As the founder of the Paranormal & Ghost Society I see allot of sites some make me very excited while others sadden me. Cathedral Canyon has become just that its an exciting place to hike around in but at the same time its very sad due to the amount of vandlism. Rumor has it at one time their were over a 100 statues within the canyon and now all that remains is the broken replica of Christ in the Andes statue.

It is a very spiritual location and yeah the locals consider it to be haunted perhaps by the outlaw who is buried by it.....spiritual energy left over from the past.....and at one time when it was untouched by vandals many bizarre statues. The restrooms were built into the sides of the cliffs....and lights graced the canyons. Their once was a suspension bridge crossing the canyon that looked like the Golden gate Bridge. It had religious music softly playing so that when visitors traversed through here they could try to make a spiritual connection bringing closer to Christ.

As the founder of our society we preserve such places with our photography but also reminding others of what once was. I have heard people hearing gun shots perhaps others in the area target practicing and trust me they do I seen it with my own eyes at other locations in southern Nevada.

Roland the man who built this place did it out of his heart never made a penny but expended his own funds for it. It reminded me of how I am with our paranormal site. In the end this mans dream was crushed after his death just as my dream to build a site with so many great people has been crushed over the years do to haters. I have found out vandals come in many forms on and offline people who just have the need to destroy. The one thing they have long forgotten is the spirit cannot be destroyed or broken. So if you wander this place entering those big old wrought iron gates remember what I have said when you see how deplorable the location has become.

The replica Christ of the Andes is missing its head...the brush now is overgrown in the canyon.....doors are broken....statues missing or crumbling.....piles of debris at the end of the canyon tell us its a party spot along with all the litter. The creator of this place died a place where he felt safe at a second home much like the paranormal is to me.

Below is more in depth stories about the outlaw and history. Its definitely worth the read and yes the place is haunted! My take on it is that its a high energy location you always feel watched and their are some sounds which do not seem to add up. For example when we took a break in the canyon we could hear walking or shuffling of feet which were not ours. The bridge is broke....the entrance which has wrought iron gates is overgrown.....and the canyon walls are crumbling. However despite the canyons condition I feel its one of the best places to see every star in the sky.

By

Lord Rick

The man who built Cathedral Canyon

ROLAND WILEY OWNED HUGE RANCH IN EARLY PAHRUMP; ERECTED THE DEBASED LANDMARK

By BOB MCCRACKEN

Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part series on Roland Wiley, a key figure in Pahrump decades ago - and the man who built the once spiritually beloved but now vandalized Cathedral Canyon.

In my lifetime, much of it spent as a professional anthropologist - an occupation defined as the study of human beings - I have had the honor of getting to know a small number of people who seem, much of the time, to reside on a slightly higher plane of existence than most of us.

While fully a part of the everyday world we all occupy, these people approach life somewhat differently, expressing a kind of serenity and detachment from the tumult and tribulations of ordinary existence. They are, to a large degree, gentle and tolerant toward others, and show a deep concern for humanity and for the suffering of others.

Christians often use the term "saintly" to describe such persons; the Eastern religions refer to them as "enlightened." Psychologists sometimes call this state of being "self-actualization." All three are talking about the same thing. While most of us live in a world seen through glasses that are more or less fogged, the people I'm talking about seem to see things through brighter lenses.

Roland Wiley was such an individual. He lived on a slightly higher plane than most of us. In his own way, Roland's view of the world was every bit as rich and wonderful as another such individual I knew, a Hopi medicine man who was the head of the Eagle clan and "keeper" of the eagles. This man spoke of how we must cherish our mother earth and love and protect her as we would our own mother. Truly, Roland and the Hopi man were focused on the same thing - the great value inherent in each of us and the importance of cultivating our own humanity and that of others. Roland was a highly significant figure in Pahrump Valley history and also holds a prominent place in Las Vegas history. In the remainder of this and in next week's column, I will discuss Roland Wiley and his unique contribution to our history.


Coming to Nevada

Roland was born near Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1904; his grandparents were immigrants from Germany and Switzerland. He spent the first 16 years of his life on a farm in Shelby, Iowa, then the family moved to Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin and then attended law school at George Washington University. In 1927, he served for a year as a clerk in a large law firm in Washington, D.C.

While in Washington, he heard talk of plans to construct a large dam on the Colorado River near a small Nevada town called Las Vegas. In 1928, he came west to visit relatives in Los Angeles, and from there took the train to Las Vegas, arriving on New Year's Day 1929. He read in the local paper that Las Vegas was going to be a good place for a professional person to build a career. He liked the little town and decided to stay and set up a law practice. "In those days," he said, "the town was small, about 4,000 people. Every lawyer took whatever came along - corporations, civil suits, probate, divorce cases."

Nine years later, Roland was elected district attorney of Clark County. He served one term in that post, which coincided with a period of tumultuous growth in Las Vegas. The U.S. Army Air Corps established a gunnery school at the Las Vegas Airport (later Nellis Air Force Base), and construction began on Basic Magnesium at what became Henderson.

Roland, like many people in early Las Vegas, sensed the place had great economic potential. In about 1940, he tried to interest a Los Angeles man, who had wide financial connections, in constructing a "big hotel" on Highway 91 south of downtown, the stretch of undeveloped desert that later became the Strip. The man didn't bite, but the idea was apparently in the air.

As district attorney, Roland was the key member of the local gambling board, which controlled local licenses. One day not long after trying to convince the man from Los Angeles to build a hotel, Roland, dressed in coveralls, was working on a piece of property he owned in North Las Vegas.

Art Hamm, a prominent local lawyer, walked up and introduced Roland to a client named Tommy Hull. Following an exchange of pleasantries, Hamm got to the point. He asked, "If we build a hotel on the highway [91], can we get a gambling permit?" Roland replied, "Hell, yes," and they walked away. Things were done that easily then.

On April 3, 1941, Hull opened the El Rancho Vegas, the first hotel casino on Highway 91 in Las Vegas. This was the beginning of the Las Vegas Strip. Last year, 35 million people visited.

Roland ran unsuccessfully for Nevada governor in 1942 against Ted Carville and in 1950 against Vail Pittman (an important figure in the early development of Tonopah). Roland described both opponents as "good men." Of both races he said, "I never condemned anybody or belittled anyone, or spoke ill of them at all." Then he added [speaking in 1988], "I think if the present politicians would do likewise, the public would like it a lot better." He said one man pretending to have longer wings sprouting from his shoulder blades did not make sense to him.

Although Roland was well aware of the economic potential of the Las Vegas Valley, he never invested the bulk of his money there. He preferred the Pahrump Valley. When I asked him why, he replied, "I never liked the Las Vegas Valley because it was hardpan and sandy gravel, and over in the Pahrump Valley, it's all good American soil; you know, agricultural soil. Being an Iowa farm boy, why, I put more value to the land; less value here [in Las Vegas]."


The beginning of his passion

In 1936, there were two Yount ranches in the Pahrump Valley. One was the Manse Ranch, sometimes called the Yount Ranch acquired by Joseph and Margaret Yount in 1877. In 1936, that ranch was unoccupied and had been in foreclosure.

The other Yount property consisted of three homesteads located near the Old Spanish Trail about 10 miles south of the Manse Ranch. It had been owned by John Yount, son of Joseph and Margaret. John Yount died and in 1936, his common-law wife, Belle, hired Roland to advise her on any rights she might have to John's property.

Roland made his first long dusty trip to the Pahrump Valley to look at the Yount place and talk to Belle. He ended up buying the ranch and, over the next 50-plus years, it became, I think it is fair to say, the major focus of his life. He purchased nearby properties until eventually he owned more than 10,000 acres in that part of the Pahrump Valley.

When Roland purchased the Yount property, he accessed it on a dirt road via Goodsprings and Sandy Valley (then called Mesquite Valley), which took three-and-a-half hours from Las Vegas, or made a four-and-a-half hour trip via the Amargosa Valley.

Roland spent his later years turning that property into what would become Hidden Hills Ranch. He took a lovely but undistinguished desert box canyon and used it as an artist would use canvas or a playwright the stage to present his extraordinary view of life and humanity. He called it Cathedral Canyon, and it was the true passion of his life.

McCracken is the author of A History of Pahrump, Nevada and 11 other books about Nye County published by the Nye County Press. Send questions and comments to rdmassociates@yahoo.com.

Editor's note: This is the second part of a two-part series on Roland Wiley, a highly significant figure in Pahrump Valley history and also a man who holds a prominent place in Las Vegas history.

Wiley moved to Las Vegas in 1929 and established a successful law practice there. In 1936, after the passing of John Yount, John's common law wife, Belle, hired Roland to advise her on any rights she may have to John's ranch.

The ranch was located in Pahrump Valley about 10 miles south of the famous Manse Ranch in the southern portion of the valley.

Roland ended up purchasing John Yount's place and became a major figure in Pahrump Valley. He constructed Cathedral Canyon on the ranch, which became a significant tourist attraction in the valley for a number of years.

Transforming the canyon

When Roland bought the Yount ranch, the main building was Yount's house. It was about 20 by 34 feet. The foundation consisted of a few stones. Board and batten walls were two inches thick with two-by-four studs set sideways on four-foot centers. It was hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

Roland did some remodeling of the house and later built a small addition. He spent most weekends there for the remainder of his life. He retired from his law practice in 1952, and from then on, he was sometimes there during the week.

Over the years, Roland undertook all sorts of construction and agricultural projects on the ranch. He bought his own grader and built many roads and helped maintain the road down Sandy Valley.

He built a small astronomical observatory and, at one time or another, produced a variety of agricultural products, including pheasants and peaches. He constructed his own airstrip and took to flying back and forth to Las Vegas until he had a close call over the Spring Mountains.

Although the Pahrump Valley in the area of John Yount's ranch looks flat from the Tecopa highway, a good portion of it is made up of countless little hills, mesas, benches, and box canyons.

Thus, Roland's name for the ranch: the Hidden Hills Ranch. These features join the Pahrump Valley floor within walking distance of the house. It was through a construction project undertaken in a nearby box canyon that Roland's true nature was revealed.

He took a lovely but undistinguished desert box canyon and used it as an artist would use canvas or a playwright the stage to present his extraordinary view of life and humanity. He called it Cathedral Canyon, and it was the true passion of his life.

Roland began thinking about something on the order of Cathedral Canyon around 1955. A visit to Guatemala after an earthquake and the sight of many churches with broken walls and corners still standing with religious figurines sometimes remaining intact provided the inspiration for the canyon.

By the mid-1970s, Cathedral Canyon was fully functional, although Roland continually added to and modified the landmark.

Cathedral Canyon is about one-third mile long, from 50- to 200-feet wide, and perhaps 50- to 60-feet deep. Its walls are so steep that it is really only accessible from the open end. Roland graded the canyon floor and built two trails, one up the canyon from its mouth, the other from the rim to the floor. A 200-foot-long suspension bridge was built across the canyon, allowing visitors a special view from above. A large statue of Christ of the Andes looked down from a position near the bridge. Beautiful stained glass windows were set in the canyon walls. Small statues and art objects, both religious and secular, sat in niches in the walls along the canyon's length.

A pump-fed waterfall cascaded down the enclosed end of the canyon. Benches and chairs were placed along the trail so visitors could sit and relax and contemplate. The canyon was illuminated with colored lights at night. Many said the best time to see it was after sundown.

Along the trail that wound its way through the box canyon Roland hung scores of steel-framed boards featuring quotes and poems expressing his philosophy and advice for living.

They were both religious (nondenominational) and secular. One framed message set in large black letters against a white background read, "I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."

Another read:

"Too much blood has run under the bridges, and down the canyons of the World to keep on believing that only one road is right."

Another read:

"Now and then you meet someone

Whose fine and thoughtful ways

Add a little something special

To just ordinary days."

Another read:

"Be considerate of every man

my young fellow,

whether he is Black, Brown,

White, Red, or Yellow.

Of all the billions born on earth

Not one child did

choose its birth."

Another read:

"For what are we all in our high conceit

When Man in the Canyon

With God may meet."

There were quotes from Albert Einstein and Abraham Lincoln, and other famous persons. One stop in the canyon featured a lovely letter from Jesus that someone had composed.

The canyon attracted thousands of visitors every year. There was no admission, and you were on your own when visiting.

People loved it, as proved by the registration book Roland maintained. Visitors from around the world made comments, with many saying the message and serenity found there were better than any church; others said the place was more enjoyable than Las Vegas. In the late 1980s, Roland and I planned to write and publish a picture book on Cathedral Canyon.

I deeply regret that we somehow just never got it done. I know that Roland spent tens of thousands of dollars of his own money every year building and maintaining Cathedral Canyon. And he never received a dime from it. It was his gift to the world. And what a gift it was. It was the real thing, the work of the folk in the highest sense.

Roland died some years ago. Al Carpenter, an old friend and employee, tried to keep the canyon going for a while, but without Roland, it was a lost cause. Cathedral Canyon is gone now. Roland's wonderful gift has been trashed and it lies in ruins. His cabin has also been vandalized. (Longtime residents of Pahrump continue to speak of the canyon with reverence, and bitterly lament the damage done by heartless vandals.)

Once, Roland and I were sitting in his cabin talking. He said, "Pretty soon I'll be up in heaven looking down on everybody with their problems." If you are watching, Roland, we miss you. And we miss your humanity.

McCracken is the author of A History of Pahrump, Nevada and 11 other books about Nye County published by the Nye County Press. Send questions and comments to rdmassociates@yahoo.com.

Legend put to rest in Nye?

EARLY 1900S KILLER MAY BE BURIED SOUTH OF PAHRUMP

By CASSIE WELLS

On an expanse of private property near the remnants of Cathedral Canyon at the southern tip of Nye County, there's a concrete slab that marks the grave of Queho, the renegade Paiute Indian whose double-digit killing spree between 1910 and 1919 makes Nevada's other bad guys look positively benign by comparison.

As many as 30 people, from prospectors to woodcutters, night watchmen to a hapless miner's wife, felt the blow of Queho's ax or the blast of his .30-30 rifle - his weapons of choice - as they tried to go about their business in the rough country around Eldorado Canyon, near Searchlight, at the beginning of the last century.

Queho (pronounced Key-ho) killed them for their boots or for a sack of grain or for no good reason whatsoever. He ate raw snakes, lived in caves along the Colorado River and preyed on those brave enough, or foolish enough, to venture into the wild regions. He had no conscience and he showed no mercy.

That's what legend says anyway. The facts may say something different. But what does seem widely agreed upon is that human remains said to be Queho's were buried by former Clark County District Attorney Roland Wiley on land at the edge of his Cathedral Canyon in 1978.

Wiley had purchased a plastic sack of bones for $100 that was reputed to contain all that was left of the bloodthirsty renegade. The grave marker Wiley put for Queho - little stones affixed to the concrete slab - read "Quehoe, 1889-1919, Nevada's Last Renegade Indian, He Survived Alone." Those words have since worn off, and Queho rests in obscurity not far from the small canyon where Wiley once placed statues

Where was he, or at least his skeletal remains, for nearly 60 years? Did he really kill all those people? What's true and what's not?

Well, the Ballad of Queho is as much about the two-decade killing spree as it is about the perilous journey of those bones in the aftermath. Here's how it all began:

Early in October of 1910 the body of an elderly man, J. M. Woodworth, was discovered in his lonely cabin on McCullough Mountain. He'd had his skull caved in by two powerful blows from a knotty pine club, though nothing appeared to have been taken. It looked like an isolated incident.

Then in mid-November of 1910, about six weeks later, the body of Gold Bug Mill night watchman L.W. "Doc" Gilbert was found at the remote mill on the Arizona side of the Colorado River near Eldorado Canyon. He'd been shot in the back by a .30-30 rifle and his camp had been ransacked. Now there were two victims and, despite the disparity in the murder weapons, everyone in this isolated hinterland was sure that there was a single wanton killer on the loose.

Fear and outrage prevailed, especially among members of the white community, until a blind 100-year-old Indian named Canyon Charlie rode his mule into Nelson and helpfully suggested that maybe Queho, a reclusive Indian who trapped and hunted along the Colorado River, was the culprit. Whether that was true or not, suddenly the "mad dog killer of Eldorado Canyon" had a name. A posse was formed, and "Queho!" was the call to arms in southern Nevada as 1910 turned to 1911.

But no matter how they tried, they never caught their elusive prey. And the killings continued.

For nearly eight years, prospectors were found shot in the back, their boots taken along with their meager supplies. Travelers never made it to their destinations - their bleached skeletons found only after predators disturbed their shallow graves. "Queho!" was whispered in trepidation, and no one felt safe.

Then came the bloody winter of 1919. The Techatticup Mine outside of Nelson was being worked by a group of hardy individuals, including Irvin Douglas, who lived in a tent cabin with his wife, Maud, and their four children. On the night of Jan. 21, 1919, the family had gone to bed early to escape the cold: the wind off the Colorado River. Around 11 p.m. Maud Douglas got up to investigate a noise coming from the kitchen and walked into a shotgun blast fired at point blank range. She died on the spot, her body blown across the room and across the bedding of the smallest children. The killer, it seemed, had been in the process of raiding the larder when Maud Douglas interrupted him.

There is no describing the sense of horror and anger the pervaded the small mining community and Southern Nevada at large after that. Another posse was formed, and a $2,000 bounty was placed on Queho's head, for everyone believed he was the culprit.

During an arduous, month-long search in the dead of winter, the posse found 12 more bodies - from prospectors felled along the trail to an entire mining camp of five men slaughtered in their cabin. They also found signs of Queho all along the Colorado River, from his distinctive footprints along the riverbed to the ashes of his still warm campfire. But they never saw Queho. And they never caught him. And then the killings stopped.

Nothing was heard of Queho again until 1940, when two prospectors came upon the body of a male American Indian in a hidden cave along the Colorado River. He had been dead a long time and was almost mummified. His bony hands were gripping his abdomen and his leg was wrapped up; it looked like he'd died in agony, most likely from a rattlesnake bite. And, what's more, the cave was full of booty - boots, clothes, ammunition, weapons - some of it fitting the description of things stolen from murder victims over the years. Even the murdered night watchman's badge was said to be among the items found in the cave.

Las Vegas Chief of Police, Frank Wait - a member of the famed 1919 posse - was called upon to make an identification. "I'd know those bones anywhere!" he is reputed to have said as he gave the skeleton a swift kick on its backside. Queho, it seemed, had finally been found.

The only question that remained: What to do with the bones? The squabble started right then. A next-of-kin promptly sold the bones for $25 to Frank Wait, but a bit of a legal snafu kept the bones stacked in the back room of a local mortuary until they came into possession of the Las Vegas Elks, who produced what was then the city's biggest celebration, Helldorado. The Elks built a replica of the cave and displayed the bones with the recovered artifacts well into the 1950s.

But eventually even Queho's fame began to wane, and the dusty bones were largely forgotten until 1974, when they somehow ended up as an exhibit (whether proposed or in actuality) in the Museum of Natural History at UNLV. After protests about this callous display - though certainly a step up from the carnival-style Helldorado exhibit - the bones ended up in a plastic bag.

Then Roland Wiley pulled out his $100, and we know the rest.

The question of whether Queho actually killed all those people has still never been answered satisfactorily. Over the years he's been vilified, demonized and made into a folk hero. His biography - what little is actually known - has been exaggerated and embellished to the point that no mortal man could have done what he did.

In all likelihood, "Queho" is the scapegoat for a number of heinous villains killing in a time when lawlessness was the norm and desperadoes were, well, both desperate and armed. The real Queho took the truth with him to the grave.

(Sources: David Millman and Thonni C. Morikawa of the Nevada State Historical Society; Frank Wright, former curator of NSHS; UNLV Special Collections; Tony and Bobbie Werly of the Techatticup Mine; members of the Maud Douglas family; "The First 100: Persons Who Shaped Nevada" by K. J. Evans; "Searchlight: The Camp that Didn't Fail" by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid; Dustin George; Georgia Lewis; Joe May; Charles H. Niehuis in "The Nevadan," June 11, 1978; N. H. Lounsberry in "Old West," Fall 1964; Ray Chesson; Nevada historian Philip Earl.)

 

 
     
     
     
     
     
 

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