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Old 04-18-2011, 05:58 PM
 
Location: The Big CO
198 posts, read 1,044,552 times
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Would anyone else consider the four corners monument as the heart of the American Southwest???

I have always learned and been told by many different people that the four corners point is the heart of the SW. Teachers, random people in CO-AZ-UT-NM and even NV, Native Americans on the reservation lands in each state, and many other people have always referred to it as the heart of the SW.

Would you consider the four corners the heart or center of the greater Southwest? Or would something else be considered the heart of the southwest in your eyes?
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:06 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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The four corners monument is just a tourist trap and doesn't mean a thing, but the greater Colorado Plateau region of NE AZ, NW NM, SW CO, and SE UT can indeed be thought of as the "heart of the southwest." From my experience visiting all these places, I think northern Arizona and northern/central New Mexico is the most distinctively southwestern part of the southwest.
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:14 PM
 
Location: The Big CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
The four corners monument is just a tourist trap and doesn't mean a thing, but the greater Colorado Plateau region of NE AZ, NW NM, SW CO, and SE UT can indeed be thought of as the "heart of the southwest." From my experience visiting all these places, I think northern Arizona and northern/central New Mexico is the most distinctively southwestern part of the southwest.
Thats what I meant. SW Colorado, NW New Mexico, NE Arizona, and SE Utah is the center and heart of the southwest. There's so many different parts of the SW, which is why I love the SW states. There's alpine mountains, flat desert lands, hilly desert lands, high plains/grasslands, red colored earth, green forests, cacti, yucca, greasewoood, sand dunes in every state of the SW, buttes, mesas, canyons in all areas (even the high plains in CO & NM).

I really think this entire area is unmatched as far as scenic beauty.
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:48 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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I would consider Santa Fe as the heart of the Southwest. Remember West Texas is also part of it.
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:51 PM
 
Location: The Big CO
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Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
I would consider Santa Fe as the heart of the Southwest. Remember West Texas is also part of it.
Very true. Even the high plains in west texas are part of the SW. Amarillo, Lubbock, Odessa, etc. The high plains may be the far eastern part of the SW, but still part of it.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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The Albuquerque - Santa Fe area, if not the actual heart of the southwest is pretty darn close IMO. Kayenta - AZ is another town that comes to mind.
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
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I think you have to first decide if you're talking about geography of culture.
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Old 04-19-2011, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Fort Collins, USA
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Don't forget about the Five Corners. It's the point where California, Minnesota, New Jersey, Texas, and the state that Springfield is in meet.
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Old 04-19-2011, 05:58 PM
 
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Wink Southwest

Taos, NM calls itself 'The Soul of the Southwest,' or something like that, and in my opinion can make a good case for it.

Four Corners itself is a fairly bleak and nondescript spot. But with a certain isolated charm before they built all that crap there and began charging admission. Although as a place to poke a pin in and run a string out to define a large diameter, it might well prove an apt location. If a large enough circle it would include the Navajo Nation and the lands of pueblos, of many and varied Indian tribes, Apache, Zuni, etc. Or the Hopi, their land as a protected island surrounded by the Navajo, symbolically and in soul embodying the essence of the Southwest.

Just north of Four Corners is Hovenweep National Monument, with the feeling the ancient Anasazi might return any moment, or their ghosts watching one intently. Southeast of there, in New Mexico, are the fabled ruins of Chaco Canyon. Or another outpost of the Anasazi north of that place, just across the border in Colorado, at Mesa Verde National Park.

Such influences seem particularly strong in the northwest quadrant of New Mexico, and along the Rio Grande River in the architecture and culture of towns such as Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. But travel west from there on I-40 and such places as Sky City of the Acoma will be found just south of the interstate. And far into Arizona, and just south of Flagstaff with its many influences, is Sedona in its iconic Southwest setting amidst towering red rock monoliths and canyons. A spirt that is very much Southwest as well, and as metaphysical as Taos or other places less known.

The few small towns of southeast Utah seem different, more similar in culture perhaps that prevalent across much of the western United States. But the land is something else. So many features of its land of stark rock and canyon is indelibly etched in the American consciousness. The Navajo Nation reaches north to the San Juan River here, and the essence of an often empty and beautiful land echoes far beyond.

Southwestern Colorado as well, and not confined to influences of the Anasazi near the borders. The San Juan mountains seem a world apart, and although their settlement and culture is distinctly of the eastern US and Europe, from this land also the timber for vigas for Mesa Verde was derived. The headwaters of rivers vital to the region, the Animas, San Juan, come from the high mountain snows. As desert, mountains are as integral to the landscape throughout. The Uncompahgre River flows north from Ouray, but at one time the homeland of the Utes, as much as to the south of these mountains. The San Luis Valley of Colorado is but the northern extension of the large valley hemmed by mountains running south past Taos, at last as a plateau dropping off down to the drier landscape of Ojo Caliente, NM and points south. Even Pueblo, CO, at what might be considered the far periphery, has many Southwestern influences.

Nor uniform. Cities such as Tucson, AZ may seem and have far more traditionally Southwestern influences, imbued by them and expressing, than other places geographically closer to Four Corners. But from that one spot where the arbitrary political borders of four states meet, one might in wandering in any direction begin to sense and understand what the term Southwest means, but fails to encapsulate in so much beyond in depth and mystery.
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:13 AM
 
Location: The Big CO
198 posts, read 1,044,552 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post
Taos, NM calls itself 'The Soul of the Southwest,' or something like that, and in my opinion can make a good case for it.

Four Corners itself is a fairly bleak and nondescript spot. But with a certain isolated charm before they built all that crap there and began charging admission. Although as a place to poke a pin in and run a string out to define a large diameter, it might well prove an apt location. If a large enough circle it would include the Navajo Nation and the lands of pueblos, of many and varied Indian tribes, Apache, Zuni, etc. Or the Hopi, their land as a protected island surrounded by the Navajo, symbolically and in soul embodying the essence of the Southwest.

Just north of Four Corners is Hovenweep National Monument, with the feeling the ancient Anasazi might return any moment, or their ghosts watching one intently. Southeast of there, in New Mexico, are the fabled ruins of Chaco Canyon. Or another outpost of the Anasazi north of that place, just across the border in Colorado, at Mesa Verde National Park.

Such influences seem particularly strong in the northwest quadrant of New Mexico, and along the Rio Grande River in the architecture and culture of towns such as Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. But travel west from there on I-40 and such places as Sky City of the Acoma will be found just south of the interstate. And far into Arizona, and just south of Flagstaff with its many influences, is Sedona in its iconic Southwest setting amidst towering red rock monoliths and canyons. A spirt that is very much Southwest as well, and as metaphysical as Taos or other places less known.

The few small towns of southeast Utah seem different, more similar in culture perhaps that prevalent across much of the western United States. But the land is something else. So many features of its land of stark rock and canyon is indelibly etched in the American consciousness. The Navajo Nation reaches north to the San Juan River here, and the essence of an often empty and beautiful land echoes far beyond.

Southwestern Colorado as well, and not confined to influences of the Anasazi near the borders. The San Juan mountains seem a world apart, and although their settlement and culture is distinctly of the eastern US and Europe, from this land also the timber for vigas for Mesa Verde was derived. The headwaters of rivers vital to the region, the Animas, San Juan, come from the high mountain snows. As desert, mountains are as integral to the landscape throughout. The Uncompahgre River flows north from Ouray, but at one time the homeland of the Utes, as much as to the south of these mountains. The San Luis Valley of Colorado is but the northern extension of the large valley hemmed by mountains running south past Taos, at last as a plateau dropping off down to the drier landscape of Ojo Caliente, NM and points south. Even Pueblo, CO, at what might be considered the far periphery, has many Southwestern influences.

Nor uniform. Cities such as Tucson, AZ may seem and have far more traditionally Southwestern influences, imbued by them and expressing, than other places geographically closer to Four Corners. But from that one spot where the arbitrary political borders of four states meet, one might in wandering in any direction begin to sense and understand what the term Southwest means, but fails to encapsulate in so much beyond in depth and mystery.
Could the San Luis Valley be the heart of center of the greater SW??? its in CO, and a little but in NM, so its the SW states. The large high desert valley was revered by more than 12 native american tribes and used as a sacred hunting, and vision-quest area. However, they would never venture into this valley of desert in the winter, because winter temperatures can drop well into the negatives for days at a time. Why would SO MANY natives revere this place if its so uncomfortable to the human body???

Geographically, the four corners is the heart of the SW in opinion. Its far from all major metro areas in the region like Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake, Albuquerque, El Paso, and right in the middle of NOWHERE, but right in the heart of the SW states. Culturally (modern) it is probably viewed as Santa Fe or Tucson as the heart of the southwest, even though tucson is in the deep southwest way far south, and Santa Fe is far east in the SW.

However, historically, I think the heart of the SW or center of the SW could be a few places. Mesa Verde, Hovenweep/Canyon of the Ancients, Chaco Canyon, Canyon De Chelly are probably the best bet. They are all situated around the four corners spot, in NE Arizona, NW New Mexico, and SW Colorado, right in the middle of the SW. Overall, I would say Chaco Canyon, because I once learned that was likely used as the major trade point for the Pueblo peoples (CO, AZ, UT, NM).

On a side note, its strange to see so many Native Americans revere these places in such strange locations. SLV, MESA VERDE, CHACO, CANYON DE CHELLY, all are warm in the summer, and get VERY COLD in the winter and is very uncomfortable. There must be something about those areas for them to revere those places so much.
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