Friday, 7 January 2011

An Interesting Blog, They Are Going to Visit Colorado City

So, last night we did a lot of research into Colorado City and found accounts from people who have been to the large polygamous compound that flourishes there. We have found a lot of differing accounts.
From, circa 2008:
"With the arrest and conviction of Warren Jeffs, the leader of this community, change may be in the cards. Nevertheless, these are not communities that welcome outsiders and, for the time being, should be avoided by travelers."
That warning obviously spooked us a bit. We are two young women, who are total outsiders, and throughout this journey we have been in a state of acute awareness that we do not belong. Nonetheless, we researched on.
This is a blog post from John Hamer, who visited the compound, again in 2008:
"Colorado City was more like I expected, although I was unprepared for the size of the community — there truly are a lot of fundamentalist Mormons. This much older town (founded in the 1920s) is laid out in traditional Utah fashion, with overly wide streets separating large square blocks — resulting in the unkempt, low-density feel so many Mormon towns share.
The houses in Colorado City were more normal in size, lacking the ostentation of Centennial Park. There were also a large number of unfinished homes, some of which were inhabited while others seemed abandoned. In that way, the community was reminiscent of towns we’ve visited in Argentina...
We had expected a closed community, like the private FLDS town near Eldorado, Texas. Instead we found a rural town with all the public institutions you would expect: post office, town hall, police department, community college, grocery store, hardware store, restaurant, and other services like insurance agents.
Although the grocery store “Foodtown Cooperative Mercantile Corporation,” was communally operated and owned by the UEP trust, its goods were absolutely normal — precisely what you’d expect from any small-town grocer. Notwithstanding the FLDS Church’s reputation for being isolated from the modern world, their Cooperative Mercantile was well stocked with the latest types of chips — I bought a bag of Spicy Sweet Chili–flavored Doritos for the road.
The store was filled with FLDS women wearing the distinctive outfits that we have seen on CNN from Texas. Unlike the Little House on the Prairie garb worn by fundamentalists on the compound in Big Love, FLDS women have a very strange style all their own. To me their clothing resembles over-sized Victorian dresses, generally in a single vivid (often pastel) color. Long hair is universally combed up (often way up) and back. Unlike Amish country, where both men and women look different from regular American society, FLDS men appeared to dress like any other rural westerners."
Hamer's account made us feel a bit better, and was sort of more of what we expected to encounter in Colorado City. We anticipate getting strange looks, and we hope that's sort of the extent of action taken against us.
We also found this post from a UK site called The First Post:
"Colorado City is a frankly bizarre place. It sits under soaring red cliffs, entirely surrounded by wilderness. And many of the vast and palisaded houses really do have far fewer windows than normal; some houses have hardly any windows at all. The streets feel oddly blind.
And the people are equally strange. Everywhere we saw women in long pioneer dresses, with dozens of children in tow. The women were big: like Stepford wives on steroids.
Our visit went smoothly - until we got the camera out. That got people staring and pointing. We backed away. Then one guy started running towards us, and not in a friendly way."
Who knows if the women will actually be huge there, or if the townspeople will react differently towards us because we are women and not men. My hope is that as a woman, I will be less likely to be chased because I am "harmless"... right?
And finally, a blog journal entry from Thomas, who traveled his way across the Southwest:
"A few interesting facts about Colorado City:
Many of the “houses” (which could more appropriately be called compounds or hotels) have large walls to keep out prying eyes despite their rural location.
The city is situated several miles from the main road and lacks signs marking its location.
Most of the vehicles in town are Surburbans , 15 person vans, or full sized pickup trucks.
There are large playgrounds at almost every house.
I visited on a Sunday, so there was very little activity. The few drivers that passed stared at me as if I were an alien."
I think part of the fun of visiting Colorado City will be observing how we are received by the polygamist community. We agreed not to take photographs while in the community, because according to all of the accounts we have read that seems to be the point of contention. And right now I have my "wedding ring" on so as not to seem too much like an evil-she devil type of floozy.

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