Lee's Ferry, U.S. Route Alternate 89, Page, Coconino County, AZ
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U.S. Route Alternate 89, Page vicinity, AZ
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Documentation compiled after 1933.
Survey number HABS AZ-58
Building/structure dates: 1874 initial construction
Significance: The Spanish explorers Domingues and Escalante discovered the Lee's Ferry area in 1776. Jacob Hamblin, Mormon missionary to the Hopis, used the crossing in 1869, on his seventh expedition. During Major John Wesley Powell's second canyon voyage in 1871-72, Lee's Ferry became a layover and supply depot. John D. Lee, one of Utah's great pioneers, had been excommunicated from the Mormon Church because of his involvement in the Mountain Meadows Massacre during the Utah War of 1857-58. Lee, henceforth an exile, nevertheless followed instructions to establish a ferry at the mouth of the Paria River. He established his "Lonely Dell" ranch and home in 1871 and began ferry operations with Powell's abandoned river boat the "Nellie Powell." He built the "Colorado," soon lost to the river. Lee, still under the cloud of the Moutain Meadow Massacre, fled to Navajo Country when threatened by approaching soldiers. He was found, arrested, tried, shot by a firing squad at the massacre site, and finally posthumously exonerated. In 1874, with impending Navajo troubles, Jacob Hamblin directed the building of a stone fort and trading post at Lee's Ferry. The present so-called post office, the addition to the 'fort,' and the Spencer Building (dating after 1910) were built by Charles D. Spencer in a mining venture. Lee's Ferry Post Office was established in 1879. The location was the starting point for Mormon colonization southward, river crossing and running, exploration, canyon country mining etc. The completion of the Navajo Bridge in 1928 ended the use of the ferry, the only vehicle crossing of the Colorado River in 500 miles until then.
Military Art & Science
Domingues & Escalante
Powell, Maj. John Wesley
Lee, John D.
Spencer, Charles D.
Krueger, Donald A., Delineator
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
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