The Albuquerque International Airport 70th birthday video is finally finished and uploaded to YouTube. It turns out it is really the story of four airports: Oxnard Field, Western Air Express Airport, Albuquerque International Airport, and Kirtland Air Force Base.
And when you throw in the Santa Fe Railroad, a New York air transportation promoter, Charles Lindbergh, Mayor and Governor Clyde Tingley, the WPA, WWII and the Manhattan Project, and you end up with a fascinating eight-minute narrated video.
I hope you enjoy it, and look forward to comments or suggestions you might have on how to improve a possible second version, and please feel free to let others know about it, too.
I was greatly pleased and honored last Wednesday, to be given the DAR Community Service Award for creating the Albuquerque Tricentenial Timeline.
From the program notes: “The Charles Dibrell Chapter of the Albuquerque DAR is pleased to present Tom Miles the DAR Community Service Award for his creation of the Albuquerque Tricentennial Timeline. The timeline itself depicts 600 years of Albuquerque history in a large 4 foot x 16 foot poster-format piece mounted in the East Wing of the Albuquerque Convention Center and the Passenger Waiting Lounge at the Sunport. It depicts and relates interesting historical events throughout the world as well as describing the many and varied ethnic and cultural arrivals and contributions to Albuquerque over this 600 year period. The Timeline Project took two years to complete and required Tom to meet repeatedly with the University of New Mexico History Department, the State Folklorist, the State Historian, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the Spanish Colonial Research Center and the National Hispanic Cultural Center. For graphics, Tom worked with Sandia Labs Graphics Department. The timeline was considered to be sufficiently interesting and valuable that the Tricentennial Committee contracted for the printing of a number of smaller, 2 foot x 4 foot, copies which were given to the Albuquerque Public School, Parochial and selected private high school and middle schools throughout Albuquerque to facilitate teaching Albuquerque, New Mexico, US and world history and Social Studies. It is impossible with a photo to show the importance of this work. You may want to view on line two very informative YouTube videos produced by Tom: “5 Perspectives on Albuquerque, NM” and “Mexican Immigration Through New Mexico and the Southwest.”
Cities of Gold
A Journey Across the American Southwest in Pursuit of Coronado
Douglas Preston, 1992
463 richly researched and documented pages detailing 450 years of southwest adventure and discovery! Very hard to put down!
Douglas Preston literally takes you in his saddle bag on two 900-mile horseback/roughing-it odysseys with his cantankerous Santa Fe artist friend Walter Nelson. Two journeys cover the same geography: Coronado’s 1540 epic exploration from New Spain/Mexico through Arizona, New Mexico and Kansas.
The chapters and episodes are written from multiple viewpoints: New Spain’s (Mexico’s) culture, Coronado’s expectations in planning and leaving New Spain, Coronado’s experiences en-route, various and numerous native American initial encounters with white Europeans – Mexican Aztecs – and black Africans, And last, but not least by a long shot, … Doug and Walter’s experiences and observations of both what had changed and how little had changed in the intervening 450 years.
I found this a tremendous context piece to open my understanding and appreciation of the nearly complete uniqueness of New Mexico in particular and America’s great southwest in general. You will be exposed to amazing repeating patterns of history from 1540s Spain and New Spain right up into today’s New Mexico business and politics.
Cites of Gold is a thoroughly charming, entertaining, amazing, irritating, enlightening, frustrating, and fulfilling read! Check it out for yourself!
My sister mailed me this interesting newspaper nugget describing stagecoaches, stagecoach fares and travel via the Santa Fe Trail from “civilization” to “The Wild West” circa 1850:
“Crossing the plains from Independence, Mo., to New Mexico in the 1850′s cost $150 in the winter. Summer special rate was $125. Coaches with mail and passengers left Independence and Santa Fe the first day of each month. Usually they met at the Arkansas River crossing. Passengers were limited to 50 pounds of baggage. Any excess cost $.50 a pound.
“A second coach accompanied the mail-passenger vehicle. It carried baggage, supplies, feed for the mules and food for the passengers. Each coach had two drivers and six mules. The fare included food, but passengers had to help prepare meals. They also collected wood or buffalo chips with which to build the fire.”
A couple of asides: the trip could take from 8 to 10 weeks; that $150 would be $3,836 in 2008 dollars adjusted for inflation, and 160 years later, the same trip costs about $200 for a two-and-a-half-hour, one-stop flight from Kansas City to Albuquerque, with the added benefit that you don’t have to gather buffalo chips, build a smoky fire and cook your own meal. But … you still have to pay for extra baggage. The Santa Fe Trail is marked in red on the map (source: Wikipedia).
Clearing Customs, by Martha Egan (July 2009), is a new and rollicking good read! And a lot of it takes place in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
It is worthy noting that this story takes place in 1988-99, long before the Patriot Act’s privacy invasions became commonplace. The book’s protagonist and heroine is Beverly Parmentier, owner of a small Latin American folk aft and antiques importing store in Old Town.
How Beverly finds herself and her store under surveillance by U. S. Customs Service is a humorous happenstance of President Reagan’s Central American policies and a relentless and opportunistic Customs Service Albuquerque Station Chief. The story shifts into high gear from there and never lets up until the last pages.
Beverly (Martha) relates in detail her surveillance as the story careens from Albuquerque across the country. They include Customs Service employment of Vietnam Vets and taxpayer funded junkets to “surveil” Beverly from Albuquerque’s Old Town, North Valley, Santa Fe, Washington, D. C., a Colorado river raft trip, and a Caribbean island “getaway.” You’ll howl both in laughter and in anger, over the ineptness and relentlessness of the federales abuses of power. And then you will smile wickedly at the justice of the finale.
Lots of familiar territory and names and places throughout should make Clearing Customs a particularly enjoyable read to everyone familiar with Albuquerque, Santa Fe, New Mexico … or U. S. Customs.
Danny Schrader researches former New Mexico sports teams, such as the Albuquerque Six Guns, a professional hockey team that played one season in the ’70s. He is also a supporter of the Animal Humane Association. I learned of his website and operation in Sunday’s Albuquerque Journal Careers section.
He researches team histories and produces logo T-shirts for such old teams as:
- Madrid Miners – AA Minor League: 1020s, ’30s and 40′s
- Artesia Drillers – Longhorn League: 1951-1953
- Carlsbad Potashers – Longhorn League, Southwestern League and Sophomore League: 1953-1956
- New Mexico Storm – American Indoor Soccer League: 2004-2005
Regrettably, the only two sports teams I mentioned in the Albuquerque Timeline are Albuquerque’s first pro baseball team ‘The Albuquerque Dons’ in 1932, and the 1984 El Dorado High School Girls Basketball team that won 74 consecutive victories – the longest winning streak in the nation. It’s neat to learn that Danny is filling the blanks.
I think you will enjoy visiting Danny’s website at www.pdvintage.com and taking a look at his great logo T-shirts. Myself, I’m looking forward to seeing what other fascinating and interesting former New Mexico sports teams he finds.
My sister in Colorado’s San Luis Valley recently brought me an old, old book with cover and publication pages missing. Based on historic event references, the book appears to have been written around 1911-1912 for the Santa Fe Railroad promoting passenger travel to the southwest. This fits interestingly with Ken Burns’ recent series on PBS on how the railroads used the National Parks to entice people to travel westward. Two early paragraphs stuck out for sharing in the context of this blog.
On page 20, the author riding the train has just come out of the half-mile Raton Pass tunnel from Colorado into New Mexico. “The landscape is oriental in aspect and flushed with color. Nowhere else can you find sky of deeper blue, sunlight more dazzling, shadows more intense, clouds more luminously white, or stars that throb with redder fire. Here the pure rarified air that is associated in the mind with the arduous mountain climbing is the only air known – dry, cool and gently stimulating. Through it, as through a crystal, the rich red of the soil, the rich green of vegetation, and the varied tints of the rocks gleam always freshly on the sight.”
And just a bit further along, on page 22, “You feel that this place has always worn much the same aspect that it wears today. Parcel of the arid region, it sleeps only for thirst. Slake that, and it becomes a garden of paradise as by a magic word. The present generation has proved it true in a hundred localities, where the proximity of rivers or mountain streams has made irrigation practicable.”
This is what the Sandia foothils looked like in August 2004 after some perfect thirst-slaking rain; for the previous 3 and past 5 years these same hills have been parcels of the arid region – can you pick out the rabbit in the last photo?
I have just finished reading El Gringo, by W. W. H. Davis. Davis’ 1853 description of New Mexico is one the earliest full-length accounts to appear in English. It provides a beautiful picture of a newly conquered land, its customs, languages, landscapes and histories. He really captures the protected and unique nature of New Mexico in this paragraph:
“There is no country protected by our flag and subject to our laws so little known to the people of the United States as the territory of New Mexico. Its very position precludes an intimate intercourse with other sections of the Union, and serves to lock up a knowledge of the country within its own limits. The natural features differ widely from the rest of the Union; and the inhabitants, with the manners and customs of their Moorish and Castilian ancestors are both new and strange to our people. For these reasons, reliable information on this hitherto almost unknown region can not fail to be interesting to the public.”
Davis was a veteran of the Mexican War of 1846-48, and returned to New Mexico in 1853 to become United States Attorney for the territory. He traveled with only a few changes of clothes, a two-book law library and a ravenous curiosity, and he thoroughly journaled his entire travels to and throughout New Mexico.
His thousand-mile journey from Independence, Missouri to Santa Fe would take 25 days by mule train, traveling in torrential rains and drifting blizzards. Many nights were spend sleeping on the ground under the wagons for shelter, and many meals were skipped due to inclement weather.
El Gringo was written by W. W. H. Davis (1820 – 1910) and first published in 1857. You can order from the Books page; enjoyi!
The talking part was fun, but I really enjoyed the question and answer portion. They asked for more about the uniqueness of the Indian Pueblos, their sovereignty and cultures, our flying saucer incidents (Roswell and Albuquerque), Oñate and the Duke of Alburquerque, “the missing R,” Spanish and Mexican impacts on New Mexico, New Mexico authors, and New Mexico futures.
This is a photo of me with Rick Chase, the District Director of Purdue’s Extension Service and one of the organizers of the conference. Rick was the gent that came across the 5 Perspectives on Albuquerque YouTube video and asked for an introductory presentation on Albuquerque’s and New Mexico’s history.
Great fun. Good people.