"It is very dusty work to dig for relics....We dug for an hour or more, and found...cornstalks, corncobs in abundance, beans, gourds, nuts, reeds, arrows, bowstrings,...coarse cloth, a child's sandal, a measuring stick with notches at regular intervals, smoothly worn sticks of hard wood, bone needles, a fish line, soapweed needles, broken pottery, etc. In visiting other dwellings we added to these relics, and came away heavily laden."
One woman's account of her trip to Walnut Canyon as reported in the San Francisco Call, ca. 1890.
A number of rooms in Walnut Canyon, like this one, were destroyed by visitors who came armed with shovels and left with souvenirs - an acceptable, even promoted practice during the late 1800s.
Meanwhile, other visitors and local citizens, so moved by this canyon and its dwellings, and outraged by the looting, lobbied for federal protection.
On November 30, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the establishment of Walnut Canyon National Monument.
How Our Thinking Has Changed...
These sites are part of living cultures and deserve our respect.
Today, removing or digging for relics is illegal.
Sitting or leaning on walls can cause irreparable damage.
Photos: Early visitors enjoy outings to Walnut Canyon, ca. 1895