Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tecolote Rancho

Crossing Imperial County – Stop #6
We head to Holtville, the carrot capitol, and Imperial County’s newest state landmark. Once there, place your hand on the golf ball embedded in cement atop the landmark and as legend states, your game will improve by three strokes.  

William F. Holt, perhaps the inspiration for Jefferson Worth, Barbara’s foster parent in the novel
The Winning of Barbara Worth’ was an entrepreneur of Imperial Valley (Holtville) and the person most responsible for bringing author Harold Bell Wright to the region. Mr. Holt shows up in 1888 as a developer out of Riverside in another original song about ‘Palmdale’ a failed endeavor in the Coachella Valley. Follow this guy around and you’ll learn a lot about the development of the region and centralized agriculture.  

From the album booklet:
Few people define a career decision vividly as did Harold Bell Wright in August 1909. This 1909 account from the El Centro Daily Free Lance:

Torn by conflicting demands on his aesthetic nature by two separate artistic callings Harold Bell Wright, novelist and painter, chose between the two last week in his home at Tecolote Rancho east of El Centro. Hoping to put forever behind him the painter part of his artistic nature, Mr. Wright went to his studio and ruthlessly tore down and carried out every picture he had painted, every canvas he had sketched, his easels, frames, studies, all his oils and colors, his palate and knife, his turpentine, mahl stick, sketch books and water colors and threw them all in one big heap; then he touched a match to the heap.

Plaque Inscription: No. 1034 SITE OF RANCHO EL TECOLOTE
Prolific author Harold Bell Wright purchased 160 acres in 1907.  While living in a tent he built Rancho El Tecolote constructing a woven arrow weed studio in 1908 and a ranch house in 1909.  From 1907 to 1916 he wrote three best sellers, including the historical novel "The Winning of Barbara Worth," a chronicle of desert reclamation and the Colorado River flood of 1905.  As Wright's most successful and important book, it brought and it's agricultural wealth to the attention of the nation.  The book's heroine Barbara Worth became an icon for the region.

Location: Off S-80, South on
Country Club Dr.
(between Barbara Worth and Calexico Rds.).  Proceed .25 miles south. 
Google maps: 32.800136,-115.421698
Tecolote Rancho is 14 miles from Camp Salvation

Here’s a link to a video sample of the song:


A small twist of fate in nineteen hundred and eight
Brought Herald Bell Wright to the valley so new
To write and to paint, devote his life to creating
Scenes of this desert he knew

Chorus - Oh the stars look so clean, your lost in a dream
As the moonlight falls on your poncho
Musical words they did play the whole night away
The waltz of Tecolote Rancho

It proved too much to try he had to decide
Painting or writing which one to pursue
But a vision it came in a rare summer rain
In an instant he knew what to do

Took his easels and frames, his paintings of the range
Palates and brushes to a pile he did throw
And this artistic pyre he set it on fire
And watched as it went up in smoke


Herald Bell Wright would only be writing
Evermore to create his painting with words
And from this little town he became world renown
Let’s be thankful that fire occurred

No comments:

Post a Comment