Andy, of Panorama Vista Preserve, sent us these pictures. His question — what are these structures? Maybe oilfield outhouses?
I showed them to Billy, and he thought they probably were. There was an opening in the bottom, and the gap between walls and roof would let heat and odors out. There is also a handle on the inside of the door; that seems to add to the possibility. On the negative side, there’s no sign of a seat. That might have been wooden, and long since crumbled away. A steel seat would have been Really Uncomfortable when the temperature was 105.
There is also a ring on the roof, so the structure could be picked up and moved. So, whatever it was, it was likely moved around.
These are hardly beautiful structures, but they are part of the Preserve’s history. Not much oilfield history has been preserved. I used to ride in the hills north of the preserve, and there were some fascinating remnants. In those days, more than thirty years ago, there was still a jackline rig working. That’s kind of like a carousel, with a central pumping unit working a circle of wells by cable. It was interesting to pass on horseback — particularly where the cables worked back and forth in the roadbed.
Also fascinating were the remains of the company executive’s houses, torn down many, many years ago, and Aztec High School. It was a little community once, and almost nothing remains. There’s probably even less, now. The area was fenced off along ago. You can’t blame the oil companies, in these days of litigation and vandalism, but I’m glad to have the memories of those days.