Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Deming, Mesilla & Las Cruces, NM.

Sat - March 26th

Deming Courthouse 1910, with old jail building to left 1918. It is the site of the controversial trials of some 30 Villistas (Panchos men) of the Columbus Raid in 1916. Four were hanged in the yard of the county jail.

Basilica San Albino on the square in Mesilla. We talked to Paul Gallegos in the church. He had retired from the navy and come home to care for the church and it's history. He said the Rio Bravo used to run between Mesilla and Las Cruces and flood the church every spring before it was redirected. The water used to get two feet deep inside the church. When the new priest came, he was not a bit happy with the smelly adobe church. He borrowed a wagon from Paul's great-grandfather and found a man in San Raphael 300 miles away who was baking bricks in an oven, six at a time. He asked him if he would make the bricks for his new church. When the man asked him how many, he told him to make as many as he could for two years and then he would let him know how many more he needed. By this time a channel had been dug to reroute the Rio Bravo into the Rio Grande and the flooding problem was solved. Eventually the man built a much bigger oven and Paul's great-grandfather and others hauled bricks for three years. His great-grandfather also built the wooden altar and baptismal font. There were two bells in one bell tower and one very large bell (like the Liberty Bell) in the other tower. It was so large it was not supposed to be rung except for special occasions due to the vibration it caused. When Paul came back from the navy, they had forgotten and had been ringing it on a regular basis. There was a crack in the wall of the church, so now it is only rung once a year.

This was the courthouse on the square where Billy the Kid was tried for murdering Sheriff Brady and sentenced to hang. He was returned to Lincoln for the hanging, but escaped from their jail.

This restaurant across the street was a freight and passenger service in the 1850s operated by Sam and Roy Bean (later Judge Roy Bean). They lost it after the Civil War for being southern sympathizers. It became the Butterfield Stage Stop.

More old cars. They just seem to be everywhere we go.

This is the War Memorial Park in Las Cruces. It was a small village across the river from Mesilla. Now the river is gone and the railroad went thru Las Cruces. Mesilla is a small quiet town and Las Cruces is the second largest city in New Mexico.

The half circle monument has all the veterans from New Mexico in all the wars thru the Persian Gulf and there is a walking trail around the park with monuments to each war and branch of the service. I thought this one was especially impressive. It portray two Americans with one Phillipino on the Bataan Death March. There are footprints behind them and ahead of them. The footprints were all made by survivors of the march. They are numbered and there is a plaque identifying each person. There is another plaque showing the counties and the number of each person from each county. Really makes you think what they sacrificed for us.

I know I'm not in Arizona anymore, but I happened to find this quote in the library in a picture book of Arizona. I liked it, so here it is.

"To see the Grand Canyon full of purple smoke at dawn or sublimely fired at sunset, is to be elevated in soul. To see the red rocks; the alkali flats like snow; the sand dunes so graceful and curved; the long cedar slopes, speckled green and gray, leading up the old peaks; the vast black belts of timber; the Navajo facing the sunrise with his silent prayer, the Hopi in his alfalfa fields, or the Apache along the historical Apache Trail; the coyote sneaking through the arroyos; the lonely cliff dwellings with their monuments of a vanished race; the endless slopes of sage, green and gray and purple on the heights; the natural stone bridges and petrified forests---and a thousand more beautiful sights---that is to see Arizona." Zane Grey

It truly is a beautiful and scenic state.


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