The Butterfield Overland Mail — stitching the country together

On a time line, the two and one-half year operation (1857-1861) of the Butterfield Overland Mail was but a  flash in the history of transportation in the United States.  But this short-lived operation captured and held the imagination of Americans because it stitched together the growing country from sea to sea. Map of Butterfield Mail Stage Route.  To test the system, a mailbag was transferred from Tipton, Missouri to San Francisco, California in 24 days. Read more »

On the Trail of Billy the Kid

Technorati Tags: Billy the Kid,Lincoln,Fort Sumner,travelogue In 1878, Billy the Kid was capturing headlines across the American West. Three years later he was dead, shot down by lawman Pat Garrett. Even before his brief life played out, the Kid had become legendary, as either brutish murderer or daring avenger. To this day, the controversy continues. Was Billy the Kid simply living up to the code of the frontier? Or was he a lethal hot-head embellishing his own legend? Visitors from [...] Read more »

Mescalaro Labor Day

Technorati Tags: travelogue,Lincoln County For most of us, Labor Day fills a primitive need for a special day to mark the change of seasons, the end of summer and the beginning of fall. In New Mexico’s Sacramento Mountains on Labor Day, summer still held the land in her dark green grip. Only the sunflowers and asters crowding the highway hinted that fall was squeezing in. But we knew. Because it was Labor Day we went about the rituals that would [...] Read more »

Glenwood — for outdoor lovers

Glenwood, New Mexico Photo by Carla DeMarco From 1747 when Spanish explorers discovered Indians farming in the verdant valley until today, visitors have enjoyed the quiet beauty of the San Francisco River country. Glenwood with its quaint shops, motels, and restaurants, is the center of this valley in West Central New Mexico. The village of 300 people is 65 miles northwest of Silver City on US 180, and is 39 miles south of Reserve. The first house was built there [...] Read more »

Birding in Southern New Mexico

Technorati Tags: bird watching,birding,birds,animals,wildlife Southern New Mexico elevations range from under 3000 feet to mountains higher than 10,000 feet and cover five life zones from the Upper Sonoran through the Hudsonian. This variety of topography affords homes to birds as dissimilar as sandhill cranes wintering in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge and the year-round water ouzel dipping and scratching its underwater way along the bottom of Whitewater Canyon in the Gila National Forest. In the summer, the air [...] Read more »

Mogollon — a seven mile-high ghost town

The ghost town of Mogollon, New Mexico. Photo by Carla DeMarco. The Mogollon mines were located on precipitous slopes and ridges. In 1909, the proud miners announced nearly 70% of the precious metal of New Mexico was produced by the mines of Mogollon, and this amounted to $5,500,000 From the fertile San Francisco Valley, the rugged Mogollon Mountains look unattainable.  However, the lure of riches made them attainable to the prospectors and miners who discovered silver there in 1870.  The [...] Read more »

Pinos Altos — like walking into a western movie

Pinos Altos. Photo by Carla DeMarco "Pinos Altos? It’s six miles north of Silver City on NM 15." Most of the 300 residents of this mountain hamlet will say that far from being an appendage to Silver City, Pinos Altos is a distinctive community in its own right. Looking down on the larger city from an altitude of 7,040 feet, it is ten degrees cooler in the summer and ten degrees brisker in the winter. Furthermore, Pinos Altos is the [...] Read more »

The Central Mining District — Bayard, Fierro, Hanover, Hurley, Santa Clara

Santa Rita copper mine If Grant County is the heart of New Mexico’s metal mining industry, then the Central Mining District is the soul. Bayard, Hurley, and Santa Clara, with a total population of 6300, are the population centers in the District. Santa Clara, formerly called Central, is nine miles east of Silver City on US 180. The oldest village in the District, its history is closely tied to Fort Bayard. Soldiers from the fort found their recreation in Santa [...] Read more »

Reserve - almost the frontier

Reserve, New Mexico. Photo by Carla DeMarco Reserve, with 400 citizens, is the largest town in and county seat of Catron County, which is the largest county, by area, in New Mexico. At more than 7,000 square miles, Catron County is larger than a few Eastern states. With a population of only 2,900 people, the county is as sparsely populated as many an old West frontier area. Within the boundaries of Catron County lie parts of the Gila National Forest, [...] Read more »

White Sands National Monument

Technorati Tags: White Sands,Alamogordo,Las Cruces,Federal Land,southeast,southwest,dona ana county,otero county,sierra county Over half-a-million visitors a year enjoy the world’s largest gypsum dune field at White Sands National Monument in Southern New Mexico. The sparkling white dunes are ever-changing, ever-moving and ever-growing Where does the gypsum originate? It is constantly added to the dunes from its source in Lake Lucero. Comparatively few visitors see the ten-square-mile lake bed, even though it is part of the monument, and, with a little planning, is [...] Read more »