Milnesand, Pep and Dora — on New Mexico Highway 206

A church at Crossroads. Photo by Phyllis Eileen Banks
A church at Crossroads

Nine miles north of Crossroads on NM 206 is another settlement at another crossroads, Milnesand. The first store was opened in 1910 by Mrs. Lillian Curl. Settlers from Texas and Oklahoma had arrived around 1913 and homesteaded in the area. In 1915, Mrs. Curl became the first postmistress. A merchant named Parker had a Model T chain driven truck, and he hauled freight between Milnesand and Portales. He would also take passengers at $5 each per trip. The unusual name, Milnesand, is due to the deep sandy soil and windmills on a nearby ranch; hence, it was called Mill-in-sand.

Pep is the next settlement as you go north on NM 206. The name implies energy and filled with vigor. However, it appears instead to be a laid-back community of ranchers. A latecomer, the post office was established in 1936. Some credit the name to a popular cereal called Pep. Others say it was transferred from Pep, Texas. T. M. Pearce, a place name researcher, concluded it was named by Edward Cox because he wanted it to reflect a lively place for his home and store.

Founded in 1905, a mile west and 3/4 mile south of the present site, Dora was on the homestead of the Lee sisters, the oldest of whom was named Dora. Others think the first postmaster in 1906, Frederick Humphrey, named it for his daughter Dora. New Mexico 206 was originally NM 18 and when it came through the territory in 1915, the settlement moved to yet another crossroads, NM 114. Each of these four settlements continue to have their post offices, an indication that there are many ranchers’ homes scattered among the wide open spaces of the Llano Estacado.

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