Travel in time at Yuma Crossing Day
Would you like to meet Pearl Hart, the famous lady bandit incarcerated at the Yuma Territorial Prison for robbing a stagecoach in 1899?
How about meeting Father Garces, a Spanish priest and explorer who built the mission at Yuma in 1780?
Visitors to the Yuma Crossing Day celebration Saturday will have the chance to meet modern-day re-enactors portraying these colorful characters of the past and many more.
"They have some of the most brilliant costumes, so colorful. And they're very, very accurate," said Carol Brooks, curator of the Sanguinetti House Museum.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for people to bring their children here to learn about their history, their heritage and why the (Colorado River) crossing was so important to Yuma."
The event is the result of a collaboration between the Sanguinetti House Museum, Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historical Park and Yuma Territorial Prison State Park. It has been held annually since the 1970s as a means to showcase the three museums. The Quechan Indian Tribe is also participating this year.
Each location will host an array of activities, with free admission and free shuttles running between each of the three sites. Organizers recommend that visitors park at the Territorial Prison or Quartermaster Depot and take the shuttles to the sites.
Sanguinetti House Museum
The activities at Sanguinetti House Museum will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., although the museum will remain open until 4 p.m.
The road in front of the museum will close between 2nd and 3rd streets to make way for the re-enactors, demonstrators, booths and speakers. Parking will be available in the lot across from the museum, at the City Hall parking lot and a lot on the south side of City Hall, about one block from the museum.
Among the true-life characters to be portrayed are Nellie Cashman, pioneer Arizona businesswoman who owned a Yuma hotel; George Johnson, founder and main operator of a steamboat business in Yuma; and Yuma Sheriff James T. Dana who was killed by an arrow.
Re-enactors will also portray a 1540s Spanish sailor who would have come up the Colorado River to meet explorer and conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and would also have sailed the California coast, a 16th-century Spanish navigator, Mormon Battalion soldiers, an early 19th century grapefruit farmer, a Yuma pioneer storeowner's wife and a Yuma Valley farm wife from 1912.
Luke and Carolyn Goodrich, in costume as an 1887 man and woman, will explain the clothing and life of the era.
Members of the Desert Lily Quilters and the Yuma Embroiderers Guild will demonstrate their art and skills for the public.
Quechan Indian dancers will perform at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
A couple of authors will be on hand to sign books. Dan Rasp wrote "Following Footprints Around Yuma," which includes local historic routes, mines and treasure stories, and Betty Redmer-Kellner is author of "Grandma's Zucchini Recipes."
The Sanguinetti House Museum is located at 240 S. Madison Ave. For more information, call 782-1841.
Yuma Territorial Prison
Two special activities to mark Yuma Crossing Day are planned at the Territorial Prison.
At 10 a.m. Old West re-enactor Don Swain will hold a talk on "The Life of a Prisoner."
At 3 p.m., speaker Gayle Hall will talk about "The First Prisoner at the Territorial Prison, William Hall."
The Territorial Prison is located at 1 Prison Hill Road. For more information, call 783-4771.
Yuma Quartermaster Depot
Re-enactors will also turn out at the Quartermaster Depot Historical Park. World War II military re-enactors will make an appearance between noon and 4:30 p.m. They will set up camp with period tents, equipment and firearms and will share historical accounts with visitors.
Re-enactor Don Kucera will have a booth with information on the Anza Trail and Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza, who led an expedition to California from New Spain (now Mexico) in 1774, crossing the Colorado River in Yuma. Kucera will have an exhibit displaying the types of foods that were eaten by members of the expedition. He will also have information on joining the Anza Trail Coalition.
At 1 p.m., Bill Heidner of the Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center will give a talk on the history of Gen. George Patton's desert training camps in the area.
At 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., park ranger Tammy Snook will give guided tours of the Quartermaster Depot. Yuma Weavers and Spinners will do demonstrations throughout the day.
Admission is free; park hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The park is located at 201 N. 4th Ave. For more information, call 329-0471.
Quechan Indian Reservation
Dance groups from various tribes will perform on the Quechan Reservation. At 11 a.m., the local Ah-Keep Dance Group will perform the Quechan Harvest Dance, followed at noon by the Roadrunners Bird Dancers, also a Quechan group.
At 1 p.m. the White Mountain Apache Crown Dancers will perform. The Tucson-based Pasqua Yaqui Deer Dancers will close the show with a performance at 2 p.m.
To reach the reservation, cross the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge, go up the hill and watch for signs on top of the hill.
Mara Knaub can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6856.