A SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE #14 – “PRIVATE ROOMS”
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[Page, Arizona, August 2010]
Just a block off the main drag that runs through Page, Arizona (pop. 7,000) is a “new” tourist destination: “The Little Street of Motels.” I say it is “new” because, until recently, there was no sign to point the way. Now, there is.
The “Little Street of Motels” is one block long and it features about ten small, quaint “motels,” all of them picturesque.
On the wall of one of them (lower right), I noticed that “Private Rooms” were available.
Private rooms? In a motel?
What is the world coming to?
* * * * * * * * * *
There is probably some history here.
During a previous membership at JPG, I uploaded a series of photos and essays on the scarcity of water in the American Southwest (“The Fight for Water”). The story began with the Colorado River Compact (1922), continued with Hoover Dam (1933), and finished with Glen Canyon Dam (1966).
Glen Canyon Dam, 800 miles upstream from the more famous Hoover Dam, addressed the concerns of Arizona, California, and Nevada, that they were not getting their fair share of the Colorado River’s water.
Construction on the Glen Canyon Dam began in 1957. The project was made more difficult because there was no nearby town to support the thousands of workers that would be needed.
Page, Arizona was the answer. Not unlike other towns suddenly made necessary by gold and silver strikes, oil drilling, railroad expansion, and mountain carvings, Page, Arizona was created for one purpose: To support Glen Canyon Dam. Were the Dam to be dismantled, as many have suggested, Page would vanish.
As for the little motels, my best guess is that they were built as temporary boarding houses for construction workers. Once the workers left, they were most likely converted to motels for a few years, that is, until the hotel chains put them out of business. Now, they seem to be apartments. The “no vacancy” signs are there for show. The “motels” are reminders of a not-too-distant past.
As always, thanks for stopping by!
Also by Richard Knight
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