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Las Vegas NM San Miguel County Visitors Guide

Old Trails ~ New Adventures 2019

Historic Hotels of Vegas! New Mexico

s ’ e i l r a h CSpic Span e f a C & y r e Bak AS, NM &

LAS VmEeGxico true new

Just one hour north of Santa Fe, the original Las Vegas is blessed with two fabulous Victorian hotels: the Plaza and the Castaneda. Both are being lovingly renovated by the owners of legendary La Posada Hotel in Winslow Arizona (www.laposada.org).

SINCE 1899


SINCE 1899


192 505-426-

715 Douglas Ave. Las Vegas, nm OPEN MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY 6:30AM TO 6PM, SUNDAYS 6:30AM TO 3PM

dElIcIoUs tAcOs gIaNt bUrRiToS mOuTh wAtErInG rIbBoN fRiEs

The Castañeda Hotel – opened in 1899 and closed since 1948 – has reopened! This was Fred Harvey’s first

bEaUtIfUl sAlAdS sUpEr lOaDeD nAcHoS tAsTy cOcKtAiLs iCe cOlD bEeR oN tAp yUmMy dEsErTs kArAoKe tHuRsDaYs

trackside hotel, the beginning of America’s first hospitality empire. For seventy years the Castañeda slowly fell to ruin. After a spectacular restoration this is the perfect place for intimate gatherings and reliving western history. Chef Sean Sinclair is opening a fabulous saloon and lounge, and creating one of the finest dining experiences in the Southwest—Kin at Castañeda. Please join us and rediscover this magnificent property!

dElIcIoUs tAcOs gIaNt bUrRiToS mOuTh wAtErInG rIbBoN fRiEs

Reservations: 505-425-3591 ~ castanedahotel.org ~ kinlvnm.com

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bEaUtIfUl sAlAdS sUpEr lOaDeD nAcHoS tAsTy cOcKtAiLs iCe cOlD bEeR oN tAp yUmMy dEsErTs kArAoKe tHuRsDaYs

lIvE mUsIc eVeRy wEeKeNd lAtE nIgHt mEnU aLl wEeKeNd

dElIcIoUs tAcOs gIaNt bUrRiToS mOuTh wAtErInG rIbBoN fRiEs

bEaUtIfUl sAlAdS sUpEr lOaDeD nAcHoS tAsTy cOcKtAiLs iCe cOlD bEeR oN tAp yUmMy dEsErTs kArAoKe tHuRsDaYs

lIvE mUsIc eVeRy wEeKeNd lAtE nIgHt mEnU aLl wEeKeNd

dElIcIoUs tAcOs gIaNt bUrRiToS mOuTh wAtErInG rIbBoN fRiEs

Authentic New Mexican bEaUtIfUl sAlAdS sUpEr lOaDeD nAcHoSCuisine tAsTy cOcKtAiLs iCe cOlD bEeR oN tAp yUmMy dEsErTs kArAoKe tHuRsDaYs GiAnTsKiLlEt.CoM 505.563.0477 623 12tH sT. lAs vEgAs, nM OpEn MoNdAyS- SaTuRdAyS 11Am-ClOsE lIvE mUsIc eVeRy wEeKeNd lAtE nIgHt mEnU aLl wEeKeNd 2  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

The Plaza Hotel has presided in Victorian splendor over beautiful Plaza Park since 1882, when Las Vegas was the richest and biggest city in New Mexico. With seventy guest rooms, conference center the Plaza is the perfect place for gatherings large and small. Range Café at the Plaza serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining room, craft cocktails, local beers and full menu in Byron T’s Saloon, plus pastries and desserts from the lobby coffee bar!

Reservations: 505-425-3591 plazahotellvnm.com ~ rangecafe.com Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 3

Welcome to the original Las Vegas!

Table of Contents 6-7 8

  I’m Tonita Gurulé-Girón, Mayor of Las Vegas, NM. I am very proud of the community which I serve because it is a great place to visit and a better place to live!   There is literally no place like Las Vegas, as our history is unique, our culture is distinctive and the cuisine is “red hot.” We have over 900 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, more than any other municipality in the USA.   Our Community is the gateway to the most beautiful and undiscovered lands including the Sabinoso Wilderness, 1900 acres of wild natural beauty, which has been made accessible to the public the last two years. Outdoor recreation opportunities are endless in the great state of New Mexico and specifically in the City of Las Vegas and surrounding areas. Whether you like to bike, hike, birdwatch, fish, camp or jet ski, you will love it here. The Las Vegas Wildlife Refuge is a few miles to the east of us, the Pecos Wilderness is to the west.   Las Vegas is a great jumping-off point for motorcycle day-trips. The Las Vegas area was the backdrop for the movie “Easy Rider” which just celebrated 50 years in Las Vegas and “Red Dawn” celebrating 35 years. This year we are honored and proud to have Las Vegas as an inductee to the New Mexico Film & Television Hall of Fame. The beginning of July draws thousands of visitors who fill the Historic downtown area to celebrate Fiestas de Las Vegas. Fiestas celebrated 130 years last year with a 6 day event and winning a final

Colorful and Vibrant Las Vegas, New Mexico by Sharon Vander Meer

Las Vegas: The Wildest of the Wild West by Howard Bryan


Castañeda Rediscovered


Pecos: Explore the Pecos Valley; Tex Austin’s Forked Lightning


Las Vegas Railroad District Rises


Photo courtesy Harold Garcia

by Stephen Fried

Ranch; Studio Art Tour,; and Pecos National Historical Park

by Elmo Baca

Fort Union An important part of Northeast New Mexico history


Restaurants in Las Vegas


Calendar of Events


Lights! ... Camera! ... Action! ... Las Vegas!


Rebirth of Railroad Avenue


The Early History of the Plaza Hotel


Mora County


Recreation and Outdoors


National Wildlife Refuge: Las Vegas, Maxwell, Mora Birding in Las Vegas

74 76-77 78

You’ll want to savor each one!

Ongoing and monthly events in Las Vegas and San Miguel County

Photo of Rancho de Fe, Sapello, New Mexico, courtesy Alicia Robicheaux

Meditations on Las Vegas Film History, by Elmo Baca

by M.C. Gottschalk

Destination: Mora

Recreation in Las Vegas, Pecos, and San Miguel County

Lodging & Restaurants in Las Vegas, San Miguel and Mora Counties Corridor Map of Las Vegas plus reports on Gallinas Park Revitalization and the Animal Welfare Coalition Las Vegas City Map

Photo courtesy Devon Silva

2019 Las Vegas & San Miguel County Visitors Guide Contributing Writers: Elmo Baca Bob DeGroft Steven Fried Marcus Gottschalk Lea Knutson Rosa Walston Latimer Margaret McKinney Kayt Peck Sharon Vander Meer

Sean Weaver Lea Knutson Marshall Poole

Production: Melissa Greene Andy Kingsbury

Photography: LVCCHP Archives Gottschalk Collection Elmo Baca Andy Kingsbury Mykle Williams Richard Gonzales

Madame Mayor Tonia Gurulé Giron


Founded in 1835, Las Vegas, which translates to “The Meadows,” remains both historic and authentic. During the heyday of the Santa Fe Trail, we were Americans’ entryway to Old Mexico. In 1846, General Kearny announced New Mexico’s annexation to the United States right in our Plaza. In 1912, when New Mexico became the 47th state, Las Vegas was its biggest city. We retain much of our history, with over 900 buildings listed on various historic registries. Not much bigger than we were at statehood, we have friendly, mostly locally-owned businesses, with an emphasis on art and antiques. Browse through this Guide, and you will see there are lots of things to see and do, whether you like history, the movies, fishing, hunting, biking or hiking. You can walk the same streets once walked by Billy the Kid and Doc Holliday. Our Bridge Street has been named “One of the Ten Best Main Streets” in America. From silent films featuring cowboy Tom Mix, through “Easy Rider,” “Red Dawn,” “True Grit,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Paul,” and TV’s “Longmire,” Las Vegas and San Miguel County have been favored locations for Hollywood since forever. We are surrounded by state and national monuments, parks, forests, and refuges. Mark your calendar for our 4th of July Fiestas and Heritage Week in August. You are invited, through this 2019 Visitors’ Guide, to discover our old trails and what new adventures you can have traveling down them. Andrea Gottschalk President, Las Vegas First Independent Business Alliance

by Rosa Walston Latimer

Photo courtesy Deanna Roybal

nomination for Outstanding Event at the New Mexico Top Hat Awards.   In town, we have historic hotels and great restaurants. Stay at our Plaza Hotel, El Fidel Hotel or newly renovated Harvey House, the Castañeda Hotel.   You don’t have to drive to get here. Make the trip memorable by arriving on the Southwest Chief Amtrak line just like back in the days of the wild west. Relax on the Southwest Chief as it is elegant, affordable, has top-notch car dining and beautiful scenery. The Southwest Chief runs daily on a 2,265 mile route stretching from Chicago all the way to Los Angeles, passing through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California on the way.   Whether by plane, train or automobile, come visit Las Vegas and enjoy our friendly atmosphere and small town hospitality. You will be glad you did! Sincerely,

LVFIBA: lasvegasfirst@gmail.com; www.lvfiba.org Guide: lasvegasguidenm@gmail.com; 505-429-9447. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without written permission from the publisher. The 2019 Las Vegas and San Miguel County Visitors Guide is published by Las Vegas First Independent Business Alliance, P.O. Box 2004, Las Vegas, NM 87701. Thanks to the City of Las Vegas Lodgers Tax Advisory Board and to the County of San Miguel Lodgers Tax Advisory Board. Thank you to Clear Light Publishing for use of the book Wildest Of The Wild West by Howard Bryan. Cover Photo: Newly reopened La Castañeda Hotel, courtesy Andy Kingsbury

Throughout our Visitors Guide you will find excerpts from the author Howard Bryan’s “Wildest of the WILD WEST” Bryan’s book about Las Vegas, New Mexico, in its boom town days is colorfully expressed through the exploits of the outlaws and lawmen whose mutual goal was to corral the town for their own good. Thank you Clear Light Publishing for usage. This book and others by Howard Bryan can be found at clearlightbooks.com; in Las Vegas at Paper Trail, Tome on the Range & Plaza Antiques. Photo courtesy Lee Ledoux

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Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 5

Colorful and Vibrant Las Vegas, New Mexico By Sharon Vander Meer

ter, 116 Bridge Street, houses an archive of historical photos available for review, and information about Las Vegas and area history. The self-guided tour brochure showcases the historic districts and information about the more than 900 buildings on the National Register of Historic Buildings. Open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Museums and history   Teddy Roosevelt left a lasting mark on Las Vegas. He had a fondness for the community because one of the 27 Rough Rider recruits from San Miguel County saved his life in the charge up San Juan Hill. The last Rough Rider Reunion was held in Las Vegas in 1969, attended by one vet. Gone are the days when Lincoln Park was filled with reunion festivities. What’s left are the memories, which rePhoto courtesy Deanna Roybal

  Las Vegas has captured the art and melody of life. Passionate young entrepreneurs are investing in eateries, boutique bars, and unique shops. The creative economy thrives with established galleries, antique shops and specialty stores, all featuring the work of local and area artisans. Local and regional musicians keep Northern New Mexico traditional and contem-

Photo courtesy Andy Kingsbury

porary music alive and thriving. The Castañeda Concert Series, part of the Meadow City Music Academy, brings classical, traditional and cultural offerings to the entertainment scene. For more information go to www.meadowcitymusic.org. For general information about arts and entertainment, go to www.lasvegasartscouncil. org.   Inspiration at work in Las Vegas is most evident in the restoration of the iconic railroad era La Castañeda Hotel. Its Mission Revival architecture captures the ambience of Northern New Mexico hospitality and charm, and is the catalyst for revitalization all along the MainStreet de Las Vegas business corridor and throughout the community. The hotel and its hospitality offerings are slated to open by June 2019.

  Las Vegas is in the heart of the great outdoors. From sweeping vistas to remote byways in national forests and wilderness areas, the scenery is fabulous and recreation opportunities abound. Trail rides, fishing, camping, hiking and biking adventures await bold individuals who want to experience nature in the raw. For the more urban-minded there is the city’s museum, antiquing to your heart’s content, shopping, and arts and culture events year around. For a soothing and uplifting treat, experience the Hot Springs geothermal baths and Dwan Light Sanctuary, at the United World College. Resources   To begin your journey, start out at the Las Vegas Visitor Center in the Historic Railroad District Depot on Railroad Avenue, adjacent to the Castañeda Hotel. The abundance of information and brochures will make your visit to Las Vegas more enjoyable. Lodging establishments have informed staff who will gladly help you, and this Visitor Guide is available in nearly every shop, hotel and restaurant in town. The city’s visitor center is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.   The Las Vegas Citizens’ Committee for Historic Preservation and Santa Fe Trail Interpretive Cen-

Dichos Coffee at El Fidel Hotel, courtesy Bill Carroll

6  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Fort Union Campfire, courtesy Richard Gonzales

side in the Las Vegas City Museum and Rough Rider Memorial Collection, along with artifacts of Las Vegas’ early years, and an archive of historical photographs depicting cowboy and ranch life, colonial Spanish American life, and examples of Las Vegas in its railroad heydays. The museum is located at 727 Grand Ave.   With its skeletal remnants of adobe structures, Fort Union National Monument retains a haunting aura of military life in the 1800s. The fort, north of Las Vegas off I-25, is open to visitors daily except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Winter hours, Labor Day to Memorial Day 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; summer hours, Memorial Day to Labor Day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entry is free.   For insight into the Pueblo Indians of the Pecos area, spend an afternoon at Pecos National Historical Park. The park explores the cultural exchange and geographic features that played crucial roles in the history of the Pecos Valley. The remains of pueblos stand as reminders of resilient people who once inhabited the area. Take I-25 south from Las Vegas to Exit 307 and follow the signs. Sight-seeing, shopping and dining   MainStreet de Las Vegas Corridor features diverse food establishments, shopping and antiquing, beginning at the top of the Plaza with two antique shops. In the Bridge Street/ Plaza area you will find more antique stores, galleries, clothing stores,

bookstores, a gifts and paper goods store, a candy shop, and several owner/operated jewelry and specialty stores. When possible – in addition to other merchandise – these entrepreneurs feature locally sourced arts, crafts and homemade goods. It’s shopper heaven!   Turn right on 12th Street off Bridge Street and find a unique dining experience in a renovated trolleybuilding that now houses a contemporary art venue eatery. Head onto to Douglas Avenue, past two more exceptional restaurants: one known for its contemporary American cuisine and hand-crafted cocktails, and another where traditional northern New Mexico foods and freshly prepared baked goods are served up daily. Cross over Grand where you will find a busy antique shop that houses several vendors under one roof. The newest addition lection is available for viewing, and the Media Arts to fine eateries, located in the Castaneda Hotel, fea- Center, housed in the Joe McCaffery Historical tures the culinary offerings of restauranteur Sean Trolley Building, showcases the work of students and faculty. The Kluge Auditorium at the United World College in Montezuma, also sponsors lectures and performances from September to May, which are open to the public. Nightlife   The Indigo, a 50-seat boutique theater on Bridge Street, features first run films. Housed in a reclaimed and renovated commercial building constructed in the early 1900s, the theater is open seven days a week. Check their website for show times, www.indigotheater.rocks Fourth of July Fiestas in Plaza Park   On a schedule that begins in mid-April, the Sinclair, a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef with roots Castañeda Hotel, restaurant, and lounge will begin inviting guests to enjoy its Northern New Mexico in Northern New Mexico. hospitality. What better way to celebrate the history Things to do year round   In warmer weather, bands play in the bandstand and mystery of Las Vegas than in this fully-restored at Plaza Park, a popular venue for weddings and railroad era hotel? other celebrations, like the Fourth of July Fiestas.   Dine the new-fashioned way at Dick’s Pub and Thousands flock to the park to watch folklorico Restaurant on Douglas. The owners serve contemdancers and listen to musicians playing traditional porary American cuisine and hand-crafted cocksalsa, Northern New Mexico, Mexican and Tejano tails in a renovated 1800s building. The Serf Events music. Over the three- to four-day event, there is a Center often brings name bands to town for enter5K and 10K race, and additional activities designed tainment and dancing. for families. The food booths rival anything you’ll   The Skillet, on 12th Street, is a unique dining exfind at a state fair anywhere in the country. Green perience amid a collection of art works by owners Chile Cheeseburger anyone? Isaac and Shawna Sandoval. The menu features   The Fourth of July Fiesta is one of several events tasty fusion foods served in an art-filled venue held throughout the year to celebrate the heritage, where you can often catch bands playing live music. culture, architecture, and creative gifts of Las Veg-   Borracho’s Craft Booze & Brew is a boutique bar ans. Seasonal events include the Rough Rider Mo- where craft libations are dispensed with flair and torcycle Rally in late July; Heritage Week, the San style. Located in the heart of old town, Borracho’s Miguel County Fair, and Places with a Past Historic serves classic cocktails, practices the art of mixolHomes Tour in August; Highlands Homecoming ogy and serves New Mexico craft beer and spirits. in September, and the annual Light Parade and   Pizza and bowling are a hit at J.C.’s New York PizHistoric Homes Holiday Tour in December. From za Dept., across from Plaza Park. The eatery speSeptember through late May, student and profes- cializes in hand made pizzas, a full menu of Italian sional performances are staged at the historic Ilfeld comfort foods and a full bar. And if you’re up for Auditorium and in Wilson Complex at Highlands bowling, there’s a three-lane alley for family and University. During the year, professors give lectures friends’ fun and games. open to the public, the Kennedy Hall Art Gallery   Enjoy a variety of libations at Byron T’s Saloon mounts curated art shows, the Dr. Robert Bell Col- in the Plaza Hotel. With views of Plaza Park in

Above the bar at La Castañeda Hotel

the background, experience hospitality in a setting where customer satisfaction is the highest priority. Foodies will appreciate the décor while immersing themselves in Las Vegas hospitality.   For just a cup of coffee or comfort food to eat in or take out, remember Dicho’s at the Historic El Fidel Hotel, Charlie’s Bakery and Café on Douglas Avenue, The Range Café at the Plaza, El Encanto, Traveler’s Café, The Coffee Shop, El Rialto, Taco King, and Olivia’s in the Plaza/Bridge Street district, and the Roadrunner Bar & Grille at the golf course.

Historic Plaza Hotel, courtesy Harold Garcia

  Las Vegas has more to do than can be contained here. Know this. When you come to Las Vegas you can expect to find more than you bargained for, and it is a bargain. Centrally located off a major highway, Las Vegas is more than an overnight stop; it is a destination.   For a complete listing of events, check out the calendar of events, pages 44-50.

Borracho’s Craft Booze & Brew on Bridge St.

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 7

Las Vegas: The Wildest of the Wild West By Howard Bryan, Author   Even the Wild West stories of Dodge City, Deadwood and Tombstone, pale in comparison to the incredible story of Las Vegas, New Mexico, for decades considered the most violent Wild West community on America’s Western frontier. Due largely to its strategic location on the Santa Fe Trail, and later as an end of track town on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, the community reeled under the impact of Indian warfare, conquering armies, insurrectionists, outlaws and gunfighters.   It was the coming of the railroad in the summer of 1879 that brought the greatest influx of frontier riff-raff to Las Vegas, many of them hell-raisers from Dodge City and other Kansas cowtowns who took over the new business district that was springing up in the vicinity of the railroad depot. Included were murderers, robbers, thieves, gamblers, swindlers, gunmen, dance hall girls, vagrants and tramps.   They were known by such names as Rattlesnake Sam, Dirty-Face Mike, Hatchet-Face Kit, Cockeyed Frank, Light-Fingered Jack, Jimmie the Duck, Johnny Behind the Rocks, Hold-Out Jack, Six-Shooter Johnny, BlackEyed Bruce, Double-Out Sam, Stuttering Tom, Billy-Be-Damned, Durango Kid, Kansas Kid, Kickapoo George, Bullshit Sam, Hog-Foot Jim and Handsome Harry the Dance Hall Rustler.  New Mexico historian Ralph Emerson Twitchell, who was an early Las Vegas resident, summed it up like this: “Without exception, in the days of the construction of the Santa Fe Railway into the Southwest, there was no town which harbored a more disreputable gang of gamblers, desperadoes and outlaws than did Las Vegas. They controlled, for a while, the local peace officers, and the dance halls and public resorts were the scenes of many shooting affrays and robberies. In the new town, in the immediate vicinity of the present Castañeda hotel, were located some of the most disreputable saloons, dance halls and resorts ever seen in frontier day. The gambling houses never closed and the gambling fraternity did about as they pleased. It finally became necessary to organize a committee of one hundred for the safety of the better classes and visitors to the place. Several desperadoes were summarily dealt with, taken from the jail or from their resorts and hung. Notice was served upon every

bling hall and variety theater in Las Vegas. Bob Ford even served as a Las Vegas Policeman after killing Jesse James in Missouri. David A. “Mysterious Dave” Mather, who operated on both sides of the law, was engaged in a number of gun battles as a Las Vegas policeman, during which time he also was accused of train robbery. A crooked justice of the peace known as Hoodoo Brown was a leader of the so-called Dodge City Gang that virtually ruled the new business district. He skipped town, after relieving the body of a murder victim of more than $1,000.00.   The good citizens of Las Vegas, tiring of all the violence, began dragging prisoners out of the jail at night and hanging them from a windmill that stood on the town plaza, on at lease one occasion hanging three at a time. One man who claimed that he shot two people by accident was found hanging from the windmill with a sign fastened to his body reading “this is no accident.”   After the windmill was torn down from being a bad influence on the children of Las Vegas, who were hanging their dogs in imitation, lynchers began hanging their victims from telegraph and telephone poles and bridges. Posters were placed around Las Vegas warning all undesirables to leave town or “be invited to a grand necktie party, the expense of which will be borne by one hundred substantial citizens.”   Later, after the unwelcome railroad followers had left town, a new crime wave was unleashed

undesirable to leave forthwith and in this manner the town was rid of as desperate a gang of cut-throats and bad men as ever congregated in one place in the Southwest.”   Echoing Twitchell’s view was Miguel A. Otero, governor of New Mexico from 1897 to 1906, and who, like Twitchell, had been an early Las Vegas resident. Otero wrote: “For more than a year after the entry of the railroad, it can be stated without fear of contradiction that Las Vegas was the “hottest” town in the country. Such a statement would be substantiated by the record, for one month, which the old files of the (Las Vegas) Daily Optic establish. They show that twenty-nine men were killed in and around Las Vegas, either murdered outright or shot in self-defense or hung by the well-regulated Vigilance Committee. Such a record, I am certain, would be hard to parallel in the history of any of Plaza Windmill, c. 1879, courtesy Las Vegas CCHP, No. 0689 the wild towns of the West.”   Las Vegas saw many famous and notorious on Las Vegas and vicinity by Vicente Silva, a Las figures of the frontier era during its railroad Vegas tavern owner who organized a secret orgaboom days. Billy the Kid complained nization known as the Society of Bandits of New about the jail accommodations at Las Mexico, consisting of at least forty native-born Vegas, saying the jail was a “terrible Hispanic citizens. The Silva gang, held responplace to put a fellow in.” John H. “Doc” sible for many murders, rapes, thefts, burglaries Holliday operated a saloon and gam- and livestock rustling, included at least three bling hall in Las Vegas and left town members of the Las Vegas police force, includafter shooting down a drunk and trou- ing the notorious Jose Chavez y Chavez, who blesome cavalry veteran in front of his had been a pal of Billy the Kid. Miguel Otero debusiness establishment. Jesse James scribed these gangsters “as tough a bunch of bad vacationed at the hot spring north of men as ever gathered outside a penal institution.” town, keeping a low profile under an   Unlike most of the notorious frontier towns assumed name. Lawman Pat Garrett in the American West, most of them were cattle successfully held off a lynch mob that or mining towns where violence lasted for only attempted to remove prisoners from brief periods. Las Vegas experienced the violent his custody at the Las Vegas depot. frontier with but few interruptions for more than Monte Verde, a notorious gambling a half-century, earning it the reputation as the Las Vegas lawmen, Green brothers, with prisoners Martinez and Baca, lady who had been a Confederate spy “Wildest of the Wild West.” courtesy Andy Kingsbury during the Civil War, operated a gam8  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 9

Firemen’s Ball

  In 2019, Las Vegas will see the return of the Annual Firemen’s Ball Fundraiser, a part of the city’s rich legacy surrounding its historic volunteer fire departments, E. Romero Hose & Fire and Las Vegas Hose Company No. 1. A legacy soon to be celebrated when the E. Romero Firehouse and Acequia Museum opens in the Summer of 2020.   From their inception, the city’s volunteer companies were almost entirely self-financed. The tradition of fundraising entertainments started even before the companies fought their first fires. These entertainments were a fun and delightful way for the community to show their support for the work the volunteer firefighters did all year protecting the community, and for the firefighters to express their enthusiasm and dedication to their community, in a way that did not involve burning buildings and other tragedies.   This annual fundraising event will now serve the same function for the museum created to celebrate the ser- Cover to the program for the 1909 E. Romero Hose & Fire Company’s Annual Fundraiser Ball. vice and civic devotion of the city’s volunteer firefighters. An affirmation of the accord the firefighters had with the community in which they and their families lived.

108 Bridge Street 505.454.1050 www.blowininthewind1.com

Ticket stub fragments for E. Romero Hose &   This First Annual Firemen’s Ball Fire Co., 60th Annual Benefit will start with a parade of fire trucks from nearby communities, escorting a vintage City of Las Vegas 1937 Seagrave fire engine to its new home at the museum. There will be a ceremony honoring the volunteer firefighters followed by a community street party with food and drink, live entertainment and dancing in the street to traditional New Mexico party music in front of the firehouse on historic Bridge Street in Old Town Las Vegas. The firehouse building will be open to show off its new restoration work and there will be many opportunities throughout the evening to donate to the build-out of the museum’s core exhibit.   Future editions of this annual event will include a revival of the firefighter games of skill, that were once practiced on the streets of the city, whenever the statewide firefighter conference came to town. We know of no other place these games are practiced in the public view and should delight community members and firefighter history enthusiasts. Dancers at a Las Vegas volunteer firefighters   There is no set date for this fabuevent, date unknown lous entertainment but follow The E. Romero Firehouse and Acequia Museum Facebook page for more information.

P A 1805 Plaza St. Las Vegas, NM • --

Las Vegas’ Oldest Antique Store On the Old Town Plaza OPEN 7 DAYS

Buena Vida Center for Wellness ~ Physical Therapy ~ Yoga & Core Classes ~ Massage Therapy ~ Acupuncture ~ Thai Yoga Therapy ~ Munay Shamanic Healing

www.buenavidaptwellness.com (505) 425.2998 • 601 E. Lincoln St. Las Vegas, NM

City of Las Vegas 1937 Seagrave, straight off the assembly line

10  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 11


San Miguel County

Outdoor recreation is abundant, and breath taking scenery captures the eye of anyone with a camera. Artists find inspiration in the range of rusty reds, vibrant greens and amazing blues painted across mesas, mountains and plains. Pristine lakes and streams make you want to get out your fishing pole and try your luck. San Miguel County is where music sings through the hills and pines, contributing to the melody of rural life. Established in January 1852 as one of the original nine counties by the New Mexico territorial legislature, San Miguel County is also one of the largest. The more than 4700 square miles extends 118 miles to the east and about 57 miles north to south. With an average of 273 sunny days per year, every day is a good day to

Where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains

enjoy what this northern New Mexico gem has to offer. The area and its water sources – the Gallinas, Pecos and Canadian Rivers – were inhabited by Native Americans as early as 1100 A.D., before the arrival of Spanish explorers in the mid-1500s. Spanish settlements in San Miguel County – separate from pueblo occupation – began in the late 1700s. By the early 1800s, Spanish and Mexican land grants supported an agriculture economy for many years before the railroad arrived. Today the rural economy is driven by heritage – or generational – farming and ranching, and by large cattle and horse ranches. These stewards of the land continue a legacy of respect for nature, and the hard work

required to sustain a rural way of life. The owners of many cow/calf operations have built greenhouses and put in small farms, which support farmers’ markets that sell produce year around. The annual County Fair, held the second weekend in August, embodies the rich culture of the farming and ranching influence. This youth-centered event features small and large animal judging and sales, and indoor exhibits of handwork, baking, art and any number of other practical and home skills. Enjoy San Miguel County. You will find some of the best outdoor experiences nature can provide and encounter diverse cultures that blend into a harmonious mosaic.

500 Railroad Avenue Las Vegas, NM 87701 505.617.6800

■ ■ ■

Historic Bridge Street in Las Vegas, NM

MainStreet de Las Vegas is 1 mile of independent shops, hotels, restaurants located in 3 Nationally Registered Historic Commercial Districts: ■ Historic Plaza Park/Bridge Street ■ Historic Douglas Avenue/Sixth Street ■ Historic Railroad District

The mission of MainStreet de Las Vegas is to unify the historic commercial corridor and engender pride in the community while promoting economic development and preserving historical, cultural, architectural and natural resources through partnerships and community collaboration.

MainStreet de Las Vegas, in partnership with the City of Las Vegas, has been awarded $150,000 in funding from New Mexico Main Street and the state of New Mexico for the Great Blocks on Main Street: Rail Road Avenue Project. The project includes improvements from Lincoln Ave from Grand Ave to the Train Depot. Great Blocks on Main Street upgrades two-tothree blocks in the core commercial district through an intensive design intervention. This investment in public infrastructure, especially in initial visible public improvements, encourages other building owners and businesses to join the effort.

Community By Design/Charles Dean

The Las Vegas Memory Wall is a 60 ft. mosaic wall that will

serve as a testimony to the vitality and creativity of the city of Las Vegas. Sustainability and recycling will inspire the decorative elements of the wall by exploring the reuse and repurposing of materials like broken ceramics, china, bottle caps, tiles, silverware, and sea shells. When it’s complete, the Memory Wall will feature 12 distinct panels designed by local artists, organizations, schools, and individuals, many featuring items that represent or once belonged to their loved ones.

A short list of things to do: •  Storrie Lake State Park: 5 miles from Las Vegas, this serene lake offers fishing, bird watching, and boating. Choose from a variety of campsites with utility hookups for RVs. (505) 425-7278 •  Conchas Lake State Park: 1½ hour drive east on NM-104, features secluded coves, canyons, and sandy beaches. Excellent for camping, boating, and fishing. (575) 868-2270

Photo courtesy Deanna Roybal

•  Pendaries Village Golf Course: A beautiful 45-minute drive from Las Vegas, this 18-hole golf course sits in a lovely setting surrounded by beautiful scenery. Golf course open from late April to late October. (505) 425-3561 •  Art and artist studios: Visit www.lasvegasartscouncil.org for information about studios open by appointment in rural areas. (505) 425-1085; for Pecos visit: www.pecosstudiotour.com

•  Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge: 10 minutes from Las Vegas, this 8,672-acre refuge is one of the few sizeable wetland areas remain- •  Pecos Historical Park: 40 minutes from Las Vegas you can explore ing in New Mexico. Open to the public for wildlife watching, hiking, the cultural exchange of native peoples and geographic features that hunting, educational and interpretive programs and special events.  played crucial roles in the rich history of the Pecos Valley. (505) 757-7241 (505) 425-3581 •  Villanueva State Park: 40 minutes from Las Vegas, is located be•  Pecos Wilderness: Within easy driving distance of Las Vegas, this tween high sandstone bluffs that form a canyon along the Pecos River. 221,819 acre area features pristine lakes and streams that offer first-rate Camp or picnic under the shade of cottonwood trees. Enjoy fishing, fishing. Hiking, horseback riding and camping for the experienced out- birding, wildflower viewing, or hiking the trails along the canyon walls. (575) 421-2957 door adventurer. (505) 757-6121 12  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Photo: The Smither Park Memory Wall in Houston, Texas

2019 Castaneda Under the Stars II Gala will be held on Saturday, September 21st at the newly renovated Castaneda Hotel in the Historic Railroad District of Las Vegas. This year MainStreet de Las Vegas will honor Patricia and Leveo Sanchez with the first annual Patricia and Leveo Sanchez Community Service Award for all that they have contributed to the Las Vegas community. There will be dinner and dancing in the ballroom of the newly opened, historic Castaneda Hotel.

The historic Castaneda Hotel at night

For ticket information please call 505.617.6800.

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 13

Castañeda Rediscovered by Stephen Fried

  In the late morning of June 24, 1899, a Santa Fe train carrying Teddy Roosevelt and his entourage of political hangers-on in straw hats and fellow soldiers in their old uniforms was barreling its way toward one of the most important cities in the west: the original Las Vegas, the one in northeastern New Mexico.   It was, in U.S. history, the day of the first Rough Riders reunion, celebrating the anniversary of the end of the Spanish-American War. But for Las Vegas and the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (its new name after recently emerging from bankruptcy), this was the national debut of the stunning new trackside hotel, the Castañeda. It was designed not only to thrill visitors, but to usher in a whole new era of American tourism.

with lush, inviting gardens just off the train tracks-was the Santa Fe’s gateway to the new Southwest. And to make sure it received all the attention it deserved, the railroad made a bold publicity move. When every major city in the country vied to host the Rough Riders reunion, the Santa Fe made a deal to ensure that Roosevelt—with the nation’s press in tow—would hold that celebration in Las Vegas, and showcase the Castañeda.   When Roosevelt stepped out of his Pullman car at the Las Vegas depot, a huge wave of people pushed toward him. He was, “almost lifted bodily from his feet by the press of persons anxious to grasp his hand,” according to one reporter. And over the next two days of parades, rodeos and other events, thousands filled the streets day and night for an amazing celebration of patriotism and frontier exuberance, honoring the joys of the nation’s past and the excitement for the coming American century. Pictures of all the events ran in newspapers all over the country, including a full page in the New York Times. Photo Courtesy Las Vegas Citizens’ Committee for Historic Preservation, LVCCHP, Archives  It was arguably the   Railroad management had decided that the greatest, and certainly the most high-profile event Southwest was no longer going to be a stinking to ever take place in Las Vegas, NM. Until now. desert you hoped to ride through quickly on the way to California. It was going to become a tour-   Last November, a crew from one of the nation’s ist destination, the “Land of Enchantment” and highest-rated and most beloved television shows— “America’s Orient”—where you could experience CBS Sunday Morning—quietly snuck into Las Venot only breathtaking natural beauty, but the His- gas. They wanted to be there at the very moment panic, Native-American and European cultures, when the Castañeda was officially reborn—as a uniquely intermingled. recreation of its original 1898 sign was unveiled.   The railroad was planning to create a string of That would signal the beginning of a year-long prooasis hotels all across the Southwest, to be overseen cess of reopening the old hotel, breathing new life by its world-famous hospitality partner, run by into the section of town it once anchored, and helpBritish-born entrepreneur Fred Harvey and his son ing reconnect Las Vegas to New Mexico tourism. Ford. Their company, simply called “Fred Harvey,”   At 3:59 pm on November 4th, the couple who was based in Kansas City but for over twenty years were saving the hotel--entrepreneur Allan Affeldt had run all the trackside restaurants along the Santa and artist Tina Mion, who had previously saved La Fe, which expanded to almost eighty cities from Posada, the Harvey hotel in Winslow, AZ--were Chicago west to the Pacific, and south to the Gulf standing on its balcony. With them were many of the local workers who had been devoted to the $5 of Mexico.   Fred Harvey dining rooms and lunch counters million restoration of the Castaneda, along with were staffed by the most renowned servers in the CBS correspondent Michelle Miller. Down below world—the “Harvey Girls,” the country’s first major the courtyard was filled with visitors—some from all-female national work force. The company had Las Vegas and Santa Fe, but others from all over the recently added dining cars and station retail stores, country who had come to see this event, includand was experimenting with hotels. ing many of Fred Harvey’s descendants. They were   The Castañeda—designed to look like a spec- standing in the same place where the crowds had tacular U-shaped Mission Revival-style mansion gathered to greet Roosevelt. 14  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Castañeda postcard

  As the CBS Sunday Morning cameras rolled, the huge white cloth obscuring the sign was pulled and a tremendous cheer went up. The Castañeda, and Las Vegas, were coming back!   Las Vegas and Fred Harvey have been intertwined for over 130 years, since the first railroad train crossed the Raton Pass into NM on July 4, 1879, and Las Vegas became the first major city in New Mexico connected by rail to the east. Long a major mercantile center and health retreat for those arriving by horseback and wagon on the Santa Fe Trail, the city was turned into a cowboy-novel town almost overnight. Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday and other legendary western characters regularly made headlines in the local newspapers, especially the Las Vegas Optic, which went from weekly to daily, allowing its opinionated and often hilarious editor, Russel Kistler, more space for his one-liners. Reporting a new reward for “the Kid,” he wrote, “Here is an opportunity for some daring man to engrave his name upon the roll of dead heroes.” After Billy was killed, Kistler reported he had secured his severed trigger finger, which was in a jar of alcohol on his desk (and may still be in Las Vegas.)   Soon the Optic was reporting on a new rising western hero in town, railroad restaurant entrepreneur Fred Harvey, who in his mid-forties had just recently begun his business, with eateries in Topeka, Florence and Lamy, Kansas, and La Junta, Colorado. Las Vegas was to be the launching point for a dramatic expansion in New Mexico. Before the depot could be finished, the railroad parked three old dining cars on a side track, which were quickly refurbished and turned into a beautifully appointed restaurant. The Harvey formula was New York or Chicago quality dining in the middle of nowhere, with fresh ingredients brought in on the train.

  The railroad then started building a new health resort for Fred to run, the Montezuma, just outside of town at the Hot Springs, while at the same time expanding across New Mexico from its Las Vegas hub, with new stations—and Harvey restaurants— in Deming, Lamy, Raton, Rincon, San Marcial, Vaughn and Albuquerque. And the Optic covered Harvey’s rise in glorious detail—including every time he became angry at his staff for performing below perfection (describing him firing his Deming manager by heaving him out the front door with “the dining room equipment” following him “in quick order”) or was laid low by the stress of commuting between his home in Kansas and Las Vegas.   The Montezuma’s grand opening was in spring of 1882. The resort opened to wonderful reviews in American and British papers, but unfortunately was a flop as a business, and within a year Fred was pulling out of it to focus on the trackside restaurants in town and across the state. This is when the “Harvey Girls” were born. Originally, restaurants in NM had male African-American servers, who often found themselves unwittingly in racial incidents. After yet another one in nearby Raton, Harvey was persuaded to change his wait staff to all single women hired in the Midwest (which led, over the next decades, to over 100,000 single women getting the chance to work and travel.)   The Montezuma burned to the ground in early 1884, was rebuilt and burned down again in 1885, and then run with modest success by the railroad. But the Harvey company boldly expanded with the Santa Fe all over Arizona and California— and Albuquerque grew into its major hub in New Mexico.   The coming of the Castañeda, which was built in 1898, represented the railroad reinvesting in Las Vegas. The hotel enjoyed heydays all through the early 1900s, when legendary chef Dan Tachet created his signature dish, Chicken Castañeda and introduced travelers to the tastes of the Southwest.

Early motion picture stars stopped there on the way to Hollywood starting in 1910 (Tom Mix and director Romaine Fielding even made some movies in Las Vegas). In the mid-1920s, Fred Harvey created its Southwest Detours—very popular train and car trips all over New Mexico and Arizona, to Native-American reservations and sites of great history or natural beauty. And the Castañeda became the gateway for travelers from the east headed to the Grand Canyon, where Fred Harvey also ran the hotels at the South Rim. Business was hurt by the Depression, then reinvigorated by the Second World War when Harvey hotels fed western train-traveling soldiers. But the hotel was closed by the railroad in 1948, not long after Harry Truman made a campaign stop there.   The Castañeda then sat largely unused for nearly 70 years. In fact, the railroad originally sold it for salvage, and it was only kept from the wrecking ball when a local railroader bought it to convert part of it into apartments. While many of the famous Harvey trackside hotels closed at that same time—ironically, just after the 1946 release of the Oscar-winning film about them, “The Harvey Girls,” starring Judy Garland—Las Vegas had the distinction of being home to two of the oldest, most architecturally and culturally significant, and most endangered of the grand old buildings.   The Montezuma had been barely utilized since the early 1900s (when Teddy Roosevelt was President, the railroad tried to convince the government to take it for free as a military health retreat; they wouldn’t.) Then in 2001, the Montezuma was saved and gorgeously restored as the cornerstone of the U.S. campus of United World College.   That made the situation with the Castañeda even more painful. It was just sitting there, sad and lonely, next to the railroad tracks, a hulking structure with broken out windows, a leaky roof, and a bar that was open only when the quirky longtime owner felt like it.   That’s what the hotel looked like when my wife, Diane, and I first came to visit Las Vegas in 2005, as I started researching a biography of Fred Harvey and his multigenerational family business. Wherever we went in town, we were told that Las Vegans were livid over the condition of the old building, and that its owner—who still lived there and sometimes rented out other rooms as apartments—was asking so much for it that it would never be sold and saved.   When the book, Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West — One Meal at a Time was finished, I came to Las Vegas on tour. The very first question I was asked concerned the Castañeda. Did I know anything new about its possible restoration? Was there anything I could do to convince the owner to sell it? And was there anything I could do to convince that couple in Winslow Arizona who had per-

formed a miracle restoration of the Harvey hotel there to come do the same in San Miguel County?   It turned out I did know that couple, Allan Affeldt and Tina Mion, but not well. My wife and I had stayed in their magical hotel in Winslow, one of the greatest achievements of Fred Harvey design guru Mary Colter. After my book came out in 2010, we got to know the couple better, along with what turned out to be a surprising number of people fascinated with Fred Harvey-related history and SW travel.   There were, at that time, Arizona Harvey enthusiasts—who stayed at La Posada (which had a fourstar restaurant, the Turquoise Room, and its own Harvey Girl re-enactors) and the Harvey hotels at Grand Canyon South Rim, and researched at the

A cover of the 1909 Santa Fe Railway pamphlet describing Fred Harvey hotels, dining rooms, and sample menus

Heard Museum in Phoenix, which held the company’s amazing Native American art collection and business records, and NAU Cline Library Special Collections. And then there were New Mexico Harvey enthusiasts, most congregating around La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe (where concierge Steve Wimmer dispensed Harvey history gossip) and the restored Belen train station. Albuquerque was still mourning the destruction, in 1970, of its grand Harvey hotel, the Alvarado, and the train station right next to it. They were separated, in the day, by the Harvey “Indian Room” where its native art collection was displayed and sold, and where Colter got her start.

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 15

Photo courtesy Andy Kingsbury

  Las Vegas had been long out of touch with its Harvey roots. But not for much longer. In 2013 Allan and Tina were convinced by many people (including us) that they should save the Castañeda. They decided to go one step further: they spent $4 million to buy not only the shell of the Castañeda and its liquor license, but also the working Plaza Hotel in Old Town. They announced they would run the Plaza while raising the money and tax credits to restore the Castañeda. And in the meantime, they would get comfortable in their new second home, and become part of the diverse community.   Allan and Tina and their team from La Posada, especially Dan Lutzick, began shuttling between Winslow and Las Vegas on the Southwest

Photo courtesy Andy Kingsbury

Chief—the same train Fred and Ford Harvey themselves used to take to inspect their hotels and restaurants. By crossing the Arizona/New Mexico border, they helped Fred Harvey fans in both states—who now referred to themselves collectively as “FredHeads”—come together, along with Harvey family members discovering their hospitality roots.   I had been doing annual talks about Fred Harvey subjects in Santa Fe at the New Mexico History Museum, which created a permanent Fred Harvey exhibit, and at La Fonda Hotel--where board chair and co-owner Jenny Kimball was restoring her hotel to an updated version of its Harvey/Colter splendor, including docents who gave tours of the original art. But after the Castañeda sale, those talks expanded into a whole Fred Harvey History Weekend in Santa Fe and Las Vegas. This fall event now draws hundreds from around the globe, for lectures and Fred Harvey-inspired meals—and includes an annual reunion of Fred Harvey’s descendants. A Harvey Girls group was started in Las Vegas, along with a Harvey-themed tour business, Kathy Hendrickson’s Southwest Detours.   Allan and Tina put another million dollars into refreshing the Plaza Hotel, and built up its business, but it took them longer than expected to get tax credits for the Castañeda. There were some nervous moments when it wasn’t clear the whole project would come to fruition. We just happened to be visiting with them—we were eating lunch at a restaurant in Flagstaff—on the day they decided to move forward. It was a huge decision. They would be committing to living in two places they adored, in two different Harvey hotels they loved. It was also a huge decision for the future of Las Vegas, because it meant they would guarantee another $5 million for the Castañeda restoration, which would be spent almost entirely on local artisans and local materials, to create the first true destination hotel and restaurant in this city of 13,000 residents. Their hope was that this would bring not only tourism, but also entrepreneurs and artists to help re-energize Las Vegas.   During dessert, they decided to

16  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

go for it. Calls were made to secure funding from Clearinghouse CDFI, US Bank, and the Santa Fe Community Foundation. Within weeks, they had begun a process to get most of the restoration done in just a year—in part because they were excited to open a second Harvey heritage hotel, but also because the tax credits required a speedy job.   Suddenly, every day at the Castañeda began looking like time-lapse photography—with dozens of workers quickly replacing, rebuilding and restoring everything from the deepest darkest basement to the cupola and spire at the top of the tower. By the time the CBS Sunday Morning crew arrived, the structural work was completed. But it wasn’t until the restored sign was dramatically uncovered—with Allan and Tina and CBS’s Michelle Miller dancing (gingerly) on the balcony below it--that it felt like the place would really be alive relatively soon.   The amount of detail work to guarantee historic authenticity, but also modern conveniences, has been extraordinary. The 38 original guest rooms were reconfigured into twenty suites, and the public spaces—inside and out—were lovingly repurposed. In the tradition of their restoration at La Posada—where rooms were finished one at a time and then offered to hotel guests—they will open twelve guest rooms this spring, and then have the entire hotel ready for a grand opening ceremony in late October. While the FredHeads see this as a new Harvey history outpost, Allan and Tina are clear that this is all about Las Vegas, helping the city get back in touch with its history, its people, its businesses, its architecture, its educational institutions, and its great beauty and heart.   The first guest stayed in a restored room at the Castañeda on March 29, and a couple more the next week. The bar opened later in April, and the new restaurant Kin at Castañeda—run by Sean Sinclair, one of New Mexico’s best-known and best-loved chefs—will debut this summer. Rooms will continue being added into the fall.   And they will all be ready for the official Grand Opening, which will take place on Sunday October 27th, as the highlight of the Fred Harvey History Weekend. That night, every room in the hotel will be occupied by a descendent of Fred Harvey, or someone intimately involved in the dramatic comeback of the hotel and Las Vegas. The community will come together for dinner that night at the Castañeda, and celebrate the past and the future.   For the Castañeda and Las Vegas, the best is yet to come. Stephen Fried is an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author who teaches at Columbia University and Penn, and every fall oversees the “Fred Harvey History Weekend” in Santa Fe and Las Vegas (this year, October 25-28).


Bring this in for 15% Off Storewide

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 17

from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan Unlike most of the notorious frontier towns in the American West, where the violence lasted for only brief periods, Las Vegas experienced the violent frontier with but few interruptions for more than a half-century, earning it the reputation as “the toughest town in the West” and “wildest of the Wild West.” For a community that was to achieve such a wild and woolly reputation, however, Las Vegas had an inauspicious beginning that could scarcely portend the dramatic events of the future.

FARM RANCH & EQUESTRIAN BRAND Ranching is our First Love, Real Estate is our Second Nature. - David Saiz, Pharm. D. - Rudy Nolasco, R.P.h

615 Grand Ave, Las Vegas, NM 87701 delnortepharmacy.com


from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan Newcomers saw economic opportunities in the town due to its strategic location on the Santa Fe Trail and its being the nearest town to Fort Union. The new military post and increasing traffic on the Santa Fe Trail created a growing demand for goods and services. For weary travelers, Henry Connelly and E.F. Mitchell erected a hotel on the southwest corner of the plaza, complete with stables and corrals and a bar and recreation room called Buffalo Hall, eventually to become known as “the poker capital of New Mexico.”


• • • • • • • • • •

Water Rights & Ditch Rights Irrigation Systems Mineral Rights 1031 Exchanges Agricultural Tax Benefits Agricultural Lenders Highest Best Use BLM Leasing Survey Issues Pasture Management

Apache Mesa - Sold* 5500 Acres San Miguel County “Don ably served as our agent and went well above and beyond in selling a complicated property with myriad title problems. He always communicated well and showed great patience. His extensive knowledge of ranch properties in New Mexico were definitely instrumental in bringing the sale to a close. ” -Apache Mesa Partners

Red Cloud - Sold* 303 acres San Miguel County “Don was an absolute pleasure to work with, fair and understanding of our needs. He made it a priority to really get to know San Miguel County. Our area has been underserved and undervalued for many years. Don, with his vast knowledge and experience, did the research to help his clients understand and appreciate the existing culture and the potential within the emerging renaissance of Old Las Vegas.” -Earl & Janet Betts

from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan Commercial and military traffic on the Santa Fe Trail increased in intensity during the Civil War era, with an estimated 3,000 wagons passing through Las Vegas in 1865 and some 5,000 in 1866. Sounds of cracking whips and shouted commands echoed through the dusty streets of the adobe village as wagon drivers urged their ox and mule teams forward at a sluggish pace of ten to fifteen miles a day. 18  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Ocate Ranch - For Sale, 318 acres Mora County Perimeter Fencing, Natural Spring, 12 Miles to Angel Fire. 1000 Paseo de Peralta Santa Fe, NM 87501 505.982.4466 santafeproperties.com *Santa Fe Properties Participated in this Sale.

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 19






Photo courtesy Miguel Serna

Gateway to the great outdoors.

The world passes by at high speeds, most not even realizing the treasure hiding not far off I-25. The waters of the Pecos River exit the wildnerness and pass through the village bearing the same name as the cold waters of that fast-flowing river. It’s well worth the detour. Descendants of old Spanish land grant families co-exist happily with artists, monks from the nearby Pecos Benedictine Monastery, rangers and represenatives from the Pecos Ranger District and the Pecos National Historic Park, merchants and restraunteurs, and, of course, the thousands of visitors to a place of grand beauty. Pecos provides an entry point to the wilderness. Hikers, fishermen, trail riders, campers, piñon gatherers, and picnickers alike are welcome in the village. Here they can stock up before “heading up the mountain,” and stop for food and facilities on the trip back from mountain to civilization. The Pecos Ranger Station right in the village is a must stop for those planning to head into the Santa Fe National Forest and Pecos Wilderness Area. Here visitors can obtain the maps and information to ensure their adventure is both memorable and safe. Not only does Pecos offer a haven for lovers of nature but also for history buffs. The Battle of Glorieta Pass (aka the Gettysberg of the West) happened just miles from Pecos. Within a few minutes drive from the village, the Pecos National Historic Park offers an opportunity to step back into the distant past and walk with quiet reverence through the preserved ruins of the Pecos Pueblo, a once thriving pre-Columbian commerce center, a gateway between the East and the West. Pecos is a gateway allowing travel from the Great Plains to Santa Fe through the southern Rocky Mountains. The trail was used by Indian tribes, Spanish settlers, traders on the Santa Fe Trail, Civil War soldiers and cruisers on Route 66. Today’s travelers take I-25 on their journey between Santa Fe and Las Vegas, New Mexico. Pecos-Glorietta Pass exit 299 and the Rowe exit 307 are both a scenic six mile drive to the center of Pecos.

PECOS WILDERNESS 223,000 Acres of Pristine Wilderness

The United States Congress designated the Pecos Wilderness in 1964 and it now has a total of 223,000 acres. All of this wilderness is located in New Mexico and is managed by the Forest Service. Deep and narrow canyons, long and broad mesa tops, heavily forested slopes, and rugged ridges with peaks above timberline characterize the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of the Pecos Wilderness. This small mountain chain comprises the extreme southern extent of the Rocky Mountains, North America’s longest mountain chain, which extends north all the way into Canada. On the western side steep canyons drain toward the Rio Grande. In contrast, to the east lies the relatively gentle upper

Pecos River Valley, an area of broad flat mesas and grassy meadows. There are restrictions pertaining to camping on most of the lakeshores in order to protect wilderness values. At least 15 of the lakes offer first-rate fishing, as do 150-plus miles of sparkling streams, where rainbow trout, brown trout, and the NM state fish, the Rio Grande cutthroat trout can all be found. These waters head the Wild and Scenic Pecos River, for which the wilderness is named. The high country elevations range from 8,400 feet to 13,103 feet atop South Truchas Peak, the state’s second highest point. The scenery varies from 100-foot-drop waterfalls and crumbled talus slopes to dramatic rock cliffs, towering peaks, and

Lodging in the Pecos:


Historic Guest Ranch on the Pecos River in Cowles, New Mexico. Dining, birding, fishing, hiking, horseback riding. Log Cabin accomodations. Meals included. Open Memorial Day thru September. Call for Reservations: 505-757-6213 lospinosranch.com


Year-round , fully furnished modern and summertime rustic cabins located in a picturesque, gated, river-front setting. Bird, Fish, Hike, Relax. WiFi. Reservations: 505-757-8752 or pecosrivercabins@gmail.com 8 River Cabin Road, PO Box 231, Pecos, NM 87552 PECOSRIVERCABINS.COM

Photo courtesy Miguel Serna

wildflower meadows best caught in July and August. Engelmann spruce, corkbark fir, ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, white fir, limber pine, bristlecone pine, and aspen are the predominant timber species. Equally diverse is the wildlife, including elk, deer, bear, turkey, and one of America’s healthiest herds of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. The northern section includes about 25,000 acres in Carson National Forest, the least visited portion of the Wilderness. The rest of this large area lies in Santa Fe National Forest, with easy access from Santa Fe, Albuquerque and surrounding towns. Most hikers come during the summer months to explore the extensive system of trails.

Fast Facts

Elevation: 6,945 feet January: 40º–19º July: 85º–50º Highest point: Annual snowfall: 32 inches; Truchas Peak, 13,103 feet Annual rainfall: 14 inches Average temperature ranges Pecos Wilderness Area: 223,000 acres www.pecosnewmexico.com/events

Los Pinos Ranch

“Where the road ends and the trails begin”


Cowles, New Mexico • 45 miles from Santa Fe • 8,500 feet elevation


Photo courtesy Miguel Serna 20  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Fully furnished cabins on the Pecos river with hot tubs, wifi & satellite TV. Call or email for reservations. Reservations: 505-757-2784 pecoscabins.com; pecoscabins@gmail.com HC 74, Box 705, Pecos, NM 87552 Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 21



Tex Austin’s Forked Lightning Ranch When 20-year- old Clarence Van Nostrand left home in 1908, he reinvented himself for a life of adventure. He changed his name to John Van Austin and went by the nickname “Tex” Austin. Although born into a strict St. Louis household, he claimed to have been born and raised on a cattle ranch in Victoria, Texas. After working on New Mexico and Texas ranches and he briefly joined the Mexican Revolution. RODEO FIRST: Tex had big plans and started producing rodeos. From his first rodeo in El Paso in 1917 to his last in London, England, in 1934, Tex was known for his generosity and showmanship. When he produced the first Madison square Garden Rodeo in 1922, the prize money was a record $25,000. Tex had other “firsts”: First recorded indoor rodeo in Wichita, Kansas (1918); first rodeo ever held in Chicago Stadium (1926); and the first contest rodeo to go overseas. Some 114,000 people attended his 1924 rodeo in London’s Wembley Stadium. Everyone agreed that Tex was “possessed of tremendous charm and bluff ” and “spent his last dollar like it was a leaf and he owned the forest.” Tall and lanky, Tex was not considered a decent working cowhand by his cowboys, but “he did learn to wear a big hat and to sit his saddle as if born to the leather. “Way Out West an’ a Little Bit South” In 1925, Tex bought up parcels of land on the old Pecos Pueblo Grant and called his 5,500 acre holdings The Forked Lightning Ranch. The remains of Kozlowski’s Stage Stop and Tavern on the Santa Fe Trail (1858–1880) became part of his new holdings, which Tex converted into ranch headquarters and a trading post. He hired architect John Gaw Meem to design and build the main ranch house on a bluff above the Tex Austin Pecos River. The assignment was one of Meem’s first. He later became famous throughout the Southwest for his “Pueblo Revival” buildings. All rooms in the rectangular house faced a grassy patio. Its defining touch was a huge, specially sculpted steer head mounted outside on the chimney. Tex’s advertising touted it as “the most complete, modern and comfortable ranch house in the West. The life of the romantic West is at its doors.” Tex hoped for a share of the growing East Coast tourist market to New Mexico. The ranch, after all was less than two days by train from Chicago: “Thirty-four hours, and you’re out where the West is—and will be for some time.” Train travelers got off at Rowe just a few miles down the road. For $125 a week, 18 guests sharing nine bedrooms received “all proper service . . . to insure the comfort and friendly atmosphere of a country home. . . . Feed—and how! . . . served ranch style . . . in big heaping dishes. Pitch till you win and no one keeps track of the helpings!” “Pack and chuck wagon trips to the high peaks” were a highlight of many available amusements. The Forked Lightning was a working cattle ranch too, reputed to run several thousand head of cattle on 100,000 acres of leased grazing land in the valley. One story had Tex taking the train to Chicago, finding a bar, and then complaining to patrons that he had all this cattle to go to Las Vegas, New Mexico, for loading on the train and no one to do the work. He found “dudes” who volunteered to take the trip to the Forked Lightning at their own expense just for the chance to be on a cattle drive. So he found paying customers for the ranch and got his cattle moved, too! The ranch only operated for seven years; the last guests left in May 1933. Tex had heavily mortgaged the ranch and couldn’t pay the debt. A year 22  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

later, his attempt to produce another London rodeo fell on hard times. British animal rights groups tried to stop the show on the grounds that steer- wrestling was cruel. Though they failed, Tex lost over $20,000. After losing the ranch, Tex moved to Santa Fe and opened the Los Rancheros Restaurant near the Plaza. In October 1938 Tex committed suicide. Rumor at the time was he had been told he was going blind. Tex Austin, the “Daddy of Rodeo,” was named to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1976. In 1936, W. C. Currier bought the Forked Lightning Ranch, and five years later sold it to E. E. “Buddy” Fogelson, a Dallas oilman and rancher. Over the next 25 years, Mr. Fogelson purchased land to the south, expanding the ranch to 13,000 acres. The Forked Lightning became a small cattle ranch and Tex’s ranch house the Fogelson summer home. After Mr. Fogelson married the actress Greer Garson in 1949, the ranch house became a center for gracious entertaining. When Mr. Fogelson died in 1987, the Forked Lightning was divided along the old southern boundary line of Tex’s original Forked Lightning. Greer Garson Fogelson received the “old” Forked Lightning Ranch and Mr. Fogelson’s son inherited the southern portion. In January 1991, Mrs. Fogelson sold the Forked Lightning to The Conservation Fund, which donated it to the National Park Service to become part of Pecos National Historical Park. The ranch house has remained relatively unchanged. Tex’s Forked Lightning brand still marks the original fixtures in the living and dining rooms and the steer head still stares down the Pecos. It is not difficult to imagine the famous and not so famous gathered around the huge fireplace, sipping drinks on the wide front porch, or enjoying the sun on the patio—all basking in the warm atmosphere that welcomed many guests for more than 60 years. TO VISIT THE RANCH HOUSE: The areas around the Ranch House are currently closed to public use. Information on guided tours is available from Pecos NHP, PO Box 418, Pecos NM 87552, 505- 757-7241 This publication was produced with funds donated by Western National Parks Association. www.wnpa.org Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 23




National Historical Park

Southwestern Gateway to Past and Present

San Miguel / Mora County Fair August 7 – 11, 2019

Don’t miss the 46th San Miguel Mora County Fair! Showcasing large and small animals, Livestock Auction, Rodeo, Dance and more!

Schedule of events Wednesday, August 7, 2019

8 AM - 12 PM: Weigh-in of animals 1 PM: Mandatory Exhibitor Meeting 2 PM: Sack Race 2 PM to 7 PM: Entries taken at indoor building 5 PM: Pie Eating Contest Thousands of years of vivid history is preserved at Pecos National Historical Park in northern New Mexico—a site that demonstrates to modern visitors the cultural exchange that has long been central to the Pecos Valley. Here remain vestiges of the pueblos and missions that lie on the east bank of Glorieta Creek near its junction with the Pecos River at the southern end of the Rocky Mountain chain, known as the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Between those mountains and the flat-topped, high cliffs of the Glorieta (or Rowe) Mesa is the Glorieta Pass, through which an unceasing chronicle of human culture has unfolded for millennia. Along the north side of the Glorieta Mesa escarpment winds the long natural pass used as a major travel route through history by Native groups, Spanish, and Americans. The pass is crucial to most of the stories told at the park; its elevation is never less than 6,000 feet and its summit (7,432 feet) is at the village of Glorieta. The Santa Fe Trail passed through here from 1821 to 1880, serving as a major commerce and travel route between Missouri and Santa Fe. The trail took many weeks to traverse in often inhospitable conditions. Interstate 25 now carries automobile traffic through the Glorieta Pass alongside this route and the railway which replaced it. Much further back in time, indigenous people navigated this route, and eventually Coronado’s expedition came through the pass in 1540-41. His soldiers encountered Cicuye, later Pecos, one of the most powerful of the northern New Mexico pueblos. A major reason for its dominance likely was the pueblo’s defensive location. The Great Plains lay to the east, the Rio Grande Valley to the west.

Whoever held sway here controlled migration and trade routes of an immense region. According to notations made by those who accompanied Coronado, the pueblo had as many as 500 warriors who could respond to any unfriendly incursions of the Apache and other Plains Indians, as well as to the Spaniards, at least for a time. This area also saw passage of the U.S. Army under General Kearny on its way to Santa Fe in 1846, as well as the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass in 1862. With the acquisition of the Forked Lightning Ranch and Glorieta battlefield units, Pecos National Monument became Pecos National Historical Park in 1990. One activity visitors are likely to see in the summer is the making or use of adobe bricks for preservation treatments at the church and the convento, which is the large complex of rooms south of the church that served as the Franciscan’s living, teaching and work area. Adobe is a traditional earthen building material that has been employed for thousands of years. The origin of the word can be traced to ancient Egyptian; from there it was adopted into Arabic and then Spanish. Types of earthen construction were previously used in the Southwest, but adobe brick technology was brought to this region during the Spanish Colonial period and remains in use today. The park offers guided ranger programs and special events all year. These include a Civil War Encampment, night sky programs, cultural demonstrators, Las Posadas - a beloved New Mexican holiday tradition and much more! For specifics about these occasions please check the Pecos NHP calendar web page at http://www.nps. gov/peco/planyourvisit/calendar.htm

Thursday, August 8, 2019

9 AM: Pig Show followed by lambs 9 AM - 2 PM: Indoor exhibits closed for judging 2 PM - 7 PM: Indoor exhibits open to public 2 PM: Horse Show 2 PM: Baked Zucchini Bread Contest 5 PM: Donut on a string 7 PM: Horse Shoe Contest

Friday, August 9, 2019

9 AM: Goat Show followed by Steers and Heifers 9 AM - 7 PM: Indoor exhibits open to public 2 PM: Mini Bull Riding 5 PM: Watermelon Eating Contest 7 PM: Horse Shoe Contest

Saturday, August 10, 2019

8 AM: Mudd Volleyball 8 AM: Ranch Rodeo 9 AM - 3 PM: Indoor exhibits open to public 6 PM - 8 PM: Indoor exhibits open to public 3 PM: Junior Livestock Sale and Awards Ceremony 6 PM: Dummy Roping 8 PM: Dance

Sunday, August 11, 2019

8 AM: Clean-up and release animals 8 AM - 10 AM: Pick- up indoor exhibits Visit sanmiguelmoracountyfair.com for future updates

24  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 25

A.T. and S.F. RR Depot, Las Vegas, ca. 1912. (postcard courtesy City of Las Vegas Museum and Rough Riders Museum

Hotel (1899), and the neo-classical style Gross Kelly mercantile building (1901) and Rawlins Building (1898) were all built simultaneously.  Together these buildings frame a “railroad plaza” that opens onto East Lincoln Avenue,

Governor Theodore Roosevelt stepped off a luxury private car on June 23, 1899 to launch the first Rough Riders Reunion. Heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson arrived here in May 1912 to train for his championship fight with lumberjack Jim Flynn on July 4. Just a few years later in 1915-16, rising cowboy matinee idol Tom Mix would film silent “Western” six reel silent movies by the tracks.   After 1920, automobiles ushered in the decline of railroad tourism (eclipsed in New Mexico by Route 66) in the United States, and the Castañeda closed its doors in 1948. The magnificent property was never quite forsaken, as over the years the dining room would occasionally be reopened, and apartments leased in the former hotel rooms. Don and Marie Eldh acquired the property in the early 1970s, and under their management the bar and lounge enjoyed notoriety and popularity as a disco hangout in the late 1970’s in the frenzied wake of the smash hit movie “Saturday Night Fever.”  Still, the stately Castañeda Hotel, named for one of Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s lieutenants, captivated many who

Jack Johnson arriving in Las Vegas, 1912. (Courtesy City of Las Vegas Museum and Rough Riders Museum)

Castañeda Hotel lobby, ca. 1915. (Courtesy Las Vegas Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation).

imagined the possibilities of a restored Fred Harvey hotel in the digital age. One visionary who noticed and dreamed was Allan Affeldt, who together with his artist wife Tina Mion and their business partner Daniel Lutzick, have successfully revitalized the magnificent La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona.  La Posada Hotel, a massive Pueblo Revival style “hacienda” and an ongoing “labor of love,” honed Affeldt’s historic preservation sensibilities. As the former Castañeda’s owners (the Eldhs) sought retirement after 2010, a perfect storm of economic circumstances and opportunity would lure the Winslow group to Las Vegas.  One of the victims of the 2007-08 great recession was the Plaza Hotel, and Affeldt’s team acquired the grand Renaissance Revival style

showplace at a discount in 2014. Almost simultaneously, a deal was struck for the Castañeda property. The planning and development process for the Castañeda has been laborious and frustrating and complex, finally bundling federal and state historic preservation tax credits, federal New Market tax credits, loans, and equity in a $5 million construction budget for the 40,000 square foot project.  Besides the core team of Affeldt, Mion, and Lutzick, other key project members include architect Kevin Balciar of Soleil West of Albuquerque, contractor Jordan Grimm and Associates of Las Vegas, interior design consultant Victoria Sanchez of Santa Fe, and well over 100 local builders and craftsmen.   “This is a (Las Vegas) local project,” Affeldt asserts. “We wanted this to benefit the community as much as possible, and nearly all materials and labor have been provided by Las Vegans.”   Affeldt has signed a contract with reknowned chef Shawn Sinclair, a Le Cordon Bleu trained professional with a long resume of culinary triumphs including Albuquerque’s Farm To Table restaurant, the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia, and Luminaria Restaurant at Santa Fe’s Inn of Loretto for the Castañeda’s gourmet kitchen stewardship.   “The Castañeda will be our upscale destination hotel in Las Vegas, with generous room suites priced at $129-$169 per night and of course the exceptional menu in the restaurant dining room, which will be called “Kin,” Allan points out.   The Castañeda Hotel’s significance transcends its status as one of the few Fred Harvey hotels still preserved and operating. The building’s distinctive arcaded brick veranda helped introduce the Mission Revival style to America, and

BNSF RR Depot (L), Castañeda Hotel (R), 2019. (photograph by Elmo Baca)

Guest Suite, Castañeda Hotel, 2019. (photograph by Elmo Baca)

Railroad Avenue, Las Vegas, ca. 1908. (Photograph by Harry H. Lake, ca. 1905-08, Courtesy of Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, L-511

Las Vegas Railroad District Rises By Elmo Baca

  The few blocks of brick buildings on the east side of Douglas and Grand Avenues in Las Vegas (New Mexico) - the legendary Railroad district - have slumbered the past half century, awakened every so often by a Hollywood film

New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt at Castañeda Hotel, First Rough Riders Reunion, June 1899. (Courtesy Las Vegas Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation)

of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe (AT & SF) Railroad.   From its beginnings in the late 1850’s, the “Santa Fe” railroad was destined to become a great American brand; today Burlington, Northern, Santa Fe (BNSF) still hauls much freight (and some passengers) cross-country. Las Vegas was a rowdy and bustling frontier oasis on the Santa Fe Trail when the first Baldwin steam locomotive roared into a makeshift station one mile east of the plaza on July 4, 1879. Within a few years, the town doubled in size and rivaled Albuquerque and Denver in the region.   Today Las Vegas boasts one of the best preserved railroad districts in the American Southwest, with a cluster of historic hotels, mercantile houses, depot station, former Wells Fargo freight office, and a stunning locomotive

crew or a U.S Presidential candidate on a whistle stop campaign. Now however, Railroad Avenue is abuzz with trucks, construction crews, and curious gawkers as the iconic Castañeda Hotel is being rehabilitated and refurbished for new visitors in Spring and Summer 2019.   Across Railroad Avenue from the Castañeda’s backside, two other important historic landmarks, the Strousse and Bacharach building (known locally as Moonlight Welding) and the Rawlins Building (fondly remembered as the Harvey girls dormitory) are also in process of rehabilitation. The “railroad renaissance” currently underway in Las Vegas has captivated locals and also generations of Fred Harvey romantics, aka “Fredheads,” fascinated by the lore

roundhouse service building nearby. The districts golden moment can be described as turnof-the-century 1900, as the Mission Revival style A.,T., and S.F. Depot (1898), the Castañeda

a broad swath of pavement that was traversed hourly by horse-drawn trolleys and after 1903 by electric streetcars. From the depot, the “urban transit” system of Las Vegas ferried passengers to nearby hotels and attractions on Douglas Avenue, the plaza, and the Montezuma Hot Springs Hotel and resort five miles distant in Gallinas Canyon.   For roughly forty years, from 1880 to 1920, Railroad Avenue provided a stage for a dazzling parade of characters, including immigrant and Yankee entrepreneurs, cowboys, politicians, aristocrats, movie stars, ladies of the night, sheepherders, outlaws, tourists and many others.   Maybe the greatest crowd ever gathered at the depot and Castañeda (said to be at least 5,000 people) whooped and hollered when New York

Gross, Blackwell and Co., Railroad Avenue, July 4, 1881. (Courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA), Neg. No. 040175

Morris Greenburg, proprietor Boston Clothing House, Railroad Avenue, ca. 1890. (Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA).

Browne and Manzanares Mercantile Co., Railroad Avenue, ca. 1880. (Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA) Neg. . No. 009436

Castañeda Hotel with crowd for First Rough Riders Reunion, June 1899. (photo by Josephine Hays, Courtesy LV Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation)

26  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Unveiling of restored sign of Castañeda Hotel, 2019. (photograph by Dan Lutzick)

the Santa Fe Railroad would adopt the popular Mission style extensively in its buildings.   Built in a U shape and facing the tracks, the hotel’s central dining room on the ground floor anchors the building’s floor plan, with a generous kitchen and bakery on the north wing and the lobby, bar and lounge on the south side. The deep, shaded walkways beneath the veran-

Castañeda Hotel, rear facade, 2019. (photograph by Elmo Baca)

Las Vegas Harvey Girls, 2018. L to R: Yvonne Hays, Dee Clark, Martha Johnsen. (photograph by Elmo Baca)

da invite socializing and conversation and fresh breezes from the buffalo plains to the east.   A glorious ornamental staircase ascends from the lobby to the guest rooms on the second floor. Hidden from the visitor’s view are a maze of basement rooms for the heating and plumbing systems, and cavernous attic spaces beneath the roof gables. Maybe the biggest surprise in the Castañeda’s refurbishment is the bold plan to utilize the vast attic for Tina’s artist studio, Allan’s offices, and a gallery space for art and Fred Harvey memorabilia. “You know, kind of like the German notion of “wunderkammer,” a room of curiosities, in our case Fred Harvey stuff like dinner settings, photographs, matchbooks,” Affeldt adds.

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 27

As more earthbound and place-oriented project, Ross is rehabilitating a two-story commercial building (former Moonlight Welding) across the street from the Castañeda into an apartment, studio and office spaces. The somewhat modest building is typical of commercial railroad buildings built for more industrial and warehousing purposes to serve the flourishing rail business of a century ago.   Only a few doors north of Ross’s building, a Highland Co. construction crew is performing

Rawlins Building, ca. 1900. (photo by Rex Studio, courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA), Neg. No. 070715

Rawlins Building rehabilitation, March 2019. (photograph by Elmo Baca)

Strousse and Bacharach Building, aka Moonlight Welding, March 2019. (photograph by Elmo Baca)

acclaimed artists James Turrell in Arizona and Charles Ross in New Mexico. Los Angeles based Turrell has been working on a monumental land art project to transform Roden Crater outside Flagstaff into a “massive naked-eye observatory.” New Yorker Ross has toiled for nearly 40 years on his “Star Axis,” a colossal earthen tunnel sited near Las Vegas focused on the celestial migration of Polaris, the north star. Affeldt gushes when he describes the tourism potential of the Fred Harvey railroad experience, Rt. 66 motoring and pop culture, and cosmic astro land art.  Indeed, Ross and his artist wife Jill O’Bryan have invested considerable time, thought, energy and resources in their art projects and summer residencies in the Las Vegas area. A recent joint exhibition of Ross and O’Bryan’s works at the Christian Mayeur gallery on the Las Vegas plaza demonstrated the couple’s sensitivity to subtle cosmological and natural forces that can affect the human experience.

major surgery on the Rawlins Building of 1898, owned by Tom and Tina Clayton. Known to locals as the rooming house where the Harvey girls lived, the Rawlins Building is fascinating to architectural historians and preservation buffs as an example of a “Mesker” ornamental sheet metal facade.   After 1890, “Mesker” buildings, so-called for the manufacturer Mesker Bros. of St. Louis, were popular in small Midwestern towns where professional architects were scarce. The molded sheet metal panels, festooned with neoclassical motifs such as columns, garlands, urns and

cornices, could be easily attached to wooden frames on the storefront of a building to produce a handsome effect. With a polychromatic paint finish, the Mesker buildings looked rich and substantial.   In New Mexico, Mesker buildings tended to follow the railroad lines, with a few exceptions. Today however, few are preserved and even less are occupied,   For attorney Tom Clayton and his family, the project has been a life-long dream come true, as the property was deadlocked in family estate complications for decades. On the second floor where the “Harvey girl” rooms were located, a generous skylight floods the central foyer with rays of optimism. A new roof was the first major challenge the Clayton family faced, and repainting the Mesker front caused a buzz in the community.   With the Castañeda’s first guest rooms scheduled to open in April, 2019 in a “soft opening,” and the bar and lounge opening a few weeks later, and the Kin restaurant fully operational in June-July, the excitement is palpable in Las Vegas and elsewhere.   MainStreet de Las Vegas, a downtown revitalization group, and the City of Las Vegas are also diligently working on critical infrastructure projects. A $150,000 New Mexico Main Street “Great Blocks” grant will fund traffic calming and street beautification improvements. A new directional wayfinding system will help visitors navigate Las Vegas’ sometimes confusing street grid. Newly elected New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham and many other state and local elected officials will gather in the Plaza Hotel on April 19 for an “Amtrak Rally” designed to muster support for railroad passenger service in New Mexico and the Rocky Mountain West.   The early glow of the rising sun bathes the Las Vegas Railroad District in honeyed tones, and the red brick buildings with white trim sprout from the Meadow town anew each day. These streets ushered in an avalanche of change in the New Mexico Territory 140 years ago, and perhaps a new wave is on its way. Allan Affeldt is confident of what he sees, ...”this ..(renaissance)..will help put Las Vegas on the map again as one of the most beautiful and interesting places in the Southwest.”


• FULL SERVICE OPTICAL LAB • FRAME REPAIR • SALES Franco D. Gallegos, ABOC Board Certified Optician Proprietor

28  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

• Certified Qi Gong Instructor Level 1 & 2 • Certified Food Healing Instructor

Qi Gong ~ Self Healing Meditation - founded by Supreme Science Qi Gong

from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan The wagon train began moving up the trail on May 1, 1868, arranged in two parallel columns of 100 wagons each, with horses and extra oxen walking between the two columns. The wool caravan included at least 3,200 oxen, more than 500 horses and mules, and about 500 men. About 100 of the men rode horseback in front of the caravan, guiding the train and watching for hostile Indians. Transporting the most wool in the caravan were Rumaldo Baca of Las Vegas, who had thirty wagons and at least 500 oxen; and Jose Manuel Gonzales, who had twelve wagons, each drawn by from eight to twelve yokes of oxen.

Handmade Gold & Silver by Tito Chavez `

Pottery • Jewelry Paintings • Kachinas Santos • Crosses Sculpture • Tin • Glass Jewelry Repair NM Soaps & Lotions Layaway Plan Free Gift Wrapping

Las Vegas RR Depot and rail cars, March 2019. (photograph by Elmo Baca)


Ruby and Sterling Pendant by Tito Chavez `

  Inspired by the success of La Posada, Affeldt and Mion bring an enhanced cultural sensibility to the Castañeda project. The splendid historic hotels under their ownership and management not only provide exceptional hospitality, but are also a showcase for Tina’s clever paintings, other local and regional artists, Southwestern crafts and textiles, memorabilia and historic photographs. Of interest is the awesome collection of historic furniture on display throughout the guest rooms and lobbies. Charming hand-painted furniture from the La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe will grace rooms and public spaces at the Castañeda. Although the Castañeda will be faithfully restored, some new accents such as stained glass transom windows in guest rooms designed by Tina and a redesigned bar lounge area will delight patrons.   Fred Harvey’s legacy will live on, maybe most apparent in the gracious dining room, flooded by sunlight and wearing its timeless finishes of pressed metal architectural ceiling, terrazzo floors, Palladian windows and architectural moldings with elegance. Antique kitchen equipment will serve as props and counters in the restaurant, gentle reminders of an era when the Castañeda’s ovens produced breads and pastries for the entire Harvey empire.   There’s a greater long term vision at work in the Castañeda project that forms a continuum with Winslow and La Posada - the partnership with

157 Bridge St. • 505-425-3745 • Hours: 10 to 5:30 Mon-Sat marynchavez@gmail.com • www.titosgallery.com Tito’s Gallery on Etsy & Facebook • Member LVFIBA

from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan The Weekly New Mexican at Santa Fe, on August 2, 1879, described the Las Vegas scene this way: The crowd needs no description. The merchant from the east in broad cloth, jostled the laborer, while the soft handed clerk had for his neighbor a cowboy, whose wide brimmed hat with glittering cord, and cartridge belt set off his good looks to best advantage. Contractors, traders, ranchmen, speculators, etc, etc., were there in force. The women who did the dancing were American and Mexican ranging through nearly all grades of good and bad looks. The halls were brilliantly lighted, music was furnished by excellent string bands for the dances, glasses jingled in time with the music and as was to have been expected many of the pleasure seekers were more than half seas over before the night turned toward the wee small hours.

New Moon fashions

“a destination womens clothing store”

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 29


Fort Union

An important part of Northeast New Mexico history Fort Union National Monument, a unit of the National Park Service, was established in 1954 and is the site of what was once the largest fort in the southwestern frontier. It preserves excellent adobe structural remains and remnants of wagon ruts on the Santa Fe Trail. The Santa Fe Trail developed from American Indian trade networks, ancient before the Spaniards arrived. It served the Spaniards of New

through commerce and interests. The end of the Mexican-American war brought large inhabited territories to the United States. In seeking the resources of these vast territories the region became a meeting place of many cultures. Fort Union was established in 1851 in order to secure commerce on the Santa Fe Trail, establish a federal presence in the new territory, and to further westward expansion. The fort served as sym-

Spain as a route of exploration, conquest, and trade with the Plains Indians. Later Americans ewxploring the Louisiana Purchase visited what is today New Mexico and recognized an isolated province starved for manufactured goods and eager for mercantile exchange. With Mexican Independence from Spain in 1821, the gates of trade opened wide. This commerce across the plains welded Missouri and New Mexico together through economic interdependence, trading and financial partnerships. By the time of the Mexican-American War (1846-48) New Mexico was already strongly attached to the United States

bol of national power in a vast new acquisition far removed from the eastern heartland, and the Santa Fe Trail changed from route of commerce to military lifeline. A decade after the founding of Fort Union the start of the Civil War brought a serious military threat to New Mexico, as the Confederacy sought the resources of the Southwest. In response Fort Union underwent significant changes in order to defend the territory and trail which it presided over. Fort Union would play a critical role in influencing the outcome of the Civil War and preventing confederate advance into the west. At the end of Civil War, the fort would finish construction on the 3rd Fort Union. This final fort composed of adobe and built by skilled craftsmen would be the largest Military Installation west of the Mississippi River and provided both military and logistical functions. Troops out of the fort patrolled the trail and provided escorts for mail stages and wagons, and participated in campaigns against American Indians. The Quartermasters Depot and Arsenal

30  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

provided arms and supplies to a network of forts throughout the southwest, keeping the Army’s role in westward expansion active. Fort Union also played a large part in the local economy as civilians were employed by each of the Depots, supplies were purchased from the surrounding community, and goods and supplies were transported along the Santa Fe Trail. Fort Union stayed in operation until the arrival of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad in 1879 slowly put an end to the Santa Fe Trail and Fort Union. On February 18, 1891, the Las Vegas Optic reported that “The last few days have told a terrible tale at Fort Union. Four days ago everything was in running order, now everything is upside down and inside out...The soldiers are busy packing government and private property.” Fort Union National Monument was established by community support in 1954 to tell the stories of the New Mexico Territory and the communities of Native Americans, Hispanos, and eastern soldiers and settlers that interacted here over 150 years ago. Surrounded by a sea of native prairie grasses, the park presents an authentic experience. A 1.6 mile trail and ranger led tours bring the fort to life as visitors walk among the fort ruins and stand in the remnants of the Santa Fe Trail. The park does not have an entrance fee. Visitors should wear comfortable walking shoes, a hat, and bring lunch and sunscreen. ‘Glimpses of the Past’ presentations are held at 7pm, the 3rd Thursday of the month from March thru October. Enjoy presentations that encompass the bountiful natural, cultural, and historical resources of the Southwest. These are in partnership with the Friends of Fort Union National Monument – the Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation. Presentations take place at 116 Bridge Street, Las Vegas, NM. Contact Fort Union for the complete presentation list. The park is open year round, 8am to 5pm Memorial Day to Labor Day weekends and 8am to 4pm the rest of the year. Fort Union National Monument is fee free. The park is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Twenty-eight miles from Las Vegas, and ninety miles from Santa Fe, the park is located 8 miles on NM 161 at Exit 366 on I-25, Watrous, NM, 87753. For more information contact the park at (505)425-8025 or visit //www.nps.gov/foun and //www.nps.gov/safe (Santa Fe National Historic Trail). Also find us on Facebook www.facebook. com/FortUnionNM. For our 2019 Summer Events please see Calendar of Events in this guide, pages 44-50. Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 31

from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan Murderers, robbers, thieves, swindlers, gamblers, and just plain tramps, accompanied by the usual assortment of dance-hall girls and “soiled doves,” they advanced into New Mexico as the railroad advanced, a few steps behind the construction crews and a few steps ahead of the law, lured onward by the promise of refuge, excitement, and easy money at the end of the line.

160 Bridge Street ~ Las Vegas, NM

505-425-6113 • cell 505-617-6113 email: unikat@spinn.net

from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan Ilfeld was employed by Adolph Letcher at a store in Taos in 1867 when the two decided that Las Vegas offered greater opportunities. In the spring of that year they loaded their merchandise on the backs of 100 burros and guided the awkward caravan over the mountains and south through the Mora Valley to Las Vegas, where they opened a store on the plaza. Ilfeld, who slept under the counter of the store to protect it from thieves, bought Letcher’s interest in 1874, and the Charles Ilfeld Co. eventually became the largest mercantile firm in New Mexico. 32  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 33

209 PLAZA >>454-4444<<

& BOWLING ! JC’s New York Pizza Department

(209 Plaza St., Las Vegas, NM) has excellent Italian food that’s right on the Plaza and right on the price. They serve affordable pizza/salad/drink specials, fantastic calzones, sandwiches, pasta, and desserts, including awesome tiramisu. There’s great food accompanied by great entertainment featuring a full bowling alley and a variety of arcade games.

The Coffee Shop


Family owned & operated since 1983 219 PLAZA LAS VEGAS, NM 87701





BREAKFAST & LUNCH 7:00 AM  6 PM Summer Hours 7:00 AM  4 PM Winter Hours

WE DELIVER! or Call Ahead 505-425-3134 or Pick-Up

Hold your event in this historic Las Vegas icon!

225 Plaza, Las Vegas, NM 87701 • 505-425-3134

Quinceañeras • Weddings • Meetings • Funerals • Reunions

Pam’s Event Center at

The Palms Ballroom

225 Plaza, Las Vegas, NM 87701 • 505-425-9612 34  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

(225 Plaza St., Las Vegas, NM) has a coffee shop well worth visiting any time. In addition to coffee in its multiple flavors and forms, there’s a wide variety of teas and other beverages as well as pastries and tasty sandwiches, but food and drink are just the tip of the iceberg at a new establishment in a historic building.

Borracho’s Craft Booze and Brews (139 Bridge Street,

that everything about Borracho’s is a cut above the normal and mundane. Sure, anyone is welcome to sit at the bar and order a garden-variety beer, but why, when an extensive list of craft beers and wines for all tastes are available, and that’s just the beginning. Regular drink specials also encourage customers to think and drink “outside the box.” Nor is it just the drinks that help kick-start the creative spirit of Las Vegas. Food is also available from the Rialto Restaurant adjacent to the bar.

Ulibarri Farms Candy Shoppe (161 Bridge St., Las Vegas, NM) makes and sells candies that a work of art for the eye as well as the tongue. These homemade candies, pride of the Ulibarri family, are as colorful and beautiful as they are tasty and delicious. These candies make great gifts as well as treats and are available on order for those looking for holiday solutions.

Dairy Queen Brazier (200 Columbia St., Las Vegas, NM)

Las Vegas, NM) offers frequent, almost nightly live entertainment, fitting for a bar that ups the creative element offering “mixologists” rather than bartenders. Borracho’s draws upon the talents of known local bands as well as providing a venue for talented locals such as regular Wednesday night performances by Contrafact, an up-and-coming local jazz ensemble. The progressive and energetic owner, Sarah Jo Matthews, ensures

has an iconic presence, including in Las Vegas. Available are the “Treats and Eats” which the whole world knows as Dairy Queen. All the good food synonymous with this franchise is available served by friendly staff and near local historic attractions such as the City of Las Vegas Rough Rider Museum.

Pam’s Event Center at the Palms Ball Room

(225 Plaza St., Las Vegas, NM) brings new life to a historic facility which once housed one of the town’s rowdiest saloons. One never knows what special treat may be held in the Palms Ballroom which hosts everything from flamenco to indoor craft fairs to theatrical performances, all as a way to revive a historic structure with a colorful past including outlaws and heroes of the West. Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 35


It’s Grand to Dine on Grand Avenue! Great New Mexican & American Cuisine!

Beer & Cocktails Available

Hillcrest Restaurant


Like us on Facebook!

(1106 Grand Ave., Las Vegas, NM) proves its appeal by the frequent and regular locals there for memorable breakfasts with for fluffy pancakes, home style biscuits, perfect eggs – no matter how you like them, great coffee and a welcoming, homey atmosphere. Whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner it is a restaurant that offers traveler’s as close to a home cooked meal without access to stove and oven. Also, the atmosphere is a step back in time with table juke box terminals and wooden puzzles to entertain customers. The waitresses and owners treat customers like cherished family, striving to make sure both their meal and their visit are enjoyable.

BANQUET FACILITIES TRADING POST SALOON opens at 4PM for interesting & fun conversations!


1106 Grand Ave • Las Vegas • New Mexico

El Sombrero Restaurant

(825 Mills Ave., Las Vegas, NM) Locals eat here regularly, always a good testimonial to the quality of a restaurant. Each Thanksgiving the owners of this restaurant serve a full holiday meal to comers as part of their philanthropic gift to the community. Their food is as fine as their hearts with a wide menu specializing in local Norteño cuisine as prepared for generations by the Ramirez family.

MEXICAN & AMERICAN FOOD 825 Mills Ave.,Las Vegas

Dick’s Pub and Restaurant (705 Douglas, Las Vegas, NM) )

combines good food, pleasant atmosphere, and patron camaraderie to ensure a pleasant experience for locals and visitors alike. Therea are deli sandwiches as tasty as their names are creative to a full and varied diner menu. Opened by the Dick Elias family in the 1940s, the bar and deli were purchased by Jonathan and Charlotte Moore in 1974, and the tradition of hospitality has continued to grow and adapt over the years. In recent years the Moores extended their service to the community by acquiring the historic SERF Theater which has been fully renovated for use as a banquet hall and event center offering an outstanding venue for everything from wedding receptions and graduation parties to full-sized community dances. Testament to the the quality and consistency of this hospitality landmark is apparent in the degree to which locals, those who truly know where to find good food and drink, ensure Dick’s remains a busy and productive business.

Tues.~Sat 7:30 am ~ 8:00 pm Sun. 7:30 am ~ 3:00pm


Roadrunner Bar and Grill (1 Country Club Dr., Las Vegas, NM) is located on NMHU’s Gene Torres Golf Course. Housed within

a 70 year old log cabin style building the Roadrunner Bar and Grill offers a cozy and casual atmosphere. With a full bar, two TVs to watch your favorite sporting events, and a wide variety of menu choices, you’ll be sure to make the Roadrunner your go to spot! Whether you’ve just stepped off the links or want to watch your favorite team with family and friends, the Roadrunner Bar and Grill is the place to be! "The people of our community inspire our restaurant to provide the best service and food possible. Located on the New Mexico Highlands Golf Course we offer a casual dining experience with a full bar. We serve an array of food from our bar menu which includes our famous diablo chicken wings to me with creamy chicken alfredo. our main menu Come to NMHU Golf Course, practice your swing and eat a delicious meal!"


Open 8am- 10pm 1 Country Club Dr. • Las Vegas, NM 87701 505.425.3858 36  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Travelers Café

(1814 Plaza St., Las Vegas, NM) hosts not only great beverages, meals, and pastries but also a “meeting of the minds.” It is here that many of the local progressive thinks share coffee and concepts. Occasionally, film crews, even celebrities – frequently in Las Vegas for movie projects – join local patrons. A full menu of gourmet beverages is available along with pastries, cookies, sandwiches, salads and soups ensure pleasurable food and drink. Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 37

WELCOME VISITORS Feed Mills Manufacturing Livestock Feed Since 1947



OFFICE & MILL: 1015 Gallinas Street, Las Vegas NM OPEN: Monday-Friday 8am-5pm • Saturday 8am-12 noon

425-6775 • Call Toll Free 1-800-533-1580

131 Bridge St. • Las Vegas NM B3 BBQ, BURGERS & BEER (131 Bridge Street, Las Vegas, NM) a great location just down from the plaza. Come in and try our famous B3 Burger topped with smoked brisket and bacon, add some of our signature green chile BBQ sauce to give it that taste of New Mexico you are craving. Start your meal with our spicy fried pickles and end it on a sweet note with our homemade pecan pie! Open every day from 11am-8pm.

WANTED Brewing Company: Something’s brewing in

Las Vegas!
B3 BBQ, Burgers, & Beer is proud to announce WANTED Brewing Co., a small batch brewery and tasting room downtown, just down from the Plaza on Bridge Street providing Las Vegas with fresh, delicious, local beer. 
 GRAND OPENING SUMMER 2019, Stop by for a taste at Las Vegas’s only Craft Brewery…. 131 Bridge St. Located inside B3, BBQ Burgers, & Beer. 505-425-2975

One familY, two restaurantS, two amazing dining experiences! CHARLIE’S Spic & Span Bakery and Café (715 Douglas Ave., Las Vegas, NM) Diners love the restaurant’s homemade tortillas, breakfast all day, and traditional Northern New Mexico comfort food. In 2013, the eatery was named a New Mexico Culinary Treasure. Baked goods are, of course, a specialty of the house. Delectable cream puffs, lemon squares, key lime squares, cookies, cupcakes, pastalitos and empanadas are among an array of irresistible enticements. The bizcochitos are some of the best you will find anywhere. It’s common to hear visitors tell wait staff they always stop at Charlie’s on the way through town, to have a great meal and pick up donuts and tortillas to take home. Since Charlie and Elizabeth Sandoval acquired the café in 1998,

they have created a charming colorful space with a warm and friendly atmosphere. Locals call it the eating, meeting and greeting place, with an emphasis on eating. Generous portions, fresh ingredients and friendly service are the standard. “We’re here to take care of customers,” Charlie said. “That’s what we do.” Charlie’s Bakery and Café, 715 Douglas Ave., open 7 days, Monday– Saturday, 6:30am to 6pm, Sunday 7am to 3pm. 505 426-1921

THE SKILLET (623 12th St., Las Vegas, NM)

operated by Charlie’s son, Isaac, and his wife, Shawna, was a hit from the day it opened in September 2017. These young entrepreneurs have created a happening place where great food takes center stage in a setting that can best be described as trendy and fun. Both Isaac and Shawna have MFA degrees and actively produce work, some of which is on display in The Skillet and at Charlie’s Bakery and Café. The second you walk in the door at The Skillet, you know you’re in for an experience. It begins with deciding from a full menu of burritos and tacos, just what you want to eat. That’s right, the choices are amazing. At The Skillet, a burrito isn’t just a burrito 38  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan In addition to legitimate business and professional men, the railroad brought a large assortment of frontier riffraff, including robbers, thieves, gamblers, swindlers (called bunko men), gunmen, and vagrants, many of them hell raisers from Dodge City and other Kansas cattle towns. Among them was Hyman G. Neill, alias Hoodoo Brown, who as the first justice of the peace in East Las Vegas became the virtual ruler of the new town with the help of his Kansas Cronies.

SEMILLA Natural Foods

was originally opened as Old Town Natural Foods in 1971. Started with crocks full of grains, seeds and flours and over 60 herbs in glass gallon containers, we have grown into the full line natural food store we are today. With organic produce, 6 door dairy case, three freezers and a full line of natural, high quality supplements we should have what you need. Friendly and fun, we pride ourselves on customer service and a unique shopping experience! So, come on in and check us out :)


1411 7th Street Las Vegas, NM 505-425-9577


LIMITED TIME ONLY $4.99 Burger Deal Single-patty Sonic Cheeseburger (1/4 lb. pre-cooked), Medium tots or fries & Medium soft drink Tax not included. Add-Ons cost extra. Offer expires March 31, 2020.

2019 LV & SM Co. Visitor’s Guide

from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan Occasionally, the Hermit would descend the mountain to visit friends, one being Samuel B. Watrous, who lived eighteen miles up the trail at La Junta, a village later to be renamed Watrous in honor of the original 1849 settler. The Hermit had an agreement with Watrous that he would build a fire at given intervals on the summit of the mountain, a fire Watrous could see from his home, as a signal that he was alive and well. Only if a fire failed to appear after a given interval was there to be cause for alarm.

and a taco’s not just a taco. Chef Isaac creates unusual combinations sure to please any foodie. He is always coming up with something new in appetizers and cuisine. And you can get just about any libation to accompany your meal. On many evenings, The Skillet features live music showcasing the talents of local and regional bands. “Here at The Skillet, we serve contemporary Northern New Mexican comfort food. It’s a different kind of dining experience-we want to satisfy your hunger.” The Skillet, 623 12th Street, is open from 11am until last call, Monday through Saturday. Visit www. giantskillet.com. Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 39

from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan Most of the excitement, however, was provided by a shadowy collection of reckless adventurers from various Kansas rail and cow towns who became loosely organized in Las Vegas as the Dodge City Gang. They took over the new railroad town of East Las Vegas, as distinguished from the older Santa Fe Trail town of West Las Vegas on the opposite bank of the narrow and shallow Gallinas River, and for a brief period thay ran the fledgling town pretty much as they pleased.

C S

P H R C 505.426.7297 • grimmllc@gmail.com from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan Hoodoo Brown, was generally acknowledged to be the leader of the so-called Dodge City Gang that ruled East Las Vegas during the town’s formative period. He was elected justice of the peace when East Las Vegas, as yet unincorporated, was organized as Precinct 29. He also served as acting coroner, and took upon himself the responsibilities of both mayor and town council. He organized a police force, consisting principally of former Kansas gunfighters, and collected the money for their salaries from local merchants who wanted and needed protection.

40  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Serving Las Vegas for over 70 Years!

Tony Lama • Justin Levi’s • Serratelli Stetson • Resistol Wolverine • Ariat Harley Davidson Georgia • Abilene Wrangler • Roper Rocky Brands 119 Bridge St., Las Vegas, NM 505-425-7272 • Open M-Sat. 9-5:30

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 41

42  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 43



Calendar of Events ONGOING: Art Exhibit at Gallery 140. Exhibits change monthly. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 1-4pm. 140 Bridge St., Call 505-454-1085 or visit lasvegasartscouncil.org Astronomy Nights. NMHU Observatory located in the Ivan Hilton Science & Technology Building. Dusk (approx. 8:30pm). Fridays. Free. Cineflix in Ilfeld. Free movies every Wednesday and Friday, 7:30pm. Ilfeld auditorium, NMHU campus. For movie listings go to nmhu.edu/movies. Tierra Encantada Farmer’s Market. Hot Springs & Mills Ave, 8am until sellout. Both Saturdays and Wednesdays. Glimpses of the Past. Presentations that encompass the natural, cultural, and historical resources of the Southwest on the third Thursday of every month. These are in partnership with the Friends of Fort Union National Monument & the Las Vegas Citizens’ Committee for Historic Preservation. 7pm at LVCCHP, 116 Bridge Street, Las Vegas, NM 505-425-8803 or www.lvcchp.org La Cueva Raspberry Ranch. Twenty-five miles north of Las Vegas, junction NM 518 and 442. U PICK Raspberry Field open mid-August until first frost (October), nursery open May and June; info@lacuevafarm.com LVNWR Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge Events 505-425-3581 or www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/ newmex/lasvegas; or Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge, 505-426-5958 or www.flvnwr. org Montezuma Castle Tours. Student-led 1-hour tours per academic calendar and student schedules, Saturdays at 1:00pm, United World College. Check the website for days: http://www. uwc-usa.org or on the Visit Our Campus page. Pecos National Historical Park. Memorial Day through Labor Day, 8am-6pm. Free daily scheduled tours include Ranger-led tours of Pecos Pueblo and Spanish Mission ruins. For other tours including Arrowhead Ruins, Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass, or Forked Lightning Ranch House, or special events including night sky programs, speaker series, and cultural demonstrations, call the Visitor Center 505-757-7241 or www.nps.gov/peco

44  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Storrie Lake State Park. For current schedule of events call 505-4257278 or visit www.nmparks.com Tri-County Farmers Market. at Plaza Drugs, 178 Bridge St., 8am till sell out. Wednesdays and Saturdays. UWC-USA Performances Montezuma Campus is one of 17 United World College (UWC) campuses located on five continents. A twoyear residential school, UWC-USA serves students age 16-19 who typically represent more than 75 different countries. They participate in a unique program that combines academic challenge with an experiential, hands-on approach to learning. Check the website for calendar: http:// www.uwc-usa.org APRIL 27  Bard Conservatory Quartet with Margaret Jones, solo violin. Presented by Meadow City Academy of Music. Plaza Hotel Ballroom, 3 pm, $20 p/p. www. meadowcitymusic.org MAY Student Art Exhibition. Competition 2019 May 8-17. High schools, middle schools, and home schools at Burris Hall, NMHU Campus. Opening Reception and Awards May 11, 5-7pm, call 505425-1085 Interwoven: A Fiber Art Show  Las Vegas Arts Council’s Gallery 140, 140 Bridge Street, Tuesdays through Saturdays, 1-4pm, call 505-454-1085. Opening May 14. 4 Starry Nights at Pecos National Park  Join us for an evening under the wonderful Western sky. Event is weather dependent. Program begins at dusk. Call the Visitor Center 505-757-7241 or www.nps. gov/peco 5 Lost Church Hike  Embark on a backcountry excursion to the “Lost Church” constructed between 1617-1621. Reservations required. 8:30-10:30am. Pecos National Park. Call the Visitor Center 505-757-7241 or www.nps. gov/peco 9-11  Flower Power. Annual Plant Sale by Las Vegas First IBA. Get a head start on your summer flower garden. 10am-6pm. Behind Indigo Theatre, 146 Bridge Street, 505-425-6113 or www.lvfiba.org 10 U.S. Citizenship Naturalization on Ceremony. Join us in welcoming individuals from around the globe as they take the final step to become U.S. citizens by taking their Oath of Allegiance on the




Las Vegas Citizens’ Committee for Historic Preservation’s 14th Annual

ACTIVITIES THROUGHOUT THE WEEK: Castañeda Hotel Tours Southwest Detours with the Las Vegas Harvey Girls will offer tours at the newly opened Fred Harvey Castañeda Hotel during Heritage Week. Times are 10am to 3pm Saturday, August 3 to Saturday, August 10. The tour includes some areas that are not accessible to the general public. Hear about the amazing history of this incredible historical hotel. Please email or call for reservations: tours@southwestdetours.com. Walk-Ins are welcome. 505-459-6987. Tickets: $10 Las Vegas, NM Renaissance On-Line Auction. A month long on-line art & travel auction featuring Las Vegas area artists and destinations. Aug. 1-31, 24/7. 505-652-0113. lvnmauction@gmail.com El Zocolo Art Gallery,1809 Plaza, Open Daily. 505-454-9904. Threadbear, Quilt Display. 1813 Plaza, Open Daily. 505-425-6263. Plaza Antiques, Historical items from the Southwest. Primitives, Native American wares, ephemera, furniture, art and more. 1805 Old Town Plaza. Open Daily. 505-454-9447. Las Vegas Citizens’ Commitee for Historic Preservation, Cultural & Heritage Exhibits. 10am-3pm. 116 Bridge Street, 505-425-8803. Free. Ray Drew Gallery, Art Exhibit, Donnelly Library, NMHU Campus. 802 National Avenue 505-454-3401 Free. Kennedy Hall Gallery. Art exhibit. M-F 10-5; Sat. 12-4pm. NMHU Campus, University Avenue. Free. Farmer’s Market 6th St. & University Ave, 8am until sellout. Saturdays and Wednesday. Farmer’s Market Mills & Hot Springs, 8am until sellout. Saturdays and Wednesday. Friday, August 2 Fridays Al Fresco. Music at Old Town Plaza Park. 5:30-7pm. Sponsored by Las Vegas First Independent Business Alliance. Free. Saturday, August 3 Chapman Foundation Charity Breakfast & Tour Historic Masonic building on Douglas Ave. 8am-11am. Admission: $10 per person, 14 yrs. & up.

eek New Adventures Down Old Trails

Plaza Park Art Fest Art, music, whatever? 10am-4pm. Old town Plaza Park, Free. Gallinas River & Park Tour Stroll along the historic Gallinas River and hear its story. Learn about efforts to revitalize the river park. 10-11:30am and 11:30am-1pm. Meet at the bridge on Bridge Street. Free New Mexico Herbs Learn about popular NM herbs, how they are used and prepared with Bernadette Fernandez. 11am2pm, Semilla Natural Foods, 510 University. Free Places with a Past A self-guided tour of historic homes and buildings throughout Las Vegas. 9am-4pm. LVCCHP, 116 Bridge St. 505-425-8803. Tickets: $25. Music from the Ranch & Open Range with singer/songwriter Steve Cormier. Refreshments. 5-6:30pm. Historic Castañeda Hotel. Sponsored by Friends of the Museum, City of Las Vegas Musuem and New Mexico Humanities Dept., Admission: $5.00 Sunday - August 4 Historic Thaw House and Village of Loma Parda. Tour the historic Thaw House and Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge. 11:45am-4:15pm. Meet at 116 Bridge St. Includes bus transportation and box lunch. Contact Joe Zebrowski 505-7188168. Admission $25. Gonzalo’s Annual Salute to our Troops Honoring 720th Past & Present as well as all military. Concert and dance featuring Gonzalo and a variety of New Mexico music. 12pm-7pm. Old Town Plaza Park. Free Organ Concert with Historic 1885 Kilgen organ, presented by Restoration Committee, 2pm. Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 403 National, Admission $10 Music, Dance, Mural Unveiling Honoring Antonia Apodaca and history of local music and musicians. 7pm. Bridge Street Breezeway and Gallery 140. Free wEDNESDAY, August 7 Contrafact Jazz Band. Jazz, balads and blues with vocalists. Dancing encouraged! 7-9pm. Borrachos, 139 Bridge St. No cover. Wine $5 glass.

THURSDAY, August 8 Dona Jesusita Aragon. Partera 19082005. Presentation by Connie Trujillo. Refreshments. 6 pm. Cultural Heritage Center, 116 Plaza. Free FRIDAY, August 9 Gallinas River & Park Tour Stroll along the historic Gallinas River and hear its story. Learn about efforts to revitalize the river park. 10-11:30am and 11:30am-1pm. Meet at the bridge on Bridge Street. Free Heritage Traditional Buffalo Stew Dinner Civil War drills and New Mexican folk dances. 4:30pm-7:30pm. IC Catholic Center, 500 National Ave. Admission $10 Fridays Al Fresco. Music at Old Town Plaza Park. 5:30-7pm. Sponsored by Las Vegas First Independent Business Alliance. Free. Saturday, August 10 Heritage Antique/Junktique Market, Vendor Booths $20 to benefit Our Lady of Sorrows Church Organ Restoration. To reserve space call 505-426-4547. 8am-4pm. Carnegie Library Park, Free to public. Family Fun Day. Music, food, children’s activities, carnival games and crafts. Hosted by Las Vegas Elks Club with participation from Ft. Union National Park. Sponsored by Southwest Capital Bank. Carnegie Park, 6th and National. Free New Mexico Herbs Learn about popular NM herbs, how they are used and prepared with Bernadette Fernandez. 11am2pm, Semilla Natural Foods, 510 University. Free Veteran’s Appreciation Day A day of music, pastries and candy. 11am-6pm. Ulibarri Farms Candy Shoppe, 161 Bridge, Free Old Time Las Vegas Art Show Featuring local art. Refreshments. 2-4pm. El Zocola Art Gallery. 1809 Plaza. Free Fort Union Candlelight Tours. Walk under the stars and back into history and witness historical based skits which bring to life the stories of Fort Union’s past. Each tour is limited to 20. Call for reservations as early as July 25th. 505-425-8025. Free.

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 45




New Mexico Highlands University Ray Drew|Burris Hall|Kennedy Hall

Calendar of Events grounds of Fort Union National Monument. I-25, exit 366, Watrous, NM. 505-425-8025, ext. 232 or www.nps.gov/foun 25 Night Sky Astronomy Come learn about the night skies over Fort Union and what makes them so special at the night sky party. There will be a short presentation about astronomy and telescopes to look through. Presentation starts at 7:30pm. Fort Union National Monument, I-25, exit 366, Watrous, NM. 505-425-8025, ext. 232 or www.nps.gov/foun 30-31  Junior Ranger Camp May 30 (ages 7-9), May 31 (ages 9-12) 10-4pm, Geared for the youngest of our visitors, the Junior Ranger Camp is an all-day exploration of Fort Union’s unique cultural, natural, and military aspects. Enrollment begins May 1. Fort Union National Monument, I-25, exit 366, Watrous, NM. 505425-8025, ext. 232 or www.nps. gov/foun JUNE

Self Portrait in a Velvet Cap with Plume, Rembrandt, 1638 Dr. Robert Bell Permanent Collection of Art.

The galleries at New Mexico Highlands offer a visual celebration of works from European masters as well as regional and emerging artists. We invite you to explore the Dr. Robert Bell Collection, the region’s most extensive showcase of classical to contemporary prints. New Mexico Highlands is also home to two biannual international art conferences – Iron Tribe and Print, Printed, Printing – as well as a number of WPA murals. Exhibition information is online at


14 Night Sky Full Moon Tour Come learn about the night skies over Fort Union and enjoy a tour of the fort by moonlight. Tour at 8:30pm. Fort Union National Monument, I-25, exit 366, Watrous, NM. 505-425-8025, ext. 232 or www.nps.gov/foun 15-16  Fort Union Days The annual Fort Union Days 3 day special event will take place in Las Vegas on Friday with our special Heritage Day and then on the Fort Union National Monument park grounds, Sat. and Sun. Highlights the contributions and heritage of the Buffalo Soldier. Fort Union National Monument, I-25, exit 366, Watrous, NM. 505-425-8025, ext. 232 or www.nps.gov/foun 28 65th Anniversary of Fort Union National Monument Come celebrate the birthday of Fort Union as a unit of the National Park Service. Join us for a special 10am tour and 2pm Ranger Program about the history of the National Park Service. Fort Union National Monument, I-25, exit 366, Watrous, NM. 505-425-8025, ext. 232 or www.nps.gov/foun 29  Night Sky Astronomy Come learn about the night skies over Fort Union and what makes them so special at the night sky party. There will be a short presentation about astronomy and telescopes to look through. Presentation starts at 7:30pm. Fort Union Na-

46  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019 NMHU_visitor's guide_2017.indd 1

tional Monument, I-25, exit 366, Watrous, NM. 505-425-8025, ext. 232 or www.nps.gov/foun JULY 4-7 4th of July Las Vegas Fiestas Parade, food and artist vendors, live music, dancing and children’s activities. Plaza Park, 505-454-1401 or www.visitlasvegasnm.com

30th Year



laceswith a ast Las Vegas Citizens’ Committee for Historic Preservation

JULY Heavy Metal Art Show and Sale  curated by K. Dawne Holmes, celebrating the best of motorcycle and recreational cruising art and culture.  at  Las Vegas Arts Council’s Gallery 140, 140 Bridge Street, Tuesdays through Saturdays, 1-4pm, call 505-454-1085 or visit  lasvegasartscouncil.org

Historic Homes and Buildings Tour Celebrates the Renaissance of Las Vegas!

5-7  16th Annual Pendaries Art Show and Sale. Pendaries Community Center near Rociada, NM. 505-454-1085 or lasvegasartscouncil.org 5, 12, 29 & 26  Fridays al Fresco Music in the Park. A fun evening of live music and dancing at the Plaza Park gazebo. 5:30 – 7:30pm. Sponsored by Las Vegas First IBA. 505-426-9429 or www.lvfiba.org 19 Missoula Children’s Theatre presents Gulliver›s Travels 6:00pm at Ilfeld Auditorium, NMHU Campus, call 505-4541085 or visit lasvegasartscouncil. org 19-21  Mora Fiestas. Fiestas & rodeos in Mora off Hwy. 518, north of Las Vegas. Live music, dancing & more. 575-387-0237. 26-28  Rough Rider Motorcycle Rally. Local and regional rally activities. Plaza Park. 505-4292374 roughridermotorcyclerally. com 27 168th Anniversary of Fort Union’s Establishment A special program and tour in commemoration of the 168th Anniversary of the establishment of the first Fort Union. Fort Union National Monument, I-25, exit 366, Watrous, NM. 505-425-8025, ext. 232 or www.nps.gov/foun 27 Night Sky Astronomy Come learn about the night skies over Fort Union and what makes them so special at the night sky party. There will be a short presentation about astronomy and telescopes to look through. Presentation starts at 7:30pm. Fort Union National Monument, I-25, exit 366, Watrous, NM. 505-425-8025, ext. 232 or www.nps.gov/foun

  PLACES WITH A PAST, a yearly event provides self-guided and docent tours of historic homes and buildings that have been renovated or are under renovation throughout the city of Las Vegas.   Check out the only castle in the state of New Mexico where famous and not so famous individuals have spent a night or two, homes and buildings built before or at the turn of the last century, where even ghosts may roam!   Visit 1860 traditional Spanish adobes, Victorian turn of the century mansions and the Montezuma Castle on this at your own pace self-guided tour. Docent guided tours also available.   Step back in time in the “original” Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Saturday • August 3 • 9 to 4 pm Tickets $25 per person •Call 425-8803 for more information www.lvcchp.org / historic@gmail.com Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 47

2/21/19 8:07 AM



NMHU Highlands University Performances   What do Ice Cube, Josh Turner, Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, Cheech and Chong and J Boog have in common? They’ve all performed at New Mexico Highlands University as part of its Arts@HU series.   In addition to bringing nationally known artist to Las Vegas, the Arts@HU series also brings in innovative acts, which have included Black Violin, Siro-A, and illusionist Mike Super.   Many of the performances, along with the university’s choral program concerts, are in the university’s historic Ilfeld Auditorium, an intimate space housed in one of Highlands’ first buildings. The historic Romanesque building houses a number of New Deal-era murals. The farthest seat in the auditorium is 150 feet from the stage, which makes the venue the perfect place to feel up-close to the performances.   “Each year, we bring in several acts that many people might not have heard of, but represent their art in unexpected ways,” said Ilfeld Manager Donna Martinez.   In addition to the performing arts, New Mexico Highlands also hosts regular fine art exhibitions in two campus galleries and hosts the

Calendar of Events AUGUST 2-11  30th Annual Las Vegas Heritage Week. A variety of events including Places with a Past historic sites tour celebrating the cultural and architectural history of Las Vegas. For a complete listing of events, see page 45 of this guide. Las Vegas Citizens’ Committee for Historic Preservation, 505-425-8803 or www.lvcchp.org 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30  Fridays al Fresco Music in the Park. A fun evening of live music and dancing at the Plaza Park gazebo. 5:30 – 7:30pm. Sponsored by Las Vegas First IBA. 505-426-9429 or www.lvfiba.org 3  Places with a Past historic sites tour. A self-guided tour of designated historical buildings chosen from Las Vegas’ 9 historic districts with on-site docents. 505-425-8803 or www.lvcchp.org 7-11  The 45th Annual San Miguel/Mora County Fair. Enjoy an old time country fair that includes animal judging, food and garden judging, competitions, a cowboy dance and much more! San Miguel County Fair Grounds, Hwy 65, Las Vegas. 505-454-1497 or sanmiguelextension.nmsu.edu 10 Candlelight Tours Walk under the stars and back into history, to witness historical based skits which bring to life the stories of Fort Union’s past. Each tour is limited to 20 – please call to make a reservation beginning on July 15, 2019. Fort Union National Monument, I-25, exit 366, Watrous, NM. 505-425-8025, ext. 232 or www.nps.gov/foun 10 Family Fun Day. Variety of activities for children to introduce local culture through dance, crafts, and games. Hosted by Las Vegas Elks Club. Carnegie Park. 8-4pm, Free. 10 Heritage Antique/Junktique Market. Carnegie Library Park, 8-4pm. Vendor booths $20 to benefit Our Lady of Sorrows Church Organ Restoration. To reserve space call 505-4264547. Free to public.

biennial Iron Tribe performance art pour and exhibition and the Print, Printed, Printing printmaking and book arts conference.   A complete list of Highlands University performances can be found at www.nmhu.edu 48  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

10 Annual Cleveland Roller Mill Benefit Dance at the historic Mill Museum featuring The Rifters. Proceeds benefit the Mill. Potluck on the lawn at 4pm, dance at 7pm. Camping available on site. Tickets $20 at the door. Hwy. 518 mile marker 31, Cleveland, NM. 575-387-2645 or www.clevelandrollermillmuseum. org

23-25  Film Festival: The Reel Las Vegas. Celebrating treasures from the original film capitol of New Mexico. Special tribute to Easy Rider and Red Dawn. Film on Phone Competition. Full Schedule & ticket info at www.reellasvegasfilmfest.org 24  40th Annual People’s Faire. A day-long Celebration of Arts and Crafts  at  Carnegie Library Park, 500 National.  Over sixty arts, crafts, & specialty food vendors, plus live music, entertainment, youth art experiences. 10am-5pm, call 505-4541085 or visit lasvegasartscouncil. org 30 Night Sky Astronomy Come learn about the night skies over Fort Union and what makes them so special at the night sky party. There will be a short presentation about astronomy and telescopes to look through. Presentation starts at 7:30pm. Fort Union National Monument, I-25, exit 366, Watrous, NM. 505-4258025, ext. 232 or www.nps.gov/ foun

Friends of the Museum Heritage Week Program

Music from the Ranch and Open Range by Singer/Songwriter, Steve Cormier Sponsored by Friends of the Museum, City Museum and New Mexico Humanities Council   Steve Cormier earned a Ph.D. in American Studies

from the University of New Mexico, with a dissertation on twentieth century New Mexico ranching. He has published chapters on ranching in two books, “Essays in Twentieth Century New Mexico History”(UNM Press) and “The Multicultural Southwest” (University of Arizona Press). From 1979 to 1988, he worked on ranches and farms in the Flint Hills of Kansas and around Santa Rosa and Fort Sumner, NM. His music derives from that experience. He also has played supporting roles in numerous television shows and films, including “Breaking Bad”, “Gunsmoke” and “Wyatt Earp.” He has recorded several albums.

AUG.30-SEPT. 2 Wagon Mound Bean Day. Four days of music, dances, BarBQ, rodeos and much more. Wagon Mound, NM. I-25 North of Las Vegas 575-447-1597 or www.beanday100.com AUG.31-SEPT. 1 Cleveland Roller Millfest. Mill demonstrations, music, food, art and crafts vendors. 9am. Cleveland Roller Mill, Hwy 518, Cleveland, NM. 575-387-2645 or www. clevelandrollermillmuseum.org SEPTEMBER Gallery 140 Art Exhibit and Sale. Camino Real 8 Plein Air Group will be exhibiting pastel, oil, watercolor, acrylic and ink mediums, featuring New Mexico landscapes, animals and imaginary locales. 140 Bridge Street, Tuesdays through Saturdays, 1-4pm, call 505-454-1085 or visit lasvegasartscouncil.org 7 Run for Wildlife. 1 mile for the little Gophers, 5k and 10k for the Adults. Registration due NLT 30 Aug 2019. Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, Hwy 281 near McAllister Lake. For more info call D. Pike 505-425-3581x205

  Cowboy music has evolved from the open range and ranch employees who worked and rode after cattle during the late 19th and early to mid 20th century. These include songs written by ranch hands about horses, cattle and lost love. Others add death and the devil to the story. But all have in common the expression of what ranch and farm work was like during this time. Steve Cormier performs these and also songs he has written, reflecting his years as a ranch and farm hand.

Date: Saturday, August 3, 2019 Time: 5 – 6:30 pm Location: Historic La Castañeda Hotel Admission: $5 per person Refreshments Served

7 First Fort & Arsenal Tours: The First Fort and Arsenal site offers the unique opportunity to walk the grounds where Fort Union’s legacy began in 1851. Also step Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 49



Calendar of Events

from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan By 1880, increasing numbers of law-abiding citizens had become determined to put a stop to the steady stream of violence that had made the community notorious on the Western fontier. The published threat of Vigilante justice apparently cleared Las Vegas of much of its rabble, particularly when word got around that the “committee of one hundred” was backing up its warning with a squad of riflemen who would conceal themselves around town and shoot on sight any of the better-known desperadoes who might happen by.

Tome on the Range Book Store 247 Plaza Street Las Vegas, NM 87701 505.454.9944 new – used – rare open daily at 10 AM

op.cit. books Santa Fe 157 Paseo de Peralta Santa Fe NM 87501 505.428.0321 open daily at 8 AM

op.cit. books Taos 124A Bent Street Taos, NM 87571 575.751.1999 open daily at 10 AM


from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan Las Vegas Optic, New Mexico, April 8, 1880 To Murderers, Confidence Men, Thieves: The citizens of Las Vegas have tired of robbery, murder, and other crimes, that have made this town a byword in every civilized community. They have resolved to put a stop to crime, if in attaining that end they have to forget the law, and resort to a speedier justice than it will afford. All such characters are therefore, hereby notified, that they must either leave this town or conform themselves to the requirements of law, or they will be summarily dealt with. The flow of blood must and shall be stopped in this community, and the good citizens of both the old and new towns have determined to stop it, if they have to HANG by the strong arm of FORCE every violator of the law in this country. VIGILANTES 50  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

back into history and witness the training of the Army soldier. Visitors will be led by car caravan. 1st Tour 10am, 2nd Tour 12pm, Final Tour 2pm. Fort Union National Monument, I-25, exit 366, Watrous, NM. 505-425-8025, ext. 232 or www.nps.gov/foun

ditional art will be available at affordable prices at Las Vegas Arts Council’s Gallery 140, 140 Bridge Street, Tuesdays through Saturdays,  1-4pm, call 505-454-1085 or visit  lasvegasartscouncil.org. Reception before and during Annual Electric Light Parade.

13 Night Sky Full Moon Tour Come learn about the night skies over Fort Union and enjoy a tour of the fort by moonlight. Ther park will open at 8pm and the tour will start at 8:30pm. Fort Union National Monument, I-25, exit 366, Watrous, NM. 505-4258025, ext. 232 or www.nps.gov/ foun

TBD - Build a Float Come help the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge and the Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refugebuild a Christmas float to enter in the Electric Light Parade. For more details call D. Pike 505-4253581 x205

28 & 29 Pecos Studio Art Tour. Visit with artists in their studio. 10-5pm www.pecosstudiotour.com 29 Concert for the Birds Featuring local bands and all day hay rides, kids crafts, fish tank exhibit, archery, fun activities for the family & light refreshments. 12-3:00pm. Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, Hwy 281 near McAllister Lake. For more info call D. Pike 505-425-3581x205 OCTOBER 26 Annual Mora Fall Festival. Downtown Mora, Old fashioned family fun, 11am-5pm. Sponsored by the ACC. 575387-0237. NOVEMBER 3, 10, 17, 24 Fall Flight Festival Discover Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge during the fall migration! The 4 1/2 mile self-guided wildlife drive will take you through native shortgrass prairie grasslands, playa lakes, marshes and croplands that serve as important habitat for a multitude of migratory birds, including a wide variety of waterfowl, geese, eagles, and sandhill cranes. Volunteer Roving Naturalists will be on hand with spotting scopes to help you identify birds. Interpretive programs will be offered at the visitors center at 12pm and 1:30pm. Seating limited. 9am-3pm. For more info call Ted Winston at 505-429-2032 29 & 30  Annual Christmas Fair. Sala de Madrid, NMHU Campus. 10am-4pm to benefit Lorenzo Miguel Memorial Music Scholarship. 505-652-6943 or inezlujan45@gmail.com DECEMBER

6  Holiday Historic Homes Tour. A self-guided tour of the inside and outside of beautifully decorated historic homes and buildings. 5-8pm. 505-425-8803 or www.lvcchp.org for ticket info. 7  Annual Christmas Fair. Sala de Madrid, NMHU Campus. 10am4pm to benefit Lorenzo Miguel Memorial Music Scholarship. 505-652-6943 or inezlujan45@ gmail.com 7 Winterfest Arts and Crafts Fair, Local vendors and community artists showcase items for Christmas gifts. 9am-3pm, Santa arrives at 1:30pm. Mora Independent School Gymnasium. 8 Mora Light Parade, Begins at dusk. Downtown Mora. Sponsored by the Mora Valley Chamber of Commerce. 8  3rd Annual Community Building Lighting for the Holidays! (following the Mora Light Parade) On the Corner of Hwy 518 & 434, Sponsored by the Mora Spinning Mill and Mora Valley Chamber of Commerce. 14  Annual Electric Light Parade. Enjoy Christmas floats decorated in a specific holiday theme & visit Santa afterward in Old Town’s Plaza Park. Begins at Baca and Second Street at dark. 800-832-5947 or visitlasvegasnm.com 2019 Revolving Art Shows and Sales at Gallery 140. Tuesdays through Saturdays,  1-4pm, 140 Bridge St., Call 505-454-1085 or visit lasvegasartscouncil.org JANUARY 1 Polar Bear Plunge. The traditional Polar Bear Plunge! Noon on New Year’s Day. Storrie Lake State Park off Hwy. 518. For more info 505-425-7278.

Holiday Art Show and Sale  Fine arts, crafts, and our beloved traLas Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 51

Promotion partially funded by City of Las Vegas, NM and San Miguel County Lodger’s Tax Advisory Boards. 52  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 53

LIGHTS!...CAMERA!...ACTION!...LAS VEGAS Meditations on Las Vegas Film History

by Tiara Shorty

by Elmo Baca

in fall 1968. Las Vegas slept through some fabulous Western epics during the midcentury, as Gallup and its proximity to “Indian Country” branded many Hollywood productions, even though Las Vegas could make a claim to some of the rowdiest outlaw legends of the frontier. The Dodge City Gang, Doc Holliday, Billy the Kid and sheriff Pat Garrett created many “cinematic” episodes in Vegas, with shootouts, lynchings, and jailhouse interviews still begging for the silver screen. Captain America (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Jack Nicholson) played postmodern biker drifters in their brief Las Vegas interlude, but their symbolic defiance has left a searing memory in the city and old-timers who remember the dudes on motorcycles weaving through a marching band on the old town Plaza. The innocence of Fielding and Mix was shot to smithereens. Finally the real life stage set for badasses and showdowns was being discovered for what it was by a slew of filmmakers in recent decades. Many a movie star, screenwriter and director have been lured by Las Vegas’ varied streetscapes, historic buildings, epic landscapes and picturesque charms. One of the most memorable productions shot here was the 1984 cold war fantasy Red Dawn, Las Vegas' only cinema where a courageous if in the heart of Old Town implausible guerrilla resistance group of teen146 Bridge Street agers including Patrick (across from El Rialto Restaurant) Swayze, Charlie Sheen, and C. Thomas Howell sabotage a Soviet invasion of America. The large cast and crew, including other screen legends Powers Booth, Harry Dean Stanton, and Ben Johnson spent weeks in Las Vegas and mingled frequently with the locals. Memorial Middle School, the Ft. Union Visit our website www.indigotheater.rocks for Drive-In and Douglas upcoming features and advance tickets. Avenue had their cameos 505-434-4444 in Red Dawn. Kevin Costner as like us on Facebook/IndigoTheater Wyatt Earp (1994) court-

Ever since silent movie stars Romaine Fielding and Tom Mix discovered ready-made sets in Las Vegas for four and five reelers in 1913,1914 and 1915, the town has embraced the movie industry in strange and surprising ways. Romaine Fielding’s work is nearly lost to history - his epic masterpiece The Golden God exploded in a warehouse fire - but his weird and fascinating interpretations of the West in Hiawatha’s Cross and The Rattlesnake, shot beneath the balconies and rocky ledges of the Montezuma Hotel, glow and flicker from a magic photoplay. Tom Mix arrived on the heels of Fielding’s romance with Las Vegas, and what a heroic profile he cut!...in contrast to the dandy Romaine. Ramrod straight, handsome, and easily bearing his trademark Montana highbrow hat, Mix always saved the girl (his real-life sweetheart and wife Virginia Forde) from runaway trains or tough hombres at the Vegas railroad depot or his movie yard on Gallinas Street (site of the former Gallinas Elementary school). Then...movie darkness for fifty years, until the hippie ballad Easy Rider blew through town

54  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Las Vegas: a Place for Film

ed his sweetheart on the porch of a red stone cottage at the southwest corner of Lincoln Park, nearly a century after New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt camped there with his beloved cavalry regiment at the First Rough Riders Reunion of 1899. As the Twentieth Century closed, two productions based on Southwestern literary classics came to town. Santa Fe author Cormac McCarthy’s border romance All The Pretty Horses (2000) captured scenes in nearby San Miguel on the Pecos River. Max Evans’ The Hi-Lo Country (1998), a memoir set in the hi-lo geography of northeastern New Mexico, featured a great cast including Oscar winners Penelope Cruz and Patricia Arquette, and heart throbs Woody Harrelson and Sam Elliot. Another well-known international star won an Oscar for a role he played in the 2007 production of No Country for Old Men. As the ruthless and efficient assassin Anton Chigurh, Javier Bardem roamed the streets of Las Vegas in pursuit of Josh Brolin’s character. Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s classic novel, the film won a slew of Academy Awards including Best Picture. In the decade since No Country...., Las Vegas has become popular for television productions, most notably going on six seasons of Longmire. Bridge Street was transformed into its Nevada namesake in the pilot of Vegas (2012-13). House of Cards shot scenes in the vacant Castaneda Hotel last year. A new pilot called Midnight Texas premiered in 2016 portraying a small town where the real world and the supernatural collide. 2017 and 2018 welcomed the cast of Longmire back to Las Vegas for final seasons and some final scenes, including a dramatic shootout on Douglas Avenue. Cast members posted friendly notices on their social media pages declaring their affection for a well-known filming location. The Las Vegas country still resonates with film and television productions, providing classic Southwestern frontier scenery for the 2017 sleeper hit Hostiles, starring Christian Bale and Wes Studi. In a ironic twist, Las Vegas was transformed into its neighboring city of Roswell for the television series Roswell, New Mexico which aired on the CW Network in January 2019. The year closed out with extensive filming of Sir Ben Kingsley’s series Perpetual Grace, LTD scheduled to air later in 2019.

Las Vegas, New Mexico is a quaint and charming town. It was the first of its name and one of the biggest boomtowns in the southwest. The town is rich in history with infamous outlaws, famous lawmen, and historic figures that once walked these streets or took refuge in some of the grandest hotels. Famous directors and actors have been mesmerized and left their imprint on Las Vegas. In 1913, director and producer Romaine Feilding laid the ground work for filming in Las Vegas. A variety of films have been shot in Las Vegas since 1913; Easy Rider, Red Dawn, Wyatt Earp, All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, Paul, Bless Me Ultima, Longmire, and much more. Las Vegas serves as a grand stage for film due to its old-fashioned and picturesque setting. The town that was once filled with shoot-outs, gambling, and outlaws has preserved the essence of the old Wild West that fascinates people. Adding to the appeal of Las Vegas, Jon Hendry, Business Agent of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 480 stated, “Las Vegas is where it all began. It is the original film center of the West. It continues to make great pictures, even Oscar winners, a century later”. The town of Las Vegas will continue to draw in the film industry due to its glamour and the film enthusiasts who live here. On downtown Douglas Ave., in the middle of March, the cast of the hit show Longmire took a break from filming the first episode of the final season to express their thoughts regarding Las Vegas. Robert Taylor portrays the clever, gritty, and enigmatic Sheriff Walter Longmire, who stated, “This is the real Las Vegas, I love working in the town, it is so good and alive and always interesting. The people are always friendly and welcoming. The Plaza Hotel is an icon in the West. I will keep coming back for the rest of my days”. Adam Bartley plays the wholehearted and underestimated Deputy Ferguson or “Ferg”, stated, “Las Vegas is a second home for us Longmire folks. We get excited to come up here every year. The people, the merchants, the old world feel. Las Vegas is a place I’ll always come back to. If you haven’t’ been to Las Vegas, New Mexico, then you’re missing out”. Bartley went on to say that Las Vegas is, “One of my favorite places to be in New Mexico”.

Las Vegas is accepting of all genres of film and works well with production time frames -- some films have shot the entirety of their production in Las Vegas. Some continue to return and often times, Las Vegas is the first stop on a productions way to stardom.   Go back in time or step onto a real-life film studio, Las Vegas has so many splendors to offer.


TO SAVE A CHILD / TV 1991 LUCKY LUKE / TV 1991 BLUE DE VILLE / TV 1986 A FOOL FOR LOVE 1985 LITTLE TREASURE 1985 RED DAWN 1984 THE BALLAD OF GREGORIO CORTEZ / TV1982 FIVE DAYS FROM HOME 1979 THE EVIL 1978 CONVOY 1978 CHARLIE SIRINGO / TV 1976 SWEET HOSTAGE / TV 1975 MOLLY AND LAWLESS JOHN 1972 EASY RIDER 1969 EMPIRE AND REDIGO / TV 1962 THE HARVEY GIRLS 1946 THE HAZARDS OF HELEN 1915, Selig Polyscope / TOM MIX (20 Silent Films) Lubin Films / ROMAINE FIELDING (10 Silent Films) TOM MIX, actor (1914-1915, Selig) The Rancher’s Daughter; Never Again; Local Color; The County Drugstore; Her Slight Mistake; The Race For A Gold Mine; Impersonation of Tom; Bad Man Bibbs; Wary Goes A Wooing; The Pony Girl and the Cowboy; Stage Coach; Sagebrush Tom; Western Masquerade. These are only a few of the Tom Mix Westerns set and produced in a location Mix said he’d love to live in forever, if only he could escape Hollywood. ROMAINE FIELDING, actor/director (1913-1914, Lubin) The Rattlesnake; Hiawanda’s Cross; Toll of Fear; The Golden God. Las Vegas is of particular interest to the film industry, as if offers a complete package of unique settings that cannot be found together anywhere else in the state. To the west, Las Vegas boasts breathtaking mountains and to the east, grassy plains; two lakes are within minutes of town; a castle sits in the hills; a historic drive in theatre is open to the public through the spring and summer months; homes and businesses range from Queen Anne, Bungalow, Richardsonian Romanesque, Italianate, New Mexico, Territorial, Pueblo Revival and Folk Renaissance Revival architecture; and the streets offer varied characteristics that have portrayed cities and towns from Manhattan and Juarez. Las Vegas is truly a filmmaker’s playground!

Las Vegas Film Commission

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 55

Sixth New Mexico Invitational Painters Exhibition Opens Sept. 8 NMHU Highlands University Margaret McKinney/Highlands University


his year marks the sixth New Mexico Invitational Painters Exhibition at Highlands University in Las Vegas beginning with an opening reception Sept. 8 from 4–7 p.m.   “For the past five years Highlands has hosted this one-of-a-kind juried exhibition as an invitational survey of contemporary Northern New Mexico painting that Dr. Robert Bell founded,” said Renee Buchanan, Highlands Foundation art curator. “Since then, the exhibition has provided an enriching experience for the Highlands student community as well as Northern New Mexico communities.”   The exhibition is in the Margaret Kennedy Alumni Hall, 905 University Ave. It continues through Oct. 31. The alumni hall is open Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.   “This is an important exhibition because it’s the only venue where contemporary New Mexican painters can exhibit their work together, providing an in-depth look at the current manifestation of art in the state,” Buchanan said.

nual purchase prize from the exhibition, adding an exceptional painting to the Highlands fine arts collection.    Buchanan said Bell’s enthusiasm and commitment have allowed the exhibition to grow into a cultural treasure.   “The artists all use the medium of painting, but expressions and styles emerge reflecting the cultural vibrancy of New Mexico,” Buchanan said.   Jim Mann, who curated more than 50 exhibitions for the Las Vegas Art Museum in Nevada, curated the New Mexico Invitational Painters Exhibition from 2014 – 2016. Since 2017, Buchanan and Mann have co-curated the exhibition.   “These New Mexico artists demonstrate an accomplished awareness of contemporary developments in international art,” Mann said. “Their sophistication and creative imagination are impressive.”   Buchanan said the Las Vegas community and its artists have always been big supporters of the New Mexico Invitational Painters Exhibition, spreading the word so the show now has out-of-state visitors.

from the Las Vegas Gazette, December 27, 1880 The greatest excitement prevailed yesterday afternoon when the news was noised abroad that Pat Garrett and Frank Stewart had arrived in town bringing with them Billy “the Kid,” the notorious outlaw and three of his gang. People stood on the muddy street corners and in hotel offices and saloons talking of the great event. The excitement and interest can scarcely be imagined ...

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Rosemary Pierson of Las Vegas studies a painting by Las Vegas artist Kim Reed-Deemer at the Fifth Invitational New Mexico Painters Exhibition.

  She said the exhibition is also a unique opportunity for Highlands fine arts students to participate in a professional gallery exhibition.   Since its inception in 2014, the New Mexico Invitational Painters Exhibition has showcased more than 300 established and up-and-coming artists from Las Vegas and throughout Northern New Mexico.   Bell is a Santa Fe art collector, art patron, author and publisher. He is a longtime Las Vegas ophthalmologist.   “The significance of this New Mexico Painters Exhibition is that we continue to add new and established artists each year,” Bell said. “The way we’re adding new artists is by asking participating artists to make recommendations.”   Bell said something new for the painters exhibition this year is an an56  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019


from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan

505 National Ave., Suite 2

South of Carnegie Library in Las Vegas





OVER 50,000 SQ. FT. OF SHOWROOM 505-425-7398 · 615 DOUGLAS • LAS VEGAS NM from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan from the Las Vegas Gazette, 1880 The excitement at the depot delayed the departure of the train for about forty-five minutes, but Garrett held on to his prisoners, threatening to arm them if that proved necessary for their own protection. Billy the Kid seemed to enjoy the commotion, pointing a make-believe gun out a car window at some children standing alongside the tracks and saying “Bang, bang, bang.” As the train rolled out, the Kid lifted his hat and invited us to call and see him in Sante Fe, calling out adios.

Las Vegans are truly fortunate to have these three beautiful parks within their city. Pictured above is Lincoln Park and below Plaza Park and Carnegie Park, with the only operating Carnegie Library in New Mexico.

  “We’re seeing art lovers from Texas, Colorado, Arizona and California traveling to see the phenomenal work New Mexico painters are producing,” Buchanan said.   Since 2012, Bell and his wife Sterling Puck have donated more than 600 paintings to the Dr. Robert Bell and Dr. Sterling Puck Permanent Art Collection at Highlands.   “The reason we donate art to Highlands is that the university uses it as a teaching collection for students and the community,” Bell said.   Since 2001, Bell has also donated more than 2,000 original fine art prints to Highlands and teaches a popular print lecture series at the university.

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 57

Rebirth of Railroad Avenue By Rosa Walston Latimer

  More than a century ago, the coming of

the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway to Las Vegas brought a burst of activity on Railroad Avenue. Never mind that when it rained or snow melted, the street was muddy with deep ruts making it almost impossible for horse-drawn wagons to make it from one end to the other. Businesses such as Chinese laundries, barber shops, drug stores, and dressmakers lined the wide street, a major thoroughfare that ran parallel to the railroad tracks. At a time when young ladies and gentlemen of Las Vegas were enjoying serene hayrides to Romeroville, there was high energy on Railroad Avenue. Town folk and ranchers alike found their way to the bustling business district and the street was crowded with horses and carriages as well as horse-drawn streetcars running on tracks laid down in 1881.   The impressive Castañeda, the first Fred Harvey trackside hotel, opened in January of 1899, replacing a small Harvey House, built in 1883. The Santa Fe Railway mainline, connecting Las Vegas to Chicago and Los Angeles, ran directly in front of the luxurious hotel. Built in the Mission Revival style, the Castañeda was set around a courtyard that opened to the tracks. Construction cost $110,000; furnishings were an additional $30,000. The new Santa Fe depot, located just south of the Harvey hotel, was built at the same time as the Castañeda.   The Castañeda’s informal lunchroom, steps from the tracks, accommodated over 50 diners and the expansive, formal dining room seated 108. The hotel and restaurants catered to train passengers but were also popular with the locals who often had special events there. The Castañeda featured the excellent cuisine and service characteristic of the Harvey system. Originally

View of Castañeda from Railroad Avenue, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HABS NM-208

there were thirty-seven guest rooms on the second floor which reached via a sweeping staircase visible from the lobby entrance. A Harvey newsstand in the lobby prominently displayed reading material, tobacco products, and souvenirs.   Fred Harvey, who essentially founded the first restaurant chain in the U.S., brought a high standard of food service and hospitality to the southwest by establishing restaurants and hotels along the Santa Fe Railway line. Throughout the system, the Fred Harvey company hired young women, known as Harvey Girls, who wore crisp black and white uniforms and, following a strict set of rules, cultivated a reputation for efficient service that could feed a trainload of passengers in thirty minutes. Built two years before Mr. Harvey’s death, the Castañeda was one of the most luxurious, distinguished hotels in the Fred Harvey system. (Las Vegas, New Mexico is the only location to have two Harvey Houses. In addition to the Castañeda, the Montezuma, a sprawling

Photo Courtesy of Las Vegas Citizens’ Committee for Historic Preservation, LVCCHP, Archives 58  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Queen Anne-style structure, is located west of Las Vegas at the site of the hot springs. Since 1981 the property has served as the American campus of the United World College.)   Just six months after the opening of the Castañeda, the hotel was the site of the first Rough Riders reunion. “Rough Riders” is the name given to the First United States Volunteer Cavalry during the Spanish-American War and more than six hundred of the Volunteer Cavalry came to Las Vegas for the reunion. Although Teddy Roosevelt was reported to have camped with his “boys” in Lincoln Park, he was assigned a room at the Castañeda.   Across Railroad Avenue from the Castañeda, in 1899, an English immigrant and longtime Las Vegas resident, W. W. Rawlins was completing construction of the Rawlins Building. This brick and stone building was planned to be a fourteen-room hotel for the commercial and traveling public. The Rawlins Building originally had only one story. A second story was added three years later along with a metal building front stamped with rosettes, fleurs-de-lis and topped with the name, Rawlins. This building front, a product of Mesker Iron Works, a Midwest family-owned company that produced architectural iron products, distinguished the Rawlins Building in architecturally diverse Las Vegas.   The Las Vegas Daily Optic reported that the Rawlins Building bedrooms were furnished with “enameled brass and steel bedsteads, the best of springs and mattresses and belongings to the bed itself. The article

described the “elegant home-like” interior as having “white maple, cherry and oak furniture, carpets, lace curtains, desks, and chairs.” A large space with a skylight occupied the center of the second floor. This area was a forerunner of current hotel business centers, providing private desks and telephones for hotel guests. The Rawlins Building boasted electric lights and a hot water “heating apparatus.” The ground floor had commercial space for two businesses. Once the building was complete, Mr. Rawlins, his wife, and daughter established their residence in a portion of the downstairs space. The Optic reported that the couple hosted a large dinner party to celebrate the opening of the “handsome new building,” concluding that “it was an elite affair…with the hospitable and clever host.” The Optic “Personals” column reported guests at the Rawlins from a variety of locations including California and Illinois. In spite of the reputation of the famous Fred Harvey accommodations across the street at the Castañeda, the Rawlins Building had established itself as a successful hotel.

as a hotel in 1948 and the Rawlins Building was converted to a rooming house in 1949, Railroad Avenue lost its luster as a bustling commercial district.   Now, once again the Castañeda and the Rawlins Building are a driving force of heightened activity on Railroad Avenue joined by a variety of businesses including arts and antiques. A beautiful restoration of the Mesker metal façade on the second floor of the Rawlins Building by current owners Tom and Tina Clayton is complete and interior construction is well underway. When finished there will be apartments to rent upstairs and commercial space on the ground floor. For more information about this noteworthy historical building call 505-429-3861 or email rawlins1898@gmail.com.   The Castañeda is now owned by the Winslow Arts Trust, a non-profit established by Allan Affeldt and Tina Mion and restoration is well underway. In April of 2019, a limited number of rooms were ready for overnight guests with bar and restaurant service soon to follow. For more

Courtesy Tom Clayton

Rawlins Building. Courtesy Tom Clayton

Rawlins Building. Courtesy Louis Pena

  In 1902, the Fred Harvey company leased the upstairs of the Rawlins Building for closely supervised living quarters for the Harvey Girls who worked at the Castañeda. The Optic reported that there were fourteen bedrooms upstairs with two bathrooms and two washrooms each containing a bathtub.   During the years following the railroad boom, a variety of businesses opened and closed; however, once the Castañeda closed

Courtesy Andy Kingsbury

information call 505-425-3591 or visit Castanedahotel.org. Rosa Walston Latimer is the author of a series of books about the Harvey Houses and Harvey Girls in Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, and Arizona, published by the History Press. All books are available online and in book stores. Visit rosalatimer.org for more information.  

Courtesy Tom Clayton

The story of the winsome Harvey Girls and Harvey Houses in New Mexico, including the Montezuma and Castañeda right here in Las Vegas! “...vibrates with memories, voices, and historical details...an intimate page-turner.” -New Mexico magazine

Also by Rosa Walston Latimer Harvey Houses of Arizona Harvey Houses of Texas Harvey Houses of Kansas Published by The History Press

Harvey Houses of New Mexico Available locally at Rough Rider Antiques Plaza Hotel Gift Shop or anywhere books are sold including Amazon.com

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 59

Las Vegas Citizens’ Committee for Historic Preservation

Historic HolidaY Home & Building Tour Friday, December 6, 2019 • 5 to 9 pm A self-guided tour of historic homes and buildings beautifully decorated for the holidays.

Photo courtesy Andy Kingsbury

Music and refreshments at our LVCCHP Office at 116 Bridge Street Call: 505-425-8803 for more information or visit our website at www.lvcchp.org

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The Early History of the Plaza Hotel by M.C. Gottschalk

The Las Vegas Hotel (l) and the Pendaries saloon(r) was replaced by the Plaza Hotel and the Great Emporium. Citizens’ Committee for Historic Preservation, Las Vegas Photographic Archive #1489, Detail.


hether boom or bust, the center of the community has always been here. First there was the lofty two-story wooden Las Vegas Hotel and then they built the grand Victorian Plaza Hotel. Facing, watching the growth and the events of the Old Town Plaza, this spot was always at the heart of the happenings in Las Vegas, New Mexico.   The location was important, even before there was a hotel. When Las Vegas was just a village, Alcalde Juan de Dios Maese had a grocery here. When the Plaza was a U.S. Army fort, Sutler Arthur Morrison had his shop here. Then a hotel was erected on the northwest corner of the Plaza in the 1850s, quite likely by merchant John Dold. The first existing deed for the “Las Vegas Hotel” was dated April 1, 1864, when John Dold sold it to Jean Pendaries for $5,000. Dold had been an investor in the Hot Springs sawmill in 1856,

which was to launch the earliest Territorial styled buildings in Las Vegas, and in New Mexico. These were substantial adobe structures that were faced with imposing two-story balconies made of rough sawn timbers, and pediment windows and doors.   The Dold brothers were pioneer merchants from the Kingdom of Württemberg who together owned over $150,000 (in today’s currency, about $4,000,000) of inventory and equipment, as listed on the 1860 census. The Dolds’ wealth ‒ both among the top five richest individuals in New Mexico ‒ was built on the Santa Fè Trail trade. They directed a crew of 17 teamsters and 21 laborers – with cook Ramon Bernal and two servants feeding everyone – to operate their supply company. The enormous caravans of mule trains loaded with lana y cueros, or wool and hides, that headed each year from New Mexico to Missou-

Gottschalk Collection 62  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

ri, gathered in earnest right in front of the Hotel when the Plaza was essentially an open field.   After running the hotel for sometime, retail grocers Jean Pendaries and his wife Mathilde Gallaquet operated the Billiard Saloon on the north side of the plaza. The Pendaries were from Gascony, France and undoubtedly felt at home on this frontier where other French-Canadian ex-trappers resided, and a local culture based upon Catholicism. In the 70s, they leased the hotel to cook Theodore Wagner, calling it Wagner’s Hotel & Feed Stable. The Trail travelers that Wagner accommodated entered this dusty highfalutin barnyard ringed with majestic adobe behemoths looking for sanctuary from the boring, endless plains.   But the times were changing, and the railroad brought the industrial American economy with it. The Trail merchants would not stay pat with an adobe hotel on the Plaza, a relic in its own time: not when wealthy businessmen from the East were arriving everyday into Las Vegas. The charge towards a Victorian plaza was surprisingly led by the native Nuevo Mexicano mercantile family of Romero. The Las Vegas Hotel & Improvement Co. was incorporated for the purpose of “building furnishing operating and leasing one or more hotels in the County of San Miguel.”

Gottschalk Collection

With the financial backing of many Plaza merchants, Benigno Romero, the President of the Improvement company, commenced the establishment of what has historically been known as the Plaza Hotel. Romero’s business specialized in a tonic called La Sanadora, marketed as a “Carminative and Stomachic.” In December of 1880, the Improvement Co. bought the lot that the adobe Las Vegas Hotel stood upon for $7,500 from the Pendaries, to erect a three-story Victorian-styled brick hotel to be called the “American Hotel.”   The architect for the planned American Hotel was Charles Wheelock and the contractor was John Wooten. The Tennessean Wooten had moved to Las Vegas in the 60s and built a planing mill at the end of Valencia St., next to the Gallinas River. Wheelock, from Massachusetts, was Las Vegas’s premier Victorian architect, having

Benigno Romero. From Helen Haines, History of New Mexico: From the Spanish Conquest to the Present Time (New York: New Mexico Historical Publishing Co., 1891), 369

designed the Palace Hotel in Santa Fè, the Wiley residence on Hillsite Park, Miguel Antonio Otero Sr.’s residence in Bernallilo, the U.S. Post Office on Bridge St. and the three other Victorian commercial houses built on the Plaza by the Romero brothers in 1882. In the Las Vegas Gazette’s words, “Las Vegas, and the territory as well, is fortunate in having so competent and tasty an architect as Mr. Charles Wheelock.”   The hotel cost about $1,000,000 (in contemporary currency) to build. Fourteen ornate cast-iron columns with Corinthian capitals were purchased from the T.R. Pullis and Sons company of St. Louis to bedeck the front facade. The bricks for the hotel were manufactured by Hugh Prichard, who was capable of producing 10,000 bricks a day, but had to dramatically expand his operations to keep up with the building boom in Las Vegas. With a name change, it opened as the Plaza Hotel in March 1882, being “First-Class in all its Appointments” and managed by “Mrs. S.B. Davis, Proprietress.” For years the owner of the Exchange Hotel in Santa Fè, the widowed Davis moved to Las Vegas to open up the Plaza Hotel, investing in “appointments” which would have a value of half a million dollars today.   With the development of the Harvey Houses, and other accommodations in New Town, the Old Town merchants considered the Plaza Hotel diminished in importance only a decade later. Merchant Charles Blanchard had his property appraised in August 1891 by other plaza merchants Marcus Brunswick and Oliver Houghton. The resultant Property Inventory included, “15 shares of Plaza Hotel, full paid $100 a share (worthless).”   To the east of the Plaza Hotel, merchant Charles Ilfeld was to build one of the first department stores of the West, called the Great Emporium. Ilfeld had started his career in New Mex-

ico with A. Letcher & Co., of Taos, NM. In 1867, the company moved their mercantile operations over the mountains to Las Vegas with the aid of a hundred mules, acknowledging that the economy in Las Vegas held greater prospects than the older trade center of Taos. In the Emporium, Ilfeld wholesaled and retailed a wide variety of goods: “clothing, hats, boots, shoes, men’s furnishings, Indian blankets, carpets, furniture, china, glass, silverware, woodenware, harness, sadlery, hardware, stoves, paints, oils, drugs, ranch supplies, agricultural implements, groceries, grain, hay, lumber, buggies and farm and spring wagons.” He held an exclusive in Las Vegas on the clothing patterns made by the Butterick Publishing Company. Upon the Emporium’s opening, the Las Vegas Gazette praised Ilfeld, “The first floor is provided with a large and commodious office, built of imitation walnut…. The office would do credit to a banking establishment. An Osgood elevator affords easy means of carrying goods from the basement to the third floor….”   The success of his department store created the problem of overcrowded goods, so Ilfeld more than doubled the size of his building, to the east, beginning in 1890. For the expansion, steel girders from Chicago and red-brown sandstone quarried a couple miles west of the Plaza were used. The Optics of mid-December 1891 exclaimed the “Pride of Las Vegas” looked “southward upon that beautiful oval of summer verdure, the Plaza.” Ilfeld’s bookkeeper Rodney Schoonmaker devised the tagline of “Wholesalers of Everything,” since it contained “liquors in the basement, coffins on the top floor and everything in between.” The Charles Ilfeld Company went on to own stores in Santa Fè, Albuquerque, Raton, and Durango, warehouses in Farmington, Gallup, Santa Rosa, Magdalena and Trinidad, and country stores in a dozen locations throughout eastern New Mexico. The Las Vegas Daily Optic announced, “’Chas. Ilfeld, jobber and retailer of general merchandise,’ says the modest business card, giving but a faint idea of the largest and finest department house in all the Southwest.” The Great Emporium was incorporated into the Plaza Hotel in 2008, with its first floor recreated as a ballroom, along with a plush lobby.   Many significant events occurred at the hotel in the 20th century. For a few years starting in 1913, film director Romaine Fielding used the hotel as a headquarters to create popular movies, such as The Golden God and The Rattlesnake. It was then known as the Hotel Romaine. In the 1960s,

Gottschalk Collection

“Mama” Lucy Lopez ran a restaurant in the hotel that was very supportive of Highlands University students, essentially running an alternative cafeteria. These were the years of the Chicano movement in Las Vegas, and in New Mexico. A good number of her customers turned into politicians that were to dominate the House of Representatives for a generation. In 1983, a group that in-

“Mama” Lucy Lopez

cluded the Slick and Lucero families, restored the decaying and poorly remodeled building back to its former elegance. The remarkable inclusion of llfeld’s Emporium into the hotel, however, put great financial pressure on the establishment. Preservationists Allan Affeldt and Tina Mion bought it in 2014, and invested a million dollars into numerous additional improvements, from finishing basement floors to rebuilding the kitchen. Now on a sound path, the Plaza Hotel’s future ability to economically and customarily support the core of the community, as it did in its heyday, looks ever more promising.

Gottschalk Collection

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For a Good Time Visit Las Vegas, NEW MEXICO by Kayt C. Peck Outstanding entertainment prospers in Las Vegas, and we’re not talking Nevada. Las Vegas, New Mexico was an entertainment center from the time the town served on the frontiers of the American West and the Spanish/Mexican north. It provided talent and performances from very early Spanish-language theatre to the singers, plays, dancers and comedians when Las Vegas as the “Wildest of the Wild West.” Perhaps because of this tradition, even today the community benefits from an abundance of local talent far beyond that expected from a rural community of its size Entertaining in itself, Footlights in the Foothills, Amateur Theatre in Las Vegas New Mexico and Fort Union: 1871 to 1899 by Edwina Portelle Romero (available at the City of Las Vegas Rough Rider Museum and Tome on the Range), provide clues as to why performing arts remains rich in Las Vegas. Music and theater have long been integral to the community. Local and nationally known folk musician Antonia Apodaca, 95, helped preserve the tradition of New Mexico Music (Música Nuevo Méxicana – including performing in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC). Although retired, her work still inspires current generations to maintain that musical tra-

dition with the band Lone Piñon as just one example. Local musician, Brenda Ortega (Female Vocalist of the Year in the 2016 New Mexico Hispano Music Awards), and her band regularly perform at various events and venues, offering a variety of music, featuring not only the award-winning Spanish songs written by her father, Juan Ortega, but also performing current popular and country western numbers. It would take many pages to list the accomplished musical performers in the area, but examples of their music can be heard every weekend and almost nightly at various venues. Live theater prospers as well in Las Vegas with the local Nat Gold Players (taking top honors in two of the last four New Mexico AACTFest competitions) offering performances throughout the year. The music department at New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) provides outstanding public performances, and the historic and beautiful Ilfeld Auditorium at NMHU hosts frequent performances both by local and traveling companies. Area schools, especially the theater department at nearby United World College-USA, also offer live theater. Below is a list providing locations where information can be found for current performances:

by Lee Einer

Mark Gillingham and Beth Urec Lisa Cisneros & Victor Ramirez of Nat Gold Players

Las Vegas’ library is the only functioning Carnegie library remaining in New Mexico. Raton’s fell under the wrecking ball in 1969, and Roswell’s was converted to office space. Jamie Garcie & Bob Henssler of Nat Gold Players

Theater and Music

Contrafact band members

Nat Gold Players (www.natgoldplayers.com; https://www.facebook. com/ngplvnmtheatre/) This company of players announces upcoming shows on their Facebook page and tickets can be purchased online at the website. The company specializes in original works, thereby nurturing New Mexico playwrights. In addition to formal plays and shows, NGP also provides talent as living historians for local groups such as the Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation and Fort Union National Monument. Meadow City Music Academy (https://meadowcitymusic.org/) In addition to facilitating music instruction to nurture Las Vegas’ musical tradition, the group hosts top quality performances of many varieties of music and dance. Ilfeld Auditorium ( http://www.nmhu.edu/ilfeld-auditorium/) – This historic structure is worth a visit all on its own, but checking its calendar of events guides a visitor to a plethora of movies and live performances. United World College - USA (http://uwc-usa.org) The student body of this global international preparatory school periodically offers shows, featuring the performing arts traditions from around the world. Music on the Plaza Almost every Friday evening during the late spring, summer, and early fall, live music plays in the Plaza Park. Know it is BYOC – bring your own chair.


Brenda Ortega

Commercial Venues

Borrachos (https://www.borrachos505.com/) This lively nightspot has a consistent schedule of performing arts groups. A visit to the website provides the latest information. The Historic Plaza and Castaneda Hotels (http://www.plazahotellvnm. com/ http://castanedahotel.org/) Check the websites for current shows and events. As of this writing, the Castaneda, one of the original Harvey Houses, was under renovation. It is expected to be a major destination and entertainment hotspot when completed. The Historic SERF Theater (www.serftheatre.com) Now a community facility owned by Dick’s Pub and Restaurant, it is a frequent venue for dances, music and other events. Check the website for schedules. The Skillet Restaurant – Located on 12th Street near National, this quaint and funky place features great food and drink and offers entertainment including Thursday night karaoke. Drop by or ask around for entertainment schedules. With the plethora of performing arts opportunities in Las Vegas, it is entirely possible something has missed by this article. For example, the Our Lady of Sorrows Church has one of the last operational historic Kilgen pipe organs and periodically hosts amazing concerts featuring that instrument. If all else fails as a visitor seeks entertainment, ask a local. They may well have the absolute latest information.

Las Vegas Arts Council (www.lasvegasartscouncil.org) The Las Vegas Arts Council maintains an events calendar that strives to list all arts based events in the community. Travelers Cafe: Located on the northeast outside corner of the Las Vegas Plaza, this coffee house’s crowded front window and counters hold posters for performing arts and other community events. Things to Do in Las Vegas Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/ 792728207469224/) Although informal, this Facebook page is frequently used by local groups to announce events. 64  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Patterned on Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home, the general outline of Las Vegas, New Mexico's Carnegie Library is familiar to anyone who’s looked on the backside of a US nickel. The construction of the library was funded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who in his day was one of the world’s wealthiest men. Carnegie’s net worth was at one time nearly $500 million, but he spent almost all of it in his later years on philanthropic causes, most notably his libraries. By the time of his death, only $30 remained of his personal fortune. Renovation of this architectural gem is ongoing.

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 65



Painting by Connie Chavez


  Some have considered Mora, NM as just a “pass through” town on their travels throughout Northern New Mexico. But Mora isn’t a “pass through”, it’s a destination! Just as rich in culture and history as it is in beauty, the township of Mora rests at the foot of the lustrous Sangre De Cristo Mountains and sits center of some amazing attractions and fun for the whole family. TOURING MORA   Located along Highway 518, Mora was the central hub for a line of many industrial mills that used to be the financial driver of the Mora Valley. Still up and worthy of a visit are the La Cueva Mill, the St. Vrain Mill, and the Cleveland Roller Mill. In fact, every

year for Labor Day Weekend the Cleveland Roller Mill hosts one of the largest arts and crafts festivals in Northeastern New Mexico attracting visitors from as far as Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. With great music, amazing food, and captivating tours of the working mill, this event never ceases to inspire.   If you make it to see the La Cueva Mill, make sure you visit the La Cueva Raspberry Farm located Just across the street from the mill. Open during the summer and early fall, the Raspberry Farm is the largest raspberry farm in Northern New Mexico. At harvest season you can pick your own raspberries and enjoy them on your own raspberry sundae at their delicious cafe, or you can pick up a jar of raspberry jelly at the La Cueva Souvenir Store.   Another mill that exists along highway 518 is the infamous Mora Valley Spinning Mill which is also home to the Tapetes De Lana Art Gallery and Store as well as The Coffee Barn snack shop. The Mora Valley Spinning Mill has been spinning and dyeing wool for customers, as far Canada, for the past 11 years. With tours available daily, you can experience the journey that wool takes from its washing all the way to its spinning into yarn. And you’ll enjoy all the art and creations you can purchase from Tapetes De Lana, created by local artists. Rugs, clothing, numerous hand-crafted souvenirs, as well as photographs and hand-painted pictures that will light up any living room. And if your getting exhausted from all the fun your having while in Mora, don’t leave without fueling up on some coffee or a snack from The Coffee Barn.   Also a part of the Mora Valley Spinning Mill are the Historic Hanover Hotel and the Historic Chief Theater of Mora. Originally a theater for plays and concerts, the Historic Chief Theater eventually was converted to a movie theater. Currently under renovation for re-open, the theater is currently available to the public for tours. CAMPING MORA:   Mora is also the destination for some of the most amazing fishing and camping experiences that you

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can have in New Mexico. Just miles from Mora along a meandering creek is Coyote Creek State Park. Famous for its fishing, Coyote Creek State Park also offers a camping experience that will make any level of camper enjoy their visit. Offering sites with electricity, water, and Wi-Fi, those who hate to “rough it out” will feel comfortable with this park’s amenities, including their showers! Still, for those ready to rough it out, there are many campsites among the park that will allow you to cut yourself from society and enjoy the beauty of Mora. With trails to hike, fields to run in, and a playground for children, the whole family will have a memorable experience.   However, if lake fishing and camping is what you prefer, you need not worry. Just miles in the opposite direction is the “lake in the clouds”. Sitting at 8,000 feet, Morphy Lake State Park is another Mora destination that can be enjoyed for the day or an extended camping stay. Nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this hidden lake sits at the edge of the Pecos Wilderness and is stocked with rainbow trout, offering excellent fishing. Canoeing is also a popular activity and this pristine scenic spot offers a unique opportunity for primitive camping.   With quick access to more supplies within the town of Mora, extended stays at either spot are made easy without losing the sense of escape. PLAYING IN MORA:   Mora also proves to be a great destination for those who like to play outside in any season. Just over the hill from Mora rests Pendaries Golf Club and Resort. Offering one of the most illustrious and innovative golf courses in New Mexico, you will enjoy every hole you putt as you golf the mountainside of Pendaries Village. And don’t be surprised if you have to compete with some wildlife on the course! Offering breathtaking views and challenging fairways, Pendaries offers you to extend your stay at its motel, RV Park, or even its cabin rentals. With the ability to rent a cart to tour the course, frisbee golf, and even hiking opportunities, this destination is a must for the Mora visitor. 

  Another gem for your Mora visit is Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort. Positioned perfectly along the Mora River, Sipapu is typically the first resort in New Mexico to open as well as the last to close. Any skier or snowboarder will enjoy a long season on the slopes with easy runs for the beginner and some of the toughest black diamonds you will ever experience. With their infamous snow castle and yearly cardboard sled races, Sipapu remains a key attraction for visitors to Mora. Even when it warms up, Sipapu remains one of Mora’s coolest attractions, with its frisbee golf courses, hiking trails, fishing spots, and concert events. With hotel rooms and cabins to rent, Sipapu is just one more highlight that makes Mora a spectacular destination. EXPLORING MORA:   Mora provides many other fantastic sites to explore throughout its whole county. A journey through our county could land you at Fort Union National Monument. Exposed to the wind, within a sweeping valley of short grass prairie, amid the swales of the Santa Fe Trail, lie the territorial-style adobe remnants of the largest 19th century military fort in the region. For forty years, 1851-1891, Fort Union functioned as an agent of political and cultural change, whether desired or not, in New Mexico and throughout the Southwest.

  Or maybe you’d prefer to explore Mora through the lens of the old west. Mora County is home to the historic Santa Fe Trails. Santa Fe Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in that is 1.6 miles long and begins at 6,358 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 3.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 96 feet. This trail is guaranteed to give you beautiful sites with a travel filled with historic nostalgia.   If you find yourself on the interstate in Mora County, don’t pass the wonderful gem of the village of Wagon Mound. Resting at the foot of the infamous mound that looks like a covered wagon, the area is sure to bring back thoughts of the Old West. And if your visiting during Labor Day Weekend you’ll want to be sure to take advantage of the Famous Bean Day Celebration. Held annually, rain or shine, you’ll enjoy Wagon Mound’s rich history and community as they celebrate with parades, dances, music in the park, and some of the best BBQ in the state. DESTINATION MORA:   With all it has to offer, Mora is a worthy destination for any tourist looking for a great experience any time of the year. The Mora Valley Chamber of Commerce invites you to experience the wonderful world of the Mora Valley. Whether you come to tour the historic mills, fish our clean waters, camp our beautiful sites, or play alongside our wonderful mountainsides, you will not regret making Mora your destination.


La Cueva Cafe/ BBQ

Open May and June 9-4

Open for lunch July 1 through end of Raspberry Season

Closed Tuesdays and Wednesday’s

Closed Mondays

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Photo of Rancho de Fe, Sapello, New Mexico, courtesy Alicia Robicheaux

There is no lack of potential activities in Las Vegas and the surrounding area, especially considering the many outdoor adventures available for those wishing to experience the beauty of both mountains and plains, including the wildlife inhabiting the region. See here information about and how to access the plethora of recreational and outdoor options available for visitors to Las Vegas, New Mexico. BIRDING The Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge (LVNWR), established in 1965, is home to thousands of wintering and resting birds as they pass through northern New Mexico. The refuge is open year-round, seven days a week. Sundays in November, an additional wildlife drive is open allowing visitors into normally inaccessi-

Photo courtesy Deanna Roybal

ble areas of the Refuge. Canada geese, sandhill cranes, snow geese, golden and bald eagles are among the winter guests. Common sightings include prairie falcon, mule deer, coyote, bobcat and a variety of hawks and shore birds. A one-mile nature trail provides a look at native plant life and smaller bird life. For information on schedules, permits, and a birding list containing names of 244 bird species sighted since 1965, contact the LVNWR at 505- 425-3581 or visit: www.fws. gov/southwest/refuges/newmex/lasvegas/index.html. Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge sponsor interpretive programs throughout the year. For topics and program dates call Jan Arrott at 505-454-6115. Birding in the Upper Pecos Valley. One of the hidden gems of birding sites in New Mexico is the Upper Pecos River Valley. The Cowles area is home to many breeding species and is a corridor for migrants in the fall and spring. Mountain birds such as woodpeckers, sapsuckers, kinglets, crossbills, jays, finches, nuthatches and warblers abound. It is also one of New Mexico’s best places to find the delightful American Dipper as it forages in and along the rushing Pecos River. From early summer to early fall, blizzards of hummingbirds swarm area feeders. Fascinating birds and great scenery define birding in the Upper Pecos Valley! CAMPING Las Vegas is fortunate to have a backyard playground that features high forested mountains and lush wilderness areas. Tent campers will find sites that offer a range of recreational opportunities and services from Forest Service remote wilderness areas and designated campgrounds, to multiple State Park facilities, to private campgrounds. The Santa Fe National Forest offers public land for day use and overnight camping just 15 miles northwest of Las Vegas on SR 65 which leads to the tranquil Gallinas Canyon at the base of Hermit’s Peak. Other Forest Service sites near Las Vegas include Johnson Mesa, and El Porvenir campgrounds. The Pecos Canyon Corridor 35 miles east on I-25 (onto SR 63) lends itself to camping near the Pecos River at Field Tract, Holy Ghost, Panchuela, and Jacks Creek campgrounds. The Congressional Designated Pecos Wilderness area consists of a 200,000+ acre tract that offers primitive camping opportunities throughout. For information call the Pe-

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Recreation & Outdoors cos/Las Vegas Ranger District at 505-757-6121 or 505425-3534 or visit www.fs.usda.gov. State Park camping sites are available at Storrie Lake, McAllister Lake, Morphy Lake, Coyote Creek, and Conchas Lake. These sites provide various amenities including picnic tables, fire pits, pavilions, and toilet and shower facilities for both RV and tent camping. Call New Mexico State Parks at 888-667-2757 or view the links at www.nmparks.com. There are multiple private campgrounds in San Miguel County, like the KOA campground just 4 miles south of Las Vegas (505-454-0180), and the Pecos River Campground, 25 miles south of Las Vegas in San Jose. CROSS COUNTRY SKIING Folks seeking cross country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities will enjoy designated trails around the Sipapu and Angel Fire Ski Resorts (see contact information below), as well as the serenity of snow packed trails (used by hikers and backpackers in warmer months) in the Santa Fe and Carson National Forests. Weather permitting, the half-mile Riverwalk in the middle of Las Vegas between Mills and Grand Avenues offers a short run. Cross country ski classes at New Mexico Highlands University have used a variety of forest roads which are ideal during a snowy winter. Most of these sites are off NM 518 north of Las Vegas and include Agua Sarca Canyon (4 miles past Alamitos Creek), La Junta Canyon (one mile further past Alamitos Creek trail), Agua Piedra just past the community of Tres Ritos, Gallegos Trail #4 just beyond Sipapu Ski Area, Amole Canyon just 55 miles north of Las Vegas, and US Hill another 2 miles beyond Amole Canyon. Happily, the uphill trip starts where you leave your vehicle, while the return is mainly downhill with some opportunities for double poling. For safety’s sake, go in a small group and leave information about your route, expected time of return, vehicle description, and license plate with a responsible person. Be aware that many of these areas do not have cell phone coverage. Do not expect these areas to be maintained by the Forest Service. Carry water and a small saw to cut your way through downed saplings across the trail.

DOWNHILL SKIING Within an hour’s drive of Las Vegas are four of northern New Mexico’s best ski areas: Sipapu, Angel Fire, Santa Fe, and Taos Ski Resorts. Sipapu (the Indian word meaning the “little opening” in a ceremonial kiva), is known for its spectacular high mountain setting, narrow trails, and rustic lodges and cabins. This family-friendly resort is located 55 miles north of Las Vegas on NM 518 and has 37 runs at elevations of 8,350–9,200 feet. Information on season activities, ski rentals, rates, and lodging is available by calling 575587-2240, or 800-587-2240 or www.SipapuNM.com.   Angel Fire Ski Resort, nestled in a beautiful alpine valley approximately 60 miles north of Las Vegas, sports 76 runs at elevations of 8,500-10,500 feet, a variety of lodging options, restaurants, and bars. For more information call 800-633-7463 or www.angelfireresort.com. For information about Santa Fe Ski Resort, located on Santa Fe National Forest lands, call 505-982-4429 or visit www.skisantafe.com. For a snow report call 505-983-9155. Taos Ski Resort, about 98 miles from Las Vegas, is on Carson National Forest lands. Find ski resort information at 866- 968-7386 or 575-776-2291 or www.skitaos.org. For Taos snow conditions call 866-968-7386 ext. 2202 or 575-776-2291 ext. 2202. FISHING Quality fishing abounds in all directions in San Miguel County, from secluded back country wilderness areas to easily reached popular spots. All skill levels will enjoy the beautiful northern New Mexico mountain scenery, clean air, moderate year round temperatures, sparkling trout and other game species. Prime fishing destinations include Storrie Lake, Morphy Lake State Park, Villanueva State Park, Conchas Lake State Park, El Porvenir, and the Gallinas and Pecos Rivers. A New Mexico fishing license is required for anyone over 12 years. Licenses for residents and non-residents may be purchased for a year, five days or one day. Contact the Department of Game and Fish 505-

Photo of Rancho de Fe, Sapello, New Mexico, courtesy Alicia Robicheaux

757-6360 or visit www.nmsgf.com for state fishing reports, copies of the state fishing regulations, and maps. GOLF The Gene Torres Golf Course of New Mexico Highlands University, redesigned by noted golf course architect Jeffrey Brauer, is a links course where players of varying abilities can test their skills. The 9-hole course is open to the public (weather permitting) from March 1st to November 30th and features a pro shop, electric cart rental, driving range, club rental, and private lessons by appointment. For information on tournaments, course fees, rentals, lessons, and other services contact 505-425-7711 or visit www.newmexicohighlandsgolf.com. Those interested in high country golfing can try Pendaries Village Golf Course 25 miles north of Las Vegas in Rociada. This beautiful 18- hole course is open to the public and well worth the drive. Electric carts and club rentals are available as well as private lessons with the resident golf pro. For more information call the pro shop at 505-425-3561 or visit www.pendaries.net. Lakeside golfing at Conchas Lake State Park, 76 miles southeast of Las Vegas on NM 104, features 9 holes and is open year round to the public. Pull carts, a club house with snacks, and a lock box for greens fees are available. DISC GOLF The New Mexico Highlands University Disc Golf Course, located on the grounds of the Gene Torres Golf Course, is an 18 basket course where players of all abilities and ages can play. The course begins at the parking lot and utilizes the varied terrain of the area and is free to play. The clubhouse offers course maps and has discs for sale. For more information, call 505920-3431. The Pendaries Village Golf Course has an 18 basket course available during the spring and fall. Other seasonal courses include Sipapu Disc Golf Course - 20 baskets, Angel Fire Disc Golf Course - 18 baskets and Taos Ski Valley Disc Golf Course - 18 baskets. Yearround courses include Two Gray Hares Disc Golf Course - 18 baskets, Picuris Pueblo Disc Golf Course 27 baskets, Taos Roc Pit Disc Golf Course - 18 baskets, and Conchas Dam Disc Golf Course - 9 baskets. More information on all the courses and the game may be found at www.pdga.com.

HIKING Las Vegas is only minutes from thousands of acres of natural countryside and forest areas that afford hikers and backpackers a variety of beautiful terrain and trails. One of the most popular trails in the Pecos Wilderness is Hermit’s Peak (Trail #223) which is a four mile climb. At 10,238 feet it offers both a feeling of accomplishment as well as a fantastic view of the plains to the east! Other popular hiking trails are Dispensas Trail #222, Gallinas Trail #216, and Porvenir Canyon Trail #247 which takes you into the Pecos Wilderness with 25 stream crossings in the first five miles. (Note: Avoid Porvenir Canyon during the spring runoff or during serious rainstorms.) Trails range from moder-

Photo courtesy RaeDawn Price

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 69


Photo courtesy Tasha Rae.

erate to difficult depending on the experience and ability of hikers. Visitors can arrange for informal guided outings and field trips that include day hikes, overnights, backpacking and mountain climbing by contacting the Sierra Club at 505-983-2703. Visit www.fs.usda.gov or call the Las Vegas Ranger District 505-425-3534 or Pecos Ranger District at 505-7576121 for Forest Service maps of the area. Be sure you carry enough water in this dry climate and do not depend on springs or streams unless you are prepared to treat this water to avoid becoming sick. The Forest Service has a program welcoming volunteers who work to keep trails in good condition. Call their office at 505-425-3534 if you would like to volunteer. For a short trek, try the Riverwalk, a paved trail along the Gallinas River which winds through the center of town between National Avenue on the south and Mills Avenue on the north, a distance of just over a half mile. Crossing Mills Avenue on the north to the paved walking track along Cinder Road adds 1 ½ miles.

Photo courtesy Teresa Lujan

HORSEBACK RIDING There are many opportunities to experience the great outdoors on horseback. The Santa Fe and Car son National Forests offer most public opportunities for trail riding to popular destinations and loop trails that provide multiple day ventures. Designated access points into the Pecos Wilderness are Jacks Creek and Iron Gate Equestrian Campgrounds which also provide corrals, hitching rails, water, picnic tables, and other convenient amenities for riders. Private guest ranches and camps boast unspoiled mountain areas and sparkling streams to be discovered on horseback. Guided outings of hourly, half day, full day rides, and pack trips are offered by Cow Creek Ranch 505-757-2107, Diamond E Stables 505-500-7839, and Los Pinos Ranch 505-757-6213 located in the Pecos, NM area. HOT SPRINGS Hot springs abound in Northern New Mexico. Less than 10 minutes from Las Vegas on SR 65, bordering the grounds of the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West, are the rustic but soothing Montezuma Hot Springs, a popular haunt for locals. Originally part of the famous Montezuma Hotel, several natural hot springs are available to the public year round. Call 505-454-4245 for more information. HUNTING Northern New Mexico’s hunting areas offer the avid sportsman a variety of game including elk, deer, bear, grouse, squirrel, turkey and mountain lion. Near Ocate, the Black Lake – Whites Peak area is a popular elk and deer hunting site and accessible by vehicle. The Pecos Wilderness, a more challenging terrain, can only be reached by foot or on horseback. Circle S Stables in Pecos offers elk hunts Sept. 1st thru October. Call cell 575-707-5133 or 505-757-8400 after June 1st. Also, Visit the Santa Fe or Carson National Forest websites at www.fs.usda.gov for information. Hunting licenses are required and available through licensed vendors; however, applications to draw for limited licenses (antelope, elk, bighorn sheep and other species) can only be made by contacting the Game & Fish Department. Seasons vary from area to area so hunters should obtain the New Mexico Big Game and Turkey Seasons Proclamation which is a detailed journal of dates, laws and regulations governing the various hunts available. Proclamations are available from the Department of Game & Fish at 505-757-6360 or www.wildlife. state.nm.us.

70  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

MOUNTAIN BIKING Exploring San Miguel County by mountain bike enables visitors to experience the countryside from an entirely different perspective. Back roads open up to high country and ranch land for two wheel adventures into the Santa Fe National Forest. Free Travel Management Maps are available online at www.santafenationalforest.com, or at local offices in Las Vegas (1926 North 7th Street) or Pecos (32 Main Street). The Gallinas Canyon Recreation Area near Las Vegas offers similar biking experiences. For more information call 505-425-3534. RUNNING Popular jogging routes in town include the historic business and residential districts as well as the Riverwalk along the Gallinas stretching from Mills Avenue in the north, south to Grand Avenue. Walkers and bicyclists are regulars here as well. The Las Vegas Na-

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tional Wildlife Refuge, 5 miles east of Las Vegas off SR 104, is also used by and runners and cyclists. For more information call 505-425-3581 or visit www.fws.gov/ southwest/refuges/newmex/lasvegas/index.html. SWIMMING New Mexico Highlands University offers an indoor swimming pool open to the public for adult lap swimming, 505-425-7511 or 505-454-3073 as does the Abe Montoya Recreation Center, 505-426-1739 for a schedule and fees. WINDSURFING/WATER SPORTS With over 70,500 acre feet of water, Conchas Lake is one of the most popular recreation sites for boating, waterskiing, and other water sports. Call 575-8682270. For information on windsurfing at Storrie Lake call 505-425-7278. WORKOUT SPACES Interested in outdoor exercise? Las Vegas has 22 public parks throughout the city. The Abe Montoya Recreation Center has a fitness center plus racquetball courts, a skate park, and basketball courts. Call 505426-1739 or check the Las Vegas City website www. lasvegasnm.gov

  The NMHU Gene Torres Golf Course is located at the base of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains and offers the golfer a scenic view and fresh air. The golf course officially opened in 1958 and was a traditional 9-hole parkland style golf course. Redesigned in 2008 by ®Jeffrey D. Brauer, ASGCA, with quite a contrast in lay out to the previous course. We now have a touch of Scotland in the heart of Las Vegas, NM with this amazing 9-hole championship length links style golf course!   The course is characterized by generous fairways, relatively flat terrain, a combination of links style as well as tree lined holes, and the best greens in the state. The course features 3 significant par 4’s - all in the 400 yard plus range. Prepare to be challenged right out of the gate – the first two holes could leave you shaking your head and playing catch up the rest of the nine. Holes 3, 4, and 5 are where you can make a run for the course record.   Holes 6 and 7 are perched on the highest land of the golf course so be ready to hit some shots into our famous crosswind from the SW. Hole 8 is considered our signature hole and is one of the most uniquely designed par 5s in the state. The tee box is elevated around 100 feet above the fairway and is a great risk reward par 5. At just over 545 yards, a good drive will give you a chance to reach the green in 2. However, you will have to flirt with 2 giant 30 foot mounds covered in fescue that are right in front of the green, leaving you a blind shot to the green.   The 9th hole is considered by many players to be one of the hardest par 3s in the state. From the tips, you have 238 yards to the middle of the green. The green is a mirrored version of the road hole at St. Andrews and is slightly angled so the landing area is small. There is a pot bunker on the right side of the green and a 40-yard bunker parallel to the green on the left. Making a 3 on this hole will give you bragging rights over your buddies.   The NMHU Gene Torres Golf Course features a 300+ yard driving range including a sizable grass tee area and a putting/chipping green. Our qualified PGA Head Golf Professional, Justin Aragon, offers a full array of clinics as well as private lessons so that you can get the most out of your golf game. Be sure to inquire about the new video/launch monitor swing analysis currently being offered at the golf course.

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from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan from the Las Vegas Gazette, 1880 (Billy the Kid) He is just about five feet eight or nine inches tall, slighly built and lithe, weighing about 140; a frank open countenance, looking like a school boy, with the traditional silky fuzz on his upper lip; clear blue eyes, with a rougish snap about them, light hair and complexion. He is, in all, quite a handsome looking fellow; the only imperfection being two prominent front teeth slightly protruding like squirrel’s teeth, and he has agreeable and winning ways.

• Reasonable greens fees , with hotel and senior discounts • Cart and pull cart rental • Club rentals • Practice range • Complete pro shop • Women’s Golf Association play every Wednesday at 9 am • Justin Aragon, Golf Professional • On site full service restaurant and bar • 1 Country Club Lane Las Vegas N.M. 87701 • 505-425-3599 Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 71




Las Vegas • Maxwell • Mora

 The mission of the United States Fish and Wildlife Ser- overlook, located at the headquarters, is open during from March 1st through October 31st,. The Visitor Center vice is: “working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance, fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.”   Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge, Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge and Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area are three of the more than 560 national wildlife refuges in the United States. These three beautiful, rocky mountain, grassland refuges form the Northern New Mexico National Wildlife Refuge Complex.   Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1965 to provide wintering and migration habitat for ducks and geese of the Central flyway, as well as other migratory bird species. This 8,672 acre refuge is open seven days a week to the public for wildlife observation and photography. While driving the 8 mile auto tour you may see many types of wildlife depending on the season. In the fall and winter months when you look across the short grass prairie you may see Sandhill Cranes and thousands of geese feeding in the fields or ponds. During spring and fall migration you may see the majestic Bald Eagle roosting on a cottonwood snag at the Crane Lake Observation Deck or along the auto tour route. In the summer months you may see a variety of raptors, elk, or hear the howl of a coyote. The Crane Lake Observation Deck is a great place to view elk in the early morning or early evening hours. Whatever the season you can always enjoy the Gallinas Nature Trail which begins near a crumbling old rock homestead, drops down into a canyon and winds its way through Ponderosa pine and Juniper trees.   The refuge offers environmental education and interpretation programs to school groups and sponsors public events such as Fall Flight Festival Wildlife Drive, Concert for the Birds, and a variety of special presentations, in conjunction with the Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge. Stop by the Refuge Headquarters for more information, Monday – Thursday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and Friday 8:00 am to 3:30 pm. The Melton Pond

daylight hours. Visit the Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge website at http://flvnwr.org/ for an update of events or to become a member and invest time in a variety of projects designed to support and enhance your national treasure. Contact the refuge at 505-425-3581 for more information.   Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1965. This 3,700 acre refuge is a living illustration of a variety of concepts in land use. Restoration of the short grass prairie lands for the black-tailed prairie dog, farming for migratory birds, and management of invasive species are just a few examples of land management practic-

Photo courtesy Katie Lopez es adopted by this refuge. Eleven miles of refuge roads provide plenty of wildlife observation and photography opportunities. Located in the central flyway this refuge has recorded over 220 species of birds. When you’re driving or hiking you may see Swainson’s hawks, Red tailed hawks, or Peregrine falcons dipping and diving over the prairie. Mule deer, White-tailed deer and Pronghorn antelope will be grazing on the native short grasses throughout the refuge. Early fall is a great time to experience a whirl of migrating birds on the refuge. Whether you drive, walk or just sit and relax, Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge is an experience you will not soon forget.   The refuge is open year round to the public. Camping, fishing, and boating are permitted in designated areas

is open Monday – Friday as staff is available. Contact the Refuge Manager to find out about the newest events or for volunteer opportunities at 575-375-2331 and follow our tweets at twitter.com/Maxwell for the latest wildlife observations.   New Mexico’s newest refuge, Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area, is a watershed level partnership effort in conjunction with a 4,224 acre National Wildlife Refuge. Located near Watrous, New Mexico this refuge meets several key objectives of the Americas Great Outdoors initiative to engage youth in outdoor education and recreation. Rio Mora NWR features environmental education programing serving hundreds of students and teachers. This partnership driven conservation area initiative allows the Service to provide technical support to interested landowners throughout the Rio Mora watershed. The Headquarters area contains the original homesteads of the first U.S. Senator of Mexican-American Heritage and the second Hispanic governor of New Mexico. These unique buildings offer a quiet, comfortable place to create conversations in conservation.   Wildlife is abundant within the varying ecosystems on refuge and within the conservation area. There will be plenty of opportunities to see prairie falcons flying along the cliffs edge, bison grazing on the short grass prairie, or possibly, Gunnison prairie dogs popping out of their mounds on the ground. Five miles of the Mora River quietly meander through this vast canyon, adding a variety of native fish and amphibians to the extensive flora and fauna list. This splendid river aids the growth of Cotton and Coyote Willows furnishing habitat for the Willow Fly Catcher, as well as, supporting busy beavers working to shore up their dwellings.   Currently, the refuge is open for guided tours and organized public activities. For the latest information on this new refuge contact the Northern New Mexico National Wildlife Refuge Complex at 505-425-3581.

Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge is a 501(C)3 organization with members committed to preserving and enhancing the refuge through awareness, appreciation, conservation, science and education. The group serves as a liaison between the Refuge and the public and contributes time, monies, materials, and services to support and complete projects and activities that address Refuge goals and objectives. Friends’ contributions assure that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty and wonder of the Las Vegas NWR. In addition to supporting the Las Vegas NWR, they also support Maxwell NWR and Rio Mora NWR and Conservation Area, other components of the Northern New Mexico NWR Complex. Friends provide educational programming targeted for youth as well as

adult programs designed to inform and stimulate thinking and action. It sponsors monthly hikes and volunteer opportunities such as working with kids’ programs in schools, cleaning a hiking trail or weeding the pollinator garden. Important tasks include planning special events like the annual Concert for the Birds, the Fall Flight Festival, and the Las Vegas Electric Light Parade. Visit us on Face Book www.facebook.com/FLVNWR or at the Friends of Las Vegas NWR website at http://flvnwr.org/ for an update of events or to become a member and invest time in a variety of projects designed to support and enhance all these national treasures. Contact the Refuge at 505-425- 3581 or Friends at 505-426- 5958 for more information.

Events Calendar • Friends of the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge FRIENDS OF LV WILDLIFE SCHEDULE May June July August September October November

Saturday 11 Saturday 8 Saturday 13 Sunday 4 Saturday 10 Saturday 14 Sunday 29 Saturday 12 Sunday 2 Sunday 10 Sunday 20 Sunday 27

Rio Mora Hike Rio Mora Hike Rio Mora Hike Heritage Day Rio Mora Rio Mora Hike Rio Mora Hike Concert for the Birds Rio Mora Hike  Fall Flight Festival Fall Flight Festival Fall Flight Festival Fall Flight Festival

72  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Birding in Las Vegas Birding is a fast-growing outdoor activity. It’s been estimated that about 85 million Americans enjoy birdwatching, and about 18 million are serious enough to take trips and vacations exclusively for that purpose. Las Vegas, NM is a prime but little-known destination for birdwatchers, and a great place to vacation. Our avian abundance is no coincidence. Diversity of bird species is an indicator of ecological health, and the Las Vegas area abounds with “unspoiled wilderness.” The area is also within the Central Flyway, a migratory bird path that extends all the way into Central and South America. A few miles east of town, the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge (LVNWR ) is home to a wide variety of Hummingbird birds, some migratory waterfowl, others year-round residents. Over 270 bird species have been sighted here. The refuge encompasses several ecosystems, including tall-grass prairie, piñon-juniper woodlands, and numerous riparian areas. The LVNWR includes a visitor center and several nature trails. The Refuge staff hold regular educational events, open to the public. In the fall, visitors to the refuge may be lucky enough to see the dance of the sandhill cranes. The   dances of these large, migratory birds are both exuberant and elaborate, and may feaAmerican Kestrel ture bowing, jumping, running, stick or grass-tossing and wing-flapping. Their dance is popularly referred to as a “mating dance,” but while important as a courtship ritual, it is also performed by cranes of all ages outside the breeding season. The behavior is believed to serve a number of other purposes including motor skill development, relief of tension and strengthening the pair bond. Slightly north of Las Vegas, the Ruby Ranch plays host to a variety of migratory waterfowl, some as rare as Sabine’s gull and the red phalarope. A variety of raptors including the bald eagle can also be seen here.

been opened to the public. Birders visiting the Sabinoso can help by documenting the variety of bird species in this rugged and unspoiled wilderness area. Roughly 40 miles from Las Vegas, the Sabinoso has a great deal of habitat diversity, from forest to cliffs, canyon and riparian bottomlands. Species already sighted here include the red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, western scrub-jay, pine siskin, juniper titmouse, mourning dove, lesser goldfinch, savannah sparrow, chipping sparrow, mountain chickadee, Bewick’s wren, broad-tailed hummingbird, white-breasted nuthatch, pinion jay, Virginia warbler, hairy woodpecker, Red tailed hawk white-throated swift, gray flycatcher, bushtit, and turkey vulture. The birding statistics in this article were obtained from the website and smartphone app ebird.org. Ebird lists over 30 area birdwatching destinations. Nearby sites listed by Ebird with over one hundred bird species observed include Storrie Lake, Gallinas Canyon, Villanueva State Park, Pecos National Historic Park, and, within city limits, the Gallinas Riverwalk and the New Mexico Highlands University Golf Course (it has a wetlands on site.) Las Vegas, then, is a phenomenal birdwatching destination, both for the dedicated birder and those who may wish to get out and view some wildlife while enjoying a relaxing vacation in a small, friendly, picturesque community.


Both the LVNWR and Ruby Ranch are on the Audobon Society’s list of Important Bird Areas.

Photo courtesy Andy Sanchez

Photo courtesy Vincent Marquez

Hairy woodpecker

The Sabinoso Wilderness is not (yet) on the list of Important Bird Areas, but this may be because it has only recently

Sandhill cranes Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 73

Restaurants in Las Vegas, Pecos and Mora

from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan From The Las Vegas Optic, July 25, 1881 An esteemed friend of the Optic at Fort Sumner, L.W. Hale, has sent us the index finger of “Billy, the Kid,” the one which has snapped many a man’s life into eternity. It is well-preserved in alcohol and has been viewed by many in our office today. If the rush continues we shall purchase a small tent and open a side show to which complimentary tickets will be issued to our personal friends.

Abraham’s Tiendita, 151 Bridge St., 425-0930 Arby’s, 1711 7th St., 425-544 B-3 BBQ, Burgers, Beer, 131 Bridge St. Blake’s Lota Burger, 2302 7th St., 425-8460 Borracho’s 139 Bridge St., 505-615-3561 Burger King, 1355 Grand Ave., 425-9113 Casa de Herrera Restaurant, Hwy. 63, Pecos 505-757-6740 Charlie’s Spic & Span Bakery & Café, 715 Douglas Ave., 426-1921 Dairy Queen Brazier, 200 Columbia Ave., 454-0745 Dairy Queen Pecos, 137 NM-50, Pecos 505-757-2196 Dairy Queen Sandoval’s, 2408 7th St., 425-6682 Daylight Donuts, 3001 Hot Spring Blvd., 454-0453 Dick’s Pub & Restaurant, 705 Douglas Ave., 425-8261 Dicho’s Coffee, 500 Douglas Ave., 425-6761 Domino’s Pizza, 611 Mills, 425-3030 El Encanto, 1816 Plaza, 454-9195 El Rialto, 141 Bridge St., 454-0037 El Sombero, 825 Mills Ave., 425-3705 Frankie’s at the Casanova, 12 So.Main St., Pecos 505-757-3322 Hatcha’s Restaurant, 330 Main, Mora 575-387-9299 Hillcrest Restaurant, 1106 Grand Ave., 425-7211 JC’s New York Pizza, 209 Plaza, 454-4444 Jefita’s, 324 South Pacific, 425-9053 Johnny’s Mexican Kitchen, 717 Grand Ave., 454-1769 K-Bob’s, 1803 7th St., 425-6322 Kentucky Fried Chicken, 1139 Grand Ave., 425-3815 Kika’s Cafe, 232 Glorieta Hwy., Pecos 505-757-2900 Kocina de Raphael, 610 Legion Dr., 454-1667 Kristy’s Korner Kafe, 765 Hwy 518, Cleveland, 575-387-5230 La Casita de Mama, 250 Mills Ave., 425-3776 La Cueva Café, Intersection of NM-518 & NM-442, 866-281-1515 La Fiesta, 1814 7th St., 454-9828 Little Caesars, 1604 7th St., 505-425-9522 Little Moon Chinese Restaurant, 1217 Grand Ave., 425-0939 Little Saigon, 2001 N Grand Ave., 454-1842 Mary Ann’s Famous Burritos, 528 S. Grand Ave., 426-8929 Mayela’s Restaurant, 232 Pecos Hwy., Pecos 505-757-3038 McDonald’s, 1501 7th St., 454-1103 Olivia’s, 233 Plaza, 426-8034 Pedro’s Bakery, 525 Grand Ave., 454-9142 Pendaries Lodge, Hwy 94 & 105, Rociada, 425-3561 Pino’s Family Restaurant, 1901 N. Grand Ave., 454-1944 Pizza Hut/Wing St., 1615 7th St., 425-9322 Rene’s 50’s Diner, 346 NM-518, Mora, 575-387-5066 Sonic Drive In, 1411 7th St., 425-9577 Subway (Walmart), 2609 7th St., 454-1800 Taco Bell, 1415 7th St., 426-8236 Taco King, 1209 National Ave., 505-349-1255 The Coffee Shop, 225 Plaza, 505-425-3134 Theresa’s Tamales, Hwy. 518 MM33, Cleveland, 575-387-2754 The Skillet, 623 12th St., 505-563-0477 The Range, Plaza Hotel, 230 Old Town Plaza, 505-425-3591 Traveler’s Cafe, 1814 Plaza, 426-8638 Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers, 1561w 7th St., 426-8180 74  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Hotels, Motels, RV Parks in Las Vegas Best Western Budget Inn Comfort Inn Crow’s Nest B&B Days Inn El Camino Motel El Fidel Hotel Historic Plaza Hotel Castañeda Holiday Inn Knights Inn Knights Rest Las Vegas KOA Palomino Regal Sunshine Super 8 Thunderbird Town House Vegas RV Park

2020 N Grand Ave.   1216 Grand Ave.   2500 N Grand Ave.  524 Columbia   2000 N Grand Ave.  1152 N. Grand Ave. 500 Douglas Ave. 230 Plaza      524 Railroad Ave. 816 Grand Ave.    1152 N Grand Ave.  1101 N. Grand Ave. HCR 31 1330 N Grand Ave.  1809 N Grand Ave.  1201 N Grand Ave.  2029 N Grand Ave.  400 S Grand Ave   1215 N Grand Ave.  504 Harris Rd.

426-8000 425-9357 425-1100 425-2623 425-1967 425-5994 425-6761 425-3591 425-3591 426-8182 425-5994 425-9395 454-0180 425-3548 454-1456 425-3506 425-5288 454-1471 425-6717 425-5640

San Miguel and Mora Co. Hummingbird Cabin Hwy. 63, Pecos 505-757-6311 Los Pinos Ranch 32 Panchuela Rd, Tererro 505-757-6213 Pecos Benedictine Monastery Hwy. 63, Pecos 505-757-6415 Pecos Cabins Hwy. 63, Tererro 505-757-2784 Pecos River Cabins Hwy. 50, Pecos 505-757-8752 Pecos River Cabin Hwy. 63, Pecos 520-940-0424 Pendaries RV Resort 3 Park Place, Rociada 505-454-8304 Mora Inn & RV Park 765 NM Hwy. 518, Cleveland 575-387-5230 Sierra Bonita RV Park Hwy. 434, MM17.5, Guadalupita 575-224-0610 Wilderness Gateway B&B 2444 Hwy. 63, Pecos 505-757-2801

from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan While Silva maintained a fairly respectable position in the community, his saloon did not, and was carefully avoided by respectable citizens. Open twenty-four hours a day, it attracted men and women of the lowest character and reputation, some of them vagrants who made the saloon their home. Crowded day and night, it was the scene of periodic disturbances, where loud and boisterous language and ribald songs filled the air and drunken brawls often spilled out into the street. It was from this saloon element that Silva, motivated by greed, organized his Society of Bandits of New Mexico, consisting of about forty members. In later years, after its demise, the crime organization was popularly referred to as “Vincente Silva and the 40 Thieves.”

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1900 Grand Avenue

816 S. Grand Ave., Las Vegas, NM 87701

from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan Tom Mix, cowboy movie star, filmed cowboy Westerns in Las Vegas. Las Vegas elders watched with silent amusement as stagecoaches once again rolled through streets now served by electric streetcars and members of the younger generation reenacted action scenes of the Western frontier that were all too vivid in their memories. They had seen it all - the violence and trauma of life in the frontier West - and now they were seeing it again, staged this time for the entertainment of paying customers in comfortable movie houses over the nation. Serving Las Vegas & surrounding areas over 35 Years!

from Wildest of the WILD WEST by Howard Bryan In some way, the Society of Bandits could be called the Hispanic counterpart of the Anglo American Dodge City Gang that had brought so much violence to the Las Vegas scene a decade before. Silva, like Hoodoo Brown before him, managed to maintain an air of respectability in the community, while his followers, like those of Hoodoo Brown, often were known by descriptive nicknames, such as The Shrunken One, The Dull One, The Flat-Nosed One, The Hawk, The Owl, and Frog Legs, and included a few who were members of the local police force. Murder, robbery, thievery, and rustling were rampant in San Miguel County during Silva’s reign of terror in the early 1890s, but the citizens did not connect Silva, the businessman, with any of it. His name seldom appeared in Las Vegas newspapers during his lifetime.

REGAL INN MOTEL Independently Owned & Operated Your Host: Eddie

• Free Wi-Fi • FREE Continental Breakfast • Guest Laundry Available • Budget and Weekly Rates Available

(505) 454-1456

fax: (505) 216-9191

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On behalf of the Sonchar family and the staff at BTU Do it center:

ank You!

900 Mills Ave., Las Vegas, NM · 425-9329 1809 N. Grand Ave., Las Vegas, NM 87701

www.btudoitcenter.com Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 75

Gallinas PARK REVItALIZATION A Project to Revitalize the Gallinas River Park in Las Vegas   Not every town is lucky enough to have a river running through it; Las Vegas,   Walk along the Gallinas River from Bridge Street downstream toward IndeNM is. It was founded on the banks of the Gallinas River, and the river contin- pendence Street and you’ll see for yourself, the transformation that is underway. ues to support our community’s livelihood. However, 150 years of use has taken   Using state of the art, river restoration techniques and amazing restoration its toll on the river and its vitality is not what it could be. experts, the river from Bridge Str. downstream a 1/3 of a mile have been re  Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance and a group of community organizations, stored to more resemble its former self. This section of river was straightened local schools, government entities and individuals have begun working to trans- during the city’s industrial days. Lost were meanders of a healthy river, pools for form the Gallinas River and Park into the centerpiece of our town; a place for fish, falls that make the river gurgle and oxygenate the water. Restoration has all to be proud of and enjoy. brought back these features, returning the river to a bubbling, winding, beauti  The Gallinas River Park, with the main access at the Bridge Street river cross- ful place for people, fish and wildlife. ing, is an underutilized, underappreciated and often neglected gem in the center   Work to revitalize the river and park will undoubtedly take many years. It’s of town. Its revitalization to a vibrant, beautiful and multipurpose park is un- an approximately $5 million effort – a lot to pull off for a small, poor town. But derway and will benefit Las Vegas’s culture, tradition, outdoor recreation oppor- with the entire community jumping in to help in their own way its going to tunities, environment, economy and quality of life. progress each year. So, keep watching for the changes. Work that has happened so far or is planned soon includes: •  Six bat boxes will be installed in April 2019 •  A conceptual design for the park from Mills Ave. to Grand Ave. is •  San Miguel County has plans to resurface the walking trail in 2019   completed •  A search for funding to develop construction ready drawings for the •  The Gallinas River Park Collaborative has been formed and actively    park is underway   coordinates the revitalization •  The 7th annual Gallinas River Cleanup is scheduled for April 27th •  River and bosque restoration completed along 1/3 mile •  The 3rd annual Gallinas Riverfest is scheduled for September 28th •  Two interpretive signs designed by West Las Vegas High School   students were installed; 4 more are funded and will be installed in 2019 Here’s a peak of the new planned park features and their benefits: •  An easily accessible, beautiful, nature based, park will improve our overall •  Infrastructure (trash receptacles, good lighting) and policing will   facilitate a safe, clean and comfortable setting that emulates community   quality of life. •  A place in the center of town that reflects and honors our unique cultural   pride and care.   identify will foster community pride. •  By connecting east and west Las Vegas on the banks of the Gallinas River   our sense of social connection and common ground will improve. •  Using interpretive signs and other methods, a communal outdoor space   will showcase our town’s unique culture and history. •  A restored river and bosque will benefit our water supply and watershed   functions, air quality, urban fish and wildlife habitat, and the sense of a   healthy environment. A healthier environment will foster our physical and   mental health. •  Green infrastructure, like rainwater gardens, will harvest and treat   stormwater. •  Outdoor recreation opportunities - biking, walking, skating, fishing,   picnicking, bird and butterfly watching and just hanging out. •  Community gardens and orchards, urban forestry, traditional, edible and   medicinal plants will add beauty, utility and a moister and cooler climate   in our urban center. •  Las Vegas residents, including young people, that feel pride in their   community are more likely to stay here. •  A revitalized Gallinas River Park will attract tourists and provide local  business development opportunities in a culturally appropriate and   sustainable manner. •  A space for public art like sculptures, spaces for painting, photography   and music. •  A place for education opportunities for young and old with local   schools and life-long learners.

Coalition Shelters Pets and Promotes Animal Welfare   Our pets are our companions and members of our families. One non-profit organization headquartered in Las Vegas helps keep them safe and healthy. The Animal Welfare Coalition of Northeastern New Mexico holds the contracts with both the City of Las Vegas and San Miguel County to operate the city-owned animal shelter. The group is licensed by the New Mexico Board of Veterinary Medicine.   Most of the animals brought into the shelter by citizens or by city or county animal control officers have no identification and are not claimed. Those animals are either adopted locally or transported to transfer partner agencies elsewhere for adoption. Unidentified animals coming in sick or injured are sent to veterinary clinics or hospitals in Santa Fe or Albuquerque for treatment. The group has attained a 93.6% “live outcome” record, which means animals brought in to the shelter have a very high likelihood of being adopted.   Passionate and skilled staff and knowledgeable volunteers provide dayto-day care and one-on-one socialization to reduce stress. Happier animals are more adoptable.   The AWC offers low-cost spay/neuter to help reduce unwanted dog and cat overpopulation. The $25 service includes spaying or neutering, rabies and other needed vaccinations, an imbedded chip to help identify the pet’s guardian in the future, and transportation to and from the veterinary clinic in Santa Fe.  The AWC also runs a “Pet Food Pantry” for those who need help feeding a pet and free straw in the winter for dog house insulation.


1. Plaza Park 2. Police Station 3. Gallinas River 4. NM Highlands University 5. Carnegie Park

76  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. —Mahatma Gandhi   The AWC can be reached at 505-426-3289. You can visit the Pet Center at 1680 N. Grand Avenue in Las Vegas or online at www.animalwelfarenewmexico.org or facebook.com/animalwelfarenewmexico. Donations are needed and welcomed either online or by check payable to the Animal Welfare Coalition and mailed to P. O. Box 524, Las Vegas, NM. 87701.

6. Lincoln Park 7. Railroad Ave. & La Castañeda 8. Visitors Center / Historic Train Depot 9. City Museum and Rough Rider Collection 10. Bridge Street

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 77



NM 518

EXIT 347


Las Vegas



EXIT 345

Riverwalk Main Street Arteries MainStreet Corridor EXIT 343

I-25 Interstate                   


78  |  Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  | 79

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Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  

Produced by Las Vegas First Business Alliance the Las Vegas and San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide provides valuable information to the visitor a...

Las Vegas & San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide 2019  

Produced by Las Vegas First Business Alliance the Las Vegas and San Miguel Co. Visitors Guide provides valuable information to the visitor a...


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