It was 153 years ago today (1861) that Congress organized the Territory of Colorado and stole the Rio Grande headwaters, the San Luis Valley, nine fourteeners, a national park and a big chunk of plains from New Mexico. Colorado was given that part of New Mexico east of the Continental Divide between 37º (the current state line) and 38º (69 miles further north).
In the House version of the bill, the new territory was called Idaho. The Senate changed it to Colorado.
The good news is, two years later, New Mexico Territory gave up what is now Arizona.
So, lose some, win some.
Here’s an 1857 map of New Mexico.
… was proclaimed 91 years ago today.
Around 1100 A.D. ancient peoples embarked on an ambitious building project along the Animas River in northwestern New Mexico. Work gangs excavated, filled, and leveled more than two and a half acres of land. Masons laid out sandstone blocks in intricate patterns to form massive stone walls. Wood-workers cut and carried heavy log beams from mountain forests tens of miles away. In less than three decades they built a monumental “great house” three-stories high, longer than a football field, with perhaps 500-rooms including a ceremonial “great kiva” over 41-feet in diameter.
A short trail winds through this massive site offering a surprisingly intimate experience. Along the way visitors discover roofs built 880 years ago, original plaster walls, a reed mat left by the inhabitants, intriguing “T” shaped doorways, provocative north-facing corner doors, and more. The trail culminates with the reconstructed great kiva, a building that inherently inspires contemplation, wonder, and an ancient sense of sacredness.
Ancestral Puebloans related to those from the Chaco region farther south built an extensive community at this site beginning in the late 1000s A.D. Over the course of two centuries, the people built several multi-story structures called “great houses,” small residential pueblos, tri-wall kivas, great kivas, road segments, middens, and earthworks. The West Ruin, the remains of the largest structure that they built and which has since been partially excavated, had at least 450 interconnected rooms built around an open plaza. Several rooms contain the original wood used to build the roof. After living in the area about 200 years, the people left at about 1300 A.D.
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Spent Friday with guests from Denver. Along with Walter White’s house (not pictured) we visited Albuquerque’s sites. Photos below taken at Petroglyph National Monument, the Rio Grande at Alameda Bridge, and the top of the Sandia Peak Tramway. Click for gallery of larger versions and full captions.
The 700 or so year-old glyphs mark the rocks at Boca Negra Canyon, Petroglyph National Monument.
The Sandia Mountains across Albuquerque’s north side from Petroglyph National Monument.
Watching the Rio flow, from right to left just above the Alameda Bridge.
Winter reveals the Gothic structure of the cottonwoods in the Bosque just above Alameda Bridge.
Sunset from a very cold and very, very windy 10,378 feet.
Looking down the other side of the Sandias from the Sandia Peak Tramway station.
A crescent Moon and the cables that guide — and hold! — the tram cars and their 50 passengers.
… was signed in Mexico City on this date in 1853. The treaty settled the dispute over the exact location of the international border west of Texas and gave the U.S. approximately 29,000 square miles of land — in brief, Arizona and New Mexico south of the Gila River — for the price of $10 million. In the U.S. it’s known as the Gadsden Purchase Treaty.
The Mexican Republic agrees to designate the following as her true limits with the United States for the future: retaining the same dividing line between the two Californias as already defined and established, according to the 5th article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the limits between the two republics shall be as follows: Beginning in the Gulf of Mexico, three leagues from land, opposite the mouth of the Rio Grande, as provided in the 5th article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; thence, as defined in the said article, up the middle of that river to the point where the parallel of 31° 47′ north latitude crosses the same; thence due west one hundred miles; thence south to the parallel of 31° 20′ north latitude; thence along the said parallel of 31° 20′ to the 111th meridian of longitude west of Greenwich; thence in a straight line to a point on the Colorado River twenty English miles below the junction of the Gila and Colorado rivers; thence up the middle of the said river Colorado until it intersects the present line between the United States and Mexico.
Read the entire Gadsden Purchase Treaty.
Here’s a slideshow from Albuquerque’s “Snow-of-the-Century” — back before hoaxers started warming the planet — seven years ago today (about 25-26 inches at Casa NewMexiKen). Click for larger versions and slideshow, or scroll over image for caption.
Backyard bench, Friday afternoon.
Backyard bench, early Saturday morning.
The view from my computer.
Not a good day for mimosas in the courtyard.
A view in Sandia Heights, the westernmost Sandia Mountains in the background.
The clouds lift.
Words would just be superfluous.
[First posted here seven years ago today. Like any list, not every one is LOL funny, but if you live in New Mexico you'll be nodding in agreement with many.]
- You don’t think it’s weird that everybody stares at you when you walk into the Frontier.
- You snicker whenever someone from out of state tries to pronounce your last name.
- You’ve had a school day cancelled because there was half an inch of snow on the ground.
- You know what an Arroyo is.
- Your high school’s name was a Spanish word (La Cueva, Eldorado, Sandia, Manzano…)
- You still call the “Flying Star” the “Double Rainbow” and it’s still the best place to get dessert in the world!
- There is a kachina somwhere in your home or yard.
- You believe that bags of sand with a candle in them are perfectly acceptable Christmas decorations.
- You have license plates on your walls, but not on your car.
- Most restaurants you go to begin with El or Los.
- You remember when Santa Fe was not like San Francisco.
- You hated Texans until the Californians moved in.
- The tires on your roof have more tread than the ones on your car.
- You price-shop for tortillas.
- You have an extra freezer just for green chile.
- You think a red light is merely a suggestion.
- You believe using a turn signal is a sign of weakness.
- You don’t make eye contact with other drivers because you can’t tell how well armed they are just by looking.
- You think six tons of crushed rock makes a beautiful front lawn.
- You have to sign a waiver to buy hot coffee at a drive-up window.
- You ran for state legislature so you can speed legally.
- You pass on the right because that’s the fast-lane.
- You have read a book while driving from Albuquerque to Las Vegas.
- You know they don’t skate at the Ice House and the Newsstand doesn’t sell newspapers.
- You think Sadies was better when it was in the bowling alley and the Owl Bar was better before they put in the turn-off.
- You have used aluminum foil and duct tape to repair your air conditioner.
- You can’t control your car on wet pavement.
- There is a piece of a UFO displayed in your home.
- You know that The Jesus Tortilla is not a band.
- You wish you had invested in the orange barrel business.
- You just got your fifth DWI and got elected to the state legislature in the same week.
- Your swamp cooler got knocked off your roof by a dust devil.
- You have been on TV more than three times telling about how your neighbor was shot or about your alien abduction.
- You can actually hear the Taos hum.
- All your out-of-state friends and relatives visit in October.
- You know Vegas is a town in the northeastern part of the state.
- You are afraid to drive through Mora and Espanola.
- You iron your jeans to dress up.
- You don’t see anything wrong with drive-up window liquor sales.
- Your other vehicle is also a pick-up truck.
- Two of your cousins are in Santa Fe, one in the legislature and the other in the state pen.
- You know the punch line to at least one Espanola joke.
- Your car is missing a fender or bumper (or a turn signal and aligned headlights).
- You have driven to an Indian Casino at 3 a.m. because you were hungry.
- You know the response to the question “red or green?”
- You’re relieved when the pavement ends because the dirt road has fewer potholes.
- You can correctly pronounce Tesuque, Cerrillos, and Pojoaque, and know the Organ mountains are not a phallic symbol!
- You have been told by at least one out-of-state vendor they are going to charge you extra for international shipping.
- You expect to pay more if your house is made of mud.
- You can order your Big Mac with green chile.
- You see nothing odd when, in the conversations of the people in line around you at the grocery store, every other word of each sentence alternates between Spanish and English.
- You associate bridges with mud, not water.
- You know you will run into at least three cousins whenever you shop at Wal-Mart, Sam’s or Home Depot.
- Tumbleweeds and various cacti in your yard are not weeds. They are your lawn.
- If you travel anywhere, no matter if just to run to the gas station, you must bring along a bottle of water and some moisturizer.
- Trailers are not referred to as trailers. They are houses. Double-wide trailers are real houses.
- A package of white flour tortillas is the exact same thing as a loaf of bread. You don’t need to write it on your shopping list; it’s a given.
- At any gathering, regardless of size, green chile stew, tortillas, and huge mounds of shredded cheese are mandatory.
- Prosperity can be readily determined by the number of horses you own.
- A tarantula on your porch is ordinary.
- A scorpion in your tub is ordinary.
- A poisonous centipede on your ceiling? Ordinary.
- A black widow crawling across your bed is terribly, terribly common.
- A rattlesnake is an occasional hiking hazard. No need to freak out.
- You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from New Mexico.