Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fort Pacheco

Crossing Imperial County – Stop #4
One could speculate that photographing landmark plaques could get a little redundant, and admittedly it does. That said, every now and then one simply comes off as photogenic, a supermodel of stone and casting. Well, at the top of the 20 year heap of film and flash drives and sitting like Heidi Klum above the masses, rests the south facing Fort Pacheco plaque. Or maybe it was just good lighting. One thing for sure, it was a bear to find without GPS. The third try was a charm after sloshing about following the New River and it’s questionable purity looking for the marker on the west bank. After taking a step back and thinking, ‘If I was building a fort and wanted to look around and see things like they did over at Fort Yuma, where would I put it?’ With that in mind, it was found easily. It’s a hundred yards or so from any parking and by facing to the south, away from the road and showing the wooden remnants of the fort that lay behind it, there’s a reduced chance of random vandalism. So, with a fence surrounding the remnants of the fort’s site and no funding to rebuild the landmark stands….too poor to paint, too proud to whitewash

Dr. Dan Krieger writes:
Pacheco died defending the widely despised centralist Mexican governor of California, Manuel Victoria, at the First Battle of Cahuenga Pass in 1831. His widow, Romania Charily Pacheco Wilson was given the Rancho Sue land grant stretch more than twenty miles along the San Luis Obispo-Santa Barbara County line by Governor Alvarado. She married Captain John Wilson, a Scot Sea captain from the China trade whose ship, the Ayachuco is praised by Dana in Two Years Before the Mast. Wilson raised Pacheco's sons. Jose Antonio Romualdo Pacheco Jr. became the only California governor of Mexican American descent in the American period, serving a little under a year's term in 1875.
Plaque Inscription: No. 944
SITE OF FORT ROMUALDO PACHECO In 1774, Spain opened an overland route from Sonora to California but it was closed by Yuma Indians in 1781. In 1822, Mexico attempted to reopen this route. Lt. Romualdo Pacheco and soldiers built an adobe fort at this site in 1825-26, the only Mexican fort in Alta California. On April 26, 1826, Kumeyaay Indians attacked the fort, killing three soldiers and wounding three others. Pacheco abandoned the fort, removing soldiers to San Diego

Location: West bank of New River, South of Worthington Road, 6-1/2 miles due West of City of Imperial.  Go .25 miles West of New River and turn South on dirt road and look for fenced area.  Plaque on South end.
Google maps: 32.847356,-115.682806
Fort Pacheco is 12 miles from Yuha Well
Frankly, the weakest lyric on the album but the passing riff and melody will likely be recycled some day.

FORT PACHECO

As one travels the Imperial Valley
A drive through the vast desert floor
It’s easy to pass by the history
And not know the battles before

On the western bank of New River
A little south of
Worthington Road
A landmark tells of a fuerte
A place they called Fort Pacheco

Lets take a trip back in history
To the year of 1825
The land and people were hostile
It was all you could do to survive

Who were these souls that lived here in history
From San Diego’s old presidio
Only Mexican fort in alta California
It’s certain that we’ll never know

Though the battle was won it was futile
Too distant a fort to defend
This was a canyon they were to abandon
Never to come back again


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