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  • The Catalina Highway:Boosterism, Convict Labor, and the Road to Tucson's Backyard Mountain

The 1920s was a decade of bold civic ambition when it came to paved roads, with plentiful federal money flowing into regional authorities. Civic boosters in mountainous regions across the United States looked especially to nearby peaks and conceived them as potential recreation areas for motorists. The business class of Tucson, Arizona, wanted to leverage financial support for a nearby mountain retreat away from the heat of the desert floor. Mount Lemmon, the highest peak in the Santa Catalina Mountains, was the obvious target, as it already had a grouping of vacation cabins near the top accessible via a mining road up the north slope. But getting to the base of this rutty road required a thirty-mile detour around the western edge of the mountains, a journey considered too ponderous for a tourist.

The means for a more direct highway up the southern slope would eventually be unlocked by Frank Hitchcock, an enigmatic Republican political operative and confidant of presidents, who made Tucson his home in semi-retirement and the operation of one of its daily newspapers a hobby. His successful public campaign for a serpentine road on the Tucson-facing side of the range resulted in a construction project that lasted eighteen years and cost $942,000. The Catalina Highway was a remarkable engineering feat, crossing ridges and canyons, gaining 5,293 feet in elevation and taking its [End Page 131] motorists around 206 total curves.1 It opened up the community of Summerhaven to larger-scale development and made it possible for the U.S. Forest Service to build Mount Lemmon Ski Valley, the southernmost ski destination in the nation.

But the Catalina Highway also earned a reputation as the most dangerous road for motorists in the entire state. It was also built nearly entirely by prison labor, without a great deal of care for the impacts on the surrounding landscape. A total of 8,003 convicts, mainly serving short sentences, worked on the road between 1933 and 1951, resulting in a mixed legacy that would forever after be tied to the identity of the tallest mountain in the Santa Catalina range, Mount Lemmon.

There were plenty of examples of similar projects in other parts of the country. The construction of the "Skyway" through the Great Smoky Mountains—including a spur road up the face of Clingman's Dome, the highest mountain in Tennessee—and the consequent rush of tourist interest in the area had proved the economic value of such projects, especially those that could be paid for with public funds.2 After the governor of South Dakota, Peter Norbeck, led the effort to designate and develop a patch of the Black Hills he called "Custer State Park," he sought to showcase its scenic beauty primarily through the then-novel phenomena of leisure automobile tourism. While traveling the new Needles Highway in South Dakota, the writer P. D. Peterson extolled the ease of traveling up mountains and between canyons in almost mystical terms, with glorious pictures unfolding in front of the windshield like a motion picture without the need to touch a shoe to dirt. It brought "a feeling almost beyond description to the soul of the driver."3

By the 1920s, urban elites increasingly spent taxpayer money to open patches of unpopulated nature, with an eye toward real-estate development. For instance, the president of the Long Island State Parks Commission, Robert Moses, used his enormous clout and willingness to tap public funds to help New Yorkers speed [End Page 132] their way to the Hamptons and points beyond. Similar federal spending on roads and bridges helped opened up Cape Cod for Bostonians and the northern lakes of Minnesota for Twin Cities residents. The powerful director of the National Park Service from 1917 until 1928, Stephen Mather, viewed a major part of his mission, the building of smooth all-weather roads into previously wild places, not merely as an economic development measure. Instead, Mather perceived this project as a contribution to the scenic and recreational assets of the nation, as well as a method of ensuring a permanent separation of those places from the commercial spheres of mining and logging. Under his watch, 1,298 new miles of road were added to the parks system. Additionally, campgrounds, nature walks, and concessions were aimed squarely at car owners.4 The psychological effect of this policy was profound. "By putting such places within easy reach of motorists," the historian Christopher W. Wells has written, "these various car-friendly natures helped to create the illusion that cars and roads were agents of delivery from environmental problems," even those for which the car itself was to blame.5

The Santa Catalina Mountains are a primary example of what modern botanists call "sky islands"—dramatic reefs of rock containing distinct zones of plants and animals ranging from desert grasses through scrub oak and into mixed conifer forests of firs and spruces. The highest peak in the range had been named for the wife of John Gill Lemmon, a botanist who had studied at the University of Michigan, fought in the Civil War, and been imprisoned in horrific conditions in a Confederate prison camp at Andersonville, Georgia. The trauma left him "nervous and excitable," in the words of an observer, though he found comfort in looking for new plants in Nevada and California in the 1870s, falsely calling himself a "professor" and gathering up plant specimens to send to prominent botanists for further study. At age forty-eight, Lemmon courted and married a bookseller in Santa Barbara, California, named Sara Plummer.6

The pair had a mutual interest in plant species and took a honeymoon trip via the brand-new Southern Pacific Railroad to [End Page 133] Tucson to look for new varieties in November 1881. Though John Lemmon was the true plant-enthusiast of the couple, it was Sara who suggested they "make a grand botanical raid into Arizona and try to touch the heart of Santa Catalina."7 They convinced an Oracle rancher named Emerson Oliver Stratton to take them up the northern slope to the summit via horseback, where, Stratton recalled in his memoirs, "I chopped the bark off a great pine tree and we all carved our names."8 Stratton fancifully named the peak for Sara Lemmon, and the Pima County surveyor George Roskruge solidified the local appellation when he put it on the county's official map in 1893.9

Tucsonans had been using the mountain named for Sara Lemmon as a retreat almost as long as the American flag had flown over southern Arizona. Soldiers stationed at Fort Lowell had made high-country camps there in the 1870s, using a path that later became known by the street name Soldier Trail. Eventually, wealthy families in Tucson leased land from the U.S. Forest Service and built summer cabins at the place they called Soldier Camp. Supplies had to be brought in with pack animals. The list of prominent owners included Dr. Mead Cline, Herb Drachman, Jerald Jones, George Kitt, Jack Ryland, and John Knagge.10

In 1920, the U.S. Forest Service widened a burro trail leading from the town of Oracle up to the ridge below the summit of Mount Lemmon. The last seven miles were one lane wide and utilized a creative way to keep cars from coming together at loggerheads.11 A gate mounted at both ends of the ridge displayed a large clock, as well as instructions to only travel up or down the ridge at certain times. Drivers had ninety minutes to complete their journey. "Don't be caught moving up hill except during the above hours," warned a sign.12 Despite these dangers, Elmer Staggs saw a business [End Page 134] opportunity and opened the "Mt. Lemmon Stage and Freight Line," which was his own REO Speedwagon truck that ran twice a week to deliver supplies. "The thing hauled everything from passengers to barbed wire, the entire village turned out to greet its arrival and see if their pet order was on board," wrote geologist and historian Glenton G. Sykes.13

By the 1920s, the unincorporated community near the top of the summit was known as Summerhaven. The range's local esteem was further solidified by Harold Bell Wright, a minister turned best-selling author, who lived in a two-story Pueblo-style house off Speedway Boulevard in what was then a remote ranching area of Tucson. He crafted a 1923 romantic buried-treasure mystery called The Mine with the Iron Door that contained this passage in the opening words:

But of all the peaks and ranges that keep their sentinel posts around this old pueblo there are none so bold in the outlines of their granite heights and rugged canons, so exquisitely beautiful in their soft colors of red and blue and purple, or so luring in the call of their remote and hidden fastness, as the Santa Catalinas. Every morning there they are—looking down on our little city in the desert with a brooding Godlike tolerance—remote yet very near.14

Tucson's boosters sought to correct that remoteness with a paved road to the summit of Mount Lemmon that could be accessed without driving the thirty-six miles to Oracle. The Arizona Daily Star and the Tucson Daily Citizen ran occasional stories about the idea throughout the 1920s, with the latter paper showing considerably more enthusiasm, going so far as to quote a Roman Catholic bishop in favor of the road under the grim headline: "Tucson doomed to be 8 month town unless mountain road built."15 The Citizen also quoted Professor J. J. Thornber of the University of Arizona College of Agriculture making a speech before the Hiram Club in favor of the project's idealizing power to attract visitors and new residents. [End Page 135]

Glaring desert sunshine will be exchanged for subdued forest light, hot desert air for pine-scented mountain breezes, 112 degrees in the shade for cool summer days with campfires a necessity at night. Wherein lies Tucson's future? In mines and copper? No. We have one mine in Pima County. No others, after 40 years development, are in sight. In climate? Yes. We have the matchless sunshine climate of the world. Health-giving, invigorating, good for the sick, better for the well. No fogs, floods, cyclones, tornadoes or earthquakes. Clear, cloudless days, Tucson shines every day. Our fine air is not polluted by smelter fumes nor smoke … Tucson and southern Arizona need a winter mountain resort and playground.16

Arizona state representative Frederick Ernest Augustus Kimball supported the construction of a road up the front side of the mountain, as it would allow for the creation of vacation homes and delivery of firewood to Tucson. He foresaw it going through Sabino Canyon. In the Citizen, he called Mount Lemmon a "winter paradise" and predicted that, with a new asphalt highway, locals would go there instead of spending money for winter-sports vacations in California.17 The editors of the Star, more fanciful on the subject than their competitors at the Citizen, had opined on July 20, 1927, that the automobile would likely be obsolete within two decades and that the government should just plow an airstrip into the mountaintop so vacationers could fly in. The voters, however, rejected a $500,000 bond proposal in 1928 to build a road up the mountain through Sabino Canyon.18

One unique personality then put his clout behind the project: Frank Hitchcock, the former postmaster general and a power broker in the Republican Party who had bought the Tucson Daily Citizen. During a picnic near the mountain in 1930, Hitchcock envisioned a recreation area on its slopes and chartered a plane the next day to fly him over Mt. Lemmon for a birds-eye view.19 A lifelong bachelor, Hitchcock did not like to talk about his own background, even though he spent a considerable portion of his career in public service. Born in Ohio as the son of a Congregational minister, Hitchcock graduated from Harvard College in 1891 and later found work in Washington as a timekeeper on the construction site [End Page 136] of the Post Office Department building on Pennsylvania Avenue and then as a clerk in the Agriculture Department.20

He got a considerable boost when Secretary of Commerce George B. Cortelyou took him on as a chief clerk at the Commerce Department and introduced him to President Theodore Roosevelt—with whom he shared a Harvard pedigree and a love of bird-watching. He later used Republican Party contacts to secure the position of postmaster general in the William Howard Taft administration. There he earned a reputation as a modernizer: during his term, the government introduced airmail and parcel post. The position also gave him access to patronage appointments and favors, which he used to great effect at the Republican Party conventions, where he was said to be able to steer delegates toward a favored candidate.21

Liberal publications viewed Hitchcock's growing influence with conspiratorial awe. "He is inscrutable, imperturbable, impenetrable and notably closed-mouthed," wrote Edward G. Lowry of the New Republic in 1920. "He offers no more inviting avenue of approach for scrutiny and communication than a well-made billiard ball." Real America magazine was more colorful, calling Hitchcock a "steely, blue eyed maharajah" and a "tall white haired sage" who did lobbying work for DuPont Chemical on the side. "He dresses immaculately, walks like a West Point cadet, talks like a British lord," wrote correspondent George Max. He insisted people call him "General," even though his title was civilian and not military.22

Hitchcock kept a "diary" of his activities in the form of loose-leafed pages covered in neat script that described his daily activities. These piles of paper, stuffed into business-sized envelopes, came embossed with the logos of the various hotels in which he stayed, as well as the institutions with which he dealt. These stationery heads paint a picture of a man in constant oscillation between the exclusive zones of the nation: the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., the Pioneer Hotel in Tucson, the U.S. Senate, the Old Pueblo Club in Tucson, the Multnomah Hotel in Portland, Oregon. However, they [End Page 137]

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Frank Hitchcock (left), owner of the Tucson Daily Citizen and main proponent of the Catalina Highway, pictured here at the 1916 Republican National Convention with Coleman Du Pont, a member of the Republican National Committee and later senator from Delaware. Bain News Service, 1916. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

[End Page 138] showed no church attendance on Sundays for this minister's son and reveal no emotional life or sentiment whatsoever. He habitually worked throughout the day on Christmases. Hitchcock's entry for June 8, 1930, is typical: "S.F.—plane landed at Bakersfield en route to oil motors and reached L.A. at 8 p.m., 9 p.m., reached St. Francis Hotel (room 9323), 9:30 p.m., Mr. Fred Thompson called and remained until 1 a.m. discussing settlement with Spoor Thompson Co."23

Hitchcock instituted a robustly pro-business editorial policy at the Tucson Citizen, turning it into a booster paper and eliminating any news of labor union successes. As an aviation enthusiast, he discouraged coverage of airplane crashes because he did not want to create a negative association around air travel in the mind of the public.24 He also became known as a skinflint, paying his reporters and copy editors less than fifteen dollars a week. "You ought to be glad you have a job," he was said to have told them. "I am keeping you out of the breadline. The only reason I am running this newspaper is because I hate to see you starve."25 One of the only interviews he ever gave was to a newsletter for postal employees called the Postmaster Everywhere, and even then, he broke six straight appointments with the writer before consenting to a 10 p.m. meeting in his office after the day's work was over. Asked to describe his working style, he said: "I hustle, and say as little as [I] can about it."26

After Hitchcock seized on the Mt. Lemmon highway idea, he set about trying to leverage federal assistance. One of his first acts in early 1931 was to lobby G. L. McLane, a highway engineer with the federal Bureau of Public Roads in Phoenix, for favorable treatment over other proposed Forest Service roads. McLane would later go on to be one of the project's most enthusiastic allies within the federal bureaucracy—he would later write the final, and generally uncritical, government report on the construction nearly a quarter-century later. However, McLane sounded a discouraging note at first, telling Hitchcock that the Sabino Canyon route was too narrow and steep.27 [End Page 139]

Hitchcock then appealed to the district engineer, who ordered McLane out into the field to conduct a survey of his own. In June 1931, McLane hiked around the eastern canyons of the Santa Catalina range with two companions from the U.S. Forest Service and concluded that a twenty-five-mile route up Molino Canyon—wider and shallower than Sabino Canyon and with granite in "various stages of disintegration"—could be built for $750,000.28 The Pima County Board of Supervisors passed a nonbinding resolution in 1931, supporting the construction of the highway as "providing a travel route over the mountains of remarkable scenic grandeur, but also making readily accessible extensive recreational areas and numerous sites for the building of summer homes."29 The business community, meanwhile, opened a conspicuous "Santa Catalina Highway Headquarters" at 48 E. Congress Street.30

Hitchcock worked his federal contacts, especially in the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads, where he met with legendary chief Thomas MacDonald, who would later play an instrumental role in building the interstate highway system and was, at the time, "one of the principal figures in American road politics." As a student at the Iowa Agricultural and Mechanical College in Ames, MacDonald wrote a senior thesis on the need for administrative management of the objectives of the good roads movement, a popular initiative that grew out of the complaints of bicyclists about muddy roads in the northeastern United States that soon mushroomed into a national drive for all-weather roads paved with broken stone macadam or concrete. His thesis led to his role as one of the founding employees of the state highway commission.31

Appointed to lead the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads in 1919, MacDonald oversaw the emergence of state highway agencies that would act as partners and funding repositories for federal largess—virtual subsidiaries of his own command structure. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1921 had given him access to enough distributed capital to put an improved road within ten miles of 90 percent of the nation's population, though MacDonald always shunned local [End Page 140] political machinations in favor of cold-hearted data.32 In his personal bearing, he was as impersonal as his logbooks and with an emotional life that seemed as remote as Frank Hitchcock's. He wore a coat and tie even while fishing, rarely smiled, shunned press coverage, and instructed his wife to call him Mr. MacDonald. His many employees, impressed with his regal disposition, took to calling him "The Chief." "When you were in Mr. MacDonald's presence, you were quiet," recalled one. "You spoke only if he asked you to."33

In addition to managerial discipline, MacDonald's great passion was the transformative possibility of good roads. He had seen enough vehicles stuck in the mud during his childhood in Montezuma, Iowa, to understand how the ability of a citizen to get somewhere efficiently meant the difference between prosperity and bankruptcy. The federal-state partnership to build highways was, he wrote, "the greatest public responsibility" behind public schools and created a general enjoyment of life beyond even education.34

At some point in the winter of 1932–1933, Frank Hitchcock persuaded Thomas MacDonald to talk with Sanford Bates, the director of the Bureau of Prisons, to discuss the possibility of compelling federal prisoners to do the blasting and the grading in order to cut costs. As MacDonald would later explain to Deputy Chief Engineer L. I. Hewes in the San Francisco office, dead-end roads up to cool high country, such as the Catalina Highway, were intended mainly for recreational purposes and their expense could probably not be justified in the midst of the current economic climate, unless "it is possible through other means." By this, MacDonald meant convict labor, which would dramatically reduce costs to build a public road and also help rehabilitate the criminals, he believed. He proposed to further reduce costs by appointing federal guards as construction foremen.35

Hitchcock secured the support of new Arizona governor Benjamin Moeur. On February 27, 1933, Hitchcock sent Moeur a telegram from Washington, D.C., announcing their success in laconic terms: "Instructions have been already issued for prompt completion of preliminary arrangement incidental to construction [End Page 141] of proposed Catalina Highway. Your fine spirit of cooperation is greatly appreciated." Hitchcock's journal for that same day is typically brief and indicates that he met with his friend President Herbert Hoover, though he offers no details on what was discussed: "1 p.m., lunch with Osborne Wood at the club, 2:30, with Mr. MacDonald re Catalina Highway, 5:30, went to the White House to call on the Pres." This was one of Hoover's last days in office; Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in on March 4, 1933. It seems reasonable to conclude that Hitchcock knew that his influence would diminish once Roosevelt was inaugurated and felt an urgency to get his pet highway project approved by Hoover while a Republican president was still in office. Even so, it was Roosevelt's new secretary of agriculture, Henry A. Wallace, who made it official on March 13, 1933, by approving the construction of "Forest Highway Route No. 33" and transferring funds for the surveying. Bates sent two deputies to Tucson to scout the project site, looking particularly for a location to build a secure site for the prison camp.36

Though he had been initially glum about the Sabino Canyon route, McLane was enthusiastic about the use of prison labor; he was a veteran of World War I who had, in the winter of 1918–1919, helped oversee 10,350 German prisoners of war who had been compelled to repair bomb damage on some of the wrecked roads in the Argonne Forest of France. The Bureau of Prisons, the Bureau of Public Roads, and the State Highway Commission signed an agreement on April 1, 1933.37

Shortly thereafter, the engineers settled on a final route on the lower sections: it would start at the mouth of Soldier Canyon, turn across the creek with a full 180 degree curve, ascend along the slope to the east, then northeast up Molino Canyon to a basin where a picnic area would one day be constructed, then up a side canyon to the northeast and through a saddle to another crossing of Soldier Creek at a basin watered with a small spring and shaded by oak trees that cattlemen called Vail Corral. The Bureau of Prisons picked this spot for the permanent site, officially named the Catalina Federal Honor Camp.38 [End Page 142]

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Construction of the Catalina Highway. #B32368, Buehman Photo Collection, Arizona Historical Society, Tucson.

The use of prison inmates to build highways had a long and dismal history—particularly in the American South—long before McLane made his recommendation and MacDonald made his reference to "other means." As historian Tammy Ingram has noted, the practice of leasing prison inmates to private industry arose in the South after the Civil War as a means of replacing slave labor and concretizing white supremacy, but took on a more "progressive" surface shape as counties began to use incarcerated labor to construct paved roads beginning in the early part of the twentieth century. Reformers of the day touted the programs—mainly administered by county sheriffs and road engineers—as beneficial to both the inmate and the general public. "When negro convicts are put upon the public roads in the free, pure air, I do not know of a more humane way of handling these unfortunate men who must be held in confinement," said Georgia governor John [End Page 143] Slaton in 1915.39 Yet the chain gangs became nationally notorious for their inhospitable work conditions, distinctive stripes, and reputation for harsh onsite whippings, a perception only bolstered by a 1932 memoir from Robert Burns, provocatively titled I Am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang.40

Used almost nowhere else in the United States but in the states of the former Confederacy, convict leasing began to decline during World War II and faded out almost entirely by the 1970s.41 In its heyday, convict leasing was touted as a progressive and modern version of ancient forced-labor practices used by Romans and Egyptians—a version of what had been done in earlier generations to justify slavery using references from the Bible. "History tells us," said one chain-gang promoter in Virginia, "that the best and most prudent roads constructed all over the world have been built by convict labor."42 In the South, race played a major role in the use of convict laborers who worked as semi-slaves.

Arizona was about to host to its own experience with convict road-building, thanks to the potent combination of local boosterism, federal intervention, and wartime manpower shortages. The first laborers arrived at the Catalina Highway camp in June 1933, mainly drawn from a pool of model inmates from the federal penitentiary in El Paso, Texas. They had been convicted on various offenses from the minor to the serious: immigration violations, bank robbery, and selling liquor to Native Americans, which was illegal at the time. Border crossing—a common activity between United States and Mexico since the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo—had only recently been criminalized on a wide scale.43 In Arizona, race likewise played a role in the construction of the Catalina Highway; many of the prisoners used for the road project were people of color—Mexican border-crossers, Native American conscientious objectors, and Japanese internees.

As historian Julian Lim has pointed out, at the turn of the twentieth century policing of border crossing without passports or visas was largely regarded as a matter for local authorities. [End Page 144] Without substantial physical barriers in place, people crossed freely.44 Lengthy portions of the border were marked only by flimsy strands of barbed wire that were intended for cattle retention—if they were marked at all.45 The few inspectors from the Bureau of Immigration assigned to patrol the border on horseback were mainly on the lookout for Chinese immigrants on their way to California.46

A more fortified border and tougher federal oversight began in the 1910s, in the midst of the upheaval of the Mexican Revolution. As historian Eric Meeks has noted, the majority of the early-twentieth-century labor force at the copper mines in Clifton-Morenci and on the Southern Pacific Railroad was comprised of Mexican nationals. A territorial governor of Arizona, Joseph Kibby, remarked in 1907: "What proportion of these Mexican immigrants remain here permanently is impossible to say. They are passing to and fro all of the time between Sonora and Arizona."47 Many used their dwindling savings to purchase "American-looking" clothes immediately after crossing to evade suspicion.48 Bowing to pressure from labor unions and under the weight of massive national job losses after the stock market crash, the Hoover administration stopped issuing visas to "common laborers" in March 1930. Being caught crossing the border without papers became a misdemeanor punishable by jail.49 The first immigration raids began, and Hoover declared in his nomination speech in 1932: "I favor rigidly restricted immigration."50 The Catalina Highway was a prominent manifestation of the growth of a carceral culture near the border.

Those imprisoned at El Paso who were given the option to work on the Catalina Highway were ordered to set up a tent camp near a spring that had been used by the local Boy Scouts under Bigelow Peak, with a perimeter marked with rocks painted white. [End Page 145] Inmates dumped their garbage and leftover dinners over a rock ledge where skunks and javelina feasted on the slop. Escape attempts began almost immediately: two Mexican immigrants tried to walk away on a Sunday afternoon, but guards tracked them down quickly. When three others tried it later, guards turned dogs on them, and one was badly injured.51

The men spent their days hand-drilling holes in granite reefs and blowing them apart with gunpowder, as well as using sledgehammers to break down chunks to manageable sizes and using wheelbarrows to haul the debris away. The broken rock was eventually loaded into mine cars on a railway that Hitchcock named the "Catalina Short Line," dryly asking McLane to issue him a pass on it in recognition of his status as a newspaper publisher.52 The camp's first superintendent was retired Pima County sheriff Walter Bailey, known for his distinctive 1923 Studebaker patrol car, which he had liked so much he purchased from the county after he left office. During his tenure, Bailey made tours of other prison labor camps on the west coast to observe best practices; he stayed on until 1942 when he left to make an unsuccessful fourth try for election as Pima County sheriff.53

The first several miles of the highway crossed several canyons and smaller culverts, which presented an engineering problem: how to keep water from gushing over the road during the frequent summer monsoons. The solution came in the form of a series of masonry arch culverts, some with wingwalls on the discharge end to facilitate the anticipated wash of water, rocks, displaced plants, and other debris. All throughout the project, the crew used old equipment discarded by other agencies. The Civilian Conservation Corps, which had been occupied in building hiking trails, donated two tractors and some trucks. Later the Works Progress Administration gave a "Cat 60" tractor with a bulldozer, a few International dump trucks, an end loader, and some worn-out grease trucks that were judged too unreliable to be used on the building of the Alaska Highway. In McLane's generally sunny report, the inmates who had previous knowledge of heavy equipment repair got them into working shape and "fully justified" the [End Page 146] use of surplus vehicles that might otherwise have been melted down. One inmate who helped fix the Cat 60 painted the legend "Methuselah" on its side.54

The prison bureau leased ten acres in the Tanque Verde valley to grow vegetables for the convicts; work parties were also dispatched to New Mexico for beans and potatoes.55 Each inmate was allowed one laundry and one bath a week; the water piped in from a nearby spring was limited. This meant the camp population had to be kept to two hundred at any given time. Those not up to the hard labor were assigned to clean-up tasks around camp. "The most capable inmate used as tapeman and rodman in setting slope stakes on steep and rocky slopes during the early period of construction was a young and very agile Apache Indian murderer," noted McLane. The winters sent the entire camp down to a less-freezing spot on the desert floor, which meant a rough commute up the half-finished road each morning. A few disgruntled workers—contemptuously termed "loafers" by McLane—removed spark plugs from the electric welder and dropped bolts into the engine to break the pistons, slowing down the work.56

Frank Hitchcock died unexpectedly on August 5, 1935, expiring at the Desert Sanatorium on Grant Road. Almost nobody had known he was sick. An initial report in the New York Times repeated a rumor that he had broken his ribs in an aviation accident that had been censored from the Citizen, but the Phoenix Gazette clarified that he died from pneumonia and "a general breakdown after an injury suffered while moving a heavy piece of furniture in his newspaper office." Governor Moeur ordered the flags at the state capitol to be flown at half-staff.57

The following year, the Star called for the road to be named for the former owner of its rival paper, a request that was not honored for another twelve years. "When Frank Hitchcock originated the idea, Prohibition was in effect and the federal prisons were overflowing with convicted bootleggers," the paper editorialized. "Either the federal government had to build more prisons or find some other [End Page 147] way of caring for their prisoners. What could be more simple and what could be better than to put these men to building roads!"58

Many of the workers who had previous construction experience helped erect a collection of wood-frame structures at Vail Corral as a permanent dwelling for the road-builders. By 1939, they were ready for occupation and the inmates moved in during a giant snowfall in February. The prison camp included two barracks, a kitchen, a dining hall, a heating plant, a laundry, a septic tank, an administration building and several higher-quality granite cabins for the officers and guards. A local contractor, Ralph A. Wetmore, whose family had graded Tucson's Wetmore Road, found a water source after drilling through granite.59 The population of the camp generally fluctuated between 100 and 215 men, depending on the rate of release and intake. While the population was mainly composed of Mexican border-crossers, the racial mix changed somewhat with an influx of "hardened criminals" sent over after the U.S. penitentiary on Terminal Island in Los Angeles was handed over to the navy in 1942.60

Despite the dynamite blasts, heavy equipment, and precipitous terrain, federal officials left no record of any fatalities during construction, though there were occasional injuries. McLane noted one memorable accident in his report. "A happy-go-lucky inmate, who had not the benefit of Dumptor operation on the ball ground, persuaded the experienced inmate to let him drive it 'just once'. … The Dumptor turned over at the dump, damaging the steering post and hood. The driver jumped, but broke a leg."61

The nine miles of road to Vail Corral was open to the public by 1940. "The road is good and the entire trip can be made without the necessity of once shifting gears," noted the Star, approvingly.62 The following year saw four more miles of progress toward the summit, even as hostilities in Europe and the possibility of American involvement made the supply of gunpowder more doubtful. "Dynamite—and lots of it—is building up the new Catalina highway up the southern slope of the Santa Catalina range, and if [End Page 148]

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the road isn't completed to Mount Lemmon within another two and a half years, don't blame the public roads administration but reserve your wrath for Adolf Hitler and his henchmen," wrote J. Robert Burns of the Star, who had been invited up to watch a blast that pulverized four thousand cubic yards of granite. "Clouds of dust, mottled with colors ranging from ochre to white, reared up into the air, to drift away with the breeze," he observed.

Burns did not interview any convicts but seemed to take the position that the experience was beneficial to them. "Many of them are learning to operate power hammers and drills, vocations which should command good wages for them once they are free." By that point, the men had moved at least a half-million yards of material and worked an aggregate of 1,445,345 hours.63 Some of the Mexican migrants, who had been imprisoned for crossing the [End Page 149] border, had worked in the copper mine at Cananea, Sonora, and were given jackhammers. According to McLane, "These Mexicans were very proud of their assignment as skilled operators of equipment." He continued:

They worked hard and became very capable operators. On completion of their sentences they were deported to Mexico and they sent word to the Prison Bureau that they had been able to secure employment as jack hammer operators in the mine at a much higher rate of pay than their former pay as muckers. This information was quite gratifying particularly to Bureau of Prisons officers who frequently made the statement that the principal function of the Prison Camp was the rehabilitation of the inmates, the road work being incidental thereto.64

Whether or not the rosy portraits painted by two Anglo men—Burns and McLane—were accurate, however, is not known. Undoubtedly at least some of the convict laborers viewed their forced labor from a different vantage point. The unfiltered voices of the inmates are absent from the federal narrative of the project, though discontent can occasionally be perceived. When a battalion of engineers from the Army Air Corps used the road for training and bivouacking in the summer of 1943, some of the conscientious objectors in the crew, who felt the road was being used—even in a small way—to help prosecute the ongoing carnage of the war, made their displeasure known with a sit-down strike. "This 'strike' was soon settled by the Prison Superintendent, but the issue was raised at frequent intervals by some of the more conscientious inmates who refrained from the use of a razor for religious reasons," noted McLane, probably referring to Mennonites who refused to be drafted. He said they were otherwise good workers, mainly students studying for the ministry, who carried their Bibles with them on road duty.65

Approximately forty men of Japanese ancestry made up another distinct group of conscientious objectors within the prison population. These men had either refused to be transported to one of the internment camps or refused induction into the military. Among them was a young University of Washington student named Gordon Hirabayashi who had joined a Quaker pacifist group [End Page 150]

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and deliberately violated a curfew and turned himself into the FBI in 1942 in order to create a court challenge to the wider policy of interning Japanese Americans under Franklin D. Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066. He was convicted on two charges, and federal officials ordered him to the Catalina camp but refused to pay his train fare. So, he hitchhiked, carrying a letter from the district attorney's office in Spokane explaining his situation. Tucson police were initially baffled when he showed up, so they told him to go see a movie while they could locate his paperwork.66

Hirabayashi served two ninety-day sentences at the Catalina Federal Honor Camp, forming a special friendship with a group of Hopi Indians who had also refused to fight what they called "the white man's war" in Europe. They had been permitted to build a wooden ramada on a nearby hillside for religious reasons and [End Page 151] invited Hirabayashi to their ceremonies. Hirabayashi reflected, "gave me a hair wash with soap weeds, all natural you know, and tea, they brewed some tea and gave it to me, and just treated me like a brother." After his release, the U.S. Supreme Court heard his case, Hirabayashi v. United States, which challenged the constitutionality of Japanese American internment. The court ultimately upheld the government's view that it was legal. Hirabayashi refused to be drafted and served another term in the McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary in Washington state. His fellow prisoners at the Catalina camp described him as a low-key personality who spoke like a college professor.67

Hirabayashi would later recall the site as "a fairly liberal camp," despite being racially segregated. The guards generally did not abuse the inmates and a few even expressed sympathy for their position. Noboru Taguma recalled a Latino guard telling him: "You know, I feel really sorry for you people, because you were chased out of California." A few prisoners thought working on the Catalina Highway was easier than being inside an internment facility, like Heart Mountain, Wyoming, or Manzanar, California, and wished that their sentences could be extended. Workdays lasted just seven hours. Even then, they contained abundant downtime. Ken Yoshida, for example, used to take naps in the back of a station wagon during long periods of inaction on the dynamite crew. He likened his eighteen-month sentence to "a summer camp." Yoshida learned how to weave belts from the Hopi inmates, who taught him the skill on the condition that he not reveal it to anyone else. His friend Susumu Yenokida had taken some metal shop classes in high school and was assigned to the blacksmith shop. "And I kind of enjoyed it," Yenokida recalled in an oral history interview in 1999. "I did my own thing, whatever I could do, I did for the day, and I went home." Inmates warded off boredom by playing games of mahjong, as well as softball. Though making fun of the guards was regarded as taboo, the Japanese inmates recalled with great pleasure an incident involving a skittish guard named Murphy who was doing a bed check one evening in a darkened barracks. One of the inmates decided to startle him by suddenly yelling the Japanese military cry banzai. "He took off like a bunny rabbit on TV," recalled an amused Harry Yoshikawa.68 [End Page 152]

Not everyone agreed that conditions at Vail Corral were superior to that of an internment camp or a regular federal lockup. A man named Joe Nakahira was so unhappy that he wrote a letter to his family expressing a desire to escape. The warden intercepted his note and had him immediately transferred to a prison with walls.69 Yet, evidence exists that the mountainous environment allowed other Japanese Americans a means of psychic escape via exchanges with the Hopi inmates, the regular outdoor work, the falling snow, and the visual impression of the mountains themselves, which one prisoner called "beautiful."70 Historian Connie Y. Chiang has argued that outdoor activities in internment camps, such as fishing, picnicking, gardening, and hiking, created a "semblance of freedom" and contributed to a sense of creativity and art, even under the watch of the War Relocation Authority (WRA). The Catalina Federal Honor Camp was not managed by this agency, but a similar dynamic was at work. "Although imprisoning people in carefully demarcated camps was intended to clarify power relations, the complexities of the environment, along with changing human understandings of it, served to muddy them, magnifying and restricting WRA authority while providing Japanese Americans with opportunities to redefine the terms and conditions of their detention," Chiang writes.71

By the end of 1945, the crews had made a connection to an unpaved road from Soldier Camp used to access a ski run being built by the U.S. Forest Service. This came in handy in January 1946, when nine people were stranded in Summerhaven Lodge due to heavy snows; a bulldozer from the road-building camp was used to clear a path to the end of the new Catalina Highway so the party could drive back to Tucson. By November of that year, representatives of the prison camp and Pima County met at Soldier Camp to informally dedicate the grading of the road up to the camp with sixteen miles oiled and ready for traffic.72 The county assumed maintenance responsibilities and paid the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads $14,000 to take care of the job while they still had [End Page 153] crews active. The extension to Summerhaven was complete in the fall of 1947, and approximately five hundred cars were soon making the trip there every Sunday. On Labor Day, up to thirty thousand people jammed the new road, creating severe parking headaches for deputy sheriffs to sort out.73 By 1948, the Mount Lemmon Realty Company was overwhelmed by "tremendous public demand" for cabin sites and forest lots.74 When it came time to paint the lines on the curving highway, an assistant in the county engineer's office suggested an ingenious method. "A hole was bored in the floor of a sedan immediately behind the driver's seat," reported McLane. "A can of thin white paint was set over this hole and the car was driven from the foot of the mountain to the top and then back to the lower end of the project." Crews simply painted the center line at the equidistant point between the lines of paint drops.75

Forest Service officials, meanwhile, found an excellent site for a future ski hill—the broad north slope of Mt. Lemmon where winter snow lingered long after it had melted elsewhere. The crews began working in March 1950 on a steep road to access the site at approximately 8,500 feet above sea level, where trees were leveled for a parking area and a lodge. And across the way, a restaurant whose name featured a literary flourish—The Iron Door, after the novel The Mine with the Iron Door, by Harold Bell Wright. The road to the ski area was only one of a spiderweb of secondary access roads built with federal prison labor with the intention of future residential and recreational development. They included Willow Canyon, Marshall Gulch, Upper Sabino, Molino Basin, Garbage Disposal Road, Rose Canyon, Bear Wallow, and Loma Linda Extension.76

The Tucson Chamber of Commerce had requested a memorial to the obsessively private newspaper publisher and political operative who had made it happen. The "General Frank H. Hitchcock [End Page 154] Memorial" at Windy Point featured a bronze plaque with Hitchcock's likeness chiseled into the side of a granite boulder. "It was generally agreed," noted McLane, "that General Hitchcock's sincere interests in the good of humanity and of the community had not been fully appreciated during his life."77 His old newspaper, the Citizen, said the Windy Point memorial "looks out over the great valley of the Santa Cruz as lasting as time itself."78

The road has been the occasional target of environmental critiques. Four decades after it opened, a Citizen reporter characterized the construction as unmindful of the land's natural contours. "Boulders, trees, cactuses—and anything else that got in the way of the mountain road—were shoved aside with little thought of preserving the landscape," wrote Phil Hamilton.79 Such an outcome had been foreseen decades earlier by Aldo Leopold: "Generally speaking, it is not timber and certainly not agriculture which is causing the decimation of wilderness areas, but rather the desire to attract tourists."80 In 1987, the author Charles Bowden wrote a celebrated book dedicated to the unlikely idea that the road should be torn out and the mountains allowed to slip back into a more undisturbed state. "In the case of the Catalinas, I can think of no greater future asset for my city than to make the range a complete wilderness," he wrote, adding

Whenever American people concentrate in cities, wild ground must be set aside, resurrected and made inviolate. No more roads, trams, picnic tables, timber permits, mines, or grazing rights. No more fantasies of multiple use. These places are fully used by the things living there, and our schemes to chip away a piece here and manage a chunk there rob the life already present. It is not simply that we must protect some scraps from our future industrial lusts; we must begin to give back, to take out roads, to buy up commercial interests, and to restore islands of life that do not answer to our ways or cash registers. Reconstituting the Santa Catalinas is but a small part of this task.81

Besides the environmental damage, there was another dark side to the civic bonanza. G. L. McLane, who oversaw the project [End Page 155] for the Bureau of Public Roads, was so satisfied with the work of Mexican border-crossers on the pick-and-shovel crew that he recommended using them for other hard-labor projects, predicting that their influx into the United States would never cease so long as poor economic conditions in Mexico continued. These were the only laborers he suggested not paying at all. Had border-crossers not been an easy source of labor, the highway might not have been built.82

The road itself was also hazardous. McLane counted 206 curves of various dimensions as the road snaked its way toward Summerhaven, a geometry that would consistently make it the most dangerous road in Pima County; the sheriff's office said it had an accident rate of 21.3 cars per million vehicle-miles, when compared to an overall county rate of 2.7 cars per million. At just twenty-two feet wide in places, the road was considered too narrow for safe passing.83 Drunk drivers coming home from boozy picnics and icy conditions in the winter only aggravated the trouble. Eight people died on it during the decade of the 1970s, and the road developed a reputation as not just the deadliest in Pima County but in the entire state. "A quick glance at state statistics doesn't show anything worse," Arizona Department of Transportation traffic engineer Michael Connors told the Tucson Citizen.84 In the view of Mary Ellen Barnes, who had watched its construction, the road had "a lot more turns in it than there needed to be. It could have been shortened quite a bit, but they wanted to show off Tucson."85

Though its legacy is complicated in both human and environmental terms, the Catalina Highway undoubtedly exposed the beauty of Tucson's northern mountain range to exponentially more people than would have previously seen it up close, bringing them an unparalleled view of southern Arizona's topography and biological diversity. Once it pushed northeast of Vail Corral and into Willow Canyon, the highway penetrated rough country that had been viewed before only by Tohono O'odham and Apaches, as well as their respective ancestors, along with a few Anglo ranchers, [End Page 156] soldiers, and prospectors. In 1937, the Star wrote about its progress into this territory with an overheated sense of high rhetoric, but a grain of truth: "It is a spectacle that inspires comparison between the days when those who did invade the deep canyons won every step by stout perseverance, and today, when a party of business men can leave their work, climb into shiny automobiles and go zipping along the mountainside with almost as much ease as buzzing along Speedway."86

Even those who had been forced to work on it as convicts could occasionally look upon it with a sense of awe, reclaiming nature as a personal redefinition of their imprisonment. Ken Yoshida, who had been raised in California, had never experienced a winter storm before his sentence to the labor camp. When Yoshida was interviewed in 2002 for an oral history project on the Japanese American road-builders, he recalled his first look at four inches of snow lying on the dirt of what would become the Catalina Highway, some five thousand feet above sea level.

"It's beautiful up there," he said. "Isn't it beautiful up there?"87 [End Page 157]

Tom Zoellner

TOM ZOELLNER is an associate professor in the Department of English at Chapman University.


1. G. L. McLane, "Final Construction Report: Arizona Forest Highway Project 33, Catalina Highway, Coronado National Forest, Pima County, Arizona," Bureau of Public Roads, Division Seven, 1951, pp. 118, 123.

2. Neil M. Maher, Nature's New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement (Oxford, U.K., 2008), 146.

3. Suzanne Julin, "A Feeling Almost Beyond Description: Scenic Roads in South Dakota's Custer State Park, 1919–32," in The World Beyond the Windshield: Roads and Landscapes in the United States and Europe, ed. Christof Mausch and Thomas Zeller (Athens, Ohio, 2008), 79.

4. Christopher W. Wells, Car Country: An Environmental History (Seattle, 2012), 221.

5. Wells, Car Country, 218.

6. Frank S. Crosswhite, "'J. G. Lemmon and Wife': Plant Explorers in California, Arizona and Nevada," Desert Plants 1 (August 1979): 13–14.

7. Ibid., 14.

8. "Reminiscences of Emerson Oliver Stratton," pp. 68–69, Folder 1, Box 1, MS 0770, Emerson Oliver Stratton Papers, Arizona Historical Society, Tucson, Ariz. (hereinafter AHS-Tucson).

9. David Leighton, "Street Smarts: Highway, Mountain Named for Botanist," Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), January 5, 2015.

10. "Moonshine Added Glow to Mountain Holiday," Arizona Daily Star, February 14, 1962, p. 44. See also C. L. Sonnichsen, Tucson: Life and Times of an American City (Norman, Okla., 1982), 171.

11. Sonnichsen, Tucson, 172.

12. Mary Ellen Barnes, The Road to Mount Lemmon: A Father, a Family and the Making of Summerhaven (Tucson, 2009), 4–7 (quotation on p. 5).

13. Glenton G. Sykes, "First Mount Lemmon Road," unpublished manuscript in Transportation–Roads and Highways–Mount Lemmon Highway folder, Ephemera File, AHSTucson.

14. Harold Bell Wright, The Mine with the Iron Door (New York, 1923), 1.

15. Quoted in Lawrence Cheek, "Tucson's Long and Winding Road," Tucson Citizen, August 2, 1990.

16. "Added Cost to Taxpayers but 11 cents per $100," Tucson Daily Citizen, October 21, 1928.

17. Charles Bowden, Frog Mountain Blues (Tucson, 1987), 77. When Kimball died in 1930, he had a prominent peak in the front range of the Catalina mountains named for him.

18. Cheek, "Tucson's Long and Winding Road," Tucson Citizen.

19. "A Fitting Memorial," Tucson Daily Citizen, October 13, 1948.

20. Box 1, Papers of Frank H. Hitchcock, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (hereinafter LOC).

21. Edward G. Lowry, "Mr. Hitchcock Blows Out the Gas," New Republic, September 22, 1920, pp. 91–93.

22. Ibid.; George Max, "Ringmaster Hitchcock and His Plans for the 1936 Republican Circus," Real America, June 1935.

23. Frank Hitchcock journal, Box 1, Hitchcock Papers, LOC.

24. "F. H. Hitchcock Dies," New York Times, August 6, 1935.

25. Max, "Ringmaster Hitchcock and His Plans for the 1936 Republican Circus."

26. Postmaster Everywhere (St. Clair, Mich.), February 1908.

27. McLane, "Final Construction Report," 7.

28. McLane, "Final Construction Report," 9.

29. Bowden, Frog Mountain Blues, 78.

30. Sonnichsen, Tucson, 173.

31. Bruce E. Seely, Building the American Highway System: Engineers as Policy Makers (Philadelphia, 1987), ix (quotation), 53.

32. Wells, Car Country, 129.

33. Tom Lewis, Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life (New York, 1997), 5.

34. Lewis, Divided Highways, 8.

35. Thomas MacDonald to L. I. Hewes, February 3, 1933, Box 1, Hitchcock Papers, LOC.

36. Frank Hitchcock to Benjamin Moeur, February 27, 1933, Box 1, Hitchcock Papers, LOC; Frank Hitchcock journal, Box 1, Hitchcock Papers, LOC; Wallace approval; and Bates.

37. McLane, "Final Construction Report."

38. McLane, "Final Construction Report," 21.

39. Tammy Ingram, Dixie Highway: Road Building and the Making of the Modern South, 1900–1930 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2014), 130, 136 (Slaton quotation).

40. Robert Burns, I Am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang (Athens, Ga., 1932).

41. James L. Wooten, "Prison Road Gangs Fading Fast in South," New York Times, October 23, 1971.

42. John Heitman, The Automobile and American Life (Jefferson, N.C., 2009), 74.

43. McLane, "Final Construction Report."

44. Julian Lim, Porous Borders: Multiracial Migrations and the Law in the U.S.–Mexico Borderlands (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2017), 19.

45. Eric V. Meeks, Border Citizens: The Making of Indians, Mexicans, and Anglos in Arizona (Austin, Tex., 2007), 74.

46. Bill Broyles and Mark Haynes, Desert Duty: On the Line with the U.S. Border Patrol (Austin, Tex., 2010), 4–6.

47. Meeks, Border Citizens, 74.

48. Lim, Porous Borders, 113.

49. Meeks, Border Citizens, 114.

50. Herbert Hoover, "Address Accepting the Republication Presidential Nomination," August 11, 1932, available on the American Presidency Project website, (accessed May 8, 2019).

51. Cheek, "Tucson's Long and Winding Road"; McLane, "Final Construction Report," 23, 50.

52. McLane, "Final Construction Report," 6, 115.

53. "Death Claims Walter Bailey; Thrice Sheriff," Tucson Daily Citizen, May 3, 1943.

54. McLane, "Final Construction Report," 62, 82, 85.

55. Phil Hamilton, "Uphill Battle: Mount Lemmon Road 18 Years in the Making," Tucson Citizen, May 30, 1988; see also McLane, 78.

56. McLane, "Final Construction Report," 39, 45 (first quotation), 119 (second quotation).

57. "'Presidential Maker' Victim of Pneumonia," Phoenix Gazette, August 5, 1935; "F. H. Hitchcock Dies," New York Times, August 6, 1935.

58. "Naming the Catalina Highway," Arizona Daily Star, March 31, 1936.

59. Bowden, Frog Mountain Blues, 78.

60. McLane, "Final Construction Report," 75.

61. Hamilton, "Uphill Battle."

62. "New Mount Lemmon Road Is Already Recreational Spot," Arizona Daily Star, February 23, 1940.

63. J. Robert Burns, Arizona Daily Star, August 17, 1941.

64. McLane, "Final Construction Report," 33–34.

65. McLane, "Final Construction Report," 79.

66. Tucsonians Oral History Project, Box 1, MS 390, Special Collections, University of Arizona Library (hereinafter TOHP, UA).

67. Box 1, Folder 4, TOHP, UA. His convictions were overturned in the late 1980s.

68. Ibid.

69. Box 2, Folder 1, TOHP, UA.

70. Box 2, Folder 2, TOHP, UA.

71. Connie Y. Chiang, "Imprisoned Nature: Toward an Environmental History of the World War II Japanese American Incarceration," Environmental History 15 (April 2010): 239 (second quotation), 245 (first quotation).

72. McLane, "Final Construction Report," 88. See also Roger O'Mara, "C.C. Inspects Catalina Road as $100,000 Job Nears End," Arizona Daily Star, April 11, 1947.

73. McLane, "Final Construction Report," 94–95.

74. Sonnichsen, Tucson, 174.

75. McLane, "Final Construction Report," 104.

76. McLane, "Final Construction Report," 108, 113. In the 1960s, the prison site was turned over to the state of Arizona to house juvenile inmates, mainly Native Americans. The U.S. Forest Service tore down the structures in the early 1970s. In 1987, a federal appeals court overturned Hirabayashi's conviction, and in 1999, the Coronado National Forest officially renamed the site of the camp the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site and put up interpretative markers explaining the purpose of the camp and identifying the location of some of the buildings. See David Leighton, "Road Named for Old Prison Camp," Arizona Daily Star, August 18, 2014.

77. McLane, "Final Construction Report," 101.

78. "A Fitting Memorial," Tucson Daily Citizen, October 13, 1948.

79. Hamilton, "Uphill Battle."

80. Aldo Leopold, "Wilderness as a Form of Land Use," Journal of Land and Public Utility Economics 4 (Oct. 1925).

81. Bowden, Frog Mountain Blues, 135, 140.

82. McLane, "Final Construction Report," 118–21.

83. Ignacio Lobos, "Mount Lemmon Highway Due for a Painful Face Lift," Arizona Daily Star, July 22, 1985.

84. Edward Stiles, "Lemmon Highway Heads Danger List," Tucson Citizen, February 25, 1980.

85. Mary Ellen Barnes, author interview, June 5, 2017.

86. "Desert Highway Makes Progress," Arizona Daily Star, 1937. The roadway attracted huge crowds of picnickers and hikers who would never have been there otherwise. A handful of them created lasting damage. Most spectacularly, on June 17, 2003, a human-caused blaze in Marshall Gulch spread over a ridge, flattened much of Summerhaven and consumed 84,715 acres of vegetation. See Douglas Kruetz, "Forest returning—ever so slowly—after Aspen Fire," Arizona Daily Star, June 5, 2015; Michael Marizco, "Probation in Aspen Fire Case: Man Smoked on Mt. Lemmon, Then Lied About It," Arizona Daily Star, May 22, 2004; "Man Gets Probation for Lying during Wildfire Probe," Arizona Daily Sun, May 21, 2004.

87. Box 2, Folder 2, TOHP, UA.

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