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Hillsboro Museu

Revived contents reveal worl adie Jane Creech Orchard arrived in Kingston, New Mexico, in 1886. She opened brothels, worked as a prostitute, built and operated hotels, restaurants and co-owned and drove for a regional stagecoach line. She lived from 1860 to 1943. Tom Ying was born in China, probably in the 1860s, as recorded on the tombstone in the Hillsboro Cemetery. In 1885 Ying opened a restaurant in the northern New Mexico town of Lake Valley and then ended up in Hillsboro some time after 1893. Orchard brought Ying in to run the restaurant at Ocean Grove Hotel, now the Black Range Museum. It is said he ran the restaurant and lived in the building until the mid1950s. According to his tombstone, he died in 1959. In July 2016, the Hillsboro Historical Society acquired the museum and its contents. Since then, spearheaded by Garland Bills in a labor of love, the Black Range Museum has undergone a process of cleaning, straightening and reorganizing that is nothing less than miraculous. The building and its contents are receiving a facelift extraordinaire as becomes obvious during a tour through the facility as it currently stands. One of the rooms, revamped and now open again, contains memorabilia and information regarding Ying and Orchard. Photos of Orchard, newspaper articles and Ying’s headwear including two skull caps and a round hat, can be


found here. Bills is careful about the accuracy of provenance. “We think this is Sadie’s sidesaddle but we are not sure,” he said. “But we know she used a sidesaddle.” He pointed out Orchard’s will and noted her signature was marked by an X. But that doesn’t mean she was necessarily illiterate, but rather that as she got older she may have had palsy. Orchard ran a local stagecoach line and the Mountain Pride Stagecoach, a photo of the vehicle is on the wall at the museum but the coach itself is on display in the town of Lincoln. In another room is displayed items from Ying’s restaurant, including the “Little Brown Hen Incubator” and the first refrigerator in Hillsboro, bought on May 18, 1931, for $600. According to an old newspaper story, Bills said, the salesman wanted a down payment to bring the fridge, but Ying said he wouldn’t do anything like that. So, after other townspeople vouched for Ying, the equipment was delivered. “The story is the guy who sold it to him (Ying) brought it and Tom went to the porch, pulled up a floor board and took out $600,” Bills said. Bills said next to the refrigerator museum volunteers found a round object they thought was a barbecue grill but discovered it was an incubator when they opened it. Not only was there “chick poop” but also it was lined with a Chinese/English newspaper from San

TOP: Black Range Museum, probably built in 1884, has many secrets yet to be revealed by the Hillsboro Historical Society. ABOVE: A water tower made of adobe held up a tank for the Ocean Grove Hotel and Tom Ying’s Restaurant which flowed water into an early hot water heater inside the building. (Photos are by Elva K. Österreich)

Pickamania 2017 Event Lives on in Kingston

Members of the Hard Road Trio will share their talent Sept. 22-24 in Kingston during Pickamania 2017. (Courtesy Photo)

rom its origins in the mid 1980s as a backyard party hosted in a garlic shed, Pickamania has evolved into a festival celebrating the love of acoustic music of all genres. The event went mainstream in 2008 when the Mimbres Region Arts Council adopted the name and created its own awesome Pickamania festival in a downtown park in Silver City, with professional bands from across the country. This year the Black Range Lodge in Kingston, will host the event at its new outdoor pavilion, as the culmination of their summer Starlight Concert series, Sept. 22-24.


Reviving the home-grown spirit of the original party, Pickamania 2017 features a talented line-up of New Mexico musicians, with a few from Arizona and Colorado. Headliners Saturday night will be flat-picking guitar champion Peter McLaughlin from Arizona and fiddle/mandolin player Chris Brashear, who offer an original blend of southwestern bluegrass music. Preceding them on Saturday are Chris Sanders and Anne Luna from the Hard Road Trio, joined by KC Groves (founder of the legendary bluegrass band “Uncle Earl”), and multi-instrumental wizard Ezra Bussmann, son of Pickamania founder Bill Bussmann. The weekend will begin Friday from 7 to 10 p.m. with a country flavor, featuring regional musicians Mackie Redd & Kathy Reed, and the bluegrass band Sawmill Canyon. Satur-

day events are scheduled 3 to 10 p.m., and Sunday morning music will go from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., starting with Desert Milk from Truth or Consequences, ESP from Silver City, and culminate with two inspirational gospel groups. See the schedule for specific times and bands. Admission to Pickamania is $30 for the weekend, or $10 Friday and Sunday, and $20 Saturday, with children half price. Wine and beer will be available from Black Range Vineyards, with free ice tea for designated drivers. Food trucks will offer more substantial fare, or bring a picnic. Band CDs will be for sale, and available as door prizes during the festival. The event is sponsored by the Sierra County Arts Council. For more information call the Black Range Lodge at 575-8955652, or visit

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