Thursday, October 2, 2014

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 162

 Dutch Wedding Rocks, Colorado

The Dutch Wedding Rocks postcard above was one found at the Marietta, Ohio Antique Mall last March when we were visiting.  I thought these natural rock formations were very interesting and wanted to learn a bit more about them.  Sanborn Souvenir Co., of Denver Colorado, produced the card.  It has a cancellation date of 22 July 1944 and a one-cent George Washington profile stamp.  On the reverse side there is a brief description stating that these rock formations are located in the valley east of the Woodmen Sanatorium.  The rocks acquired their name because some of them are standing close together like a bride and groom might.

These strange formations are variously called tent rocks, fairy chimneys, earth pyramids, and hoodoos.  They are products of erosion.  The tall thin spires are composed of a softer rock while a harder, less easily eroded rock, forms the top.  The top makes an umbrella for the “stems” protecting them from the elements.  They generally form within sedimentary and volcanic rock formations.  Although the ones on the card are from near Colorado Springs, Colorado, a good example of this type of erosion on a larger scale can be found in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.   Hoodoos are commonly found in the Colorado Plateau, in the Badlands of the United States and in Canada; however, they can also be found in places such as Turkey, France, Serbia, and Taiwan.   The French sometimes call them “ladies with hairdos” (demoiselle coiffées) while in Serbia they are referred to as “towers.”  Some effort is being made to slow down the erosion of unusual or iconic examples. 

Hoodoos can be as tall as a person or as high as a ten-story building.  Erosion is caused by a combination of wind, heating and cooling, and acidic rain.  The softer rock is often mudstone, sandstone, or something called tuff a consolidated volcanic ash.  A harder magnesium-rich limestone called dolomite forms the most durable cap on hoodoos.

The rocks shown on the card are now on private property so it is no longer possible to visit them. 

A notation at the upper right of the card margin states that these formations are located near the Woodmen Sanatorium.  Today this fraternal benefit society is called the Modern Woodmen of America and provides life insurances plus annuity and banking products to its members.  Joseph Cullen Root founded it in 1883 in Lyons, Iowa.  The name came from a sermon he heard describing the good that was derived from woodmen clearing the forest to build homes, communities and security for their families.  The words “modern” and “of America” were added later to stay current and to symbolize patriotism. 

In the early 1900s there was an epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and the Woodmen opened the sanatorium to provide free treatment to more than 12,000 members.  The care included board, lodging, treatment, medicine, dental work and laundry at no expense to the patient.  The sanatorium is on 1,000 acres and cost $1.5 million to build. 

Please see the following for more information about the hoodoos and the Woodmen

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