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Arizona Edition: Regional history comes alive in historic Wellton recordings

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In the late 1960s members of the Wellton-Mohawk Historical Association had the great idea to record the memories of some of the town's oldest residents.

50 years later hours of those recordings found their way into the hands of KAWC, when we were asked to transfer the old reel-to-reel audio to digital to preserve them for the future.

Our only request was that we be allowed to share the tapes with you, which we will do over the next year in a project we are calling "The Wellton Reels".

The tapes include stories of how people arrived in the Wellton area as far back as 1906, why they came to Arizona, and what they found.

We'll hear how they kept cool in the Arizona heat, of the Wellton hot springs (no longer there) where Yumans and others would come to heal themselves from illness or hangovers, of the first car to arrive in Yuma, and how those early pioneers familiarized themselves with the land and the people already living here - Native Americans.

Join us in 2024 as we explore the Wellton Reels, with Chris McDaniel researching and learning more about the names and stories the tapes offer.

Names like Spain, Manifold, Rustin, Hindman, Rolle, Montgomery, Anavisca and Arriola and stories about murder, devastating floods, parties on the river, and day to day life.

Chris has a personal connection to the subject of our first installment, Madeline Spain. She is his great grandmother.

Our sincere thanks to the Wellton-Mohawk Fine Arts and Historical Association and in particular to BJ Slocum for bringing the tapes to our attention a few years back.

Lou grew up in Tucson and has a long family history in the state of Arizona. He began his public radio career in 1988 at KNAU in Flagstaff as a classical music DJ and has been hooked on public radio since, transitioning to news after trying his hand at several other careers in publishing and commercial broadcasting. Lou has a degree in American Studies from Arizona State University and was KAWC's Morning Edition host for two and half years before becoming News and Operations Director.
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