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welcome “Ken Thurston Homes are built with superior quality, design, and innovation.”

Ready to move into your own quality built, Energy Star home?

Record-low interest rates and affordable pricing make now the time to


Ken Thurston Homes has the right home for you, starting at just

$128,900 and $0 down payment. Our 34 years of innovation in affordable housing has made Ken Thurston Homes an industry leader in Las Cruces.

In fact, we help more local families move into EPA-qualified, Energy Star homes than any other builder.

What benefits do Energy Star homes offer? Better value! Our modern

construction techniques lower your cost of heating, cooling, and overall

maintenance. Ken Thurston Homes don’t just keep the planet greener – our homes keep more green in your wallet!

As an Energy Star homebuyer, you will even qualify for special financ-

ing thanks to the lower utility costs you’ll enjoy. That means a 2%

increase in purchasing power to help you move into the home you deserve.

It’s no wonder our homes consistently appreciate in value, making

them a wise investment for the working family. Ken Thurston Homes are built with superior quality, design, and innovation. What’s more, our rep-

resentatives help first time buyers through special assistance programs including MFA HERO, IHDA H.E.L.P., and others.

There’s never been a better time to invest in quality living in Las

Cruces. Contact one of our representatives today at 575-373-9422 to choose a home design that fits your needs and price range – and we’ll do the rest!

Visit our new sales office at 4700 Rimrock Rd.

Take Del Rey, turn on Parkhill, pass Roadrunner and Rimrock is the first left.

Thanks for buying our homes,

Ken Thurston - Builder P.S. To learn even more and see virtual photo tours of our homes visit our website

at today!

subdivisions a: rincon mesa • Choose from 12 house plans • Homes from $128,900

See Online Tour at

b: parkhill 2 • Choose from 8 house plans • Homes from the mid-$140,000’s c: parkhill south • Choose from 10 house plans • Homes from the low $200,000’s • Large lots - Build to Suit! d: peaceful valley • Many Plans to Choose From • Homes from $200,000

visit our sales office at 5042 Kenner Way See Online Tour at

COMING SOON!! • Sierra Norte Heights • Peaceful Valley 2

or visit our “NEW” sales office at 4700 Rimrock Dr.

Call us for more information 575-373-9422

Kameron Johnson

Tyler Morsbach

Call 575.373.9422 Today!

Rincon Mesa


Starting a t $128,9 00 Plan 2182

PLAN 2182

PLAN 1500

Plan 1500

• Choose From 12 House Plans • Energy Package

See Pg. 7

• Chrome Avalon Fixtures • One- color paint

• Tile in kitchen, bathrooms,

• Ceiling fan prewires in

utility room, entry & dining room

all bedrooms

• Synthetic Stucco

• Cheyenne Doors

Plan 1862

PLAN 1076

PLAN 1862

Plan 1076


energy efficiency

Ken Thurston Homes provides competitively priced, energy-efficient homes Ken Thurston Homes is justifiably proud of the competitively priced, energy efficient home it offers to Las Cruces buyers. The three seals prominently displayed on all subdivision sales brochures tell the story: Building America Program Partner, Energy Star, and American Lung Association of New Mexico. Ken Thurston and his associate Joe Hays have been committed to utilizing state-of-the art research and technology to assure each housing unit – (from slab to studs to attic, to front door to each and every window, from kitchen appliances to heating/cooling ducts) - saves energy, provides a healthy, comfortable interior, and helps heal the environment. For Ken Thurston it is “just the right way to go, for all clients, in every price range.” Maybe that’s why Ken Thurston Homes built more new homes in Las Cruces in 2004 than any other builder.

technology. Perhaps a closer look at the three programs can help prospective new home owners appreciate the effort that goes into each Ken Thurston Home and applaud the boon to their lifestyle and pocketbook. First, the Building America Partner Program. This four-year-old cooperative effort with the U.S. Department of Energy and Building Science Consortium enables accredited member partners to produce homes that use 30% to 50% less energy than the average residential house. It also helps home builders reduce construction time and waste by as much as 50%. The bottom line for the home owner? A Ken Thurston Home built to the rigorous standards of the Building American Partner Program assures: • Increased quality without increased cost of ownership • Increased comfort and perform ance • No compromise to home’s aesthetic value • Reduced utility bills • Greater financing options

This means that over a brief span of time, a new home owner can experience a pleasant surprise. For example, here’s the experience of one recent Ken Thurston Home purchaser. He moved from a rental home, where he was paying around $150 monthly for electricity, to a Ken Thurston Home almost double in size. What’s more, the new home has refrigerated air and an electric stove. His monthly electrical bill is $30 less!

efficiency The advanced design and construction practices mandated by all three programs insure a new home on the cutting edge of residential building

So how is this happy miracle accomplished? A Ken Thurston Building America Home is constructed utilizing five advanced design and engineering techniques. These include: • Advanced framing systems • Tightly sealed house envelopes • Efficient, less costly ductwork • Specially engineered infrastruc ture • Smaller, less expensive mechanical systems

Energy continued on page 08.


energy efficiency Continued from page 07. We are all familiar with what a conventionally framed house looks like under construction, those intricately laced wood skeletons marching street to street in new subdivisions. Ken Thurston Homes does not use the common framing system of 2x4-inch studs, set 16 inches apart and then ordinary batt insulation. Innovative design technology shows it’s not an efficient way to build a house. Building America teams like Ken Thurston Homes use 2x6-inch studs set 24 inches apart, with blown-in insulation. This framing technique allows more room for thicker insulation, enhances the strength of the house and reduces thermal bridging through the studs. It also reduces the overall amount of wood used, thus cutting framing time and labor costs. Savings realized during framing can be reinvested for additional energy-saving features. A tightly sealed house helps reduce heating and cooling loads, which allows builders to install smaller less costly heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. Again, these savings can be further allocated to make the home more efficient and comfortable. Ken Thurston Homes seals everything that penetrates the house envelope, “absolutely thoroughly!” Another source of inefficiency is the all too common practice of placing

the heating and cooling system in the attic. This is a “foolish no, no!” says Ken Thurston. Building America builders place the ducts in a “conditioned space” in the hallway. This eliminates heat loss to the exterior and limits the temperature difference at the ducts. This central location also enables builders to use shorter duct runs, a move that can cut material and installation costs by over 50% and again save energy. All homes which bear the Building America Partner Program seal are independently tested to assure compliance with the highest standards of performance set by the program. Nationally, the concept, which grew out of the Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico’s Green Builder Program in 2001, has been recognized as one of the best building programs in the country, setting the standard for homebuilding in the 21st Century. And, the first builder to become a Building America Partner in Las Cruces was Ken Thurston.


Energy Star. Anyone who has recently shopped for appliances should be familiar with the Energy Star label. This assures that the product has met


strict EPA and US Department of Energy guidelines for energy efficiency. Houses may receive the seal as well as refrigerators. Last year’s statistics suggest that energy efficient choices saved enough energy to power 20 million homes and avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 18 million cars – all while saving $8 billion in energy costs. Homeowners can expect to save about $200 to $400 annually on their utility bills. Energy Star qualified new homes have been verified to be at least 30% more energy efficient than homes built to the 1993 national energy code. The savings are based on heating, cooling and hot water energy use and are typically achieved by the following design innovations similar to the Building America Partners Program:

energy efficiency

• Building envelope upgrades • High performance windows • Controlled air infiltration • Upgraded heating and air conditioning systems • Tight duct systems

All accredited Energy Star homes must be verified by an independent third-party such as an accredited home energy rater or Builder Option Package verifier, or by adhering to the quality control procedures for HUD-manufactured homes. Is an Energy Star home “weird looking”, something suggestive of MIR Space Station? On the contrary, builders constructing Energy Star homes can build in whatever style the consumer prefers. The energy savings are the result of “hidden” technological innovations such as those described above and realized in the Building America Partner Program. All these energy benefits result in a new home that costs less over time than a conventional home. The monthly energy savings more than offset any increase in the initial cost of the home ($5,000 to $6,000 per new home according to Ken Thurston), and financing companies that partner with Energy Star offer special mortgage packages for buyers.

The American Lung Association Health House. An Energy Star and Building America home is so tightly constructed yet well ventilated that it readily meets the strict qualifications of an American Lung Association Health House. To receive this coveted designation, builders must follow rigorous construction guidelines; the home must receive two independent site inspections and pass a series of performance tests. But the result is a home which combines health, energy and resource efficiency akin to none. Anyone who has suffered the discomforts of a too hot, too cold and drafty traditionally built home, one prone to mold or mustiness (even very expensive homes!), knows how unpleasant and potentially un-healthy such a home environment can be. Sometimes the only solution is to go outside! Traditionally built new homes can leak through hundreds of unseen locations: slab, electrical wiring holes, exhaust and fresh air ducts, plumbing holes, heating, cooling and jumper ducts. Moist air leaking out in cold weather can condense on wall and attic surfaces, creating mold growth and in some cases structural decay. Moist air leaking into a home in hot humid weather (yes sometimes it’s a little humid in the Southwest) can have the same effect. Airtight construction, on the other hand, not only yields all the energy benefits listed above, but assures bet-

ter air quality, better moisture control, fewer interior pollutants, and increased comfort over all. As Ken Thurston says, “it’s just the right way to go.”


parkhill 2

Homes from the mid $140,000’s Choose From 8 House Plans

Plan 1297

parkhill 2

AMENITIES INCLUDE • Covered Front Porch & Patio • 90% Efficient Furnace • Garden Tub, Walk-in Shower (most plans) • Double Sink Master Bath • Whirlpool Appliances • Choose from Builder's Selection of Tile for Kitchen, Dining Room, Utility & Bathrooms

Plan 2182


parkhill 2

Plan 1459


You Can Own Your Own Home — Wide range of options available with Ken Thurston Homes By Bryan Lindenberger Prospective buyers of energy efficient, affordable homes offered by Ken Thurston Homes have a wide range of financing options, with support programs available for today’s working family. Donna J. Stryker, senior vice president of mortgage lending at 1st New Mexico Bank, will assist buyers in selecting the best program to suit his or her unique financial needs. “Working families can still buy a home,” Stryker says. “There is plenty of money available!” The below-median pricing of many Ken Thurston Homes attracts first time home buyers, and 1st New Mexico Bank works hard to offer a mortgage package that will help families realize the American Dream of home ownership. Special assistance programs can help fund a down payment, meet closing costs, mortgage insurance costs and other budget items that some-

times discourage prospective first-time buyers from owning their own home. Two helpful programs are offered by the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA), a quasi-public entity that offers financing, holding, and related services to low and moderate-income families. These are Mortgage$aver and Mortgage$aver Plus. MFA’s Mortgage$aver program offers below-market interest rates to first-time homebuyers or to those who have not owned a home as their primary residence in the last three years. Loans available include FHA, VA and conventional loans. Mortgage$aver loans are 30-year fixedrate loans available at rates below the conventional 30-year fixed rate which means monthly payments will be less and the buyer may thus qualify for a higher loan amount. Mortgage$aver Plus approxi-

Ken Thurston Homes can help you find the right financing program to put you and your family into a beautiful, Energy Star rated home.

mately matches the conventional market rate, but 3.0% of the principal loan amount is a “gift” which can be used towards the down payment, closing costs, and prepaid escrow expenses. This grant amount can also fund interest-rate reduction or reduce the principal loan balance. Both programs have income and price limits. For a three or more person household, the family income limit is currently $53,590 with a purchase price up to $237,031. A special, added benefit of purchasing a Ken Thurston energy efficient home is how FHA or conventional mortgage lenders may calculate the loan. Ken Thurston explains that the energy efficiency built into each home allows lenders to consider a 2% higher debt to income ratio, thus lowering the overall monthly housing bill. An ordinary home (FHA home loan) usually follows a 29/41 ratio, while an energy efficient home can utilize a 31/43 ratio. Stryker notes that the most popular type of loan she is currently making on Ken Thurston Homes is an FHA fixed rate loan with or without the MFA assistance. On the other hand, the HERO program offers benefits for educators, safety workers, and those active in the Armed Services whose income remains under $65,240. In fact, there are so many different programs to choose from, it’s important to find the right one for each individual home buyer. “Good credit still gets you a home!” Stryker says, contradicting the “doom and gloom” portrayed in certain media outlets. In fact, rates today range from 5.2% to 6.5% depending on the program that best fits your needs. Las Cruces remains a vibrant real estate market and a top relocation destination for young couples, working families, and retirees. Ken Thurston Homes can help you find the right financing program to put you and your family into a beautiful, Energy Star rated home. For more information on home financing visit See if you qualify 13 with our mortgage calculator.

parkhill south

PLAN 2152

Choose From 10 House Plans Starting in the low $200,000’s

PLAN 2152

Large Lots! Build to Suit!

parkhill south


Plan 2068

Plan 2068

Plan 1922

Plan 1922


Ken Thurston: At the turn of the 21st century, Ken Thurston took a look at his successful home building business in Las Cruces and took an incredible leap of faith. Maybe it was the infectious spirit of looking into a new millennium. Or his sense that building a good house the “usual way” was not wrong, necessarily, but “not right either.” “Right” now meant a whole new way of building for Ken Thurston, and to satisfy his vision he would have to revolutionize his whole approach to home building. “It was an enormous risk. I could have lost it all,” says Ken Thurston. “But it was the right choice.” That choice was to become a Building America Program Partner and provide the Las Cruces market a new type of home, affordable yet on the cutting edge of energy efficient technology. To meet the rigorous construction guidelines and testing procedures that qualify a home as a Building America and Energy Star product Ken Thurston had to change construction practices “from the bottom up.” And in the process, re-educate his staff and subs to the revolutionary concepts, “and the consumer as well.” (See article on page 6 for specific details on the Building America and Energy Star home programs). There is no question that Ken Thurston’s leap of faith has been thoroughly validated. In the short span of years he has committed to producing energy efficient homes that merit the Building America and Energy Star seal of approval, his company has gone from building 30 to 50 homes a year to closing 107, making him #1 in new homes built


in Las Cruces in 2004. This year every single Ken Thurston home will be a Building America home. This means an added cost per house of $500 for the designation, but Ken Thurston sees this as part of the “accountability process” that is essential for his company. “That seal tells me that we are a company that is accountable, to our customers and to the environment,” he says emphatically. Ken Thurston’s long-time associate and now president of the company, Joe Hays, shares CEO Ken Thurston’s commitment to this new motto – “Building it Right!” And he also adds to this focus an emphasis on teamwork. “As we grow, we must evolve a team concept. If we don’t, we won’t succeed,” insists Joe Hays. “Team” means channels of operation and cooperation in the broadest of terms. This includes not only company staff and subs, but the customer and the home financer as well. “We have to be good in educating the consumer to get him/her on our team. They need to be educated how to use the house properly,” explains Ken Thurston. Bottom line for this approach is a satisfied and enthusiastic home owner. “I want happy home owners. I really do!” says Ken Thurston. And the financer. Educated financial officers are equally necessary to create

the kind of “team envelop” that Joe Hays and Ken Thurston envision. Ken Thurston tells a favorite story about a banker from Deming who was considering a sizable loan to the company. When the banker indicated an interest in seeing a house under construction, Ken Thurston, ever confident of his product, told him – “come on in!” The banker walked around to observe the house, the basic anatomy of a tightly constructed energy efficient Ken Thurston Home, noted how the windows are wrapped, how the ducts are sealed, e.t.c.…and exclaimed: “This is the darnedest thing I’ve ever seen!” The loan was soon forthcoming. “Now he’s a team member too!” says Joe Hays. Taking risks and constantly learning and evolving are essential to Ken Thurston and Hays and growing their company. And it shows in the background of each man. Ken Thurston began building homes in the Farmington, New Mexico, area almost 30 years ago, but when a down-turn in the oil industry collapsed the economy in the region, he bit the bullet and looked for new territory. Las Cruces caught his imagination and in 1986 he purchased 240 acres of raw land in the then relatively virgin northeast corridor. In cooperation with

Making the ‘right’ choice

Kameron Johnson, Tyler Morsbach, Ken Thurston, Joe Hays, John Cano and Curtis Hays real estate developer Roger Cox and Associates of Albuquerque, he began development of Las Colinas. Why Las Cruces? “My several trips here showed me that there was a real need for affordable housing.” (“Affordable” then was a home in the $60,000 range). This is still the company’s forte. “In the home building business, there are generally three categories of builders: the economy builder, the value builder, and the style builder,” he explains. “Value is our niche. That’s where we shine.” The median price of a new Las Cruces home in the current boom market is now $212,000. But Ken Thurston Homes is currently offering a 1026 square foot, three bedroom, two bath, two car garage home for $128,900, well below the median. What’s more, this home will be built to the advanced, energy efficient standards that are now the hallmark of every Ken Thurston-built home. Ken Thurston credits his long involvement with the National

Association of Home Builders for “schooling me” and pointing him wisely in the direction of energy efficient design. He is a past president of the local Home Builders Association in both the Farmington area and Las Cruces, and in 1996 was named Las Cruces Builder Member of the Year. Joe Hays joined the company thirteen years ago as a painting sub contractor, and through his “experience, common sense and keen eye for detail” says Ken Thurston, quickly moved to on-site construction supervisor and now president. With Ken Thurston, he signed on early to the potential of the Building America Program in spite of the initial up-front risk to the company’s profitability and stature in the Las Cruces building industry.

in Las Cruces last year than any other builder. Ken Thurston Homes has become “more of the driver of the market”. It’s no stretch to speculate that as more and more builders accept the Building America concept, Ken Thurston Homes can expect their “team envelop” idea of responsible channels of accountability - to the customer and the environment - to reach nationwide

Ken Thurston feels his decision to sign up has helped his company to stay on top of the market. With the results in for 2004 his feelings seem right. Ken Thurston Homes built more new homes


peaceful valley

You won’t be able to resist

Peaceful Homes Valley Custom Built Right!

Many Plans to Choose From Homes from $200,000

peaceful valley

“Set in such a pristine location, each home readily invites the indoor/outdoor lifestyle so appreciated by newcomers to the Southwest.” This rural development 25 miles northwest of Las Cruces is so aptly named. The far North Valley bridges into Rincon Valley just past the eroded outcroppings around Radium Springs and together present a lovely seasonal patchwork of chili fields and pecan orchards. This is the heart of Las Cruces’ twin agricultural industries that are worldrenowned. Hatch, nine miles north from Peaceful Valley via NM route 185, is rightfully called “the chili capital of the world,” and the annual September Hatch Chili Festival pays tribute to the lusciously addictive Long Green, first developed at New Mexico State University. This is also horse country. New Mexico breeds are earning accolades (and cash for savvy betters) at nearby Sunland Park Racetrack and at Ruidoso Downs Racetrack, a three-hour drive east in the Sacramento Mountains. So appropriately, the homes at Peaceful

Valley are horse properties on one to three-acre lots. Floor plans are designed for growing and active families with three, four and five bedroom options. The two story units offer 2286 and 2365 square of living area with an optional office or playroom upstairs and on the first level an exceptionally airy and open plan with wide window and/or French doors opening to a covered patio. Set in such a pristine location, each home readily invites the indoor/outdoor lifestyle so appreciated by newcomers to the Southwest. Riding and hiking trails lace the valley in all directions. There’s lazy fishing along the Rio Grande and opportunities to view wildlife and indulge a passion for birding right in your own backyard or at nearby prime birding areas: Percha Dam State Park north of Hatch, Caballo Lake State Park near T or C and Leasburg Dam State Park just five miles south of Peaceful Valley.

Hunters, explorers, soldiers, gold seekers, settlers have wandered through the Mesilla and Rincon Valleys for many thousands of years. Paleo-Indians hunted mastodon on this land 20,000 years ago. Spanish explorer Coronado led his soldiers this way in the early 1500s. And Don Juan de Onate followed. In the 1700s and 1800s fearsome Apache war parties roamed the countryside. Nearby Fort Selden was established following the Civil War to protect settlers from these roving bands. The crumbling adobe fort is now a state monument, but its flat-roofed quarters once housed members of the 125th Infantry, the famous “Buffalo Soldiers”. And, for several years, a young captain named MacArthur commanded the post. With him was his son, Douglas MacArthur. The valley may be peaceful now, but some mighty terrifying memories must be swirling around out there on the wind. 19

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Will Build o n Yo u r L o t !

For more information about Ken Thurston Homes’ custom building call 575-373-9422 or visit w w w. t h u r s t o n h o m e s . c o m . 21

1 4 5 FA R M V I E W • $ 2 4 5 , 0 0 0

See Online Tour at www.145Far mvie • 4 Bedrooms, 2 Baths • • Vaulted Ceilings • • 2050 sq. ft. • • 2-car Garage • • Custom Cabinetry • • 1.3 acre lot • • Horse Property • • And MUCH MORE! • CALL 575.373.9422 FOR MORE INFORMATION.


Or Upgrade to... Bronze (Standard Package) • Thurston High Performance Energy Package, See pg. 6

• Garage door opener • Built-in Microwave Bronze features plus... hood • Brushed nickel • Oil rubbed bronze

• Structure wiring • 2-tone paint colors • Silver level cabinet upgrade • Carpet upgrade

• Tile in kitchen, bathrooms, utility room, entry & dining room • Stainless steel appliances incl. refrigerator • Utility room cabinets • Crown molding on cabinets • Vaulted ceilings

• Wood edge countertops • 2” mini-blinds • “Cheyenne” Bypass Closet doors • Carpet upgrade • Upgraded kitchen cabinets

Individual Packages

• Utility sink • Painted garage • Windows in garage door • Insulated garage door

• Insulated garage blown wall & ceilings • Pre-plumbed softener loop

Individual Packages

• Covered concrete patio • Ceiling fan prewire • Bar-B-Que grill gas stub

• High Quality Synthetic Stucco • Elegant Chrome “Avalon” Plumbing Fixtures • One-color paint

Bronze & Silver features plus...

• Ceiling fan prewires in all bedrooms • “Cheyenne” Doors

Individual Packages

• Garden tub w/ jet upgrade available • Tile shower w/ seat

• Glass block • Elongated toilets • Glass Shower door

Serving s Las Cruce 2 years! 2 r ve o r fo

575-526-1946 “Commitment to Service” 1 3 2 Wy a t t D r i v e , S u i t e C • L a s C r u c e s , N M 8 8 0 0 5

There Is A Reason Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Is The Leading Retail Mortgage Lender Finance your dream home with a trusted leader and benefit: Enjoy Up To Six Months Of No Mortgage Payments1 Wells Fargo Closing GuaranteeSM,2 Competitive rates and fees Downpayment assistance with Ken Thurston Homes gift funds available3 when you finance your home with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage • Reduced closing costs3

• • • •

Call today for a complimentary consultation! Rick Montoya Home Mortgage Consultant 425 S. Telshor Blvd. Suite A Las Cruces , NM 88011 Phone: 505-521-6827 Fax: 866-358-9150 Cell: 505-649-5474 Toll Free: 1-888-814-6906 ext. Ext 2

Jason K. Balthrop Home Mortgage Consultant 425 S. Telshor Blvd. Suite A Las Cruces, NM 88011 Phone: 575-521-6858 Fax: 866-359-0376 Cell: 575-639-0479 Toll Free: 1-888-814-6906 ext. 5

1. Principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI) will be covered for six months by The Wells Fargo Move-In IncentiveSM program available on mortgage loan applications for available products. 2. Available on all qualified purchase transactions. Other terms and conditions apply. See a Home Mortgage Consultant for details. 3. Up to 5.6 percent maximum builder contribution available through Ken Thurston Homes. Borrower will be responsible for any excess amounts above the builder contributions. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. © 2008 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A #58550 5/08 – 8/08

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Buy your new home from Ken Thurston Homes... Don’t take our word for it!!


s a young couple looking to purchase our first home, we had looked at already built homes, as well as a couple of model homes from new h ome builders. After stepping into Ken Thurston’s model home the first time our minds were made up. This was the first place that we walked into that we felt took us seriously from the beginning. Whether it was our inquiries about prices, availability, options, or samples, our representative was quick to answer any questions we had, or assured us that he would find out, and he did. From the time that we signed our contract, until our final walk through we were loaded with a countless number of questions that we began collecting on a tablet at home. A couple times a week, we would either call, or stop in to the model home and fire away with our list. Time and time again we were pleasantly surprised about how flexible to our needs everyone on the Thurston staff. This was the first home that we were having built and therefore had many unknowns, our representative knew this and was patient with us through this process. He even gave personal examples and suggestions as to what to look for and what he noticed going through this process. We were one of the first on our street to move in, and we were a little concerned that all of the construction going on around us would be a distraction to our new home. We were pleasantly surprised with the complete silence we had while the rest of our neighborhood was being completed around us. It has been seven months since we started living here, our community is still growing and continues to be as quiet and enjoyable as when we first moved in. We are comforted to know that we have our warranty for the remainder of our first year in our home, although we haven’t had to exercise this once. Our home is more than we expected, and we continue to search for reasons to have friends and family over to share our wonderful home. From poker night to Christmas parties, we are excited to share our home with everyone we can, and we couldn’t be happier with our new Ken Thurston home. ~ Eli, Sandra & Antonio Sanchez

A First Time for… There’s a first time for everything, and that means buying a home. MFA FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS PROGRAM • Home Ownership Benefits • Down Payment Assistance • Pays Closing Costs

Call Donna Stryker or Monique Horcasitas Today. We are their lender of choice.

(575) 556-3000 3000 E. Lohman Ave. • Las Cruces, NM 88011 Lohman at Nacho next to Pier 1

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Structured wiring is essentially placing the infrastructure for phone, network and cable in a home during construction.

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4:35 PM

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Las Cruces rich in h i s t o r y, c u l t u r e Curious new residents to Las Cruces and the Mesilla Valley (or even long-time residents) can savor in this region one of the most fascinating and sweeping historical stories of any spot in the country. There is here a vivid chronicle of civilizations, prehistoric to contemporary, that have the flavor of legend and the panache of power and world influence. Like a riddle or secret code, the culturally diverse and violent early history of Las Cruces is locked within its name. Las Cruces is a Spanish word. It means “the crosses”. Crosses symbolize pathways that intersect, and as emblematic of the Christian faith, a commemoration of death. This legacy of location-the crossing of pathways both geographically and culturally-and violence, the result of conflicts of cultures, has set its stamp indelibly on this community and region. Situated on the banks of the Rio Grande, or “Rio Bravo”, the Mesilla Valley was the only natural pathway through a landscape of mountains and desert for the early hunter gatherers who crossed this land 20,000 years ago. The first European explorers and colonizers seeking fortune and souls to convert to the Catholic faith came this way in the 1500s, and encountered the descendents of the indigenous population, some peaceful and helpful, others disposed to war and thievery. The Spanish called the peaceful (for a time) Indians - “Pueblos” because of the villages of multi-storied adobe “pueblos” where they lived. The famed explorer Coronado, who passed into the Albuquerque area from Arizona in 1540, received assistance and friendship from Tigua Pueblos on the Rio Grande and made one of their long-vanished villages his headquarters for a year and a half. A chronicler of the exploration wrote: “the natives seem to be good people, more devoted to agriculture than war.”

The Apaches were a different story. Their war parties preyed on peaceful Pueblos as well as Spanish settlers. Don Juan de Oñate and his colonizing party of 400 men (130 having families), 83 wagons and nearly 7,000 head of livestock were attacked as they struggled up the Rio Grande and across the Jornado del Muerto, or Journey of Death, north of Las Cruces in 1598. And, an Apache ambush in the Mesilla Valley in 1830 was to ultimately provide the name for New Mexico’s second largest city. Travelers from Taos were killed here along the El Camino Real (the royal road established by Oñate) and the grieving survivors marked the graves with crosses. At least this is the story accepted my most historians. Whether it was the result of this single massacre or other fatal ambushes marked with a simple cross, henceforth the region was known as La Placita de Las Cruces (the Place of the Crosses). In 1849 the memorialized spot on the east bank of the Rio Grande became the frontier settlement of Las Cruces when a contingent of U.S. soldiers used rawhide rope and stakes to plot out 84 city blocks in what was now the United States. Each block contained four plots of land, and new settlers were required to draw for their new home site. Across the river, another small community named Mesilla was still a part of Mexico. This confusion of jurisdictions was an on-going motif in the history of the Rio Grande Valley for centuries, from the Spanish Entrada of Oñate, to the Gadsden Purchase of 1854 which handed over a key portion of Mexico’s northern land to the United States. During the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the “peaceful” Pueblo Indians under the leadership of a firebrand religious man from Taos Pueblo named Pope (or sometimes Popay) rose up against their Spanish oppressors.

The Mesilla Plaza is the center of Old Mesilla’s historic charm. It is surrounded by historic buildings which house several shops and boutiques luring many tourists.

The Rio Grande valley has sustained agriculture for 3000 years and its hospitable soils have produced an amazing range of crops, from the beans and corn of the Pueblos, to the vast vineyards planted by the Padres, (ostensibly for communion wine), to the current big three of chile, cotton, and pecans. Three of the area’s most popular festivals celebrate this agricultural heritage: the Hatch Chile Festival, the Hillsboro Apple Festival, and the Whole Enchilada Fiesta, all held in September. The whole Enchilada Fiesta is like no other festival in the world. But then for the chile obsessed, enchiladas – red or green – are the holy grail of Mexican cuisine. A “good” Mexican food restaurant is often judged on the quality of its enchiladas. Highlight of the three-day extravaganza is the preparing, cooking and eating of the world’s largest enchilada – 75 gallons of red chile sauce, 175 pounds of grated cheese and 50 pounds of chopped onions weighing in at several tons and nearly ten feet in diameter! The valley’s suitability for viniculture was proved by the Spanish Padres who produced a red that was lauded far and wide by travelers to the region in the 1700s. Not surprisingly, vineyards are reappearing in the valley; it’s possible to sample vintage varietals and blends at several local wineries: including Blue Teal in

Mesilla and La Vina down the valley in La Union. The founder of Blue Teal is a fifth-generation winemaker who finds the unbeatable combination of sunshine and rich soil in the Mesilla Valley perfect for producing Chardonnay and Cabernet, just like in his native France. La Vina, New Mexico’s oldest winery, celebrates the glory of the grape twice a year, with a spring blues and jazz festival (and lots of wine tasting) and the fall La Vina Wine Festival, with food, entertainment, a grape stomp, and lots more tasting. South of Mesilla is Stahmann Farms, the world’s largest family owned pecan orchard. It an amazing surprise, and solace for the soul, to drive the old highway, Don Juan de Onate’s royal highway, and suddenly find one’s car enveloped in the deep shade of over-arching pecan trees, mile upon mile. In the midst of the orchard is a gift store selling luscious pecan treats and Southwesternthemed gift items. New Mexico was still a territory when Las Cruces College opened in a two-room adobe in the 1880s. The transformation from this humble beginning is an amazing success story. The school today is a major research facility with a 900-acre campus and nearly 15,000 students. Areas of widely recognized expertise include arid lands and desert ecology 29



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New Mexico State University Campus studies, bridge inspection and safety training, bilingual special education, artificial intelligence, optics, photonics and micro laser development. Yet even the fledgling Las Cruces College could not escape the onus of frontier violence. The first commencement would have been in 1883, but the college’s one and only senior was fatally shot, an innocent bystander during a holdup. From the mid 20th century on, New Mexico State University has been a major player in outer space exploration, and its influence is joined by the work at White Sands Missile Range. Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of the planet Pluto, joined the faculty in 1955 and began a research program which ranks today among the nation’s best. NMSU operates one of the world’s largest university-owned telescopes at a site in the nearby Sacramento Mountains as a consortium of universities including the University of Chicago, Princeton and others. And, under a NASA contract, the Physical Science Laboratory manages the world’s largest scientific balloon research program, launching probes from remote sites such as Antarctica and Greenland. East of Las Cruces, just over Organ Pass on what was once the sprawling San Augustine/Cox ranch is White Sands Missile Range, one of the army’s most important weapons testing grounds and home to the Patriot Missile System. At the north end is a barren, chilling site open only twice a year: Trinity Site, where the explosion of the first atomic bomb on earth inaugurated the age of atomic warfare. There is a riddle indeed in this. White Sands Missile Range not only is the birthplace of the atomic age with its power of ultimate cataclysm, but also may hold an answer to the appearance of man on this continent. In a remote site on the range is Rough Canyon Cave where excavations by worldrenowned archaeologist “Scotty” MacNeish in the late 1990s revealed evidence of possible human use 36,000 to 50,000 years ago. If this discovery is substantiated, it will prove the presence of man in the New World far earlier than previously believed. Talk about sweeping historical scope! Truly this part of the Southwest


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is an amazing place to live. Secretly Pope plotted with more than 70 Indian communities to attack the Spanish on a single night – August 10, 1680. The 2500 Indian warriors killed more than 400 Spanish soldiers and civilians, plus two thirds of the Catholic priests, and drove the surviving Europeans back to El Paso del Norte (Juarez). A few of the formerly “friendly” Pueblo Indians also chose to flee with the Spanish, and their descendents now live in the El Paso area and the Mesilla Valley. They are the Tiguas in Isleta near El Paso and the Tortugas just south of Mesilla. Their Pueblo culture is still celebrated in festivals and religious observances throughout the year. The Pueblo Indians maintained autonomy over their ancestral lands for twelve years, restoring their religious practices and cultural observances, until the Spanish regained control in 1692. Henceforth, New Mexico remained a Spanish colony where authorities employed a more tolerant approach to their Indian subjects, until Mexican revolutionaries overthrew Spanish rule and established the Republic of Mexico in 1821. But Mexican control was short-lived. Within 25 years, America’s push for western expansion prompted a war with Mexico which ended with the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This treaty gave most of New Mexico territory to the United States, but not Mesilla and a strip of land running westward along our present day international border. Right before the onset of the Civil War, there was a great push in the country for a trans-continental railroad. Political factions vied over the appropriate route, some favoring a northern one and others a southern one. The well-located City of the Crosses provided an ideal route west as it always had, for Indian hunters and traders, the Forty Niners, the Butterfield Stagecoach, but not without access to land still belonging to Mexico. Those sponsoring the southern option dispatched James Gadsden, a railroad agent and promoter, to negotiate a land purchase from then Mexican president Antonio Lopes de Santa Anna (of The Alamo fame). Santa Anna, in desperate need of funds, agreed to sell the United States 30,000 square miles of land south of the Gila River for $10 million. Congress finally ratified the purchase, but narrowly. The Gadsden Purchase was signed in Mesilla, in the same courthouse on the Plaza that twenty seven years later would be the scene of Billy the Kid’s trial for murder. Ah yes Billy the Kid, a.k.a. William Henry Antrim, a.k.a. William H. Bonney, or simply “El Chivato” as the local Hispanics called him. Amazingly,

this buck-toothed cowboy and sometime gun-slinger is assuredly the most famous legendary figure of the region. Why he is so, is an imponderable mystery. Maybe Pat Garrett, his one-time friend and later killer, who wrote a book about him, is to blame, or Hollywood. On April 13, 1881, an all Hispanic jury found Billy guilty of the murder of Lincoln County Sheriff William Brady. The ambush/murder was a key incident in the Lincoln County War of 1877-1878 which turned the tiny mountain community of Lincoln (near Ruidoso) into a war zone. He was handed over to then Sheriff Pat Garrett to be transported back to Lincoln, and henceforth, on May 13, to be “hanged by the neck until his body be dead.” On April 28, Billy killed both his guards (perhaps a gun had been left in the outhouse for him by a sympathizer), and fled Lincoln. No one in the town made any attempt to stop him. Midnight July 14, Pat Garrett caught up with Billy at the Maxwell compound in Fort Stockton. In Pete Maxwell’s darkened bedroom, Garrett answers Billy’s inquiry “Quien es” with two fatal shots. Or at least this is what Garrett claimed in his book. Others over the years have not agreed. For decades a man in Hico, Texas, swore he was Billy the Kid. And, just last year, two New Mexico sheriffs and

the mayor of Capitan, New Mexico, sought permission to exhume the bodies of Billy’s mother Catherine Antrim buried in Silver City, the person purported to be Billy buried in Fort Stockton, and the remains of Ollie “Brushy Bill” Roberts, the Hico man. This attempt to employ DNA testing to solve the mystery of what happened to Billy and who if not he is buried in his grave, was denied after the state’s office of Medical Investigation said the results may not be conclusive, but according to those who sought exhumation, the battle to “find the truth” is on-going. Certainly the legend of Billy the Kid will never end. The exhumation story appeared on the front page of The New York Times and in some 2,000 newspapers worldwide. Remnants of this turbulent early history remain throughout Las Cruces, in its historic sites and on-going legends, but the 20th century to the present has seen phenomenal growth and economic development. Three potent enterprises have shaped the fortunes of Las Cruces and the Mesilla Valley into the 21st century: agriculture, education, and the military/air-space industry. Often their development and influence have overlapped.

New Homes of Las Cruces Summer 2008 All real estate advertising herein is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to advertise “any preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national ori-

gin, or intention to make any such preference, limitation or discrimination.” Ken Thurston Homes assumes no responsibility and shall have no liability whatsoever for errors, including without limitation, typographical errors or omissions in New Homes of Las Cruces.

For more information on New Homes of Las Cruces magazine or to receive a free copy in the mail contact Kameron Johnson or Tyler Morsbach at 575-373-9422 or go to ©2008 Ken Thurston Homes

Production: Ceci Marquez, Mesa Publishing Corp. Editorial: Roxanne Schroeder

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