September 2003

FKC Annual Meeting in October

Mark your calendar for the FKC annual meeting and pot luck on Saturday October 11th at Kentucky Camp. This once-per-year event is a great opportunity to visit with your fellow members and take part in key Kentucky Camp plans. At this meeting, a new FKC secretary will be voted-in... please consider volunteering for this position if you would like to take an active role as part of the FKC board of directors. Also, plans for for Kentucky Camp's centennial celebrations in 2004 will be reviewed. More detailed plans will be mailed later.

Keep in mind that the October 11th annual meeting coincides with our next volunteer "work weekend", so plan on coming out for the whole weekend!

Professor Blake Visits the Greaterville Placers, Christmas 1904

By Bill Gillespie

There was no dispute in the first decade of the 20th century about who the leading authority on mining geology was in Arizona: Professor William Phipps Blake had no rivals. As Professor of geology, metallurgy, and mining, director of the School of Mines, and Territorial geologist, Blake was the recognized authority on Arizona geology. With a half-century of experience around the world, the Yale-educated Blake was perhaps the most prestigious faculty member at the University. His accomplishments were legendary, dating back to his first appointment as a Geologist on the famous surveys for transcontinental railroad routes in the 1850s after obtaining his education at Yale. Among his many notable accomplishments, Blake edited and published the Mining Magazine in the late 1850s, and in 1861 traveled to Japan with another early Arizona geologist, Raphael Pumpelly, to introduce western technology to the shogunate.

Blake was a prolific writer, producing over 200 reports and monographs during his long career. As Arizona Territorial Geologist, his annual reports formed an important part of the Governor's Annual Reports on the Territory. Blake diligently recorded his notes in a series of 320 small notebooks covering the years 1847 through 1910; these notebooks are now preserved at the Arizona Historical Society in Tucson.

Professor Blake was 78 years old in December of 1904, but still traveled throughout the territory, inspecting mining developments and consulting with mining engineers. He was long familiar with the hydraulic mining methods such as the Santa Rita Water and Mining Company (SRWMCo) were using. He had described the basic methods as early as 1859 and had helped introduce hydraulic mining methods to the Prescott area in the 1880s. It's not surprising, then, that James Stetson, lead engineer of the SRWMCo, sought Blake's advice, and the endorsement that came with favorable reporting by the Professor. The company had pretty much completed its water system in July of 1904 and was now doing the actual hydraulic mining.

William Blake

Blake noted in his journal entry for December 20, 1904, "Mr. Stetson called and made me promise to go to Greaterville on Friday." Three days later, Blake boarded the 3:30 train out of Tucson arriving at Patagonia at 8:00 in the evening. The next morning, it was on to Sonoita and then overland to the Company headquarters now known as Kentucky Camp, arriving there by 9 AM. Like other recorders at the time, such as Forest Ranger Armour Schofield, Blake referred to the place as "Stetson's Camp." Blake made an afternoon trip to Greaterville but found it unoccupied and returned.

On Christmas Day, Stetson took Blake to the hydraulic operation in Boston Gulch and to Harshaw Gulch, an important tributary of Boston. Blake noted, undoubtedly repeating information from Stetson, that "many thousands of dollars worth of gold were taken" from below the confluence of Boston and Harshaw. Christmas dinner was at 3:30 back at the headquarters. Stetson and Blake were joined by a surgeon named Santee and local entrepreneur Rollin Rice Richardson. Blake may have been surprised to see his old cook Henry, likely a Chinese immigrant, in Stetson's employ. R.R. Richardson was involved in a variety of ventures, displaying a penchant for naming things for himself. He had bought up several ranches, including the old San Rafael del Zinja land grant, developed a number of mines, including the self-named 3R mine in 3R canyon, and founded the town of Patagonia, which he initially named "Rollin" though when a post office was established, the name Patagonia was adopted instead. Even though "Rollin" lost out, Richardson Mercantile was still the main business in town. According to Blake, Richardson was at Stetson's camp in part to look after his own interests: "RRR has a claim in the midst of this placer ground and is here to stake and survey it." No doubt the activity of the SRWMCo inspired Richardson to make sure his claim was recognized and well marked. With two of the most prominent people in southern Arizona, and another with high aspirations, it must have been an interesting Christmas dinner.

For the next five days after Christmas, Blake toured much of the country around the Santa Rita Water and Mining Company's operation, either riding alone or with company surveyor G.R. Comings who was preparing a map of the area. During this time, Blake visited Granite Hill to the west, Fish Canyon, Kentucky Gulch, Succor Gulch, Los Pozos, and Boston Gulch again, makes extensive notes on the local geology. On the 27th he rode as far as the tunnel at Tunnel Springs and back, checking out the company's water system or "aquaduct," with its intakes, tunnel, and canal, noting that it was "A rough ride and return to Camp after dark or just at dark." On the 30th, Blake and Comings went to Greaterville, then backtracked to Sonoita where Blake boarded the train to Patagonia, making another long day.

After returning to Tucson, Blake continued to interact with surveyor Comings, lending him equipment for drafting his map. On March 13, Comings visited Blake and reported that "the yield [of the placer operation] is pretty good." Blake also noted that muddy water from the hydraulicking in Boston Gulch reached as far as Pantano Creek, near Vail southeast of Tucson. Local residents may well marvel that the waste water from the operation could flow that far - about 25 miles via normally dry creek beds. But the spring of 1905 was incredibly wet. At every nearby station (Tucson, Benson, Fort Huachuca) for which records exist from that time, 1905 still stands as the wettest year on record. The precipitation totals for February, March, and April at Tucson are each still record amounts for those months (the 11.56 inches that fell in those three months contrasts sharply with the long-term average of 1.87 inches for these months. Forest Supervisor Meagher reported that there were 15 rainy days in February and that the Santa Ritas were covered with snow for the entire month. The remarkably wet spring certainly helped the company's placer mining, making it possible to excavate and sluice large volumes of sediment.

Blake doesn't mention visiting with Stetson again, though he nearly had one more meeting with him. In April, Blake's ailing wife Charlotte passed away at their Connecticut home of Mill Rock, and Blake made the long train ride east to take care of business there. He returned to Tucson on May 25, 1905, arriving at the station at 3:45 AM. Rather than trying to find transportation to his home at Park and Second, he checked into the nearby Santa Rita Hotel. In the morning he was surprised to find Company President George McAneny (or "McElhinny" in Blake's notebook) and surveyor Comings in the hallway. They informed him that "Mr. J.B. Stetson was killed last Saturday by falling from one of the windows of the Santa Rita. Will be buried in Oakland." He added that "The cleanup at the placers not entirely satisfactory." So, despite the company's intensive activity throughout the spring, results were already found wanting.

Blake continued to live and work in Tucson for another five years, not slowing down much even after becoming an octogenarian. In May 1910 he died in Berkeley, California, four days after receiving an honorary degree from the University of California. Short biographies of Professor Blake have been written by David Dill (William Phipps Blake: Yankee Gentleman and Pioneer Geologist of the Far West, Journal of Arizona History Vol. 32, no. 4, 1991) and Bob Cunningham (Arizona's Territorial Geologist: U of A's Professor William Phipps Blake, The Smoke Signal: Tucson Corral of Westerners No. 55, 1991).

Sunset Magazine Profiles Kentucky Camp

The August issue of Sunset Magazine contains a great article on Kentucky Camp. The one-page article covers key points on history and restoration efforts at the camp. It also provides very good driving directions and pointers about where to get more information. There's a great photograph of FKC members Marie and Jim Britton making adobe. Linnea Doumas is shown putting mud on the gold processing building. (Look closely and you can also see the back of Dimitri Makansi's head!)

Sunset is "the magazine of western living" and has over 1.4 million subscribers, so Kentucky Camp gets some great coverage with this article. Photographer Edward McCain took the photographs at the September 2002 work day. Freelance writer Nora Trulsson later contacted several Forest Service and Friends of Kentucky Camp members for interviews over the phone. Together, their article positions Kentucky Camp as a good "all-around" family destination. The article is very nice exposure for this Southern AZ treasure!

Introducing Kentucky Camp "Work Weekends"

Have you wished for longer, more productive volunteer visits to Kentucky Camp? Maybe you live some distance from KC and find that the long commute to the site leaves little time to get much done while you are there?

If so, you'll be interested to hear that we are expanding some of our volunteer "work days" into "work weekends". Our current "one-day-per-month" schedule permits the closest and most active volunteers to participate, but it's difficult to get in a full day of work after accounting for the drive time to get to Kentucky Camp. For volunteers that drive from Mexico or the Phoenix area, especially, gasoline costs are becoming a concern too.

So, the FKC Board and the Forest Service has decided to expand four of the monthly work days into "work weekends". The remaining months will still have the usual "work day". Work days and work weekends are still on the second weekend of the month. On work weekends, we'll be tackling the more significant projects that can't be completed in a single work day. Volunteers can come as early as Friday night and stay through to Sunday evening thus making their travel to KC more worthwhile.

The Friday and Saturday overnight stays will be camping-style with everyone planning their own accommodations and meals. (Consider renting Cabin C for the weekend if you don't care to camp.) The atmosphere will be a bit like a mini-PIT (Passport In Time) where volunteers can relax and socialize after the day's work. Those that don't want to invest a whole weekend can still come down for just a day, of course.

The following four months will now have expanded work weekends:

So, be sure to mark these work weekends and work days on your calendars. We'll be sending out reminders and describing "to-do's" on the FKC internet newsgroup prior to each work event. (For instructions on subscribing to the newsgroup, see the March 2003 newsletter or send an email to doumas@mindspring for instructions.)

Hope to see you at KC at an upcoming work day or weekend!

T-shirts and Postcard

We have new T-shirts available for purchase, and postcards of Kentucky Camp! Thanks to Jeff Burton's designs and Chris Schrager's footwork and patience in getting them "just right", these items are beautifully made and very professional.


The T-shirts are the same "natural" off-white color as our last T-shirt, with the design in maroon. The T-shirts are 100% cotton, $15 each, available in adult sizes, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large.

The postcards, new for Kentucky Camp, show a photo of the Headquarters Building, taken from the road below the buildings, with a dramatic cloudy sky. The card stock is as heavy as what you would normally see in a commercially-available postcard, with a matte finish. The postcards cost 35 cents each, or 3 for $1.


Both can be purchased through the mail using the order form below. If you have any questions, call Sandy Doumas, 520-299-4281. Please include your phone number on the form, in case Sandy has any questions for you. Please be patient with the ordering process, since this is our first attempt to allow purchases through the mail.

Archaeology Month Celebration, March 8


We were fortunate to have gorgeous weather for our Archaeology Month celebration at Kentucky Camp, March 8! Attendees had a great time panning for gold with the Desert Goldiggers, making mini adobe bricks with the Brittons, touring Boston Gulch with Bill Gillespie, and touring the Kentucky Camp buildings with Mark Doumas. We had some delectable brownies for sale, and also did quite well selling our new T-shirts and postcards. Thanks to all who attended and helped out with this great event!

Girls Pan

Next time, we'll try to avoid scheduling the event on the same day as a U of A basketball game, if possible, as we believe this kept attendance lower than expected. Weather prior to the event had been cool, so there should have been a lot of pent-up demand for outside activities on a fine day. But those that did attend seemed to have a great time, and there was great support from FKC members to host this event. Thanks again!

Who Visits Kentucky Camp?

By Jeff Burton and Mary Farrell

The Kentucky Camp Log Book, at the Visitors' Room of the Administration Building, provides some clues about who visits Kentucky Camp. As the accompanying tables show, visitors come from all over Arizona, with a surprising number of out-of-state and international visitors. Thirty-nine states and six countries are represented this year. In all, 38 percent of visitors were from Tucson, 26 percent were from other Arizona towns, 33 percent were from out of state, and 3 percent were from other countries.

But log books can grossly underestimate the true number of visitors: some studies find that visitors from nearby communities and repeat visitors rarely sign log books, and people are even less likely to sign in if a site is free, if they come in a large group, or if no docent or caretaker personally requests them to. The fact that all these factors usually pertain to Kentucky Camp suggests that the log book signatures represent just a fraction of the actual number of visitors. As one example, we know that fifteen people from Mexico spent a lot of time at Kentucky Camp during our March and July Passport in Time projects, but no one from Mexico signed the log book in 2002.

What do the numbers and the comments mean? For one thing, the Friends of Kentucky Camp can be gratified and proud that so many of the comments show tremendous appreciation for their work. For another, word about Kentucky Camp seems to be reaching a geographically diverse group, in spite of the fact that the site isn't advertised much. It might be worthwhile to figure out how all these folks found out about Kentucky Camp - it might be the occasional articles in Arizona Highways and local newspapers, or locals might take their out-of-state visitors to the site. Interestingly, the only two complaints in the log book are diametrically opposed, and illustrate the divergent opinions of the public: one said to get all vehicles out of the site, the other said to let All-Terrain Vehicles in!

Some other conclusions and recommendations might be drawn from the log book signatures:

Typical log book comments:

great, fantastic, beautiful, a treasure, outstanding, wonderful, fabulous, interesting, quite, peaceful, wow, awesome, love it, cool, a gem, sweet, well preserved, looking good, keep up the good work, great progress, great job, thanks, well done, thanks for all your hard work, thanks for saving our heritage, thanks for saving our history, thanks for preserving our past, hate to leave, first time, second time, third time, we'll be back, back again, many visits over the past 12 years, can't wait to stay overnight ...

good plumpskle - Heike Wiltberg, Bielefeld, Germany

gracias por este regalo - Eretin Marrera Ortiz, Caracas, Venezuela

Kentucky Camp Log Book Entries for 2002 (The "zeroes" in the tables indicate that the country, state, or city was represented in the log book in 2001, but not in 2002).

Visitors by Country

1022 United States 13 Canada 10 Germany 2 France 2 Switzerland 2 Venezuela 1 Italy 0 Australia 0 Mexico 0 Sweden 1052 Total

U.S. Visitors by State

675 Arizona 36 California 30 Minnesota 29 Oregon 24 Michigan 24 New York 17 Washington 15 Illinois 14 Ohio 13 Texas 12 Montana 11 Wisconsin 10 New Jersey 9 Alaska 9 Pennsylvania 8 Colorado 7 Massachusetts 7 New Mexico 6 North Carolina 6 South Dakota 5 Florida 5 Georgia 5 Idaho 5 Indiana 5 Missouri 5 Wyoming 4 Iowa 3 Kansas 3 Maine 4 New Hampshire 3 Nebraska 2 Virginia 2 Kentucky 2 Maryland 2 Mississippi 1 Hawaii 1 Nevada 1 Rhode Island 1 Tennessee 1 Vermont 0 Washington D.C. 1022 Total

Arizona Visitors by Town

396 Tucson 61 Green Valley 32 Benson 30 Sierra Vista 24 Sonoita 20 Phoenix 10 Vail 6 Arivaca 6 Flagstaff 6 Mesa 5 Elfrida 5 Glendale 5 Hereford 5 St. David 5 Wilcox 4 Bisbee 4 Chandler 4 Saddlebrook 3 Huachuca City 3 Marana 3 Patagonia 3 Tempe 3 Rio Rico 2 Avondale 2 Buckeye 2 Cochise 2 Fort Huachuca 2 Gilbert 2 Globe 2 Oracle 2 Nogales 2 Oro Valley 2 Overgard 2 Pine 2 Scottsdale 2 Springerville 1 Amado 1 Apache Jct. 1 Casa Grande 1 Cascabel 1 Mormon Lake 1 Pomerene 0 Arizona City 0 Cave Creek 0 Empire 0 Florence 0 Laveen 0 New River 0 Paradise Valley 0 Safford 0 Sahuarita 0 Showlow 0 Tombstone 0 Tubac 675 Total Arizona

Visitors by Month

January 84 February 147 March 179 April 147 May* 126 June* 40 July* 18 August 32 September 64 October 53 November 80 December 82 Total 1052 * forest-wide fire closure May 28 to July 18