Buckeye, Prairieview, McDonald, Gladiola — mere dots on the map

Cattle and plowed fields indicate hardworking people live on these southeastern New Mexico plains. Photo by Phyllis Eileen Banks
Cattle and plowed fields indicate hardworking people live on these southeastern New Mexico plains

Buckeye is located on NM Highway 238 seventeen miles southwest of Lovington. The settlement is named for the Buckeye Sheep Ranch nearby, and does not have a post office. Traveling this part of eastern New Mexico reinforces your awareness of the size of the state, fifth largest. There are so many miles of nothing but miles and miles.

After you pass through Lovington from the west, turn left on NM Highway 209 eleven miles to McDonald. Its post office was established in 1912, the year New Mexico became a state. This settlement was named for the first elected governor, William C. McDonald - the territorial governors had been appointed. Oil and agriculture are the area’s economic support. There is nothing but a sign, "McDonald,"to let you know where you are, as the settlers are spread throughout the surrounding area.

Thirteen miles east and south of McDonald is Prairieview. Its name lends a clue as to the landscape. Located on the Llano Estacado (staked plains), it was a pioneer settlement. At one time it had a store and a school with three teachers, but that ended in 1948. It is still a rich farming community, but does not have its own post office.

Retracing your route to McDonald, go north to Tatum and turn east on U.S. 380 for about eight miles to Gladiola. There was a post office here from 1919 to 1956. It was also a settlement originally named Warren, after a local family. At one time there was a school, store and service station. There is little here at the present time, except the Warren Petroleum Company and the oil pool.

The history of these small communities is all very similar, but the plowed fields and tall corn indicate habitation, and that hardworking people still live on these plains.

About Phyllis Eileen Banks