Saturday, March 30, 2019

el navajo train station painting

We were driving to Mesa when my wife and I stopped by Gallup, New Mexico. I had forgotten why. We looked for a railroad station and found a remnant of it, which housed the Gallup Cultural Center. I took photos outside, explored the inside and found historic photos of the El Navajo Hotel. Excitement sprung up in me. 

Could this be the site I was looking for?

The original hotel built by the Fred Harvey Company was much longer and wider. A reprinted photo of a drawing showed this.

The hotel train station had a news stand on the side that faced the rail tracks. Inside the station which is now an Amtrack rail station I saw reprinted photos of that news stand, below. Double click to enlarge images


From the photos of the hotel I could see the sand paintings mounted on the walls that Fred Geary had fashioned. Geary had been the head of the art department for the Fred Harvey enterprise for years. Harvey employed both the architect Mary Colter and the art technician Fred Geary.

(photo courtesy of State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri)

Fred Geary's sand paintings seen from the historic photos.

A photo of the tribes present at the opening of the El Navajo Hotel Train Station in 1923. That was why I saw Indian figures in the painting I had seen.

It was the exterior of the building, the side that faced the tracks. that convinced me this was the site -- yes this was it!!!  The word above the arch read "Gallup." The Santa Fe symbol at the top.

Compare with detail from painted work. Same area from other end in Gallup.

A painter friend I know in Carrollton once showed me a painted work. It had been passed down from his father Joseph Tonnar Sr. The work had been stored upstairs in a garage in Carrollton. It was a gouache painting of the El Navajo Hotel in Gallup. In the lower left hand corner is the artist's name.

The work was done by the Harvey artist Fred Geary. Who grew up in Carrollton. Whose father had been a station agent for the Santa Fe railroad in Carrollton, MIssouri. 
See  About Geary's father James F. Geary, 

Details from gouache painting by Geary.

Upon a close look I could see pencil lines under the wash of paint.

It blew my mind. Finding the building that Geary had been a part of --- still standing.

Inside cafe where historic photos are on display.

A walk down the hall of Gallup train station. Three minutes.

It was afterwards, we had driven on and I was at the gas pump down the street -- that my emotions caught up to me -- I was shaken. That hidden piece of me deep inside -- all the weeks of research I had done on Geary back 2011. IT WAS STILL a vibrant part of me. When persons are united to a place or a time, and then that information is published or posted -- and others cite it-- it becomes history. I had goose bumps and tears. I didn't expect to be found out here in New Mexico.  The moment meant a lot. The One who had faithfully led me into this -- had brought me here to Gallup to see this. To be found and to know that He sees me. He loves me. He is not yet done with me.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thanks to Gallup Cutural Center for their historic photo collection of the El Navajo Hotel.
Photos of Fred Geary painting and trip shots by Karl Marxhausen, Carrollton, MIssouri.
Thanks to the owner of the Geary painting. Joseph Tonnar Jr of Carrollon, Missouri.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

San Ysidro - patron saint of farming and gardening

      One of my readers sent me a photo of his Fred Geary print and gave me permission to post his story of it.

       Karl, great hearing from you.  Hope you are well.  I’m in southern California right now and will be heading back to New Mexico on Sunday.
So here’s the story: I generally have always been interested in western history.  Further, I am a long-time fan of the Santa Fe Railway and over time developed an interest in the Fred Harvey Company.  Of course, when you are interested in Fred Harvey you become aware of and develop an appreciation of Fred Geary.

My wife and I have stayed at La Posada Hotel in Winslow many times over the past ten years.

There we became aware of the the Fred Geary woodcut print San YsidroOne of the prints, in the original stylized frame made at the hotel, is on display in a glass curio case in the lobby of La Posada.  As you know, prints from the woodcut hung in the guestrooms at La Posada during the Harvey years and today you may purchase items with the San Ysidro graphic in the hotel’s gift shop.
Last October 11-13, my wife Catherine and I attended the Fall For Antiques dealer show at the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, New Mexico.  Here’s a the museum’s page for that annual show:
While looking at the dealer displays on Friday evening, my wife spotted a San Ysidro print in a plain black frame.  It had been brought to the show by a dealer from Montecito, California, named Michael Haskell.  Here’s a link to his business:
We went back to our hotel room and proceeded to research online Fred Geary and the print.  Your name came up in Google searches and so we contacted you and we had our phone conversation.  We did purchase the print on Sunday, the last day of the show.
We were told by Michael that the print had come from the estate of Robin Jones.  As it turns out, Robin Jones was a fine art and antiques dealer in Santa Barbara.  Here is her obituary:
Here the trail grows cold.  We don’t know how Ms. Jones came to acquire a copy of the San Ysidro print.  Michael Haskell dealt with Robin Jones’ son Evan.  Evan’s contact information is in the obit.  I have not yet tried to contact him to find out more.
So that’s the story as I know it.
If you think it would be helpful, when I return to New Mexico I can photograph the framed print and email you a copy of the photo.  It is hanging in our dining room there and is in the same condition as when we purchased it.
Hope this helps!  If you have any other questions, please let us know.
Best regards,

Brian Kreimendahl
Edgewood, New Mexico 

Brian Kreimendahl,
Rio Rancho, New Mexico,
Documenting, photographing and modeling BNSF in the Southwest photo of brian

Brian Kreimendahl
Edgewood, New Mexico
Documenting, photographing and modeling BNSF in the Southwest

"Hanging in each room was a picture of San Ysidro, the patron saint of farming and gardening, a hand-colored linoleum-block print created by Harvey artist Fred Geary that depicted the saint standing behind a plow with oxen and attended by guardian angels, conveying the essence of La Posada's make-the-desert-bloom aura." p.174-175. [La Posada in Winslow, Arizona, 1930.]

As a followup, Tony Garcia III, an antique dealer in southern Texas sent me this photo of his print. Which I believe is one of the prints, in the original stylized frame made at the hotel, on display in a glass curio case in the lobby of La Posada.  (double click on next photo)

    COMPARE both images. It looks like a border was added on the bottom edge of the print, where Fred Geary hand printed his name in pencil. Makes me WONDER how large his edition was of that particular print.

Monday, May 26, 2014

ray parkins - nautilus art editor

"My father, Ray F. Parkins, knew Fred Geary of Carrollton," recounts Julia Murray of Overland Park, Kansas, RIGHT. She talks about her father, her Carrollton relatives, her parents, Fred Geary, and her background. Double click on images to enlarge.

"I have checked out your blog about Fred Geary.  My connection with him is that he and my father grew up in Carrollton and of course went to the same high school.  They both did art work for the school annual. After graduation they each went their separate ways." Julia Ellen Parkins Murray 

      "Mary (Parkins) Magee was my aunt. She was the middle Parkins child. The sister with 3 older Parkins boys and 3 younger Parkins boys. The 3 older ones stayed in Carrollton for the most part -- Bill, Charlie and Sam.  The 3 younger ones went on to college.  Harry, Ray and Hugh." Julia Ellen Parkins Murray

Pen and ink illustrations by Ray F. Parkins. 
Double click to see images enlarged.

"Parkins and Geary's illustrations are everywhere in my edition of the 1914 Nautilus yearbook. The book is worn with pages falling apart. A man who grew up in Carrollton gave me this book recently. His name is John R. Jackson of Odessa, Missouri." Karl Marxhausen

"Small world that someone would bring in a Nautilus to you!  I gave all of mine to the Missouri Historic Society and every now and then I wished I still had them." Julia Ellen Parkins Murray  


"My father was athletic. I believe he was quarterback for Carrollton's football team. He went on to Warrensburg State Teachers College where he and some other students lived and boarded in the Forrest (Phog) Allen home.  The fellows were  p.e. majors and several, including my father, went on to coach sports around the country. " Julia Ellen Parkins Murray

Read  "The Quitter" by Ray Parkins, from pages 43 and 44 of the 1914 Nautilus, BELOW.

  "My friend CB Magee tells me her mother-in-law was Mary (Parkins) Magee. She knew the Parkins brothers and they were fun to be around when they all got together. She said she had seen some of Ray's art once. She said all the brothers are planted in a row at the cemetery. She was divorced from a Magee." Karl Marxhausen 

   "You are a friend to Clara Beth Magee.  She was married to Jack, and they produced 2 sons.  She was a Roseberry and her mother had the drugstore there, as I remember it." Julia Ellen Parkins Murray

    "My dad married my mother who had graduated from Chillicothe Business College and had come to Carrollton to seek her fortune.  She roomed in her sister May Melton's home. Aunt May's son Raymond grew up to marry and live in Carrollton all his life--post office, fire department.       
     "The newly married couple stayed for 6 months while
my dad became principal of the high school.  He then got a position as a coach in a Minnesota high school coaching all sports--finally focusing on coaching basketball.  He was a terrific coach and had many winning seasons."      
     "I only learned last year with college records that my cousin Jack sent me -- that my dad actually majored in history -- it seemed to be a passion with him but I never knew.  One time he helped me with my history homework in 7th grade and made it come alive.  I thought then if only my teacher could do that." Julia Ellen Parkins Murray
    "The Chillicothe reference is interesting too.  I tried to get my mother's school records from the business college but never got anywhere with finding records.  I was curious about what she did study.  I am impressed learning about my parents' lives before I was existed.  She ended up being a clerk in a dry goods store in Carrollton.  Women didn't work after marriage so that was that." Julia Ellen Parkins Murray

  "What year was my dad principal? Let me look up the exact marriage date. They were married Nov 13, 1920. They had eloped and announced their marriage that Christmas and he was principal of the high school at that time. I have the delightful quaint clippings from the paper about the wedding --headline "HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL KEPT WEDDING SECRET".   I think he spent that year (1920-21) as the principal, then going on to the coaching job in Duluth for a short time, then to Minneapolis for the rest of his career.  It was the only high school building in Carrollton that I knew of." Julia Ellen Parkins Murray

     "My dad would have LOVED March Madness!  In Minneapolis during high school playoffs it was kind of like March Madness. The media pace was slower back then, and basically the newspaper was the big source of news and so the newspapers filled the sports pages with articles on the coaches of the teams, and perhaps a special player on each team and detailed reports on the games.         
     "My dad was involved in the ruling that when a ball went out of bounds, the two teams would no longer have to have a tip off but instead the referee would throw the ball in to the receiving player. Think how plodding it was to constantly have to have a jump ball to resume playing!" 
    "One time I asked my dad why he hadn't become an artist and he said it was because you can't support a family as an artist." 

Carrollton High School building in 1914, ABOVE.
Geary's student signature, BELOW. 
Pen and ink illustrations by Fred Geary 
from 1914 Nautilus NEXT, and his selection
"The Pilgrims of New England" from page 41.


     "I first learned about you through your interest in Fred Geary. You have a lot of information about him on your blog about him. He is a bit mysterious in that there is not that much about him out there and you have quite a bit of it." 
     "I was researching him (Geary) for a report recently and found him in the1930 census, when he was living in Kansas City and is shown as age 34, and married --at age 34.  Didn't think he was ever married. He is so difficult to find in online records.  I believe someone in Carrollton told me that he was mentoring a young woman in Carrollton and folks thought he might marry her but never did." Julia Ellen Parkins Murray 
     "My report was informal and called attention to Fred Geary's art work for the Fred Harvey organization. It was for a reading group and we had read the book: Appetite for America by Stephen Fried -- a biography of Fred Harvey. I pointed out that Fred Geary was not mentioned at all in the book and he played a definite part in the Fred Harvey expansion of tourism in the west. I thought he deserved a mention." Julia Ellen Parkins Murray


  "I did show them the book of his woodcuts from the historical society. I was disappointed the prints were so dark that quite a bit of detail was lost. I complained politely to the society and the response was that that was the quality of the prints furnished to them to use and she too seemed sorry they were so dark." Julia Ellen Parkins Murray

     "My family lived in Minneapolis until I was twelve. My mother was in a wheelchair from Parkinson's Disease, an aftermath of encephalitis a few year's earlier.  She was requiring more care."    
     "My father died, and my mother and I came down to Kansas City, where her two sisters, one in Kansas City and one in Rayville MO, set about taking care of her but soon found she needed to be in a nursing home.  The oldest sister, May Melton, lived with her daughter and her son-in-law at 38th and Walnut, and they took me into their household, where I had an enjoyable family life.  It was a wonderful solution for me after the sadness of my father's death. I visited the Parkins side of the family often during those years, often spending a summer visit with Aunt Mary.  Visits in Carrollton gave me a taste of the small town life as opposed to the big cities I had lived in otherwise. Every one knew each other in Carrollton."  
     "It was easy to attend junior college and quite affordable but getting the last two years were out of the question.  I did not plan to continue.  The head of the nursing home determined I should finish college and connected me with the Volker Foundation, which helped me with the last two years at Kansas City University -- KCU we called it.  It is UMKC now.  Talk about helping angels everywhere.  I look back in amazement at them." 
     "After that was marriage to my husband, who was attending KCU  on the GI bill. Then I decided to teach school. So it was back to college at KU extension classes. I taught one year of 1st/2nd grade in KCMO, then I stayed home with family of 3. Still later, I went back to KU extension to get certified to teach gifted students and taught about 10 years in KCK gifted ed." Julia Ellen Parkins Murray 

     "It is funny that you should mention Wilbur Phillips.  I just ran across his name in one of your blogs yesterday and thought I know something about him --but what?  It was connected with my husband's job with Kansas City maintenance of buildings--repairs, painting.  We just talked about it this morning.  He (my husband, Truman Murray) feels that Wilbur Phillips was for a short time the acting director of the Kansas City Museum.  My husband met him through the maintenance of that building.  I seemed to remember that Wilbur was involved in painting the backgrounds for the natural history displays in the museum. And I think Phillips  was a classmate of my cousin Raymond Melton at Carrollton High School.  I wonder what happened to him.  

 Julia Murray and blogger Karl Marxhausen
meet at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

(correspondence courtesy of Julia Ellen Parkins Murray, 2014. Carrollton high school 1914 Nautilus yearbook images courtesy John R. Jackson of Odessa, MO, 2013; Chillicothe Business College, and; Appetite for America  courtesy of, Video link of Appetite for America by Stephen Fried,; Wilbur Phillips link,, accessed May 26, 2014)