Magdalena Cabins 2017 - Passport in Time

Go to content

Main menu:

Previous Projects > States M-R
Magdalena Historic Cabin Recording Project

Cibola National Forest and Grasslands, New Mexico, 2017
By Kathi Turner, Marty McMahon, Doug Kosik, Toby Pitroff, and Sandra Arazi-Coambs, U.S. Forest Service
We had a great Passport In Time (PIT) project on the Cibola National Forest & National Grasslands. The Magdalena Ranger District hosted our project this year at the Water Canyon Group Campground. The project was to either record or update older recordings of “cabin” sites on the Ranger District. Three of the sites were also being looked at to see determine if they may be a good fit for the Recreation Rental program. The other sites were recorded to update our Wildland Fire Use Historic Properties report.

We had eight (8) volunteers come out from Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico to help with the project. Some of our volunteers were repeat Cibola PIT volunteers, some had not been on a Cibola project before and we had one first time PIT volunteer!

Water Canyon Site was used the first day to train the volunteers on site recording methods. Water Canyon Cabin was constructed originally for use as a guard station on the Cibola NF. It was constructed by the CCC between 1939 and 1940. While out at the site our crew discovered an unrecorded pre-contact component to the site. Several flaked lithics, including obsidian, were located and recorded.

In the following days, we split up into four crews and spread out over the District. One crew went out to Monica Cabin, also used as a Ranger/Guard station in the early days of the Cibola NF. It was used, by the District, until the 1990’s as an office/housing mainly for fire personnel. This crew spent two days recording the main house, garage, barn, corral, outhouse, and other features of the site.

Another crew went to Pigeon Cabin, a single room “house” used as a guard station. The original building was torn down in 1961 and a “new” building constructed in its place. The next day a crew drove up to record the remains of a log cabin near the peak of South Baldy. Our first-time PIT volunteer, and only local, asked around after the project and found out from a friend that this cabin was built by a local rancher who had a large allotment to run cattle and built the cabin to stay in when the cattle were at the higher elevation.

The third crew spent a day and a half at Frenchie’s Cabin located at the trailhead for Trail 26. This site was constructed for a mining claim and the area is still used by hikers. There are two log buildings and the entrance to the mine. The mine entrance has a metal door (locked) closing off the entrance.

The fourth crew went to attempt to relocate three cabin sites that had not been visited since the late 1970s. While they only found the remains of one of the sites, they had a great time surveying through the woods on the east side of the San Mateo Mountains.

Field trip day involved a trip to the Very Large Array (VLA) and a trip to Gallinas Springs Pueblo. We wanted to make sure we covered a large span of time – from the very beginnings of time to the present! That night at camp we also received a visit from the Cibola Forest Archeologist Jeremy Kulisheck and Will Reed, PIT National Coordinator and our Region 3 Heritage Program Manager. Not only did Will and Jeremy thank all the volunteers for their support and time, but Will gave a wonderful a flint knapping demonstration.

We want to thank all our Volunteers: Ray Hanson, EF Wade, Diane & Greg Ambrose, Dan Deloria, Cheryl McConnell, Lee Riley, and Gary VanderWeide. We couldn’t have had such a fun successful project without you all! And I’m sorry we never made it to Pie Town!
Back to content | Back to main menu