When I go out to Old West sites, I'm always very aware of layers. Here's a good example: in Oatman, the town in western Mohave County, my family used to picnic there in the 1950s and my friends and I—mainly Rick Ridenour, Charlie Waters and Dan Harshberger—would play "guns" and we were thrilled to be walking along the streets of an actual 1880s Wild West town, when in fact, the town had gone belly up during World War II so many of the buildings we were awe-struck by dated from the 1930s and 40s, and not the 1880s. Add to that, the fact that Hollywood came to Oatman in the early 1960s and rebuilt part of the main street for a cinerama set piece that appears in "How The West Was Won" (1963).
So, today, people walk the streets of Oatman thinking they are looking at the real Old West when they are actually looking at a movie set built on top of a Depression era mining town, built on top of an authentic 1914 mining camp.
So, I am well aware of layers.
Layers On The Road Less Traveled
Having posted a photograph of my recent trip out to the Oatman (the people, not the town) massacre site, my guide, Vince Murray and I speculated about the road up the bluff and, since it was quite developed (big boulders piled up on the sides, creating a very wide roadway) we wondered at length if it was a modern layer on top of the original road the Oatmans traversed on that fateful day in February of 1851.
Yesterday I got this email about the authenticity of the road we were standing on: