Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

May 1, 1973: The Avenging Angel, one of the rock forms sculpted by weather at the Joshua Tree National Monument, now Joshua Tree National Park. This photo was published in the May 29, 1973, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Cal Montney / Los Angeles Times

April 27, 1973: Rock formation in Joshua Tree National Monument called the Trojan. The park is now Joshua Tree National Park.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Cal Montney / Los Angeles Times

April 27, 1973: Rock formation in Joshua Tree National Monument resembles an insect. This photo was published in the May 29, 1973, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Cal Montney / Los Angeles Times

April 6, 1954: Photographer John Malmin reported he saw this rock formation in Joshua Tree National Monument as a covention of seals, with Chairman Seal in the foreground shouting, "The meeting will come to order, and delegates will please return to their seats."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: John Malmin / Los Angeles Times

April 27, 1973: Rock formation in Joshua Tree National Monument resembles an Old Hag right out of Grimm's Fairy Tales. This photo was published in the May 29, 1973, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Cal Montney / Los Angeles Times

April 27, 1973: Rock formation in Joshua Tree National Monument resembles a group of hurrying nuns. This photo was published in the May 29, 1973, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Cal Montney / Los Angeles Times

May 13, 1986: Hikers hop across rocks near Barker Dam in Joshua Tree National Monument, now Joshua Tree National Park. This photo was published in the May 18, 1986, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bob Grieser / Los Angeles Times

April 27, 1973: Rock formation in Joshua Tree National Monument resembes a skull. This photo was published in the May 29, 1973 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Cal Montney / l

Visitors to 29 Palms pause at the rocky entrance to Hidden Valley at Joshua Tree National Monument. This photo was published in the jan. 2, 1948 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Library file photo

May 23, 1986: Grass nurtured by winter rains covers a section of Hidden Valley in Joshua Tree National Park. This photo was published in the Feb. 27, 1986, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bob Grieser / Los Angeles Times

May 13, 1986: Couple walks amid tall grass in Hidden Valley area of Joshua Tree National Monument, now Joshua Tree National Park. This photo was published in the May 18, 1986, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bob Grieser / Los Angeles Times

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Time carves out a sculpture park at Joshua Tree

May 1, 1973: The Avenging Angel, one of the rock forms sculpted by weather at Joshua Tree National Monument.

This photo by staff photographer Cal Montney accompanied a story by staff writer Charles Hillinger in the May 29, 1973, Los Angeles Times:

One of the world’s giant collection of stone monuments lies scattered across Joshua Tree National Monument, a huge desert park 130 miles east of Los Angeles, sculpted by weather and the convulsions of the earth.

“People see everything imaginable in our rock piles,” said Donald M. Black, 52, chief park naturalist.

“They keep running into the visitors’ center reporting what they think is a new discovery, a new shape they think may not have been observed before.”

There are hundreds of rocks resembling human heads.

The Trojan in the monument’s Wonderland of Rocks section is probably the best known of the head forms.

Nature etched out a prominent Grecian nose, square chin, sharp eye, dimpled cheek and even a wrinkled forehead.

“It almost looks like it had to be chiseled,” agreed Black. “But we’ve examined the Trojan with a fine toothed comb. The National Park Service is convinced it’s a work of nature.”

There are rocks that resemble a group of nuns charging across the valley.

On giant outcropping that soars 100 feet looks like a cowled hag from the pages of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

There are animal and insect figures–elephants, camels, oxen, fish, hippos, turtles, grasshoppers and beetles.

And odd forms like the Loaf of Bread and the Open Book.

For years, one rock cluster visible for miles was a source of embarrassment.

There were so many complaints that the shape of the outcropping was pornographic that park rangers finally blew it up.

Joshua Tree National Monument covers 870 square miles. The main entrance is at Twentynine Palms.

“Rock shapes appear to change with the hour of the day,” Black said. “Long shadows and lighting effects of the sun from hour to hour have a great deal to do with what people see. …

Weird rock shapes result from numerous earthquakes, from the shifting of the earth’s crust, from weathering and erosion.

Joshua Tree, set aside by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 as a national monument, gets its name from forests of the unusual cacti.

Early day Mormons named the trees, which to them resembled the Biblical Joshua lifting his arms to Heaven in prayer.

In 1994, Joshua Tree National Monument became a national park.

Several of the 1973 images by Cal Montney accompanied Hillinger’s article. The other photos are from other Los Angeles Times articles. John Malmin’s 1954 “Seals Convention” was published as a stand alone image.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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