Hachita’s Saint Catherine of Sienna — honoring a mother

St. Catherine of Sienna church in Hachita. Photo by Phyllis Eileen Banks. A schoolhouse built in Hatchita, New Mexico, with WPA (Works Progress Administration) funds in the 1930s was overlooked in the Treasures of New Mexico Trails by Kathryn A. Flynn, a book on New Deal Art and Architecture. No doubt the reason is that it had been renovated and made into a church, obscuring the fact that it had been a school many years ago. My husband and I […] Read more »

Lordsburg, Hachita, Steins, and Shakespeare — quiet desert beauty

Desert outside Lordsburg. Photo by Carla DeMarco. The rugged Old West town known as Lordsburg is located in Southwest New Mexico’s bootheel by Interstate 10, 24 miles east of the Arizona border. The Lordsburg of today is a quiet community compared to its earlier shoot-em-up days. Life was lively and sometimes perilous around 1880 when the Santa Fe Railroad was constructed and Lordsburg was founded. Before Lordsburg had a name, railroad freight handlers needed a way to label merchandise destined […] Read more »

Road Forks and Rodeo, New Mexico — just a yodel and a holler away

Rodeo, New Mexico Photo by Carla DeMarco Put on a cowboy hat, grab a miner’s pick, and get out your birder’s field glasses. You may have need of them when you explore the three neighboring villages on the border of Arizona and New Mexico’s boot heel - Road Forks, Rodeo, and Portal. As you travel east or west on Interstate 10, turn off at the Road Forks exit in New Mexico. It marks the I-10 junction with transcontinental Highway 80 […] Read more »

Animas, Cotton City, and Playas — remnants of the Westward Ho! movement

The Chihuahuan Desert. Photo by Carla DeMarco. Cotton and cowboys, cacti and copper, cavalry and coyotes, chile and coatimundi - and the Chiricahua Apaches. All these help characterize the most southwestern part of Hidalgo County, called the Bootheel of New Mexico, where you will find the small communities of Playas, Animas, and Cotton City. The area’s history is characterized also by the rustlers, thieves, and bandits . . . the Spaniards, Mexicans, and settlers . . . and also by […] Read more »

Steins — a Railroad Ghost Town

Steins, New Mexico. Photo by the Author   Sometimes the unseen hand of fate descends to arrange a unique opportunity. When visiting Steins (pronounced Steens) Railroad Ghost Town, just off I-10 in southern New Mexico near the Arizona state line, I had the chance to take a rare photograph. We hadn’t been there ten minutes when a pair of Southern Pacific locomotives pulling a train of empty cargo containers stopped at Steins, held up by track repair ahead. I persuaded […] Read more »

Skeleton Canyon — Echoes of Bugle, War Cry and Gunfire

Marker on Highway 80 south of Rodeo near Apache,just north of Skeleton Canyon Road   Located in New Mexico’s remote boot heel region, Skeleton Canyon begins in the Peloncillo Mountains on the western edge of the Animas Valley and heads northwest by west to a point where about seven rugged miles later, it meets its south fork in nearby Arizona. Tradition has it that the canyon, called Cañon Bonita by the Mexicans, takes it name from the ambush of a […] Read more »

Shakespeare, New Mexico — Don’t Expect Disney

The Blacksmith shop which was burned in the 1997 fire at Shakespeare.   For travelers on I-10 in Southern New Mexico, there’s an escape from the truck traffic and even from the 20th century:  a side trip to the ghost town of Shakespeare, located about three miles south of Lordsburg . Because this place is privately owned by the Hill family, a visitor has to catch one of the weekend tours (Call ahead to schedule). Janaloo Hill, who grew up […] Read more »