This section is from the book "Grand Canyon Of The Colorado River - John L. Stoddard's Lectures", by John L. Stoddard. Also available from Amazon: John L. Stoddard's Lectures 13 Volume Set.
The Bridge Of Canon Diablo.
The art of bridge-building in some form or other is one of the earliest necessities of civilization. Even the apes in equatorial regions will link themselves together, and swing their living line across a stream to trees on the opposite bank, thus forming a connected path of bodies along which other monkeys pass in safety. Bridges of ropes or reeds are, also, made by the most primitive of men; while viaducts of stone rose gradually in perfection, from the rude blocks heaped up by savages to the magnificent structures fashioned by the Romans. But with the introduction of iron and steel into their composition, bridges are now constructed quickly, with consummate skill, and in a multitude of different forms assist in making possible the safe and rapid transit of our great Republic.
Homes Of Cliff Dwellers.
In addition to all the wonderful natural features of Arizona and New Mexico, the insight into ancient and modern Indian life which they afford is of extraordinary interest, particularly as aboriginal civilization, evidently, reached a higher level here than was attained by any of the tribes which roamed throughout the regions now known as the Middle and Eastern States. The natives of the arid regions of the great Southwest, though subdivided into numerous tribes, are usually known under the general title of Pueblos. The name itself, bestowed upon them by the Spaniards, is significant; since pueblo is the Spanish word for village, and this would seem to prove that the race thus designated three hundred and fifty years ago was not nomadic, but had been settled here for many years.
Skulls Of Cliff Dwellers.
Antiquity and mystery impart a charm to these Pueblo Indians. They are foundlings of history. We see their immemorial settlements, and know that, centuries before Columbus landed on San Salvador, a number of advantageously situated places in the western portion of this continent served as the homes of powerful tribes, whose towns and villages formed the scenes of warfare and barbaric splendor. But of the men who built those villages we know comparatively nothing. Their origin is almost as trackless as the sand which hides so many of their relics in a tawny sepulchre. We may be certain, however, that the remnants who survive are the representatives of myriads who once made most of the American valleys palpitant with life, but over whom oblivion has swept like a huge tidal wave, leaving the scattered fragments of their history like peaks rising from a submerged world.
A Two-Story Cliff Palace.
The best conclusions of scientists in regard to the geological periods of our planet consider that the Glacial Epoch began about two hundred and forty thousand, and ended about eighty thousand, years ago. Traces of the existence of men in North America during that glacial period have been found in abundance, and make it probable that a human population existed, toward the close of that era, all the way from the Atlantic Coast to the Upper Mississippi Valley. Where these men of the Ice Age originally came from is a matter of conjecture; but it seems probable that they migrated hither from the Old World, since it is certain that during the various elevations and depressions of the two continents, it was possible, several times, for men to go from Europe or from Asia into America without crossing any ocean, either by the northwestern corner of Alaska, which has been repeatedly joined to Siberia through the elevation of the shallow Bering Sea, or by the great Atlantic ridge which more than once has risen above the ocean between Great Britain and Greenland. Yet, though the first inhabitants of America, in all probability, came thus from the Old World at a very distant period of antiquity, it is believed by the best students of the subject that, until within the last few centuries, there had been no intercourse between America and either Europe or Asia, for at least twenty thousand years. Hence the Aborigines of this continent developed in the course of ages peculiarities which distinguish them from other races, and justify their being regarded as, practically, native to the soil.