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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Holbrook in Navajo County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Early Explorers

 
 
Early Explorers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
1. Early Explorers Marker
Inscription. U.S. Army Lt. Amiel Whipple, surveying for a railroad route along the 35th Parallel about one mile south of here, passed down the broad sandy wash below in December 1853. Impressed with the deposits of petrified wood visible along the banks, Whipple named it Lithodendron (“stone tree”) Creek.

Although American Indians have long used petrified wood for projectile points, knives, scrapers, and other tools, Whipple was one of the earliest explorers to report its presence in this area. The expedition’s artist, Balduin Mollhausen, published accounts of his visit and the first illustrations of petrified wood. Jules Marcou, a geologist who accompanied the expedition, published the first professional description of Triassic plant fossils and rocks found in the Southwest.

Between 1857 and 1859, Edward Fitzgerald Beale and his surveying expedition established the Beale Wagon Road along the 35th Parallel. In an interesting army experiment, camels were used to transport men and supplies along this route. Today, Interstate 40 lies close to the 35th Parallel line surveyed by these early explorers.

“We really thought we saw before us masses of wood that had floated hither, or even a tract of woodland where the timber had been felled…On closer examination we found they were fossil trees that had been
Early Explorers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
2. Early Explorers Marker
gradually washed bare by the torrents…”

-Balduin Mollhausen, Diary of a Journey from the Mississippi to the Coasts of the Pacific with a United States Expedition, 1853.
 
Erected by Petrified National Forest Services.
 
Location. 35° 3.997′ N, 109° 47.833′ W. Marker is in Holbrook, Arizona, in Navajo County. Marker can be reached from Petrified Forest Road, on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Petrified Forest Road, Holbrook AZ 86025, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A Gap in the Geologic Record (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Painted Desert (approx. 0.4 miles away); Painted Desert Community Complex Historic District (approx. 0.9 miles away); Painted Desert / Finding Fossils (approx. one mile away); Desert Vistas (approx. 1.1 miles away); Route 66 (approx. 1.2 miles away); Painted Desert Inn (approx. 1.3 miles away); Badlands (approx. 1.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Holbrook.
 
Categories. ExplorationNotable Places
 
Early Explorers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
3. Early Explorers Marker
Lithodendron Wash image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
4. Lithodendron Wash
Lithodendron Wash passes through the Painted Desert below Whipple Point. Explorer Amiel Whipple named it for the deposits of petrified wood found in the area.
Whipple Expedition of 1853 image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
5. Whipple Expedition of 1853
Heinrich Balduin Mollhausen’s etching depicts the Whipple Expedition of 1853 through Lithodendron Wash,
The Painted Desert image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
6. The Painted Desert
Petrified Forest National Park image. Click for full size.
By Denise Boose, September 2, 2013
7. Petrified Forest National Park
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. This page has been viewed 420 times since then and 21 times this year. Last updated on , by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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