Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ajo, Arizona - Yes, we have no artists today

THOUSANDS of motorcycles blat through the S-turn that winds around Der Plaza. Hidden behind the backs of the stores, it remains unknown to the majority of passersby. As for the bikers, it's a mystery why they're here. Ajo has a smattering of offerings, but otherwise there's little to see between he'ar and th'ar.

Curley School has been converted into HUD apartments now occupied by, according to a confidential source, transients. Transients in this case is relative since the majority of Ajo-ites are  "seasonal visitors."

Also according to my source, when the artists were encouraged to join the churches, which are starved for members, and thereby also join the community, they formed their own. It was Sunday when I visited and the former school auditorium was being used by a church group. I wandered the halls looking at the art, but, as is often the case with that elusive species, I saw no artists.

Once There Was a Time...yesteryore hotel.
Following Mr. Nose, I rode the road uphill where I chanced into the Ajo Historical Society Museum. It's housed in a used-to-be church. Jose Castillo & Louie Walters were on duty. Both had a tremendous wealth of information and after almost two hours I'd only seen, but thoroughly enjoyed, one room. 

Newly-acquired knowledge seeping from my seams, I staggered into the waning afternoon light. Mr. Walters warned me there were no guarantees as to who would be staffing in the future -- they're all volunteers -- but if their compatriots are even remotely similar, I highly recommend it.

Ajo looks as if it's dying. My informant (in the anthropological sense of the term) said it was like a ghost town when they moved there in the '80s. People bought their homes for cheap and for a few years they congregated after church (you beginning to get the theme?) to enjoy lunch at the country club. Now those folks are dead or dying and the present batch of seasonals aren't wealthy or nonsecular enough to sustain the olde style.

Ajo Historical Society Museum

Mr. Costillo (aforementioned museum staffer) said he thought the day would come when the mine would reopen and the town would revive. He'll be 75 in about six months and has lived his whole life in Ajo. His is the voice of authority. So you'd be well-advised tuh git yer reel estate now. Prices won't be this low again!

Senor Costillo - Age 74 1/2

Senor Walters

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