Desert Messenger

March 6, 2013

Desert Messenger is your local connection for news, events, and entertainment!

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 20 of 39

March 6, 2013 Voices from The Past in Quartzsite, AZ Excerpts from ���In the Shadow of Saguaros��� by Rosalee Oldham Wheeler Quartzsite���s First QIA Pow Wow held in 1967 In March of 1965, Charles and I joined a group of forty-two other dedicated, hard-working, civic-minded Quartzsite folks with the idea of ���nding a place for the snowbirds that were ���ocking to our beautiful desert during the winter months, to gather and share their hobbies and homemade talents. Two of those civic-minded folks were Sig and Vernie Sigurdson who promoted the idea of forming the Quartzsite Improvement Association and to build a civic center. The QIA did much to improve the quality of life in Quartzsite. One example was to improve television reception. For years our television screens displayed more ���snow��� than show, but Glen Fulton, our ���rst QIA President enlisted other QIAers for donations (some of us paid our $50 in installments) and to haul equipment to the top of 2,539-foot Guadalupe Mountain to power-up a television booster station. Another committee worked to get ambulance service with trained drivers and attendants. We also received permission from the BLM to take on maintenance of the Hi Jolly monument and cemetery. Money was raised to furnish the new Civic Center with the Allen���s heading up the drive for chairs. Wherever there was a need, QIAers rolled up their sleeves and went to work. With more and more snowbirds roosting in Quartzsite, construction work on the Civic Center moved at a fast clip. Our wonderful winter weather is not the only thing the snowbirds enjoy, many are rock hounds and the Quartzsite area is legendary for the many famous mines and veins of gold, silver, copper, Tremolite crystals, hematite, quartz, wulfenite, and vanadinite to name a few. Before the Civic Center was completed, in 1967 the QIA decided to hold a gem and hobby show so the rock hounds could Pow Wow together and show off their mineral specimens and for hobbyist to display their art. The old schoolhouse on Moon Mountain Road and Cowell Street was available and where the ���rst Quartzsite Pow Wow Gem and Hobby Show would be held on February 9th. Ruth Fulton told me she was going to display her antique bottle collection so I thought I might display some of the purple bottles Charles and I had found in trash pits near our honeybee yards. We knew our bottles wouldn���t be as interesting as the Kenoyer���s Chalcidony, Roy Brown���s ���re agates, or the gemstone jewelry made by the Brookins so we decided to become what the QIA called ���tailgaters��� out on what used to be the playground where our three children had attended elementary school. In addition to our purple bottles, we decided to offer jars of our Quartzsitegathered and extracted extra light amber Arizona Desert Bloom Honey. We ran out of honey in less than two hours and had to run home to paste labels on more jars. The cause may have been our price, 85-cents per jar. A young couple with two little boys were visiting his parents, the new owners of Wright���s Trailer Park they had renamed The Rocking ���D���. Dave and Daun Wood showed everyone what hard work was all about. Daun served up many pots of coffee to go with the sandwiches and chili donated by QIA volunteers, topped off with a big slice of pie. With 22 wonderful displays in the schoolhouse and 52 ���tailgaters���, President Glen and the other QIAers listened to the rave reviews and knew that Quartzsite���s ���rst Pow Wow had been a resounding success. The QIA Board didn���t miss a beat and started right then to plan Pow Wow number two by writing up and sending pictures of the ���rst Pow Wow to the Arizona Republic, Palo Verde Times, Page 21 Parker Pioneer, and the Yuma Daily Sun. The articles paid off, big time! Within six months, two hundred vendors had reserved display space inside the new Civic Center and more spaces were graded to make room for the 187 ���tailgaters��� who had sent in their $5 registration fee. Upon learning how many folks were coming to Quartzsite���s Second Annual Pow Wow, Charles and I packed and labeled 40 cases of two-pound jars of mesquite honey. We sold every jar. The QIA Board set-aside space in the Civic Center for entertainment and asked Charles to show the 16mm movies we had made of the desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife in the Kofa Wildlife Refuge. Jeff Hands had put together an amazing slide show of rocks and used a microphone to lecture and answer questions about his unusual collection. Elinor Silver Anderson played her accordion while folks joined in for a sing-along. The Colorado River Indian Tribe Band, dressed in colorful traditional clothes, played several sets while young people danced in native dress. During the 1968 Pow Wow, Quartzsite experienced its ���rst traf���c jam. Months earlier Glen Fulton had met with the Highway Patrol and the Sheriff���s Of���ce, but he wasn���t taken serious until a frantic call went out that traf���c was backed up nine miles on Highway 95 and nearly as much on the two off-ramps onto Main Street from the recently completed Interstate 10. Not deterred, exhibitors and ���tailgaters��� lined up to reserve their space for the 1969 Pow Wow. By the time the Third Annual Pow Wow rolled around on February 6th, ���ve exciting days of exhibits, demonstrations, and entertainment went off ���without a hitch��� with 300 exhibits in the main hall, 260 ���tailgaters���, and 42 Pow Wow Thank You Card - 1969 upgraded spaces for those who were willing to pay $10 extra for the privilege of having an electricity. New vendors who had not reserved a space at the QIA rented space along Main Street and set the ���rst gigantic Swap Meet to sell their many wares. Back in ���69 someone said, ���Rosalee, Quartzsite has come alive, and this Pow Wow ���thing��� is the beginning of something really big���, and that prediction continues to be true, year-after-year. ���Micro-Mall��� and Antique Mall Entrepreneurs: We Create Space for Your Dreams! SHOPS FOR RENT: Single Shelves, Set of Shelves, Kiosks or Cubicals The Blythe VIM is OPEN Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Year-Round . The VIM Mini Mall Consists of Small Businesses & Shops in an Old World Village Setting THE VILLAGE INDOOR MARKETPLACE 601 E Hobsonway, Blythe, California.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Desert Messenger - March 6, 2013