Last Thursday, while working our way up I-25 towards home (albeit slowly), we stopped by Pecos NHP. We were pretty excited about this stop because it sounded like a Civil War battlefield on the NPS website. We have seen so many cliff dwellings, pueblos, and petroglyphs that we needed something new or my troops might begin to desert! Since we love the Civil War era, we were pretty stoked!
We arrived at Pecos to find…
yep, more pueblos.
Apparently there is a Civil War Battlefield somewhere here, but you have to drive down the road from the visitor’s center and access it via a locked gate to take the self-guided tour. And, the Jr. Ranger booklets didn’t even mention the CW site, it was all about the native dwellings.The kids did the program since we were already there (I may have bribed them at this point, can’t remember ;). We checked out the little museum, bought $30 worth of little replica guns and special playing cards (kids used their own money), and we walked down the trail a bit, but we didn’t walk all the way to the ruins – I didn’t even want to see anymore partial adobe walls!LOL! Then, we watched the 15 minute movie about the area, which was really pretty good. The ranger told us that it would talk about the battlefield some, but maybe he just wanted to be able to say that 12 more visitors had watched it… no Civil War stuff at all.
HOWEVER, that being said, as soon as the movie started, one of the kids happened to notice that it was narrated by Greer Garson Fogelson. So, while the introduction was playing, we wondered aloud (we were the only ones in there) if it would be THE Greer Garson – you know, as in Greer Garson that played a funny Elizabeth Bennett in the 1940s black & white Pride and Prejudice, or the mom in The Happiest Millionaire… Of course we have not seen all the movies that she is in, but since we don’t watch sleezy movies, we haven’t seen her in any bad ones (if she ever was), so we like her and we think that she is a riot! The minute the narrator lady started talking, there was no question – yep, it was the Greer Garson that we love to watch! She has a very distinct voice! And, having her narrate the film (and putting a few other little clues together now), we ended up being much more interested in the park than we previously were (how’s that for finicky! LOL). Actually, Greer Garson’s name (with her husband’s) is all over the visitor’s center. She built it (well, her $ did anyway).
In 1949, Greer Garson married the park’s closest neighbor – the owner of the Forked Lightning Ranch, Texas oilman Buddy Fogelson. The Fogelsons owned the neighboring 13,000 acres. Mr. Fogelson died in 1987, leaving 5500 acres to his wife, who, upon her death in 1996 left it to Pecos National Monument. However, during their lifetimes, the Fogelsons were very generous to the park, donating both land and (lots of) money. And, if you donate lots of money, they let you narrate their overview films (actually, it is a great one, and I hope they don’t update it!).
We talked with the ranger about the Fogelsons and what happened to the rest of their ranch; Mr. Fogelson left the remaining acres to his son, who sold it to Hanoi Jane…and lets just say that when I told the ranger how most Montanan’s feel about ‘Jane’, we didn’t see eye to eye!ROFL!!! (thank goodness she had already given the kids their badges 😉 hehehe!
Anyway, after our badges, talk, and toy purchases, we were out of there, and heading down the road to the next National Park, which, while it is made of adobe, IS a Civil War Battlefield site. Good thing or we might just have had to run for home!