Norris Chambers Old Timer's Tales

Pyramid Mystery Solved

by Norris Chambers

If you think modern kids do some foolish things - read what we did when we were kids. This is probably not the brightest thing we ever did - but I reckon it was harmless.

The following except from an article in a central Texas country newspaper appeared recently:

pyramid 'Workers on a road construction project through thick brush discovered a mysterious rock pyramid when clearing the right-of-way for a new road being built in the northern part of the county. This structure is twelve feet in height and a little larger in diameter. Several visitors have trekked into the area to view this curiosity. Some believe it was built by Indians, perhaps as a burial site for an important chief. Others think it might be a marker for hidden loot.
Unlike the famous Egyptian pyramids that are made of massive stones, this structure is built of small limestone rocks precisely laid to form a very substantial structure. No mortar or cement was used. The fact that no similar stones are found in the area suggests that the material was hauled several miles to the building site.
A long time resident of the community, Zack Puckett, states that he has lived in the area forty years, but was unaware of the existence of the pyramid. He believes the land was originally settled by a man named Spalding and was owned for many years by the Hall family. It is owned now by an oil producer who lives in another state. No further information could be immediately obtained.'

   Of course I recognized the curiosity just as I remembered the Hall family and the years that I knew Elbert Hall. The explanation of the origin and purpose of the pyramid was quite clear to me since I had been involved in its construction in the late twenties and early thirties.

   There was a small clearing on the west side of the Hall farm that was strewn with small limestone rocks. It was a peculiar situation. The deep sand had changed to a gray clay and there were thousands of the rocks, all partially imbedded and pointing toward the south. The tops of the rocks were very visible and the clearing of several acres looked almost as if the stones had been placed there by some engineers of long ago. They were no doubt left there by some gigantic glacier after being broken and shaped by its slow but unrelenting movement to the south.

   Elbert's dad decided that the rocks should be removed and stacked so that grass could grow. He thought the space would grow enough grass to support two or three cows. He assigned the job of moving the rocks to Elbert and his younger brother, J.L. When I became aware of the project, Elbert and J.L. had hitched one of their mules, Old Jack, to a wooden sled and had started loading and hauling the rocks toward the north side of the clearing. The rocks were not very hard to load. The heaviest of them probably didn't weight over fifty pounds. The boys had equipped themselves with a long digging bar and a sledge hammer, if a rock was too heavy to handle, it could easily be broken with the sledge. The digging bar pried those out that were embedded.

   There was already a pretty big stack of rock and it was growing rapidly. While we were sitting around the sled after unloading a batch, Elbert came up with the idea of building the pyramid. We had seen pictures of the great pyramids in the geography books and we had been impressed with them.

   "Let's get started," I suggested. Elbert and J.L. agreed and we started laying the stones side by side in a large square. When we had the outside finished, we began filling the inside, choosing rocks that were shaped properly to make a smooth floor. When we got the first layer completed we were well pleased with our work.

   A little simple mathematics suggested to us that if we moved each layer toward the center by about an inch, it would be about as high as the width of the base - maybe a little higher. J. L. didn't think it would matter if it were a little higher. I couldn't see that it would make any difference.

   At dinner time we had made some progress. I had been placing stones while Elbert and J.L were hauling them. We ate a hearty meal and returned to the job about one or two o'clock. Old Jack had finished his feed and we drove him by the tank where he drank a lot of water and proceeded to stomp around in the edge of the tank. While we were getting him watered, I noticed an old thresher tank over on the far side. It was about eight feet long and three feet in diameter.

   "Why donít we take that old tank and stand it up in the middle of our pyramid?" I asked Elbert. I knew that it was not serviceable, since the bottom was almost rusted out.

   "Good idea" he said. We hitched Old Jack to it and dragged it to the construction site. It stood up nicely in the center of our base and we knew it would save a lot of rock.

   For several days we hauled and stacked rock around the tanks, being careful to keep the edges straight and smooth. As the pile rose in height it began to resemble a pyramid. We were quite proud of our work. It was a very solid mass. Before it was complete we had to use a wide ladder to get the rocks to the top.

   We should have had a ribbon cutting or a ceremony of some sort when we finished, but we didn't. We just quit. We had exhausted our rock supply in the area and had hauled a few Model T truck loads from our place to complete the job. I don't know why we thought it was important enough to finish, but we agreed that something that nice should not go unfinished.

   When Elbert's father saw the unfinished job he was not favorably impressed. He said we should be working instead of wasting our time making fancy rock piles. But he didn't stop us from doing it. Actually, I think he was quite proud of it when we completed it. He didn't know what we could use it for. Neither did we.

   We just left it there and occupied ourselves with other things.

   The clearing was soon covered nicely with mesquite grass. I guess Old Jack ate his share of the new food supply.

   If you have a good supply of rocks and don't know what to do with them, build yourself a pyramid. There are those who believe that the pyramid is a symbol of good luck and cause good things to happen to anyone in the vicinity of it. This belief has not been proven - but neither has it been disproved. So why take a chance?

 

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