Montezuma Castle
National Monument
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Chapter 5
The Modern Development of the Monument

"Wisely developed and staffed, Montezuma Castle National Monument will be able to continue to provide significant enjoyment in spite of heavy use, and even to retain the special enchantment that visitors for many years have been able to find here."

Mission 66 Prospectus for Montezuma Castle National Monument, National Park Service

The improvements and developments undertaken during the custodianships of Martin and Earl Jackson transformed Montezuma Castle from a neglected ruin into a first-rate national monument. For the first time, the National Park Service initiated a series of developments that were not in response to a lingering problem or need. The agency leadership began implementing long-term plans that helped bring Montezuma Castle more fully into the NPS system. By the early 1940s, the monument featured efficient accommodations and facilities, interpretive and educational programs, regular preservation activities, and an expanded network of related regional sites. In contrast to the results of earlier administrative efforts, by the brink of World War II Montezuma Castle National Monument stood well prepared to face challenges of the future.

A changing NPS system of management addressed these challenges. Frank Pinkley had resented the "interference" of NPS Washington office officials and feared that they would compromise his authority and control over the Southwestern National Monuments; but by the mid-1930s, the NPS administration was already in the midst of great changes that began to affect the management of the entire network of sites, including the national monuments. The 1933 transfer of nearly all of the remaining national monuments and historic sites to NPS jurisdiction led to an enlarged agency bureaucracy and set in motion the 1937 division of the NPS administration into five geographic regions. Although these organizational changes had less of an immediate impact on the Southwestern National Monuments during Pinkley's tenurethe "Boss" maintained his own regional office to manage his group of monuments as he saw fitresponsibility for these sites was transferred to the NPS Region Three office in Santa Fe in 1942. After this time, the administration of the Southwestern National Monuments was incorporated into the rest of the NPS system. [1]

Montezuma Castle and the other national monuments fared better under the new NPS system than they had during the agency's early years. The reorganizations of the Park Service established a bureaucracy that addressed the individual management needs at the various sites under its jurisdiction, created plans for improvements and developments, and obtained funding for critical projects. This new administrative approach greatly benefited Montezuma Castle and helped erase the second-class status long associated with its national monument designation. [2] The ruins received greater attention from agency landscape architects, engineers, planners, education specialists, and interpretive designers whose help Pinkley had previously shunned. NPS specialists began systematically to evaluate the existing resources, potential values, and necessary improvements at Montezuma Castle, and created a series of master plans to guide the development of the monument. [3]

As the national monuments became better integrated into the NPS system in the 1940s and 1950s, such planning and development efforts occurred more frequently. The master-planning process, which was originally developed by Thomas Vint and the NPS Landscape Architectural Division in the 1930s, involved a thorough examination of each particular site from a management perspective. A typical master plan covered existing and proposed elements including the buildings, infrastructure, interpretive aids, sensitive resources, transportation, and staff facilities. NPS officials also considered how each site fit into the larger regional and national NPS system. [4] This broader outlook reflected the agency's renewed emphasis in the postwar years of building up a national network of areas to serve increasing numbers of visitors. As a result of its specific needs and the significant growth in population and tourism in the Southwest, Montezuma Castle National Monument began to receive significant attention from agency officials during the mid-1950s, culminating in the developments for the NPS Mission 66 program. The modern developments and improvements at Montezuma Castle National Monument thus reflect the evolving nature of the NPS administration and the changing context of the Verde Valley.

During the mid-1940s, few major changes took place at Montezuma Castle. The improvements and developments that had been undertaken as New Deal projects during the 1930s accomplished many of the recommendations outlined in early master plans and created facilities that could comfortably handle the current levels of visitation. In addition, U.S. participation in the war resulted in a period of relative inactivity at the national parks and monuments; visitation to sites dropped off dramatically, so the NPS reserved its reduced budget for items of pressing importance. [5] Improvements at Montezuma Castle proposed in earlier master plan documents and yet to be performed, such as the construction of a new museum and administration building and the creation of new interpretive exhibits, had to wait until they could be justified and funding was available.

In the years immediately following the war, only minor improvements and repairs were undertaken at Montezuma Castle. The monument facilities as a whole remained in good shape and provided adequate service to tourists as visitation quickly surpassed the prewar levels. Under the direction of Superintendent Homer Hastings, monument staff carried out routine maintenance of the roads, trails, public buildings, residences, and visitor facilities. Hastings was assisted in the management of Montezuma Castle by an enlarged staff of two park rangers and one archeologist. Albert H. Schroeder, the first archeologist assigned at the monument, spent much of his time working at the newly acquired Montezuma Well property, where the most striking changes at the monument occurred during the late 1940s. [6]

One of Schroeder's earliest duties at Montezuma Well involved trying to clarify an unresolved question about the site's boundaries. In correspondence with NPS officials, Virginia and Paul Webb disputed the boundary line between their ranch, located south and east of Beaver Creek, and the Montezuma Well property, located on the other side of the creek in Lot 4, Section 31, Township 15 North, Range 6 East. It seems that when in 1908 William B. Back sold to Benjamin S. Witter the property later owned by the Webbs, the area was described as "that portion of Lot 4 lying south and east of Beaver Creek." The Webbs contended that in 1937 a major flood event resulted in the sudden change of the Beaver Creek channel, confusing the actual boundary location. Custodian Earl Jackson investigated the property boundaries in 1941 when the NPS first considered acquiring Montezuma Well but found no conclusive evidence to support the Webbs' claims. After the NPS purchased the Well, regional officials surveyed the site while Albert Schroeder and Custodian Homer Hastings researched the alleged change in course of Beaver Creek. Their efforts, however, did not bring about a resolution to the problem, and the dispute with Paul Webb (Virginia passed away in the early 1980s) continues to this day. [7]

In addition to dealing with boundary issues, the monument staff also had to decide what to do with the buildings located on the new Montezuma Well unit. At the time of its NPS acquisition in 1947, the Well property included several structures the Back family had built as part of their homestead and ranch. The main building on the site was the family residence. William B. Back constructed the original house in 1895, building the foundation with rocks from the ruins of a prehistoric wall he discovered in a nearby cave. After this home was destroyed by a fire in 1929, the family built a new four-room wood-frame house on the same location the following year. The Well facilities also included a log smokehouse, a twenty-five-foot well, a shed, a barn, a chicken coop, a privy, a workshop, and a network of prehistoric and modern irrigation ditches that watered the fields on the property. In addition to the structures supporting the ranch operations, William Back Jr. built two adobe guest cabins near the picnic grounds and a small stone-construction museum building in 1932 to accommodate visitors to the Well (figure 26). [8]

Montezuma Well museum
Figure 26. Top: The Montezuma Well museum with Ranger Albert Schroeder in doorway. Bottom: The old log smokehouse and Back residence. Photos taken in June 1947 by George A. Grant, on file in the Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments administrative office, building data files.

As soon as the NPS officially added the Well property as a detached unit of Montezuma Castle National Monument in April 1947, Albert Schroeder began work to repair and modernize the facilities. Some of the buildings on the Well property, such as the rebuilt family house, the museum, and the guest cabins, were renovated to suit NPS plans for the site. Other structuresincluding the shed, barn, chicken coop, and privyserved no real purpose for the monument and were eventually torn down.

Schroeder moved into the renovated residence in April 1948 and continued his work to improve the facilities at Montezuma Well. He adapted the guest houses into storage space and a car stall, fixed up the old museum building, and created new museum exhibits that explained the prehistoric features of the area to visitors. Schroeder's ongoing archeological investigations of the region added significant insights to the scholarship of the Verde Valley and provided the Well museum with abundant material for display. Other changes at Montezuma Well included the addition of a well and pump for domestic water and the leasing of tillable land on the monument property to the Montezuma Dairy Company for the production of forage crops. By the end of 1948, the facilities at Montezuma Well had been sufficiently renovated and offered a welcome addition to the monument. [9]

As Montezuma Castle and the new Montezuma Well unit became increasingly popular tourist destinations in the late 1940s, the monument administration began to consider means to enhance and facilitate the visitor experience at these sites. The small monument staff was already spread thin and could no longer provide the kind of individual attention afforded to visitors during the time of Martin Jackson's custodianship. The self-guiding Sycamore Trail and informational booklet that had been developed earlier at Montezuma Castle provided visitors with interpretive facts about the cultural and natural history of the site and allowed the monument staff to attend to other duties. In the early 1950s, the loop trail was enlarged and improved to guide visitors more comfortably through the Castle grounds, including the excavated Castle A ruins and the area in front of the caves along the cliff walls. In 1953, the monument staff made needed repairs to the Castle museum and enlarged the exhibit space by converting the old kitchen section of the building. The museum improvements included the addition of a layman's herbarium as well as new displays on other NPS sites in Arizona, the geology of the Verde Valley, Yavapai and Apache artifacts, and regional flora and fauna. [10]

At the time of these improvements at Montezuma Castle, construction began on a new Montezuma Well loop trail. Similar in concept to the Sycamore Trail, the loop trail was designed to lead visitors from the rim of the Well down to the water level and the ruins located there while providing interpretive information on trailside displays. After it was completed in 1951, visitors entered the loop trail after passing by the museum and contact station on the Montezuma Well entrance road. The loop trail proved to be enormously successful and was extended in 1952 to the Well outlet at the base of the cliff adjacent to Beaver Creek. The following year, stone steps were installed to replace the ladder that provided access to the outlet. The monument staff also improved the exhibits at the Well museum at this time. [11]

Although these trail and interpretive developments helped to accommodate the growing numbers of people visiting these popular sites, monument staff expressed renewed concern about the impact of guided tours on the physical structure of Montezuma Castle. The issue of closing the Castle interior to visitors had been discussed for many years, but the Park Service remained reluctant to discontinue the tours until some kind of interpretive substitute was in place. Superintendent Homer Hastings urged NPS regional officials in 1947 to take action to resolve this situation before the Castle sustained any serious damage and to eliminate the risk of injury to visitors climbing the "unsafe" ladders. He also noted that by restricting to nine the number of people on the guided tours, as had been recommended in the 1941 U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey report, the small monument staff was able to provide interpretive services to a maximum of eighteen people per hour. Visitors frequently had to wait in long lines to take the guided tours of the Castle, and many left before being able to enter the ruins. The problem of interpretation at the Castle seemed certain to grow worse in the years to come as a result of the planned four-lane highway between Phoenix and Flagstaff. By 1948, the Black Canyon Highway was built halfway between Phoenix and Camp Verde; its completion would make travel to Montezuma Castle much more convenient and promised to bring record numbers of visitors to the already busy monument. [12] With these factors in mind, regional officials reconsidered plans for installing a scale model of the Castle along the interpretive trail, as Martin Jackson had suggested more than fifteen years earlier. [13]

During the next several years, NPS officials worked out the details of the design and construction of the trailside model display and continued the discussion about closing the Castle to visitors. The NPS Museum Laboratory in Washington, D.C., constructed the diorama model, and following its installation in a shelter structure built by a local contractor, Superintendent John O. Cook officially discontinued the guided tours through Montezuma Castle on 1 October 1951. [14] The model depicted the Castle building with the front walls removed, and rangers utilized it in their interpretive talks about the construction and usage of the Castle to groups of up to fifty people in the newly built surrounding amphitheater (figure 27). At the time of the closure of the Castle interior, the Park Service ended its policy of charging visitors a fee for guided trips through the ruins, which had been in effect since 1940. The regional director decided in June 1954 to begin charging a fee of twenty-five cents for admission to the monument and provided a supply of tickets for that purpose. The policy of charging for admission to Montezuma Castle National Monument continues to this day. [15]

newspaper clipping and shelter
Figure 27. Top: Superintendent John O. Cook pointing out the details of the new Castle model (Arizona Daily Sun, 21 September 1951.) Bottom: The model shelter after remodeling in 1958. Photos in the Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments administrative office, building date files.

The diorama display installed at the monument did not completely compensate for the gap in the visitor experience left by the closure of the Castle. Rangers reported that visitors seemed bored by the model when they could view the actual ruins a short distance down the trail. In an effort to make the interpretive display more eye-catching and engaging, the NPS Museum Laboratory created miniature wax figures depicting the prehistoric inhabitants engaged in a variety of their typical daily activities. These figures were installed in 1953 and helped attract more attention to the Castle diorama. [16]

The Black Canyon Highway (State Highway 79), which eventually linked the rapidly expanding Phoenix metropolitan area and transcontinental Highway 66 in Flagstaff, greatly facilitated access to Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well, and contributed to the doubling of the annual visitation to the monument from 1955 to 1956. [17] The dramatic rise in visitation was also a function of the significant postwar growth experienced throughout the Southwest and specifically in Arizona's urban centers. The economic and social transformation of the American West during and after World War II sparked planning and development efforts across the region, created new industries and employment opportunities, and attracted record numbers of settlers. In Arizona, the state's two most urban counties experienced an almost 100 percent increase in population between 1940 and 1950. [18]

One result of these changes was the establishment of a large population of potential visitors within driving distance of many tourist sites across the Southwest. Newcomers showed great interest in the unique features of the region, and young middle-class families took advantage of their increasing leisure time by traveling to various natural and cultural attractions. Montezuma Castle National Monument, one hundred or so miles from Phoenix along the new Black Canyon Highway, became a popular day-trip destination and a convenient stopping point for people traveling to other sites in central or northern Arizona. Montezuma Castle and Well felt the effects of this tremendous regional growth most acutely during the mid-1950s. It became clear during this time that the facilities at the monument were not suited to handle the rising levels of visitation (figures 28 and 29). [19]

Figure 28. Example of the high visitation to the monument during the late 1950s. Photos of the parking lot and picnic grounds at Montezuma Well during a group event, in the Montezuma Castle National Monument Monthly Narrative Report, June 1957.

Figure 29. Image of Montezuma Castle used in an advertisement for Malco Gasoline. The ruins used here are an icon of the Southwest. Ironically, the automobile, which is related to the industry behind this advertisement, wasin part responsible for the phenomenal growth in visitation to the monument and the new challenges in its management. National Archives, Record Group 79, box 2288, folder 501-2.

The structural and administrative needs at Montezuma Castle became increasingly apparent at a time that coincided with the onset of great changes within the NPS organization. During the directorship of Newton Drury between 1940 and 1951, the agency spent relatively little money on park development and repair projects. The significant postwar increases in visitation to sites throughout the NPS system took their toll on overcrowded and aging facilities, and necessitated serious attention from the agency. In contrast to Drury's cautious and conservative leadership style, the subsequent director, Conrad Wirth, who had previously worked as a landscape architect and headed the NPS Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) operations, championed the causes of park development, access, and use. He actively promoted carefully planned development projects as means to meet the public demand for recreational tourism and properly handle large numbers of visitors without damage to protected resources. Wirth's most significant undertaking during his tenure as NPS director between 1951 and 1964 involved an extremely ambitious capital development and improvement program. Named "Mission 66" for the coincidence of its planned completion with the fiftieth anniversary of the National Park Service in 1966, the program resulted in the expenditure of a little more than one billion dollars on hundreds of different projects at NPS sites.

Under the Mission 66 program, agency officials considered the value of each site according to its popularity and public use rather than its designation within the NPS system. Mission 66 continued the trend of integrated management that had begun with the NPS reorganizations of the late 1930s. The national monuments, including Montezuma Castle, received considerably more attention and funding during Mission 66 than at any other time in the agency's history. This new program thus promised to address many of the problems encountered at parks and monuments as a result of the minimal funding and increasing visitation since World War II. Director Wirth envisioned Mission 66 as resuming the development of the NPS system that had begun with the New Deal programs of the 1930s. He hoped that his new initiative would compensate for the intervening period of inactivity and modernize the system to face the challenges of the future. Central to his vision for rebuilding the National Park Service was the Division of Landscape Architecture that had figured so prominently in the earlier New Deal development projects. Agency landscape architects' primary contribution to Wirth's Mission 66 program involved their work on master plan documents that dealt with all aspects of the new improvements and additions to Park Service sites. [20]

Beginning in 1956, a host of NPS landscape architects, engineers, and regional officials visited Montezuma Castle to outline the proposed Mission 66 projects. These agency professionals worked with Superintendent John Cook and his staff to evaluate the particular needs and problems on site, make revisions and updates to the master plan, and develop a prospectus to guide the monument through the implementation of the Mission 66 program. Most of the significant issues identified at this time related to the large increase in the number of visitors since the opening of the Black Canyon Highway. The following observations made in the Mission 66 prospectus for Montezuma Castle identify the primary challenges that faced the monument during the mid-1950s:

The problem is the impact of heavy traffic on a small monument, where natural topography limits the expansion of visitor-use areas and overcrowding can destroy and obscure its special values, and where physical developments and staffing have been inadequate for almost ten years. . . . Wisely developed and staffed, Montezuma Castle National Monument will be able to continue to provide significant enjoyment in spite of heavy use, and even to retain the special enchantment that visitors for many years have been able to find here. Over-development which tended to attract visitors for any reason not directly connected with its primary values could result in traffic heavy enough to despoil the monument. Great damage to the area can also occur if visitor facilities and staffing are not soon brought up to date. [21]

Although officials noted the dire need to update the facilities at Montezuma Castle in order to accommodate the changing patterns of visitor use, they also expressed concerns about the impacts new construction projects would have on the resources within the restricted monument boundaries. Taking these site-specific issues into consideration, the creators of the Mission 66 plans for Montezuma Castle attempted to balance the needs of development and protection. Their planning efforts began with a systematic evaluation of monument needs, problems, and resources.

In their appraisal of the conditions at Montezuma Castle, agency officials and site staff emphasized the need for additional personnel, improved roads and parking areas, more efficient visitor facilities, and better interpretive resources to assist with the current and projected levels of visitation. In 1956, the entire permanent staff at the monument consisted of Superintendent John Cook, Archeologist Sallie Van Valkenburgh, Supervisory Park Ranger Gilbert Wenger, and Clerk-Typist Dennis Murray; these four employees were responsible for the interpretation, protection, and administration duties at both the Castle and Well units of the monument. As a result of this situation, frequently only one person was on duty at the Castle, and the Well was left unattended for at least two days each week. Facing the influx of visitors brought by the new highway, the limited staff did all it could to attend to the most basic functions at the monument, such as the sale of admission tickets. The overcrowding situation meant that personnel could devote little time to patrol the area to ensure the protection of the archeological ruins or to monitor the trails and provide personal contacts and interpretive services to visitors. Short-term recommendations to remedy this situation included improving the self-guiding trail and leaflets, making the Castle model more attractive, and encouraging the use of the trails by extending them closer to the parking area. However, elevated visitation continued to have an impact on the resources and the visitor experience at Montezuma Castle before the Mission 66 plans were implemented. [22]

In addition to the need for an enlarged staff, NPS officials identified the expansion of monument facilities as a major component of the Mission 66 plans. Guiding the plans for this development was a consideration of the changing patterns of visitor use and the limitations created by the size of the monument and the nature of its sensitive resources. Since the opening of the Black Canyon Highway, monument personnel observed that the majority of visitors to both the Castle and Well sections spent less than one hour viewing the primary site features before leaving. This trend became more apparent as bus tours began stopping at the monument as part of their Phoenix to Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff to Grand Canyon trips. The high volume of visitors and the short duration of their stay necessitated creating a system to move people more efficiently through the monument while providing sufficient information to make their experience worthwhile. The small monument boundaries and the variety of cultural and natural features located within them limited the areas that could be developed to accomplish this task. [23]

The NPS officials working on the Mission 66 plans formulated a number of recommendations to address such management challenges at Montezuma Castle National Monument. First of all, it was clear that the development of a visitor center and museum was long overdue. Mission 66 plans called for the construction of a new facility to store and exhibit safely the archeological specimens from the region and to provide dynamic and effective interpretive displays for visitors. The new exhibits, planned to work in conjunction with the Sycamore Trail and the interpretive leaflets, would provide an introduction to the prehistory of the area as well as an overview of NPS sites in the region. In addition, NPS officials advocated expanding the museum displays at the Montezuma Well unit to interpret the geological, biological, and hydrological features of the monument.

The prospectus prepared for the monument museum emphasized the use of three-dimensional exhibits and visually engaging displays to attract visitors' attention and compensate for the lack of personal contact. One suggestion involved improving the appearance of the Castle model and making its interpretive message more self-explanatory. Plans for the new museum also indicated that a portion of the exhibit space should serve to educate first-time visitors to an NPS site about the nature of the protected resources and the proper use of the area. Such an instructional display, the prospectus reasoned, might prevent the unintentional misuse of trails and site resources, and would contribute to the preservation efforts at the monument. Another benefit of the new museum building had to do with its planned location between the parking lot and the trails leading to the Castle viewing area; it was hoped that from here monument staff would be better situated to make initial contacts and monitor visitor traffic and use of the area. [24]

Because of concerns about the limited space and the sensitive resources in the vicinity of Montezuma Castle, the Mission 66 plans initially placed many of the recommended developments at the Montezuma Well unit. To accommodate the enlarged monument staff, the plans called for the construction of four new residences for permanent employees and a three-unit apartment to house seasonal personnel at the Well area. The new housing at the Well would supplement the two existing adobe residences and the three proposed apartments at Montezuma Castle; the old Back family house at the Well was deemed to be in poor condition and was slated for removal. In addition, officials planned to move the monument administrative office from the old Castle museum building to a location near Montezuma Well, where there was more open space to expand the monument's facilities. The proposed new office building was to include a small visitor center, comfort station, and area for museum exhibits. Other facility improvements planned for the Well unit included the expansion of the picnic/lunch area (where new cottonwood trees were to be planted), the construction of a small utility compound, the improvement of the roads and parking areas, and the extension of the trails system. [25]

As NPS officials and monument personnel continued documenting the conditions at the monument and evaluating the recommended improvements during the late 1950s, the Mission 66 plans evolved. Although many of the initial proposals were eventually implemented, others were adapted in some way because of new considerations or changed perspectives. In the end, the Mission 66 program resulted in an almost complete renovation of the facilities at Montezuma Castle National Monument. The final improvements built around the functional components of the existing developments and complemented them with new buildings, an updated infrastructure, and facilities adequate to comfortably accommodate an enlarged staff and the projected levels of visitation. Foy L. Young and Albert G. Henson, each of whom had served as superintendent of Montezuma Castle in the period between 1956 and 1962, oversaw the planning and implementation of these projects. Their dedicated efforts, as well as those of the other monument staff and NPS officials involved in the planning and development processes, made possible the improvements to the monument and significantly contributed to the ultimate success of the Mission 66 program. The monument projects went out for bid beginning in the fall of 1957, and most of the work was completed within the next three years. In all, nearly $670,000 was spent on Mission 66 improvements at the two sections of the monument. [26]

The most striking of the additions was the new visitor center. This one-story block masonry building, roughly 2,500 square feet, included a spacious lobby, a museum exhibit room, two offices, a utility room, and a paved patio. A covered walkway connected the building with the previously constructed comfort station. Features of the visitor center included improved utilities systems, landscaped grounds, a new flagpole, and furniture for the lobby, patio area, and offices. The new museum space housed fifteen new exhibits that the NPS Eastern Museum Exhibits Planning Team designed and planned, and the agency's Western Museum Laboratory constructed. The attractive new exhibits covered a variety of topics, including the cultural and natural resources of the monument, and provided a welcome addition to the interpretive efforts at the site.

In a departure from the initial Mission 66 plans, which proposed constructing a new office building at Montezuma Well, the administrative offices for the monument were placed in the new building at the Castle unit, closer to most of the monument activities. The large and modern facility finally replaced the residence the Jackson family had built in 1926 and that had served for years as the monument office and museum. The old Jackson residence was demolished to make way for the enlargement of the parking area. The new visitor center addressed many of the needs that had long gone unmet at the heavily visited monument and became the focal point of the Castle unit; all visitors passed through the building on their way to see the ruins and here paid for their admission, received orientation and trail guides from monument staff, and viewed the museum exhibits and interpretive displays.

The visitor center was also the center of attention at the public celebration of the monument improvements carried out under the Mission 66 program. Public officials from across the state joined NPS representatives and citizens of the Verde Valley on 18 September 1960 to dedicate the new visitor center and call attention to the numerous enhancements to the monument facilities. Senator Barry Goldwater gave the principal address, and Jack McDonald of Arizona Public Service served as the master of ceremonies for the event. Other honorary guests on the program included Boyd Gibbons Jr., special assistant to Governor Fannin, and Thomas Allen, regional director of the National Park Service. Local groups also participated in the day's festivities, providing musical entertainment and helping with the ribbon-cutting and flag-raising ceremonies. The event turned out to be a great success; more than two thousand people visited Montezuma Castle during the day, and many Verde Valley businesses and organizations showed their appreciation for the monument renovations in notices printed in a special edition of the Verde Independent dedicated to the occasion (figure 30). [27]

Figure 30. Front page of the Verde Independent celebrating the dedication of the new Montezuma Castle visitor center building, Verde Independent, 15 September 1960.

The dedication ceremony provided the Park Service an opportunity to showcase the new visitor center and the other improvements to the monument. At the Castle unit, the new developments involved the expansion of facilities to accommodate both monument staff and visitors comfortably. For seasonal employees assigned to help with the influx of visitation at Montezuma Castle, a three-unit apartment complex was built adjacent to the two existing adobe residences. These one-bedroom apartments featured individual bathrooms, kitchens, and living rooms as well as a shared laundry room. The complex was built by Clyde Hutcheson of Flagstaff, the same contractor who had completed the new Montezuma Castle visitor center. The apartments provided a welcome addition to the housing facilities at the monument and created much-needed living space for the expanded staff. The improvement and enlargement of the water, sewer, and electrical systems were also undertaken as part of the Mission 66 activities at the Castle unit. Contractors dug a new 160-foot well for the water supply system in the Castle area and connected this well to a pump and a newly built 50,000-gallon storage tank. The old cesspools were also replaced at this time by a new system consisting of collection lines from all of the buildings in the Castle unit, a sump and pumping station to pump sewage under Beaver Creek, a 3,600-cubic-yard sewage lagoon, and a new 7,500-gallon septic tank. In addition, contractors installed 555 feet of underground cable for the electric and telephone systems at the monument. [28]

In order to provide easy staff access to the residences and maintenance facilities, a spur road and paved service trail were constructed linking this area with the main Castle entrance road. Work on this project involved clearing and grading the area; installing concrete curbs, gutters, and walks; and surfacing and coating the roadway. Another improvement undertaken at the Castle unit was the expansion of the parking area so that it could handle the heavy vehicle traffic passing through the monument. This expansion included demolishing the old museum/administration building; excavating and grading the area; installing concrete curbs, gutters, and walks; erecting stone masonry guard and retaining walls; and surfacing the entire parking area. In addition, proper drainage features were incorporated into the parking lot design, and the surrounding area, including the parking island and planter areas, was landscaped. [29]

The facilities at the Montezuma Well unit also received a much-needed renovation under the Mission 66 program. One project that greatly facilitated access to the unit was the improvement of the entrance road leading from the county road to the Well and the picnic and residential areas. It should be noted that monument staff had already given its attention to the picnic area at Montezuma Well. During the spring of 1955, they significantly expanded the picnic area and planted a large number of shade trees to improve the grounds for the Verde Valley Pioneers Association and the other local groups that regularly used the picnic area. To provide adequate sanitary facilities to visitors and replace the pit toilets that had previously served the Well unit, a mobile comfort station was set up in a twenty-five-by-eight-foot trailer that was connected with sewer and electrical lines. Although the National Park Service planned to use this arrangement only until permanent facilities could be provided, the mobile comfort station served visitors to the Well unit for many years to come. NPS officials also had two new residences built at the Well unit to provide additional housing for the enlarged monument staff. The two frame construction, three-bedroom houses were prebuilt in Phoenix and transported to the foundations constructed at the monument. Day labor was used to construct the water, sewer, gas, and electrical systems for these residences. The monument staff also employed day labor to landscape around the homes, which included constructing cement walks in front and in back of each residence and planting lawns and native trees on the grounds. [30]

Two of the more interesting Mission 66 projects at the monument related to archeological sites at the Well unit. The first of these projects involved the construction of a fifty-by-thirty-six-foot shelter around the previously excavated Hohokam pit house located along the Well entrance road. The shelter provided protection to the exposed ruins and created space for the interpretation of a prehistoric feature built before the Sinagua occupation of the area. The other project provided funds for the excavation and stabilization of the Swallet Cave ruin, located inside the Well rim. The excavation was planned to salvage prehistoric artifacts from the site before wind, rain, and visitor vandalism caused further damage. In addition, the monument benefited from the project by acquiring recovered artifacts that could be displayed in the new visitor center and by stabilizing a portion of the excavated ruin as a trailside exhibit. The staff also at this time added new trailside displays and stabilized some of the other prehistoric features at the Well. [31]

Most of the Mission 66 developments had been completed in time to be showcased during the visitor center dedication celebration, but work on other projects took place after 1960. Improvements such as the construction of a three-stall garage and storage shelter in the Montezuma Castle maintenance area and the addition of lights and an automatic audio program to the Castle model display contributed to the efforts to upgrade the facilities and services at both the Castle and Well units. From the enlarged staff to the new visitor center to the improved roads and trails, the work performed in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the National Park Service gave Montezuma Castle National Monument a long overdue face-lift and enabled the site to meet many of the challenges it had experienced in the postwar years.

The Mission 66 improvements also altered the appearance of the facilities at Montezuma Castle and other sites throughout the NPS system. The designs for the new structures abandoned the rustic architecture that characterized earlier developments in favor of a more modern and urban style. Though many of the new projects throughout the NPS system received criticism for not being suited to their surrounding landscapes, the utilitarian buildings proved to be extremely efficient and relatively inexpensivequalities that the agency leadership found highly appealing. [32 ] Thus, in terms of appearance and functionality, the additions made under the Mission 66 program truly ushered Montezuma Castle National Monument into the modern era (figure 31).

Figure 31. The new apartment building at Montezuma Castle, one of the modern-style Mission 66 developments at the monument. Photo in the Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments administrative office, building data files.

This modern era, however, came with its own set of challenges and problems. Despite the enormous impact of the Mission 66 program on monument resources, shortcomings of the site facilities soon became apparent. The master plan prepared for the monument in 1964 identified a number of areas that already needed attention. These recommendations resulted from both Mission 66 plans that had not been implemented and the strain that the continually increasing visitation placed on the new facilities. Most notably, the document emphasized the need to develop better visitor facilities at Montezuma Well, including a new visitor center specifically for that unit and an administration building (a project that Mission 66 plans had recommended earlier), updated utilities systems, improved interpretive devices and exhibits, and a paved entrance road. The need for additional personnel at each section of the monument was also noted. Although the staff had already been increased in recent years with permanent and seasonal employees, the particularly heavy travel season in the summer months necessitated additional staff to give adequate attention to both visitors and monument resources. To relieve the crowding in the Castle area, the plan suggested hiring a professional interpreter to develop group programs and indicated that a change was needed in the trail leading through the Castle A area to reduce visitor congestion and damage being done to the ruins. Other proposals for the Castle unit included expanding the visitor center to handle increasing visitation, replacing the comfort station with larger and more modern facilities, widening the entrance road to accommodate the higher levels of vehicle traffic, and improving the exhibits along the Sycamore Trail. [33]

Although several of the recommendations set out in the 1964 master plan were implemented in later years, there has not been another large-scale development initiative to impact Montezuma Castle significantly since the Mission 66 program. The improvements from this era thus have continued to serve as the primary site facilitiesthe foundation upon which all other additions and enhancements have been built. In the years following the completion of the Mission 66 projects, the monument staff oversaw the regular maintenance of the site facilities, made general improvements as needed, and initiated new developments when absolutely necessary and when funds were available. Most of these later developments, however, came in response to a severe problem or need and had to wait until the required expense and effort could be justified.

Maintenance work at the monument included fixing damage caused by the periodic flooding of Beaver Creek. Although the completion of a revetment dam at the Castle unit in 1934 provided protection to the monument resources, water levels still reached the area in front of the Castle during large floods in 1938, 1951—52, 1970, 1978, and 1993. Repairs to the trails and picnic grounds had to be made after these major events. The flood that took place on 5 September 1970 also caused damage to the Castle model exhibit, dislodging the diorama housing and washing it one hundred feet down the trail. The model itself did not sustain significant damage, but the shelter structure had to be rebuilt entirely the following year. [34]

Some of the more routine maintenance and repair work at the monument involved the upkeep of the road and trail systems. Because of the heavy vehicle and foot traffic at both the Castle and Well units, staff regularly resurfaced the worn routes. They also made occasional repairs and adjustments over the years, including surfacing the trail through the Castle A area with concrete to strengthen the floors of the ruins, adding stripes to the Castle entrance road to direct traffic better, and paving the Well entrance road from where it left the dirt county road in the northwest portion of the Well unit. In addition, the monument took advantage of labor provided by the Young Adult Conservation Corps (YACC) during the late 1970s and early 1980s to install concrete trails and rock retaining walls at both monument units and to extend the interpretive trail to a scenic spot overlooking Beaver Creek at the Castle unit. [35]

The high impact to the monument resources caused by the continually increasing levels of visitation necessitated the ongoing maintenance and repair efforts, but also led to a rethinking of the management plans for the monument. By the mid-1970s, NPS officials started to view the operations of Montezuma Castle within the larger context of the changes taking place in the Verde Valley. The explosive growth of southwestern metropolitan centers had affected the region in the years immediately after World War II. Tourism became an increasingly important industry in the Verde Valley at this time, serving the recreational needs of these nearby cities. The Mission 66 program developments were planned to prepare Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well, and the neighboring Tuzigoot National Monument to meet the challenges associated with the expanding tourism to the region. However, the Verde Valley soon began experiencing a rapid population growth of its own. [36] The pleasant climate and regional amenities attracted many new residents, and the demand for land rapidly grew. As interest in real estate increased and land values escalated, farmers and ranchers in the region, who previously were quite successful in their endeavors, found it difficult to make profitable use of their large property holdings and started to subdivide them for housing developments and trailer villages. Increasing numbers of visitors and new residents were transforming the area communities, which earlier had been characterized primarily by agricultural and mining activities. This regional development began to alter the setting of the monuments and natural features, and created new pressures on area resources. [37]

In the midst of these regional changes, it became clear that even the new visitor-use facilities at Montezuma Castle and Well were inadequate to serve the continually increasing levels of visitation, so NPS officials began looking for solutions to monument overcrowding. Yet whereas previous developments had been oriented toward making the monument units self-sufficient and independent of the surrounding area, current plans took into closer account the constraints of the monument boundaries and the limited financial resources available to the NPS, and they advocated coordinating new developments with the surrounding community. Proposals included exploring the possibility of developing intra- and interagency facilities and integrating visitor interpretation and outreach programs into a community-wide effort. The 1975 master plan for the monument stated the issue as such: "If the Verde Valley is to retain its natural and scenic character amid the pressures of exploding population and technological change, regional planning of the valley must begin immediately with participation at all levels of government and by private citizens." [38]

Such recommendations advanced ideas that had already begun to shape monument policies. Most notably, the NPS had combined the administration of Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments into a single management unit in order to increase efficiency and eliminate redundant administrative services. In September 1974, Glen Henderson was transferred from Tonto National Monument to serve as the superintendent at Tuzigoot. Shortly thereafter, Montezuma Castle superintendent Edward Nichols was transferred to Golden Spike National Historic Site, and Henderson became the acting superintendent of the Castle and Well units. At the beginning of 1975, the NPS formalized this administrative arrangement and made Henderson the first superintendent in charge of both Verde Valley monuments. Although there had been a great degree of interaction and cooperation between the two monuments since the entry of Tuzigoot into the NPS system in 1939, their official joint administration allowed the monuments to make more efficient use of their shared resources and staff expertise, and to make management decisions that responded better to regional changes. This situation also helped in NPS efforts to coordinate the interpretive stories presented at the three Verde Valley monument units (Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well, and Tuzigoot). [39]

Another significant change in policy, planned to help with the overcrowding at the monument units, involved moving the administrative offices and visitor orientation facilities to a location outside of monument boundaries. The 1975 master plan articulated the reasons behind the decision to combine monument services and situate them in the nearby community:

A reallocation of uses of the land and a realignment of functions is necessary to the implementation of the "Premise" and the "Visitor Experience Concept" of this plan. The managers must continuously reappraise the physical facilities of these monuments to determine the degree to which they are efficiently performing an essential function in an evolving world. Within the framework of this concept, facilities must be programmed for deletion, addition, and revision to serve program and administrative needs of the future. [40]

The master plan suggested that the interpretive programs continue to be carried out at each of the monument units, but recommended that other functions be relocated to a new structural complex in order to relieve congestion (primarily at the Castle unit) and to free up more space within the monuments to permit increased visitation "without diminishing the quality of the experience." NPS officials contended that the limited available space within monument boundaries would best be used only for necessary on-site functions. Two potential locations for a new complex to house the off-site monument services were a site on the mesa above the Castle ruins or the Yavapai-Apache Cultural Center, which was proposed to be built near Montezuma Castle at the Middle Verde Interchange on Interstate 17 (recently upgraded from State Routes 69 and 79). Ultimately, the agency decided to move the monument functions to the proposed Yavapai-Apache complex.

The National Park Service played an instrumental role in the creation of the cultural center. The impetus for the idea came from the passage of federal legislation in the mid- to late 1970s that authorized and encouraged agencies to provide economic assistance to American Indian communities. At this time, the Yavapai-Apache Nation, based out of the nearby Camp Verde, Middle Verde, and Clarkdale reservations, approached NPS officials about its plans to acquire and develop land near Interstate 17 and inquired if the agency would be interested in office and visitor space. Capitalizing on the new tribal assistance legislation, the NPS contributed funds to the development of the cultural center and, in doing so, also helped address some of the problems that had recently been identified at the Verde Valley monuments. [41]

In the first phase of the project, completed in 1981, the Yavapai-Apache Nation built a regional visitor information center, a gasoline station and convenience store, and a one-hundred-unit RV campground. The National Park Service began leasing roughly six thousand square feet of the information center building from the nation to serve as the administrative headquarters and visitor orientation center for Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments. According to the terms of the lease, the nation provided maintenance and upkeep for the cultural center, and the NPS assumed responsibility for the custody, operation, maintenance, and design of exhibits and audiovisual programs orienting visitors to the monuments, as well as educational displays on the heritage of the Yavapai-Apache people. In keeping with the ideas set out in recent master plans, the new center represented a community-based partnership that offered visitors an introduction to the Verde Valley monuments as well as regional American Indian culture. The exhibits presented issues relating to human uses of natural resources of the Verde Valley in prehistoric, historic, and contemporary times, drawing connections between the legacies of the past and the challenges of the future in the region. [42]

More importantly, however, the transfer of the administrative and orientation functions to this new center opened up space within monument boundaries for additional site interpretation services, which were badly needed for the constantly increasing numbers of visitors. In evaluating the needs at Montezuma Castle, officials identified the most significant resources and services, and suggested that the monument would further benefit if non-site-specific functions could be relocated to outside of its boundaries. For example, planners called for the National Park Service to operate a public transportation system between the Yavapai-Apache Cultural Center and the Castle in order to alleviate the parking shortages and congestion frequently experienced at that unit. By utilizing parking space at the cultural center and providing shuttle service during the heavy visitor-use season, the NPS reasoned that it could restrict private vehicles from the monument itself and eliminate the circulation problems. The agency also entertained the idea of removing the staff housing facilities from Montezuma Castle in order to restore the riparian environment along Beaver Creek and open it to visitor use. Following the spirit of the 1975 master plan, officials reevaluated the land uses and facilities at the monument and determined that in light of the recent regional development and construction of local housing, there was no longer a need for the residences in their present location. They did, however, consider building a residence near a proposed gatehouse entrance to the Castle unit in order to assist with resource protection and patrol duties. Although the plans for removing the existing staff residences and using the Yavapai-Apache Cultural Center as a monument staging area never materialized, later developments initiated by the Yavapai-Apache Nation impacted the arrangement of monument facilities (figure 32). [43]

Figure 32. Proposed development changes at the Montezuma Castle unit. Final Master Plan, Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments, 1975, 24. (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

The second phase of the Yavapai-Apache Cultural Center, completed in 1989, included the addition of an eighty-unit motel with a restaurant and conference rooms, and a large maintenance facility, consisting of a two-thousand-square-foot building and a fifteen-thousand-square-foot fenced compound. The NPS began leasing the entire maintenance facility as soon as this portion of the complex became available in 1985 and relocated most of its maintenance and shop operations for the monuments here. Although this arrangement potentially allowed the agency to remove the old maintenance building at the Castle and use the area for other purposes, nothing has been done with this structure to date, and the NPS continues to lease the maintenance facility at the cultural center. The motel, managed for the nation by the Best Western Company, has contributed significantly to efforts to stimulate economic growth for the nation and has provided resources that have enabled it to play a more active role in regional issues. For example, tribal representatives have shown more interest in local politics and have participated more frequently in council meetings and in planning and zoning hearings in order to benefit the nation. One victory for the nation through these efforts involved having the reservation designated as a Class 1 air-quality area. [44]

The successes of the Yavapai-Apache Nation resulted in the continued expansion of the cultural center, which in turn affected the NPS lease of the information center building. As the nation became engaged in planning the new developments at the center and in securing the right to open a gaming enterprise there, monument officials felt that it failed to live up to its maintenance responsibilities at the information center and used its resources instead toward supporting future projects. The nation more ardently pursued its goal of opening a casino as part of the cultural center complex in the early 1990s and, as conflicts over the management of the information center surfaced, canceled its lease of this building to the NPS in November 1992 to make room for the gaming operations. The lease of the maintenance building and compound was unaffected by this decision and has continued to the present. [45] The nation utilized the former information center and newly constructed space for its Cliff Castle Casino, which opened its doors in May 1995. The first phase of the casino development featured eight thousand square feet of floor space, 375 electronic slot and video poker machines, and an eighty-four-seat restaurant and cocktail lounge. Subsequent construction phases have significantly enlarged the casino facilities and have brought additional economic gains to the Yavapai-Apache Nation. [46] The popular Cliff Castle Casino represented a new attraction in the Verde Valley that served to further increase visitation to the area monuments. And, as a result of the closing of the visitor information center in the cultural center complex several years earlier, the NPS was left without a valuable resource in its efforts to accommodate the monument crowds.

After the termination of its lease for space in the Yavapai-Apache Cultural Center, the NPS relocated the Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot administrative offices to a rented office building in Camp Verde, roughly five miles away from Montezuma Castle. The NPS continues to lease this space for the monument offices. However, the agency has not yet replaced the visitor orientation center formerly located in the tribal complex. This center provided visitors with information about the monuments and other regional attractions, and relieved the monument staff from many basic orientation functions; since its closure, these services have had to be provided on-site at the already crowded monuments.

To address this revisited problem and other related management challenges, the monument administration began meeting in the early 1990s with representatives from other public agencies about the development of a shared visitor and administration center. The proposed complex would feature a regional interagency visitor center, office space for staff from the various agencies, maintenance shops, and storage areas; it would offer tourist information and an orientation to the publicly managed area attractions, meet the administrative and maintenance needs of the participating agencies, and enable them to share resources and expertise in the pursuit of their individual management goals. Such a cooperative effort would greatly benefit all of the agencies involved and would make responsible use of the resources of the Verde Valley, especially in light of the rapid growth and development of the region. After continued discussions about this idea, the Forest Service, Arizona State Parks Department, and the National Park Service signed an intergovernmental agreement expressing their commitment to work toward the development of the proposed complex adjacent to Interstate 17; however, no concrete steps have yet been made toward the fulfillment of this plan, largely because of the considerable cost it would entail. If the idea ever comes to fruition, the National Park Service will be better prepared to meet the current management challenges at its Verde Valley monuments. [47]

In addition to rethinking the placement of facilities and their relationship with the resources at Montezuma Castle, NPS officials recognized the need to make substantial changes at the Well unit. Though the National Park Service renovated the facilities at the Well shortly after its acquisition in 1947, many of the buildings had become outdated and no longer fit in with the agency's management goals for the site. The Mission 66 developmentswhich included new residences, an expanded picnic area, a mobile comfort station, and displays of excavated archeological featuresimproved conditions at the Well, but did not resolve all of the problems brought on by the growing visitation to the site. Further, these developments conflicted with land-use and -management values emphasized in later assessments of the Well unit. The 1975 master plan identified the perceived shortcomings of the existing facilities:

Visitor-use facilities have never truly been developed at the Well section. A limited road and trail system, and a picnic area located without regard to the prehistoric use of the land, together with staff housing that equally disregarded the resource, account for the development of this unit of Montezuma Castle National Monument. Except for the staff housing, which should be relocated if retained, the development of visitor-use and administrative facilities can start with a clean slate. [48]

This plan and subsequent monument plans offered recommendations for the improvement of conditions at Montezuma Well. These recommendations included proposals for the realignment of a portion of the county access road to control the interior circulation system and to eliminate the intrusion presented by the existing dirt road; the development of a visitor contact and interpretive facility to encourage appropriate exploration of the resources at the Well; the addition of limited administrative facilities to promote more regular on-site staff involvement; the improvement of the restroom facilities; and the removal of existing staff housing from the site of prehistoric Sinagua farmlands to a proposed gatehouse, patrol center, and residence facility to be situated near the north monument boundary (figure 33). [49]

Figure 33. Proposed development changes at the Montezuma Well unit. Final Master Plan, Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments, 1975, 28. (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

NPS officials advocated creating a comprehensive design plan to coordinate the proposed changes at the Well. Since its inclusion in the NPS system, Montezuma Well had suffered from the agency's hopeful attempts to adapt existing facilities and its haphazard developments to address urgent issues. Despite the obvious need for such a comprehensive plan to guide changes at the Well unit, facility improvements occurred only when absolutely necessary and as funds permitted. In 1975, the NPS constructed a small frame-construction visitor contact station and a parking area at the trailhead to Montezuma Well to replace the old stone museum built by the Back family in 1932; the old museum structure was determined to be unsafe for occupancy and was closed in 1972. The new contact station was not large enough to house exhibits or for use as a visitor center, but at least provided a fixed public contact point. Although the agency recognizes the ongoing need for a strategically placed interpretive center, the tiny contact station continues to serve as the primary location for visitor outreach at the Well unit. Other changes at the Well included the removal of the remaining adobe guest house originally built by the Back family and the replacement of the old comfort station with a new trailer restroom in 1981. Aside from these improvements and regular maintenance and repair work, the facilities at Montezuma Well remain virtually unchanged from their condition at the completion of the Mission 66 projects. [50]

Similar to the situation at the Well unit, few major facility developments have taken place at Montezuma Castle since the 1960s, despite their obvious need. Monument planning and management documents called for dramatic changes for most of the site facilities and services to address the challenges associated with the rising visitation levels, but insufficient funds and agency priorities have prevented the administration from carrying out the full slate of proposals. As a result, improvements such as the leasing of space at the Yavapai-Apache Cultural Center had only a limited impact on monument operations. Though the agency did not provide the resources to make the large-scale changes envisioned for the Castle unit, it furnished money for small but critical repair, maintenance, and development activities. Such projects included rebuilding the shelter for the Castle model display following its destruction in the Labor Day flood of 1970; removing the old comfort station adjacent to the Castle visitor center and constructing a larger, more modern facility in its place in 1981; adding improved metal interpretive signs along the self-guiding trails in 1985; and performing necessary upkeep of the Castle roads, trails, and structures. [51] In addition, the monument administration worked with the Southwest Parks and Monuments Association on the partial expansion of the Castle visitor center in the mid-1990s to create extra space for the gift shop run by this nonprofit organization without impeding the flow of visitor traffic through the often congested building.

One improvement project came about as a result of concerns expressed by the local community and outside agencies. Following the 1979 flooding of Beaver Creek, which inundated the sewage lagoon serving the Castle and released raw sewage into the creek, the Northern Arizona Council of Governments requested that the National Park Service relocate the lagoon to higher ground. Subsequent studies evaluated this situation and recommended an alternate site and a sewage and disposal system to replace the existing flood-damaged lagoon. An environmental assessment report prepared in 1981 for the proposed new sewage treatment and disposal system indicated that the existing sewage lagoon created problems because of its location in a floodplain and that this facility was a possible source of groundwater pollution owing to its proximity to Beaver Creek and the monument domestic water supply. To alleviate this problem, in the mid-1980s, the NPS developed a new sewage system consisting of four lined lagoons with an accompanying collection system and a sewage lift station. This new treatment and disposal system, placed southeast of the monument residential and maintenance area and outside of the floodplain of Beaver Creek, has resolved the potential problems caused by flooding and provides adequate service to the Castle area. [52]

The most recent plans for the monument involve the proposed redevelopment of the Castle museum and interpretive facilities. Most of the existing exhibits and displays have been in place since the completion of the Mission 66 projects and need to be updated or replaced. Though NPS officials created an interpretive plan as early as 1975 to address the shortcomings of these facilities, the agency did not make any significant changes until more than fifteen years later. At this time, interpretive specialists from regional and national NPS offices visited Montezuma Castle and four other Arizona monuments facing similar circumstances to evaluate existing resources and conditions, review travel patterns and the visitor experience, identify significant interpretive themes, and suggest a media design for a new interpretive program at each of the sites. The group's interpretive prospectus suggested that the following topics be explored at Montezuma Castle National Monument: the prehistoric settlement in the Verde Valley, the architecture and construction of Montezuma Castle, daily life of the Sinagua people, the Upper Sonoran Desert ecosystem and desert riparian habitats, prehistoric agriculture, Hohokam/Sinaguan cooperation, the geologic history of the region, the cultural and natural features at Montezuma Well, and the relationship of the monument to other NPS sites and to modern American Indian groups. In order to implement the proposed interpretive program, the prospectus called for updating the layout of the Montezuma Castle visitor center, revamping the museum exhibits there, modifying the loop trail at the Castle, and adding two new wayside exhibits at the Well unit. [53]

Glen Kaye of the NPS Southwest Support System Office translated the general ideas articulated in this prospectus into specific recommendations in the Montezuma Castle National Monument Exhibit Concept Plan. This report completely revised the design and content of exhibits in the visitor center at Montezuma Castle while taking into account the physical limits of the building and the patterns of visitor use at the monument. It called for the removal of the existing display cases and the total renovation of the museum area to prepare for the installation of the new exhibits and related structural improvements. The report also considered the placement of the visitor center wing proposed to make room for the Southwest Parks and Monuments Association gift shop and for free space for exhibit use and traffic flow. [54]

Nineteen specific exhibits were designed for the new museum area, covering many of the topics identified in the earlier interpretive prospectus. The updated interpretive story will build on current archeological and scientific research as well as changing perspectives on various aspects of the monument. The displays will feature a diversity of materials and presentations, including prehistoric artifacts, historic photographs, detailed maps, short video programs, a new model of Montezuma Castle, and a reconstructed room from the Castle. [55] It should be noted that the NPS evaluated the collections at the monument, including those to be included in the new exhibits, and took appropriate measures to be in compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). [56] Agency officials consulted with affiliated American Indian nations on the design of these exhibits to ensure that they accurately and sensitively interpret the features at the monument. In August 1997, the NPS authorized a $45,000 contract with Turner Exhibits, Inc., to develop further the design concepts outlined in the Montezuma Castle National Monument Exhibit Concept Plan and to prepare final drawings for the visitor center museum. [57] The museum developments will be paid for with funds from the Southwestern Parks and Monuments Association. When these exhibits are finally completed and installed, they will offer a welcome addition to the monument resources and will help tremendously in the efforts to accommodate the rising levels of visitation.

Interestingly, one of the interpretive themes suggested for the new museum reflects on the prehistoric inhabitants of Montezuma Castle as well as the current situation of the monument. Looking at the Verde Valley through the lens of human ecology, the interpretive plan from 1975 proposed to explore the succession of prehistoric and historic cultures in the region by way of their cultural patterns, social organizations, technologies, and worldviews. Despite their many differences, these culturesincluding Hohokam, Sinagua, Yavapai-Apache, Spanish, and Angloare linked by the fact that they have both shaped and been shaped by the Verde Valley. Drawing further connections between the prehistoric and modern contexts of the region, the plan emphasized the lessons to be learned from the past inhabitants of the valley:

Remnants of Sinagua material culture preserved in these monuments illustrate the fit, the balance between man and the earth's resources at the level of physical need and fulfillment. . . . The main purpose of interpretation in these monuments is to convert the meaning of this ancient pattern of culture into modern termsthat is, into a pattern for modern times. For it is obvious that contemporary man, too, must strike a balance with his planet. . . . Today, accelerating imbalance between man and nature erodes and consumes the Verde Valley. Responding to this threat to an immediate environment, the visitor experience opportunities at Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monument offer perspective on the past, present, and problematical future of this region. With such a perspective, based on an understanding of cultural diversity, the visitorsparticularly the people of this region may elect to choose the culture pattern that shapes the future they really want. [58]

Perhaps such lessons will be instructive to the National Park Service as it prepares Montezuma Castle National Monument to face the challenges of the twenty-first century and its next one hundred years as a national monument. Situated amidst a context of rapid growth and development, the monument continues to struggle to meet the dual missions of preserving the unique and fragile resources of the area and accommodating tourism and public use. Although the modern developments undertaken since the 1940s have significantly improved the facilities at the monument and enabled the NPS to protect resources and serve visitors better, the continually increasing visitation and the regional changes have presented new management issues to be reconciled. The bevy of bus tours and constant traffic of visitors through the Castle and Well units now overwhelm the existing facilities and necessitate substantial improvements and changes. In addition to these development needs, future plans for the monument will be shaped by considerations regarding the natural and cultural resources of the area. During the past fifty years, research programs and resource management efforts have evolved significantly and have provided insightful perspectives on the various resources at the monument. Chapters 6 and 7 trace the evolution of the natural and cultural resource management programs at Montezuma Castle National Monument within the context of the NPS administration and consider the effects of these programs on the development of the monument.



A Past Preserved in Stone:
A History of Montezuma Castle National Monument

©2002, Western National Parks Association
protas/chap5.htm — 27-Nov-2002