Into the Canyon with Mary Colter by Dr. Barbara ten Brink

The work of the Atchison, Topeka, Santa Fe Railroad, the work of the Fred Harvey Company, and the talent and brilliance of Mary Colter formed a “perfect storm” to complete their many building projects along the Western Ho movement from her first hire in 1902 until her retirement in 1948. Please know that my book, Into the Canyon with Mary Colter, is a work of fiction. Cassidy Powell is a fictious character based on my family’s history in Brownfield and Lubbock, Texas. Her exploits and conversations are fictious to entertain my readers, to weave a story, and to connect the true and famous men and women she meets along her journey and you find among these pages. To help clarify fact from fiction, the reader will find single quotation marks within the text for historically correct quotes and citations to facts in the Author’s Notes.

“They agreed to go immediately to the precipice and Zen for a moment at Desert View. They sat on giant boulders at its very ledge above the sheer cliff face that dropped thousands of feet into the river valley of the Western Colorado River. From this vantage, they looked West into the Painted Desert and sat silent, meditative, banking the inspiration which had been the motivation for their trip to the Ruins, and stared into the most glorious sunset for an extremely long time. Without conversation, the women reflected on the richness of the day’s events and the direction each would take from this pivotal moment.”

And to quote Mary Colter’s own letters, ‘In the meantime, as for a long time past, I am your very sincere friend and happy passenger, Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter’

In her career as Science Coordinator for the State of Texas at Texas Education Agency, Dr. Barbara ten Brink was invited by Texas A&M University to participate in a two-week geological field trip by charter but through Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. This field trip introduced her and hundreds of other science teachers to the American Southwest and to the architecture of Mary Colter.

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