest.

“_This is the land the sunset washes,
These are the banks of the Yellow Sea;
Where it rose, or whither it rushes,
These are the western mystery!_

“_Night after night her purple traffic
Strews the landing with opal bales;
Merchantmen poise upon horizons,
Dip, and vanish with fairy sails._”


“_In what ethereal dances!
By what eternal streams!_”

Los Angeles, “the City of the Angels,” is invested with the same poetic
suggestion in its name as that which surrounds Santa Fé,–“the City
of the Holy Faith.” A terraced street is known as “Angel Flight.” Any
retrospective contemplation of Los Angeles gives one the sensation
of having been whirled through the starry immensities of space.
During even a brief stay one afterward discovers by the unerring
logic of mathematics that within a few days he has perhaps travelled
some four hundred miles by the electric trolley cars, besides his
motor-car journeys when shot through space from old San Gabriel to the
Pacific Coast, or from Elysium Park to Hollywood, and far and away
on the opposite side of the city. Were one caught up in an aëro-car,
journeying far above the clouds for ten days, it could hardly seem more
unreal. One can only think of Los Angeles as the City of Vast Spaces.
The town has laid out all the surrounding country, one would fancy, in
beautiful tracts (there are over four thousand), each tract containing
several acres,–laid out under alluring names, with streets, sidewalks,
and lamp-posts.

The “boom” is something tremendous. Companies and corporations run
free electric cars to points forty miles out of town, as Redondo Beach
and other localities, for people to inspect the lots offered,–lots
at prices from “four dollars down, and four dollars a month,” with
the entire cost from ninety dollars up to that of several hundred.
If all the world is not supplied with homes it is not the fault of
enterprising Los Angeles. The incomparable electric trolley system
renders the entire region within fifty miles around eligible for
city privileges. People think nothing of going thirty, forty, even
seventy-five miles by the “express electrics.” Over an area of a
thousand miles in length and perhaps one hundred and fifty in width
there is scattered a population less than that centred within city
limits in Chicago. The world is wide–in Southern California. There
is nothing of the dreamy, languorous old Spanish atmosphere in Los
Angeles. It is the most electrically up-to-date city imaginable. The
city limits comprise over twenty-eight thousand acres. The streets are
paved and oiled; the lighting is wonderful, most of it being done from
tall towers rather than ordinary lamp-posts. Not even New York has any
street or avenue so illuminated by night as is Broadway in Los Angeles,
where, as in the boulevards in Paris, one can easily read by the
street lights. Los Angeles has twenty-one great parks and innumerable
hills and valleys in the residence regions. This diversity affords
natural facilities for landscape gardening which are utilized with fine
effect. Spacious boulevards, artificial lakes, and series of terraces
everywhere enchant the eye, seen amidst the bewildering luxuriance of
creamy magnolia blossoms and the graceful pepper tree.

The enterprise of Los Angeles is equalled by the refinement and culture
of the people, and the schools, churches, libraries–the social
life–all reveal the best spirit of American institutions.

That this is one of the spellbinding cities goes without saying.
Everything is in gleam and glitter and glow. The electric car and the
telephone system are here developed to a higher degree than perhaps
in any other Western city except Denver. The growth of Los Angeles is
something fairly incredible. A leading park commissioner, Dr. Lamb, has
described the beauty of the four thousand tracts of land (each tract
comprising many acres), all laid out, ready for buyers and builders.
Of the twenty-one parks, one comprises more than three thousand
acres, and another, Elysium Park, over eight hundred acres of hills
and valleys already decoratively laid out with terraced drives and
beautiful shrubs, flowers, and artificial lakes. The trend of the city
is rapidly toward the ocean, some fifteen to twenty miles away, and it
can hardly be five years before from Venice and Santa Monica, on the
coast, to Pasadena, ten miles to the east of Los Angeles, there will
be one solid city, one vast metropolis of the Southwest. The public
library is ably administered, and it is one of considerable breadth of
resources, with the advantage of having for its librarian Mr. Charles
F. Lummis, the well-known writer on the Southwest. Madam Severance, who
in 1878 founded the Woman’s Club, a large and influential association
of which for many years she was the president, and Mrs. Rebecca
Spring, the friend of Margaret Fuller, are two Boston women who have
transferred their homes to Los Angeles and whose lives emphasize
Emerson’s assertion that it is the fine souls who serve us and not what
we call fine society.

The rush and the brilliancy of life in all this Los Angeles region
transcend description. Broadway has more than two miles of fine
business blocks, the architecture being restricted to some eight or
nine stories. The beautiful parks, with their artificial lakes, their
date-palm trees, their profusion of brilliant flowers, attract the eye.
There are residence sections of exceeding beauty,–the lawns bordered
by hedges of rosebushes in full bloom and perhaps another rose hedge
separating the sidewalk from the street.

From the high plateaus of Northern Arizona to the blossoming plains
of California is a contrast indeed. In Arizona these thousands of
acres need only irrigation to become richly productive. The climate
is delightful, for the elevation–over seven thousand feet–insures
coolness and exhilaration almost every day through the summer. But at
present there seems no conceivable way to procure water with which to
irrigate. In California precisely the same land is irrigated and has
also the advantage of a rainy season, and the vegetation and fruits
abound luxuriously. Orange groves, with the golden fruit shimmering on
the trees; lemon groves, olive orchards, and the avenues and groves of
the eucalyptus tree make fair the landscape. An important industry here
is that of lima beans. Tracts of fifteen hundred acres sown with these
are not unusual, and the crops are contracted for by Russia and Germany
almost as soon as sown. On one of these it is said that the owner had
made a princely fortune within two years. The creation of the city in
imagination is in great favor. Vast tracts of country from one to ten
miles outside the city limits are staked out, as before noted; avenues
and streets defined and named, lamp-posts erected, an attractive name
given the locality, and lots are offered for sale from perhaps four or
five hundred dollars up, on the terms of “fifty dollars down and ten
dollars a month.”

The trolley-car service in and around Los Angeles is said to be the
best in the world. To Venice and Santa Monica, on the beach,–at a
distance of some seventeen miles,–there are electric “flyers” that
make the trip within thirty minutes. Venice is a French Étretat. The
little rows of streets at right angles with the coast line, running
down to the water, are named “Rose Avenue,” “Ozone Avenue,” “Sunset
Street,” and other alluring names. This Venice is a veritable (refined
and artistic) “Midway,” with its colonnades of shops offering every
conceivable phase of trinkets and _bijouterie_; its concert halls,
casino, gay little restaurants, and every conceivable variety of
amusement. It is the most unique little toy town of a creation
conceivable, and the electrical display and decorations at night are
fascinating in their scenic effect.

Santa Monica, some two miles farther up the coast, is still, stately,
and poetic. Here the blue Pacific rolls in in the most bewildering
sea greens and deep blues, and over it bends a sky rivalling that of
Arizona in depth and richness of color. The entire Pacific Coast is an
idyl of landscape loveliness.

But of life. What are the people of this lovely young city of two
hundred thousand inhabitants doing and thinking? It is not a question
to be answered in a paragraph. Life here is intense, interesting,
full of color and movement, and its many-faceted aspects invite
consideration. As one sits, for instance, on a Pasadena piazza, with
the golden glory of the sunset seen over the Sierra Madre, and the
rose hedges, the orange groves, the great bushes of heliotrope that
are almost like young trees pouring out their mingled fragrance on
the evening air, one falls under its spell. As the twilight deepens
into darkness the great searchlight from Mount Lowe, directly in
the foreground, a picturesque panorama, may swing out with its
weird, sweeping, dazzling illumination over the scene. When this
searchlight is out, people at the far-away beaches can see to read by
it at distances of from twenty-five to fifty miles. Quite near Mount
Lowe–one of the adjacent peaks–is Mount Wilson, on which the new
Carnegie Observatory is to be located. This will be fitted with the
largest telescope in the world and will have the advantage of every
latest scientific appliance.

Pasadena, like all the California towns and cities, covers very large
tracts of country. There is a thriving business centre, not very far
from which are the great Raymond Hotel and other winter resorts for
the throngs of tourists who are almost as important to the revenues
of California as they are to Italy. There are both North and South
Pasadena,–each almost a separate city in itself,–and the most
beautiful street is Orange Grove Avenue, with large estates on either
side and spacious lawns. On Fair Oaks Avenue, in a pretty cottage,
lives Prof. George Wharton James, the famous explorer, scientist,
and notable writer on the Grand Cañon in Arizona,–and the greatest
interpreter, indeed, of the entire Southwest. The books of Professor
James, “In and Out of the Old Missions of California,” “The Indians
of the Painted Desert,” and “Indian Basketry” (besides his book on
the “Grand Canyon,” which is the accepted authority), interpret the
many phases of life in the Southwest in a vivid and accurate manner,
rendering them invaluable to contemporary literature. Professor James
makes his original explorations, taking with him an assistant and his
own camera, and going through varied hardships, almost greater than
could be realized. In the vast desert spaces, remote from any human
habitation, he has had to swim large, muddy, inland lakes, where vermin
were swarming; to go without food and water, and to endure the intense
fatigue of long tramps. In perusing his books the reader little dreams
at what fearful cost of energy all this original material was obtained.
In his home Professor James has a most interesting collection of the
_objets d’art_ of the Southwest. One must travel over this part of
the country in order to appreciate them. They are as distinctive of
New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California as the old masters and
other phases of Italian art are of Italy. There are brilliant Navajo
blankets and rugs–soft, rich, and vivid in color, with curiously
decorated designs; the most interesting array of Indian pottery–the
many specimens from the old tombs being far finer than any pottery done
by the modern Indians; and at the entrance to his lawn Professor James
has a huge meteorite from Meteorite Mountain in Arizona, which weighs
over a ton. He has a large section of a tree of the Petrified Forest,
and the finer specimens that show the bark and the fibre, and also the
crystallization. His library is large and fine, and comprises many
autograph gift copies from other authors.

One feature of the life of Professor James is especially helpful. In
his spacious library upstairs, on every Thursday evening, he gives
an informal talk on his travels and explorations to his friends and
neighbors. His personal experiences in studying the phenomenon of the
Salton Sea and the vagaries of the Colorado River, which is a law unto
itself, are most interesting.

The call of the wild is not more irresistible than the call of the
desert to Professor James. He has lived on it and with it, and learned
to read its hieroglyphics. The desert spirits have companioned him.
He has explored vast spaces of the Grand Cañon; he has encamped,
day after day, even week after week, on the Painted Desert; he has
wandered in the grim strange Tonto Basin, and sailed (of late) the
Salton Sea,–this sheet of four hundred square miles of water, this
impromptu lake where but a little while before was a deserted hollow
of a long extinct volcanic sea. Nature leads man a pretty dance out in
this Land of Enchantment. No one would venture to prophesy at night
just what stage transformation might take place before morning. This
very uncertainty of any particular tenure of mountain, sea, or desert
perhaps tends, unconsciously, to so react upon the population that
their more real life is thrown forward into the future. For instance,
Los Angeles lays no particular stress upon her present population,
but announces that by 1910 the figures will undoubtedly reach the
half-million mark. Nor, indeed, can the observer doubt this in any
contemplation of the present incredible rapidity of progress in every
direction. The city seems half made up of millionnaires, and the latest
municipal bank clearings amounted to almost four hundred millions of
dollars. Los Angeles is really an exotic, for the latest census reveals
the astonishing fact that ninety per cent of its inhabitants are from
the East, leaving only ten per cent as native Californians. Never was
the advertising of a city carried out to the degree of being fairly a
fine art so wonderfully as in Los Angeles. In the Chamber of Commerce
there is a perpetual exhibition of fruits and flowers in season, and of
the products and manufactures of the country.

Los Angeles, like most of the other more important Western cities, is
deeply concerned with irrigation schemes. This region of California
supplements its rainfall with irrigation, and between the two the
whole country is in bloom and blossom. Los Angeles is now arranging a
gigantic scheme to bring water from the Owen’s River, two hundred miles
away, by means of tunnels through mountains and a huge canal. This
fall of water will not only entirely supply the city with water power
of immense force and volume, but it is estimated that it will also
irrigate a hundred thousand acres. The scheme will employ five thousand
men for some four years, and it is estimated that the cost will be
twenty-five millions. No undertaking daunts the Western city. If an
enterprise is desirable, it is to be achieved. That is the law and the
prophets in the Land of Enchantment.

Los Angeles, like Colorado Springs, is the paradise of excursions. The
trip up Mount Lowe to the observatory offers a magnificent panorama of
landscape, including Pasadena Valley and Catalina and Santa Barbara
islands. Old San Gabriel Mission and the San Gabriel Valley are
infinitely interesting, and the famous bells of San Gabriel still ring
in their quaint, rude stone framework even though they are jangled and
out of tune with the lapse of years. The Sierra Nevada Mountains rise
from the San Gabriel Valley.

One of the excursions has a feature that is new to every visitor,–that
of glass-bottom power boats which give a view of the marvels of the
ocean. These boats run from Avalon on the coast–an hour’s express
trolley ride from Los Angeles–to the submarine gardens adjoining
Catalina Island, and they have a capacity to seat over a hundred
passengers around the glass. In sailing over these submarine gardens
the boats move very slowly, that the passengers may enjoy the view of
the strange seaweed, the marine flowers, the varied aquatic vegetation.
Catalina Island is a favorite sea resort, lying in such convenient
proximity to the city.

Los Angeles seems to be the paradise of every one who has a new
idea–or ideal–for the betterment of humanity. There is an atmosphere
of idealism. Among the recent institutions is the Pacific School of
Osteopathy, with a faculty of thirty physicians, men and women, who
base their therapeutics on the scientific fact that the body is subject
to chemical, electrical, thermal, mental, and mechanical treatment. In
the line of ethics Rev. B. Fay Mills has established a comprehensive
movement of “Fellowship,” including religious services and social
intercourse, with a large and enthusiastic membership drawn by this
eloquent orator and preacher who for many years before in his pastorate
in Boston preached to large congregations who gave him profound

A most important centre that radiates sweetness and light in infinite
measure is that of Christ Church (Episcopal), whose rector, Rev.
Baker P. Lee, is not only eminent as a preacher, but as a leader and
inspirer of a network of organizations connected with the church for
the betterment of human life. Christ Church parish is a large one,
numbering over two thousand in direct connection with the church, with
a list of communicants of over twelve hundred. Within the past three
years the parish has built a magnificent new church and a rectory, and
the holy earnestness of the young and gifted rector makes the work one
of vital spirituality.

No city can offer more beautiful homes than those of Los Angeles;
more attractive parks, more enchanting scenery, or more delightful
excursions over a network of electric lines which aggregate above five
hundred miles of single track and reach one hundred towns and villages
from Monrovia of the foothills to Redondo by the sea. The world has
but one Southern California, with its cool, soft, gray sea-fogs in
the early mornings, followed by its cloudless days of blue sky over
golden sunshine; where the sea-breeze gladly brings its health-giving
ozone in exchange for the odors of orange blossoms and roses; where
the mountains stand glorying in the ruggedness of their rocky cliffs
until, touched by sunset’s wand, they glow with pink lights and
purple shadows; and over all comes a golden radiance that changes the
forbidding outlines of their jagged peaks into radiant beauty,–fitting
features of the vast panorama of nature to hold their eternal place in
the Land of Enchantment.