"We finally got hold of a guy there at the bullfights who said you have to go down to the secret service in downtown Mexico City and report it. On the way in a taxi, I saw my car sitting right there on the side of the road, all stripped — battery, alternator, tires, everything."

Per Seeger, the worst part of it all was the theft of a bag of pre-Columbian shards and parts of Mixtec clay figures he had collected while walking in cornfields adjacent to the archeological ruins of Monte Alban. This obviously was years before taking such artifacts was considered seriously illegal theft of national Mexican patrimony.

Penniless and paperless, Dick and Helen somehow managed to call Seeger's father in Iowa, who, with the help of U.S. Senator Bourke B. Hickenlooper, arranged for the stranded duo to make it to the border, where they were greeted by money from Dad and legal identification documents. Not in the least dispirited by their rotten luck, Seeger says, at the border they had "to decide, well, are we going to go back home with our tails between our legs or hightail it to California?"

Detail from the artist's backyard
Jamie Peachey
Detail from the artist's backyard
Looking from the foyer of Seeger's home/museum into his great room; along the walls are artworks he has created over the years.
Jamie Peachey
Looking from the foyer of Seeger's home/museum into his great room; along the walls are artworks he has created over the years.

Details

They chose the latter route, eventually ending up in Carmel, with which they instantly fell in love. Fortuitously, they walked into the office of a realtor, who hooked them up with a wealthy homeowner whose house overlooked Pebble Beach Golf Course on 17 Mile Drive. For a month, the Seegers played housekeeper and groundsman of the woman's estate while she traveled, even though she didn't know the couple from Adam.

But it would be Scottsdale that ended up being irresistible to artist and wife.

After returning to Iowa from their Carmel adventure, the Seegers took a second trip out West; they worked their way up the California coast, hitting every well-known artist's colony along the way, including La Jolla and Laguna Beach. Passing through Arizona on their way back to Cedar Rapids, they eventually stopped in Scottsdale in 1956 and were invited to dinner by Italian émigré Paolo Soleri and his wife, Colly, with whom they would eventually become good friends.

To Seeger, there was something exceptionally exciting about Scottsdale and its burgeoning arts community. During college, he had made his mark on the design world by carving and wholesaling "herds," sleek, abstracted animal forms from wood, especially walnut, and other one-of-a-kind biomorphic, modernist sculptures on commission. He was also well-known by professional designers for his "windwood" sculptures; both were wholesaled through the Chicago Merchandise Mart. Seeger made his wind-carved pieces from weathered red cedar tree limbs he collected during 10 trips to Colorado.

"Soleri just had the original underground house, [was building] one structure at a time at Cosanti on Doubletree Road. I was saying to myself, well, he's here . . . When there are only 6,000 people, there has to be a reason. I figured if the town was good enough for Soleri, it was good enough for me," says Seeger.

In 1957, he and his wife moved into an un-air-conditioned wooden shack behind the original White Hogan, a workshop and retail store on Main Street in old Scottsdale started by Indian trader Johnny Bonnell. The store launched the careers of legendary contemporary Navajo silversmiths like Kenneth Begay and Allan Kee, and seriously dug into Scottsdale's alluring mid-century modern desert lifestyle.


Despite officially adopting the title of "The West's Most Western Town" in 1951, Scottsdale was anything but a podunk, cowboys-and-Indians backwater when Dick Seeger landed there in the latter part of the 1950s.

Since the '20s, the small desert town had lured artists, sculptors, writers, architects, and other creative types to its desiccated terrain. It also drew well-heeled vacationers looking for relaxation in the area's often tony resorts and dude ranches, health seekers searching for unpolluted, non-allergenic fresh air, and celebrities of all stripes searching for some respite from public view.

By the time Seeger arrived, Scottsdale was a well-advertised tourist mecca, garnering a glowing eight-page spread in the March 12, 1956, issue of Life, which described the blinding glitziness of "the gold-plated town."

The story explained the "life steeped in luxury" of "transplanted inhabitants" who "buy $1,000 antiques and $10 cocktail lanterns" and "shop in stores where gift wrapping is as much as $50 extra." In addition to touting Scottsdale's high-end resorts and health spas, the article effusively described its downtown art and fashion scene.

In 1958, Time breathlessly recounted every facet of First Lady Mamie Eisenhower's sojourn at Elizabeth Arden's over-the-top Maine Chance health spa, then located on property that would, in time, become The Phoenician resort.

Small enclaves of ongoing art-related activity were already spread throughout Scottsdale when Seeger and his wife scouted out artist colonies. In the 1930s, untrained architect/engineer George Ellis and his wife, Rachael, began what would develop into an artist colony of working studios and cozy homes in an area off McDonald Drive that used to be an old cattle track. Surrealist painter Phillip Curtis was just one of a number of prominent artists who called Cattletrack Complex home.

According to Scottsdale historian Joan Fudala, in early 1946, local businessman Tom Darlington opened Arizona Craftsmen Center in a former grocery store at Brown Avenue and Main Street in downtown Scottsdale. There, local artists and designers demonstrated their particular crafts for curious tourists, with the obvious end of having those tourists snap up their wares.

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7 comments
schultzybeckett
schultzybeckett topcommenter

Skoob, a secondhand Aladdin's Cave of a bookshop, located at The Brunswick building between King's Cross and Russell Square is one of my favourites for general fiction and non- fiction. A wonderful selection, with generous opening hours which lead me to believe that only Cockroaches and Skoob will be left standing when the Apocalypse hits.

 http://www.mommyliciousmaternity.com/


Suzerina
Suzerina

Just savored the Seeger piece. I came to Scottsdale in 1965, married to Dick whose family had arrived in 1952...Always fascinated by the Old Scottsdale arts and culture scene and eventually a proud owner of Seegerpeople. images of my girls.Thank you for this treasure....and I need to get into that houseSuz.....

Roseann
Roseann

How can one fellow artist to another get to see this, Magical Mystery Spiritual Home, I'm feeling very "Beatles" right now....

Basti Auser
Basti Auser

YES , WE CAN...YES , WE CAN...WE WILL WIN IN WAR ON TERROR (30 whities or what are terrorists will never come back alive...thank you lord....aaamen).

What do you mean tragedy! It was just a birthday present for planet apes president !!! That's all ! Feels great to flip hamburgers and hip hop atop of good news...makes you feel vibrant and energized !!!

ARIZONA = UTOYA = GOVERNMENT‘S "AFTERLIFE" CASH & $$ FLASH MOB (there was no shooting in Utoya or Arizona, but tear gas and theater instead on faces of multiculturalism maniacs..your guilt or blame and shame weapon against us and our families in our own countries atop of forceful unemployment during so called "ECONOMIC CRISES" during which third world foreigners are allowed to rape, kill, and still is nothing else but fast way to early retirements for government related criminals/ terrorists...$$$ extra bonuses, and newly issued state identities while calling you a terrorists) !!! http://stateofterror.blogspot.... or http://stateofterror.wordpress...

OBAMA = STALIN = BUSH or USA = SOVIET UNION http://avsecbostjan.blogspot.c... or http://avsecbostjan.wordpress.... Whitie is fighting war on terrorism just to come home and be pronounced as terrorist...turned in Timothy, jobless, homeless ...YESSS, WE CAN...YESSS, WE CAN...GABBY OPENED HER EYES (Obaminator’s psychotic speech in Tucson = failed “Apocalypse Now“)

WAKE-UP !!! WAKE UP PEOPLE BEFORE IT GETS ALL TO LATE ON PLANET APES !!! TEARS WON'T DO YOU ANY GOOD !!! AS BUSH STATED "THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE PAID FOR"(to die ) !!

EVEN IF IRAQ WOULD HAVE BEEN WAR FOR OIL ONLY, VETERANS WOULDN'T NEVER EVER HAVE TO BE HOMELESS PEOPLE THE WAY THEY ARE AND NOR WOULD OUR PEOPLE HAVE TO DIE ALLOVER THE PLACE THE WAY THEY DO TO VERY TODAY(never ending “war on terror” story). BECAUSE EVEN IF WAR WAS FOR THE SAKE OF MONEY, MONEY SHOULD BE USED FOR AMERICAN CITIZENS AND NOT WHAT THE CASE IS OR AGAINST WHITES(to destroy us allover the world) !!! You don't really proof for 911, just put your sht together in your heads...THIS IS PLENTY ENOUGH TO HAVE O(B)SAMA INDICTED FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST WHITE AMERICAN HUMANITY TOGETHER WITH HIS ZIONIST MASTERS) !!!

Don't worry O(s)bama, you have just saved USA what is lots of Dollars in your DEBT DEALS as those best of America or Navy Seals would also grew older and then you already know how it goes...DEAD & ILL = DEBT DEAL !!!

HOW MUCH FURTHER ARE WE WILLING TO GO IN ORDER TO PLEASE VERY SAME PEOPLE WHO DENY US EVEN THE RIGHT TO EXISTENCE(what is to you country without laws or lawless country in respect to your personal rights, but the one that in contrast to your denied basic human rights recognizes you extremely liable when payments are due) !!?

IS IT INDEPENDENCE THAT WE CELEBRATE OR DEPENDENCE (what are your credit card bills or alimony saying about it) !!? HOW IS YOUR DIABETES AND LOST MARRIAGES !!? FORECLOSURES AND JOB SEARCH !!? THAT IS THE QUESTION TO BE OR NOT TO BE !!! IS IT LAND OF THE FREE OR STATE OF TERROR AGAINST OWN POPULATION !!? IT IS TIME TO LET THEM KNOW WHAT COLOR ARE THE STRIPES ON OUR STAR SPANGLED BANNER !!! TIME TO DETERMINE WHOSE INDEPENDENCE/AMERICA, WE CELEBRATE TODAY(who wants to erase us and denies us the right to exist) !!! IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHOM WE ADDRESS WITH "PRESIDENT" (STOP HUMILIATING YOURSELF) !!!

VOTING POLL:

DO WE NEED MORE PROOFS TO INDICT OBAMA AND BUSH ADMINISTRATION FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY !!?

1)NO, THEY ARE CLEARLY GUILTY AS OIL WAR NEVER EVER WAS REAL ISSUE IN GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITES. REAL ISSUE ARE FACTS OR WHAT WE WITNESS TODAY WHEN VETERANS ARE HOMELESS, JOBLESS, KILLED, ETC.

2)NO, AS 911 ALONE AS WELL AS ACTIONS IMPOSED AGAINST WHITES IN USA (as well worldwide) ARE CLEARLY INDICATING ACTS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY

3)YESS AS JUST YESTERDAY(for over 15 years to very yesterday), WE (news/media = vacuum world of lies) WERE TELLING YOU THAT UNEMPLOYMENT WAS AT 10% WHILE TODAY ONE IS AT 50% (HOW COME NO ONE QUESTION JOURNALISM LIKE THIS OR WHAT IS WORLD OF LIES AND DEMENTIA)!

4)I AGREE WITH FIRST TWO ANSWERS ABOVE. IT IS TIME TO PRESS CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST BOTH ADMINISTRATIONS DUE TO ACTS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY FOR THE SAKE(SAFETY) OF US AND OUR CHILDREN(DO NOT TURN THEM IN WHITE REFUGEES ON PLANET APES OR WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE WHEN VISITING ABOVE PAGES) !!!

Aki
Aki

Fascinating individual with a drive to be and do the extra ordinary. I enjoyed this article and am amazed at the talents and hard work of Dick Seeger.

 
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