Administrative History
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Despite such restoration work, by the time the Park Service took over in 1932, many of the ruins in Frijoles Canyon were falling apart. Like many early archeologists, Hewett was more interested in artifacts than structures. He did little stabilization work, and the techniques of his era were inadequate when implemented. Nor was the Forest Service expert at archeological management. Catering mostly to Hewett and other specialists, the Forest Service did not use the ruins to try and attract tourists. By 1932, Tyuonyi had crumbled badly. Many walls had collapsed and those that remained were visibly unstable. [2]

For the Park Service, the protection of the ruins and their presentation were intrinsically linked. From the inception of the agency, Stephen T. Mather stressed visitation, and visitors who came to archeological areas like Bandelier wanted to see tangible evidence of the prehistory of the continent. To protect the structures and offer interpretation, the Park Service developed policies that straddled the preservation-use dichotomy embodied in the organic legislation that established the agency.

But when Park Service Custodian Edgar L. Rogers arrived in the summer of 1932, the ruins in Frijoles Canyon were poorly prepared for visits from the general public. Although the atmosphere of the canyon conveyed the mysteries of long-departed civilizations, the condition of the structures made it difficult for the uninitiated to grasp the nature of prehistoric life. If Bandelier was to serve as the gateway to the southwestern national monument group, the agency had to improve conditions at the park. [3]

Before the Park Service acquired Bandelier, Frank Pinkley had planned a broad-based program of development for the area, based on his work elsewhere in the Southwest. The program focused upon three facets of administration: ruins stabilization, capital development, and interpretation of the area for visitors. Pinkley's program called for vast commitment in all three areas. When the Park Service acquired Bandelier, Pinkley simply put his programs into action.

Pinkley's first archeological priority was the stabilization of the ruins. By 1933, conditions had deteriorated so badly that some of Tyuonyi was only one course of stone high. Pinkley needed more substantial structures to attract visitors. As soon as he could get clearance from the Civil Works Administration (CWA), he brought in archeologist Paul Reiter to supervise a crew of CCC workers.

exposed ruin walls
After the initial excavations in Frijoles Canyon, the majority of ruins were not stablized. By the time the Park Service assumed administrative responsibility for the monument, exposed ruins like Tyuonjyi had crumbled.

Although they performed some restoration and a little excavation, Reiter's crew focused upon stabilization and preservation. In 1934, the workers excavated two additional rooms and began restoration and stabilization work in Tyuonyi. Reiter also removed the plaster from a preserved section of painted wall in Long House and installed a glass plate to protect it from vandalism. The program made the park more attractive to visitors. Travelers could begin to see the outline of prehistoric life in the ruins of Frijoles Canyon. [4]

Stabilization programs continued throughout the 1930s. In 1937, Jerome W. Hendron, a seasonal ranger with archeological training, began the NPS ruins stabilization program at Bandelier. He directed a crew that replaced the roof in the kiva at Ceremonial Cave and continued stabilization efforts at Tyuonyi. Much of the mortar holding the rocks together had disintegrated, and Hendron's men reset the stones with a mixture laden with Portland Cement. They also reset fallen walls and rebuilt the lowest portions of the excavated semi-circle.

The large kiva, east of Tyuonyi in Frijoles Canyon, also received Hendron's attention. By 1937, its mortar had washed away, and the inner of the two walls of the structure had fallen. The crude outer wall seemed in danger of collapse. Previous excavators had left large mounds near the kiva that posed drainage problems. Brush and trees had overgrown the site, and windblown dirt and other debris covered the floor of the kiva to a depth of thirty inches. Hendron and his crew re-excavated the kiva and stabilized its walls. The upper levels of the outer wall were taken down and reset. Hendron used a cement mortar—five parts sand, one part fill, and one part cement—to set the stones adjacent to the inner wall. He and his men also rebuilt the ventilator shaft, forced mud between the stones in the inner wall to chink them, and treated much of the interior with a solution that stabilized adobe plaster. [5]

stablizing Tyuonyi

stablizing Tyuonyi
These two photographs show parts of Tyuonyi prior to and during stabilization.

Since Bandelier was a priority area in Pinkley's scheme, he continued to support the stabilization program. During the 1930s, ECW allocations made workpower easily available. In 1939, Robert F. Lister, an NPS archeologist, brought a crew to Bandelier to continue stabilization work. He stabilized the remaining walls of the Otowi ruin, caves on the Otowi Mesa, and 181 cave dwellings on the south side of Tsankawi Mesa. He also treated fourteen caves in Frijoles Canyon and remortared walls and reset stones at Long House in 1940.

Lister's work completed the first phase of stabilization at Bandelier. Its primary purposes were to prevent the ruins from further decline and give visitors a visual insight into prehistoric life. Some of the work was cosmetic in nature, but much was critical to the survival of the ruins. Most important, the first phase of stabilization gave Frank Pinkley the ruins that helped tell the story of Frijoles Canyon.

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Last Updated: 28-Aug-2006