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Halfway House ruins

As far as being a ruins site, Halfway House…..well…it pretty much sucks. The suckage is somewhere between donkey balls and elephant balls.

I have good reasons for such bluntness. There’s hardly much to it, maybe 12 rooms at max, and no stinkin’ kivas. All cool ruins have kivas, right? What little there is in the way of collapsed walls is pretty much covered by drifting sand, hiding almost everything. And if you’re looking for ceramics or lithics you’ll be looking a lot for very little. Pickin’s is scarce.

So why bother to even visit?

To quote the old real estate adage, “Location, location, location”! This puppy is smack dab on the fabled Great North Road, linking Chaco Canyon to the ruins at Salmon and Aztec. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is halfway between these two endpoints (Archaeologists are oh-so-poetic with their namings). So it appears to have some significance to the road and acted as perhaps a way station or other stop for traveling Chacoans. And if they thought it worth a stop, so do I.

It’s a tricky place to find, as it doesn’t really show on any aerials and there’s certainly no signage on the ground (seems there never is for these neat places). The only clue is a large fenced in area of about 4 to 5 acres, and the ever present antiquities protection act signs. And of course it’s in the middle of nowhere.

Powers, Gillespie and Lekson (The Outlier Survey) talk about the Great North Road being visible immediately on the east side of the Halfway House structure. But I’ll be damned if I can see anything. Maybe it’s like those optical illusions when you cross your eyes just so and look at a picture, and a hidden image pops out. Or perhaps archaeologists too long in the field start seeing things normal folks don’t. Not that I’m calling myself normal. But these guys certainly know what they’re doing and I’ll take them at their word. So I’ve stood on the Great North Road, even if I couldn’t see it.

Looking westerly toward Halfway House site at top of mound.

Halfway House layout (from “The Outlier Survey”, by Powers, Gillespie and Lekson, 1983)

Looking easterly across what little remains of the site. Huerfano Mountain in background.

Jeri at easterly edge of roomblock. The Great North Road was supposed to have passed just beyond where she’s standing. If you cross your eyes enough, I’m sure you can see it.