Guide to Palo Duro Canyon (1966)

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BrazosBendHorn
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We were doing some cleaning out in the garage, and I found this old (Copyright 1966) guide to PD Canyon. I scanned some of the more interesting pages. Enjoy ...










CanyonAg77
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AG
Did you ever take the chair lift? I think I came to PD Canyon as early as 1965 or so, and I don't ever remember it being there.

There is a new housing development near Sunday Canyon. The remains of one of the skyride towers is still there.

Map Link

One of these two bare spots is where I think I saw the remains.

[This message has been edited by CanyonAg77 (edited 9/2/2011 10:47p).]
BrazosBendHorn
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Yes, I rode the skyride, once. (it was probably around 1968 or 1969, best as I can remember).

Here's a google maps link showing the area on the mesa where the tower was located. You can see where they excavated a portion of the rim to accommodate the skyride:
map link

Later on the 1970s I hiked up to the top of the mesa and wandered around where the skyride tower used to be. I found some very old bottle caps up there (remember when they used to sometimes have things under the cork liner? card games or pictures of baseball players?)

btw, notice on the map pages from the guide that the Lighthouse was located outside the boundaries of the state park at that time. I know they later acquired some parcels of land so that the Lighthouse was in the boundaries, but I couldn't tell you when that was (1970s or 1980s?)

[This message has been edited by BrazosBendHorn (edited 9/2/2011 11:23p).]
CanyonAg77
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AG
Someone told me that the folks who owned the Lighthouse also grazed cattle within the state park boundaries. When their grazing rights were threatened, they threatened to fence off access to the Lighthouse. Grazing rights were restored.

And I don't think it was too long ago that the state got the Lighthouse. Around 2000, they also acquired a big hunk o'land SW of the park. Seems like it is in a preserve/refuge, with no plans to open it to general tourism.

A year or so ago, they also got control of some land on the NE corner of the park, with an eye toward blocking housing developments within vision of the park.

[This message has been edited by CanyonAg77 (edited 9/3/2011 8:04a).]
CanyonAg77
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AG
I must have found something else at Sunday Canyon, it's nowhere near the area you linked.
BrazosBendHorn
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The map in the guide shows the base of the skylift being along the main road, about halfway between the Sad Monkey RR and Water Crossing #1. It's possible that they moved the remains of the skylift tower from its original position to the location where you saw it.
CanyonAg77
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AG
quote:
It's possible that they moved the remains of the skylift tower from its original position to the location where you saw it.

Thanks for being kind to the old guy, but whatever steel I saw was most probably NOT part of the sky ride.

And I wonder if this area may be where the base of the ride used to be? The parking area is for a trailhead, but one can imagine its origin as the skyride. And there is a strange rectangular object, one wonders if it might be part of the ride, a leftover concrete foundation or something. I'll have to go check sometime.

[This message has been edited by CanyonAg77 (edited 9/4/2011 4:56p).]
Kerryknorpp
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I moved to Canyon in the Summer of 1959 and soon began working for Pete Cowart, the Palo Duro Park Superintendent and Consessionaire, as there had been a flood and a lot of clean-up of the Canyon was required. Following that effort, he hired me to work at the Coronado Lodge on the Rim of the Canyon, which was a gift shop and cafe at that time. The worse part of the job, when I was running the operation alone, was when a bus would arrive and order 30+ burgers. I couldn't watch the store while I was cooking, but generally didn't loose many things due to the Teachers who were with the Buses.
Pete later moved me to Engineer of the Sad Monkey Railroad, and he, Rosa, his wife and I re-wrote the spiel which was given for years on the SMRR. Several guys my age ran the Snack Bar at the RR which sold frozen custard. That is where Bill the Deer lived, and mooched food and cigarettes from the Tourists.
When my children's class was riding the RR in later years, and the train threw a chain, possibly stranding all of us far from the station, I was able to show the young Engineer how to put the chain back on, as it had been doing that for years. My kids thought I was cool that one day!

Pete hired some help and I moved to the sky ride. Pete had just constructed the ride and we were working on bolting the chairs to the main cable. When that was completed, we began service in late Fall, 1959. I later bought half interest in the ride on a handshake with Pete, and moved to the Canyon to live, the next Summer, so I could run the ride every light hour (and some dark ones) of the day. I lived in a tool shed at the ride base located above the first crossing on the west side of the highway. A windmill, which was my only source of water was due South of where I stayed. This was my High School Junior/Senior Summer, when I really decided to go to Law School, after having read some books given to me by my Aunt Evelyn Hood, the long time Librarian at Horace Mann Jr. Hi in Amarillo. She also brought screen doors down to the Tool Shed, to keep the skunks and other wildlife out of the shed at night. Bill the Deer would frequently come by and stay a while in the evenings.
I paid off my half investment to Pete in 51 days, and he agreed to buy it back from me when I went to WT in the Fall of 1961, which he did, with a bonus based on the several years profit I had made running the ride.
Except on Week-ends, when the traffic was high, one person ran the Chair Lift. The Chairs were numbered, twice on the whole line, so when Chair #3 was on my lower deck, Chair #3 was in the same location on the upper deck. Yes, we did have some folks swept off the upper deck, as we couldn't see them to know they were completely loaded, and we had a speaker where I told them to go back and reload (ignoring any injuries)!
You generally could hear their yells and screams if they missed the chair or were swept off the platform, and I learned a few new words of "frustration" during that time, especially from those Tourists from NY and NJ. I continued to work for Pete, whose favorite expression included "...Meathead...", many years prior to Archie Bunker. Pete was a great Boss, and I learned a lot from him. He made me believe in PERSEVERANCE, and that has served me well for a lifetime. I am told that Pete's ashes were scattered in the Canyon, a fitting place.

In the last year I ran the Chair Lift, insurance inspectors would not approve the lack of safety practices (imagine that?) and how we operated, including the 'cables' which supported the towers, which turned out to be wrapped copper electric lines, rather than real cables, so we ceased operations about 6 months later. I was working for Bob Brent at Brent's Men's Apparell in Amarillo by then, driving from WT to Amarillo every day. I had the times of my life working and living in the Canyon, perhaps the only other white guy to live there since Col. Goodnight.
We fought brush fires with wet gunny (toe) sacks where vehicles couldn't go, had too many heat strokes that we couldn't get the ambulances to return our calls, and reveled in the joy the Canyon brings to all who go!
CanyonAg77
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AG
Very cool story! You should talk to some historians and get it recorded. The Google Map link in the story preceding yours has to be the base of the chair lift. The location fits and the windmill is still there. I assume the top of the chair lift was on this mesa?

Google maps

Red Fishing Ag93
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AG
Any rec's on bed and breakfasts in and around Canyon, or places to stay?
CanyonAg77
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AG
quote:
Any rec's on bed and breakfasts in and around Canyon, or places to stay?
The only B&B I can think of is Hudspeth House. Pretty house, but I have zero knowledge of who runs it now or the level of service. And it's downtown. But it does have a neat backstory of being where Georgia O'Keefe boarded while at WT Normal.

The two hotels on east 4th Avenue are pretty new, and a 12 mile drive (15 minutes) from the Canyon. I believe they are a Best Western and a Holiday Inn Express.

The number one place to stay, and very hard to get, is one of the CC era cabins on the rim of Palo Duro Canyon right by the visitor center. Go to the state pak web site to rent.

And search the forum, lots of PD Canyon info here.
Aggie1
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AG
http://www.examiner.com/article/amarillo-the-real-texas-a-treat-for-kids-and-adults


?itok=Nl6Zou5I
Aggie1
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AG
http://thesouthernweekend.com/the-grand-canyon-of-the-south/
Aggie1
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AG
http://www.newschannel10.com/story/35205196/sad-monkey-railroad-makes-final-stop-in-canyon

Quote:

Quote:
CANYON, TX (KFDA) -
After a long restoration process the Sad Monkey Railroad has made its final stop in Neblett Park, just south of the Canyon Square.
For the last 21 years the train has been out of commission and subject to the weather of West Texas.
After the Barbara Logan, the train's benefactor and former owner, jumped through several hoops, the train has been fully restored and sits on the original tracks laid in 1953.
"This was a huge task and there were moments when I didn't think I could get it done," said Logan. "However there was always a blessing waiting for me that encouraged me to continue."
In attendance for Thursday's unveiling were city officials, builders, former patrons and employees of the Sad Monkey Railroad. One of those employees was Jason Miller, an engineer who drove the trains from 1985 to 1993.
"Those were some of the most important years of my life," said Miller. "It taught me how to work and more than anything how to interact with people."
There are plans to build a depot for the train, however the project requires additional donations.


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