Our main motivation for traveling East on Saturday was to see the town of Safford, and the nearby communities of Thatcher and Pima.
This was the first time either of us had visited this part of Arizona.
As we arrived we noticed that nearly every available land space, clear up to the two lane Highway 70, was planted in cotton.
Rows upon rows of Pima Cotton.
I had heard of Pima Cotton, and we even have Pima cotton sheets on our bed.
As a quilter, who mainly works with cotton fabric and cotton thread, I was especially interested in learning more about the history of cotton in Arizona.
This type of cotton is named after the Pima Indians who helped raise cotton on U.S. experimental farms in Arizona in the early 1900's.
Pima cotton is ELS (extra long staple) similar to Egyptian cotton, which makes a very durable and superior fabric.
For most of the 20th century, Arizona was the largest ELS producer in the nation, although now those numbers have declined.
We had several reasons for wanting to visit the Safford/Thatcher area
I have always wanted to see the childhood home of Spencer W. Kimball, who was the 12th President of our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).
I've always held great admiration and honor for this wonderful man.
President Kimball's father Andrew was called to serve as a Stake President here in 1898. The church members provided 10 acres for his family, and the adobe and brick home was completed in 1902. Andrew helped make the 12,000 adobe bricks used in construction.
President Kimball lived here from age 7-22, when he left to be married.
In the near vicinity, the Gila Valley Temple was constructed in 2010.
Even though this is a small temple, the interior is magnificent.
We spent a few hours inside, and when we came out the skies were black as a huge dust storm and high winds were intensely blowing whirlwinds of sand and dirt through out the valley.
The winds were so intense that we struggled in making it back to our car in the parking lot.
Not knowing when we will be back, I pulled out my camera and braved the weather to capture a few pictures.
The Angel Moroni sits atop most of our temples and is the unofficial symbol of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, often referred to as The Mormons.