Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Paradise Motel and Cafe: Tucumcari, New Mexico

On a family vacation, all day in an un-airconditioned Chevy Bel Air wagon, "seeing America," places like this really were a little bit of paradise.

Bonnie and Clyde

(Wikipedia) Bonnie Elizabeth Parker (October 1, 1910 – May 23, 1934) and Clyde Chestnut Barrow a.k.a. Clyde Champion Barrow (March 24, 1909 – May 23, 1934) were American criminals who traveled the central United States with their gang during the Great Depression, robbing people and killing when cornered or confronted.
At times, the gang included his older brother Buck Barrow and his wife Blanche, Raymond Hamilton, W. D. Jones, Joe Palmer, Ralph Fults, and Henry Methvin.
Their exploits captured the attention of the American public during the "Public Enemy Era," between 1931 and 1935.
Though known today for their dozen-or-so bank robberies, the two preferred to rob small stores or rural gas stations. The gang is believed to have killed at least nine police officers and several civilians. Continued

Monday, May 22, 2017

Professors rescue design drawings for neon signs on Route 66

Blue Swallow Motel in all its neon glory (Sixgun Siding)
(AP/KFDA) They were just a bunch of old business records belonging to New Mexico's oldest and largest sign-making shop, the last of the manufacturers from neon's midcentury heyday.
No longer needed and deemed a fire hazard, the file drawers were moved outside and placed on pallets under a tree.
Ellen Babcock spotted them during one of her many visits to Zeon Signs as part of her interest in sign-making and the installation of public artwork on unused signs in Albuquerque.
Thanks to her curiosity, she was about to strike gold. Continued

Magnolia Gas Station: Vega, TX

T. Boone Pickens

... Pickens was born in Holdenville, Oklahoma, the son of Grace (née Molonson) and Thomas Boone Pickens. His father worked as an oil and mineral landman (rights leaser). During World War II, his mother ran the local Office of Price Administration, rationing gasoline and other goods in three counties. Pickens was the first child born via Caesarean section in the history of Holdenville hospital.
At age 12, Pickens delivered newspapers. He quickly expanded his paper route from 28 papers to 156. Pickens later cited his boyhood job as an early introduction to "expanding quickly by acquisition", a business practice he favored later in life.
When the oil boom in Oklahoma ended in the late 1930s, Pickens' family moved to Amarillo, Texas. Continued

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Battle of Turkey Creek Canyon: Ketchum Gang Vs. A Cimarron Sheriff’s Posse

Elzy Lay
(True West) Three suspected train robbers are in camp at their remote hide-out at Turkey Creek Canyon in New Mexico Territory.
Tipped off by a sighting (and a snitch), a seven-man posse out of Cimarron rides to the stronghold and dismounts when campfire smoke is spotted curling up through the trees.
The posse members get into position: three lawmen climb a ridge left of the camp and the other four deploy up the north side of the creek bottom. A half-dressed outlaw, Elzy Lay, comes into their view. With a canteen in his hand, Lay approaches a pool of water in the nearly dry creek bottom. Continued

Abandoned Diner: Bard, NM

The Homestead Act

(Library of Congress) President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act on May 20, 1862. The act provided settlers with 160 acres of surveyed public land after payment of a filing fee and five years of continuous residence. Designed to spur Western migration, the Homestead Act culminated a twenty-year battle to distribute public lands to citizens willing to farm. Continued

Photo: My great-grandparents' homestead near Tucumcari, New Mexico, circa 1905.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Pleasant Valley Cemetery

Harry W. Brown

Courtesy of The
475th Fighter Group
Historical Foundation

Harry Winston Brown (May 19, 1921 – October 7, 1991) was an Army Air Corps second lieutenant assigned to the 47th Pursuit Squadron at Wheeler Field on the island of Oahu during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. He was one of the five American pilots to score victories that day.
Brown was awarded a Silver Star for his actions, and was the first Texan decorated for valor in the war. By the war's end, he was a flying ace. Continued

Metropolitan Park, Tucumcari, NM

The pool circa 1965 (I Love New Mexico Blog)
Metropolitan Park, also known as Five Mile Park, was built by the CCC around 1940. At the time, it featured the largest pool in the Southwest. Today it's a ruin. I often wonder why we don't build stuff like that anymore, or at least preserve what we have.
The pool today