Do You Know Mesa? Buckhorn Baths
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Do You Know Mesa? Buckhorn Baths

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Buckhorn Baths exhibit by the Mesa Historical Museum (was up in Mesa Public Libraries)

Buckhorn Baths exhibit by the Mesa Historical Museum (was up in Mesa Public Libraries)

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Do You Know Mesa? Buckhorn Baths Do You Know Mesa? Buckhorn Baths Presentation Transcript

  • Hidden Mesa: Rediscovering the West Art from the Buckhorn Baths Collection Alice and Ted Sliger’s Buckhorn Baths and Wildlife Museum is important to the history of Mesa for many reasons. • The Baths, a 10-acre property at Main Street and Recker Road, is the best-preserved hot mineral-water springs resort in Arizona. In its heyday, the Buckhorn’s bathhouse contained twenty-five hot tubs, several massage rooms, a café, and a beauty parlor. • The Baths also attracted numbers of well-known visitors to Mesa who came for their health. • Amateur taxidermist Ted Sliger filled its public rooms, floor to ceiling, with Arizona-wildlife specimens. • Most famously, The Baths played a huge role in attracting the Cactus League to Arizona. In 1947 the New York Giants made it its spring training base camp so players could soak their aching bodies in the hot mineral water, and other teams soon followed. • Alice and Ted Sliger also collected the work of Western artists—most notably that of George Frederick and Arnold Krug, both of whom were living at the Buckhorn Baths up to the time of their deaths. Hidden Mesa offers a representative, never-before-exhibited selection of their artwork.
  • Alice Annette O’Barr Sliger Alice Annette O’Barr Sliger lived her whole long and eventful life in Mesa, attending Old Alma School, Mesa High School, and working her way through Tempe State Teacher’s College, later ASU. In the late 1920s, she taught all eight grades at a school in Sasabe, AZ. When Alice returned to Mesa, she taught at Old Alma School from 1930 to 1935. Alice married Ted Sliger in 1935, and in 1939 their Buckhorn Baths adventure began with their discovery of the hot mineral springs. The Sligers had two children, Marilyn Alice and Theodore Newton. Active in her church, Alice was also a founding member of the Soroptimist International of Mesa Club, and, all through her life, she admired and nurtured artists. Alice O’Barr Sliger died at the age of 103 on November 9, 2010. Ted Sliger and Alice Annette O’Barr Sliger Photo courtesy of the Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • Alice Sliger George Frederick Oil on board 1961 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection View slide
  • Marilyn Sliger George Frederick Oil on board 1960 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection View slide
  • “The Tiger” Teddy Sliger 0.1875 in George Frederick Oil on board 1960 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • Theodore William “Ted” Sliger Theodore William “Ted” Sliger was born in Texas, but was raised in New Mexico. He moved with his family to Arizona in1923 where he homesteaded and built the Desert Wells gas station on the Apache Trail in 1926 that included a small taxidermist business. In 1935 Ted and Alice moved to the site of what was to become the Buckhorn Baths and Wildlife Museum. Ted Sliger also ran a Greyhound bus depot at Buckhorn and was postmaster of the Buckhorn Post Office. Listed in “Who’s who in Arizona,” Ted was a member of both the Mesa and Phoenix Chambers of Commerce and one of the founders of the Mesa Host Association. Ted Sliger died on November 9, 1984. New York Giants players Davey Williams and Hoyt Wilhelm, Alice Sliger, Ted Sliger, and Giants Manager Bill Rigney, February 1957. Photo courtesy of the Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • Theodore “Ted” W. Sliger George Frederick Oil on board 1961 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • Ted Sliger’s braided leather lariat, spurs and boots Photograph: Ted and Alice Sliger Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • Arnold Otto Krug Arnold Otto Krug Courtesy of JoAnn King Arnold Otto Krug was born June 7, 1896, in Forest, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Krug’s 1917 WWI draft-registration card gives his residence as Forest, Wisconsin, and describes him as blue-eyed and brown-haired. In 1920, he was still living at home with his parents and siblings, listed in the census as a laborer. In 1930 Arnold Krug lived in a Milwaukee boarding house, working as an auto mechanic. Shortly afterward, he came to Arizona to follow his passion for painting. A self-taught, but disciplined artist, he would go into the desert at the same time every day to paint, and the Superstition Mountain range became one of his favorite subjects. At various times from 1927 to 1942, he lived in Arizona and California, but was living at the Buckhorn Baths at the time of his death on May 8, 1942. Arnold Otto Krug is buried at the Rienzi cemetery in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin.
  • Untitled View of the Superstition Mountains Arnold Krug Oil on canvas c. 1935 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • Untitled View of the Superstition Mountains Arnold Krug Oil on canvas c. 1935 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • Untitled Desert Flora Arnold Krug Oil on canvas c. 1935 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • Untitled View of the Superstition Mountains Arnold Krug Oil on canvas c. 1935 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • George “Smoke Tree” Frederick George “Smoke Tree” Frederick was born in Lee County, Iowa, on 9 May 1889. At the age of three, he moved with his parents to Europe, attending the Royal Academy of Art in Munich where he studied interior design. While growing up in Germany, Frederick often read about the American West and dreamed of someday becoming a cowboy.
 In 1911, Frederick returned to the United States and traveled west, eventually arriving in Texas where he discovered that being a cowhand wasn’t as exciting as it had been described in books and magazines, and soon began painting the people and scenery of the West instead of punching cattle.
 George Frederick, a colorful character, often wearing enormous sombreros and brightly colored checked shirts, married Alan Yantis, a writer of popular Western pulp fiction, in 1934. Frederick primarily painted landscapes and portraits of Native Americans and local cowboys. He was given the nickname “Smoke Tree,” later shortened to “Smokey,” because smoke trees, common to the desert washes of the Southwest, appeared in so many of his landscapes. The Fredericks moved to Arizona around 1941, living in Tucson, in Mesa near the Superstition Mountains, and in Wickenburg. In the mid 1950s George Frederick was the “portraitist in residence” at the Grand Lodge on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. George Frederick was living at the Buckhorn Baths at time of his death in September 1964.
  • Left: George Frederick’s paint kit Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection Center: George and Amee Olivia “Alan” Yantis Frederick Photo courtesy of L. Tom Perry Special Colleciton, Brigham Young University Top: George Frederick at the Grand Lodge, North Rim, Grand Canyon 1953 Photo courtesy of Special Collections, Sherratt Library, Southern Utah University
  • Self Portrait George Frederick Watercolor on board 1953 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • Paloverde in Bloom George Frederick Oil on Board Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • “The Old Warrior” George Frederick Oil on masonite 1945 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • Untitled George Frederick Oil sketch on board 1958 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • “Uncle Billie Crosby” George Frederick Oil on board February 25, 1953 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection Billie Crosby was the grandson of Jacob Hamblin: In the spring of 1879 Jacob Hamblin, the Mormon scout and emissary to the Indian Nations, took up residence in the Milligan Fort (Springerville area) and was appointed to preside over the LDS in the Round Valley area. His stay was short-lived, however, when personal matters called him away the following winter. Arizona Capitol Times, Dec. 9, 1994
  • Untitled George Frederick Oil on masonite 1956 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • Untitled George Frederick Oil sketch on board c. 1935 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • “On Apache Trail – Arizona Superstition Afternoon” George Frederick Watercolor 1949 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • “Early Morning – Vermillion Cliffs Northern Arizona” George Frederick Watercolor 1952 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • “Land of the Giant Cactus (AZ)” George Frederick Watercolor 1950 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • Sketches from Life & Nature George Frederick and his wife Alan Yantis loved Mexico. This 1940 sketchbook, entitled by Frederick “Sketches from Life & Nature,” is written bilingually in English and Spanish. Its nearly 200 loose-leaf pages contain observations on Mexican life and culture, a travelogue recounting their adventures in Mexico, biographies and comments on Mexican artists of note, philosophical comments about art and art mediums--and even Spanish language lessons. The Fredericks seem to have traveled extensively in Mexico over the years—judging by a section in the sketchbook discussing the colorful traditional Mexican clothing and lamenting the intrusion of modern dress—and clearly related to the country and its people. The sketchbook text was probably hand-written by Alan Yantis Frederick with illustrations by George Frederick.
  • Sketchbook George Frederick 1940 Theodore W. and Alice O’Barr Sliger Collection
  • Buckhorn Mineral Baths and Wildlife Museum The Mesa Preservation Foundation wishes to preserve and reopen the Buckhorn Baths and its restoration was the second most popular idea posted on the City of Mesa’s idea-gathering website. Everyone who experiences the Baths hopes that its significance to Arizona will be recognized and rewarded by a rebirth of the Buckhorn Mineral Baths and Wildlife Museum. The State of Arizona has recognized the Mesa Preservation Foundation as a nonprofit corporation. To learn more about the fate of the Buckhorn Mineral Baths and Wildlife Museum contact: Mesa Preservation Foundation: P.O. Box 539 Mesa, AZ 85211-0539 Phone: 480.967.4729 Email: mesapreservation@gmail.com Website: www.mesapreservationfoundation.org/