Superintendent and Research Center Donor Share "Living History"

When Anne S. Frantz, of Peterborough New Hampshire, took Lava Beds National Monument Superintendent, Craig Dorman, up on his promise of private tours for major donors, she picked a good time. Mothers Day weekend, 2000, featured the first of series of Living History events, held in the monument that year. Monument staff and volunteers, dressed in period costume, were portraying people and living conditions from key periods in the history of the region. Their activities afforded monument visitors an unparalleled window into living history.

Living Legend of the Tetons

Anne Frantz's interest in the Lava Beds and her support for the Research Center marks one more chapter in a life long involvement in our National Parks and Monuments. This interest was first sparked by a Memorial Day weekend trip to Yosemite when she was 12. In 1924, just getting to Yosemite was an adventure. Traveling in two 7-passenger Studebakers, Anne's family negotiated steep, narrow, unpaved roads, frequently having to back up when they met oncoming vehicles. The sight of Yosemite's many waterfalls at their peak rewarded this arduous journey. They stayed in the not yet finished Lodge at the Mariposa Grove, where a marauding bear stole their bacon. More trips to Sierras followed, including a drive over Tioga Pass, and visits to Sequoia National Park and General Grant National Park.

Twelve year later, Anne and her friend Phillippa spent the summer of 1936 traveling the west in a a Model-A Ford. Active members of the Appalachian Mountain Club, they were drawn to the noted climbing sites. They visited the Bad Lands and the Black Hills, in South Dakota, where they climbed Harney Peak. They went on to Yellowstone, once again enjoying the back country. From there it was on to Jenny Lake,and an ascent of the Grand Teton with Jack Durance. They finished of the summer with an extended stay in Glacier National Park.

The summers of 1937 and 1939 saw Anne out west again, climbing in the Tetons. In 1939, she lead the first all women ascent of the Grand, earning her in later years recognition as a "Living Legend of the Tetons".

In the ensuing years, Anne's travels continued, and she frequently took her son, her nieces, and eventually her grandchildren with her. At latest count, she had visited over 30 National Parks and Monument. She is quick to point out, however, that it has never been her intent to tick off parks on a list. "I never felt I'd really seen a National Park until I'd gotten out and walked its trails". And, as her Mother's Day trip to the Lava Beds demonstrates, at the age of 88 she is still taking to the trails.

Petroglyph Point

Craig shows Anne the prehistoric rock art, which predates the Modoc. Little is know about the people who carved these cliffs, or the meaning of their work. Wind born sand is steady eroding the carvings, and the monument is looking for ways to preserve them. The boards at the bottom of the chain link fence trap much of the sand, and the fence protects this treasure from collectors and vandals, but new techniques must be developed if it is to be preserved for future study .

Fern Cave

Fern Cave is a sacred site for the Modoc, serving among other uses, as a site for coming of age rituals. Access to the cave is restricted, out of respect for its religious significance and to protect the pictographs which adorn its walls. Some scientist believe that some of these drawings portray the supernova of 1066. Here, Anne is seen negotiating the ladder below the cave gate. The ferns which grow here are found nowhere else east of the cascades, and are also sensitive to being trampled by the unwary visitor

Fur Trappers and Mountain Men

The Mount Mazama Mountain men (and women) recreate the lives of the trappers and hunters who first explored the Tule Lake region. Spending their summers in tents and cooking over the open fire, they "hunt " with flintlock rifles. Although they found few fur bearing mammals, deer and antelope abounded. As the first white men in the area, their activities opened the door for settlers, and set the stage for the Modoc wars.

J. D. Howard

Judson D. Howard, regarded by many as the father of the Lava Beds made a rip-van-winkle appearance Mother's Day weekend. Somewhat disoriented by a bump on his head, he decried at the changes 75 years had wrought. A miller by trade, J.D. discovered over 80 of the monument's caves. His painted cave names can still be at the entrances of many of the caves he explored. He was also instrumental in the designation of the area as a National Monument.

Captain Jack's Stronghold

Late in 1872, a small band of Modoc, resisting resettlement onto a reservation, retreated into this natural fortress. There a band of about 60 warriors, accompanied by women and children, held off the far larger forces of the U.S. Army for five months. Initially gaining the sympathy of the American public, the band ultimately fled the stronghold, following a massive shelling in retaliation for killing General Canby, under a flag of truce.

Valentine Cave

Anne and her son, Bill, admire the dramatic mineralization in Valentine Cave, one of the many monument caves open to the general public. Visitors to Valentine must carry their own lights, and find their own way through the braided passages. Helmets and lights can be borrowed at the visitors center.

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Page last updated 02/24/2005