Series: Women's History in the Pacific West - Lower Colorado Basin Collection

Biographies of women in parks from southern California, southern Nevada, and northwest Arizona

  • Cabrillo National Monument

    Article 1: Maria Arcadia Israel

    Round shell artwork with flowers wrapped around a view of buildings and a grassy field

    María Arcadia Alipás Israel’s experiences embody the nature of the work at the old Point Loma Lighthouse during the initial decades of California statehood. She lived and worked in the lighthouse for 18 years, for a time as assistant lighthouse keeper, and her presence is still evident at the site today through displays of her craftwork. Read more

  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area

    Article 2: Erma Ouida Godbey

    woman looks away from camera, smiling at child and surrounded by family standing in large metal pipe

    Erma Ouida Godbey’s life exemplifies women’s experiences of and contributions to the Depression-era origins of Lake Mead and urban Nevada. Read more

  • Castle Mountains National Monument

    Article 3: Maite Arce

    Woman wearing purple jacket smiles on hillside

    Maite Arce is a nonprofit leader and activist who has spearheaded environmental justice and equity, as well as encouraged Latinx communities to enjoy outdoor activities and advocate for conservation of the natural world. Read more

  • Mojave National Preserve

    Article 4: Mary Beal

    Photo of woman in simple dress standing next to old man with beard in front of tent home.

    Botanist, photographer, and writer Mary Beal often took people by surprise when they came across her all alone in the Mojave Desert. Read more

  • Joshua Tree National Park

    Article 5: Frances Lawton Keys

    Three women stand around a seated man

    Frances Lawton Keys was part of a wave of Anglo pioneers who came to the arid Southern California desert in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, patching together a variety of ventures on public domain land. Read more

  • Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

    Article 6: Alice Ballard

    Detail of an 1898 US Surveyor General’s Office map showing the location of Alice Ballard’s house.

    Alice Ballard was the youngest of seven children born to John and Amanda Ballard, the first African Americans to own a home above the Malibu coastline. She was born in 1870 in Agoura Hills and raised in the nearby Santa Monica Mountains. Read more

  • Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument

    Article 7: Margaret Lyneis

    Woman with short hair and glasses smiles for the camera.

    Margaret Lyneis was one of the few women present at the Tule Springs Fossil Beds “Big Dig” from 1962 to 1963, which aimed to test whether humans interacted with Late Pleistocene animals at this site as well as possible associations of Pleistocene animal fossils with charcoal and tools. Read more

  • Death Valley National Park

    Article 8: Petra “Maggie Moore” Romero

    Petra Romero was born in Mexico around 1838 and joined the global migration to the North American West. Re-naming herself “Maggie Moore,” she became the owner and operator of a dance hall in Death Valley called Waterfall Dance House or “Madam Moore’s.” Read more