Spruce House,
Mesa Verde, Colorado

This was the last stop at Mesa Verde on Sunday afternoon. The trees here were mistakenly identified as Spruce by the Anglos who first came upon this place in the 1880s. They actually are Douglas firs . . . Names, labels, words -- how tenuous they all are anyways! This is the third largest dwelling at Mesa Verde with 114 rooms and 8 kivas, which may have housed as many as 150 people. Two kivas have been restored with the type of cribbed roof fashioned after an intact kiva discovered at Square Tower House. In the winter, Spruce House gets maximum sunshine when the sun is low in the sky, and shade in the summer. Because of it being so much under the overhang, this is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings. Occupied between 1200 and 1300, there were three-story walls reaching all the way to the cave roof, with much painted plaster still visible. A short ways to the north in Spruce Tree Canyon is the most vital spring yet found throughout Mesa Verde. Apparently Spruce Tree House was the hub of a community of fourteen sites supporting between 150 and 200 people, with the other sites containing between one to fifteen rooms.

looking east to Spruce House from across the canyon approach

at the north end facing north where rooms reach the very top of the overhang

3. 4.
turning to the right from position 2, is a plaza formed by the roof of two kivas
These two kivas have been restored, but the second and third-story rooms can only
be guessed at from the windows and beams higher up in the walls still standing.

5. 6.
moving south past the wall at the right side of 4, two views from almost the same spot

facing almost due south now, notice the kiva entry at far right . . .

which we are now inside of--this is the one restored kiva people can go into

looking back again from across the canyon

Far View House Square Tower House Cliff Palace



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