Friday, September 8, 2017

WILD WESTERN LAS VEGAS--"THE OTHER ONE."

NOTE:
Since Cheri Kay Clifton wrote about the BIG Las Vegas, I thought to re-run my post about "The Other Las Vegas--in New Mexico."
I hope you enjoy it.
Celia




THE SANGRE DE CRISTO MOUNTAINS
Las Vegas, New Mexico lies at the base of the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (The Blood of Christ). Las Vegas means "the meadows." The town is 65 miles due east of Santa Fe.

MAIN STREET IN VINTAGE LAS VEGAS, NEW MEXICO
Las Vegas, New Mexico was established in 1835 after a group of settlers received a land grant from the Mexican government. They laid out the town in the traditional Spanish Colonial style, with a central plaza surrounded by buildings that could serve as fortifications in case of attack.
PLAZA IN OLD TOWN WITH PLAZA HOTEL IN BACKGROUND
Las Vegas soon prospered as a stop on the Santa Fe Trail. During the Mexican-American War in 1846, Stephen W. Kearny delivered an address at the Plaza of Las Vegas claiming New Mexico for the United States.
SANTA FE RAILROAD STATION WITH HOTEL AND HARVEY HOUSE IN THE LEFT SIDE

 When the railroad arrived in 1880, it set up shop one mile (1.6 km) east of the Plaza. Fred Harvey showed up and used one side of the station as the Hotel Castaneda, complete with one of his already famous Harvey Houses.
HARVEY HOUSE GIRLS-TURN OF THE CENTURY
 Turn-of-the-century Las Vegas featured all the modern amenities, including an electric street railway, the "Duncan Opera House" a Carnegie library, and the New Mexico Normal School (now New Mexico Highlands University.)
THE YOUNGER BROTHERS: COLE, JIM, JOHN, AND BOB
 The arrival of the railroad on July 4, 1879 brought with it businesses and people, both respectable and dubious. Murderers, robbers, thieves, gamblers, gunmen, swindlers, vagrants, and tramps poured in, transforming the eastern side of the settlement into a virtually lawless brawl.

JESSE JAMES AND BROTHERS
Among the notorious characters were legends of the Old West: the Younger Brothers, dentist Doc Holliday,  Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Hoodoo Brown, The Durango Kid, Handsome Harry the Dancehall Rustler, and the Cole Brothers.

 Historian Ralph Emerson Twitchell once claimed regarding the Old West:
"Without exception there was no town which harbored a more disreputable gang of desperadoes and outlaws than did Las Vegas."

A CLOSE SIMILARITY OF THE OLD ADOBE HOUSE WE LIVED IN WHILE SPENDING A YEAR IN LAS VEGAS, NEW MEXICO
In 1970, my husband and our two elementary school age children lived in Las Vegas one year while he taught at New Mexico Highland University. The school is such a beautiful small college, and the rich experiences we encountered that one year have always stayed with us.
Living in an old renovated adobe house was quite an experience, with its polished vigas across the ceilings, pine floors, and a very small adobe fireplace in a corner. How I longed for an even floor, straight walls, and doors that shut properly. Nothing in a 100-year-old adobe house lies as it should which became part of its charm. The foot thick adobe walls kept us snug and warm during that one cold winter.
The window over my kitchen sink looked toward the close Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and many afternoons a rain shower moved across, watering my flowers and garden, moving on, leaving bright blue skies.
It is a beautiful place.

Note: We moved on to Oklahoma where my husband earned a PhD and I taught high school. Stillwater did not have the same old wild west feel to it, but we did enjoy our three-year stay there, too.
Next move was to our present home in Central Texas, San Marcos.
Thank you for visiting Old Las Vegas.
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas



12 comments:

  1. How interesting, Celia. I think we'll have to try to stop on our next trip to New Mexico which is one of our favorite places to visit.

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    1. Do. Go to the square downtown--that's "old town." Historic hotel there, too, if you need a historic hotel!If you do, let me know and I can tell you more secrets.

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    2. I've always wanted to stay in a historic hotel. Of course now we'll be staying in a little RV.

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  2. I loved this glance back through history. You're an excellent tour guide, Celia!

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  3. Celia, my family is also fascinated by this Las Vegas. It still feels more "Old West" than most places.

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  4. I did not know there was such a place. I only know the Las Vegas in Nevada, but this one in New Mexico sounds so charming--okay, except for the time period in which it was marred by the many criminal types that invaded it.
    What a great idea it was to make towns in which there is a central plaza and with the surrounding buildings acting as fortifications. That idea reminds me of old European castles and how the castle and its shops and houses were surrounded by a huge wall for protection.
    New Mexico is one of the few states I have not visited. It's hard to imagine a place of such history and beauty that I could have missed. The pictures were wonderful.
    I don't know how I could have missed this blog when you originally posted it unless it was before I became acquainted with you. I'm glad you reposted it so I would have a chance to read it.
    All the best to you, Celia.

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  5. Sarah--the idea of a central plaza came over with the early Spaniards..They built their Catholic Church in the center of town, and then surrounded it with businesses. New Mexico was not settled and populated by Mexicans...but by Spaniards. That was the one sore spot of an Anglo living in Las Vegas NM...you were an outsider, and do not refer to the population as Mexicans..or Hispanics...they are Spanish.
    I've always thought the history of those outlaws using the town as a hideout was very interesting.
    Just outside Las Vegas toward the mountains is a small village called Montezuma. There is a big building that originally was a monastery for young boys from Mexico to live and become priests. Yes. Now, the building is occupied by some off-shoot college. (Not New Mexico Highlands U.--which is lovely and in town.)
    The river that came down out of the mountains was damned up and in the winter it froze. The young priests used it for ice skating. During the winter we were there, we and three other Anglo faculty and kids bought ice skates..and we spent Sundays there with hot chocolate...etc. A lot a fun.
    Our kids were 1st grade and 3rd grade. As 50 somethings today, they still remember and talk about living in Las Vegas.
    Celia

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  6. Celia, interesting post to follow mine! As I replied to your comment, I did not know there was another Las Vegas. Love to visit Old West towns, so will have to put that on our list of places to tour now that we live so close.

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  7. You don't see adobe houses in Illinois. Also, the vegetation is way different.

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  8. Fascinating post. Never heard of that town. Thanks for adding to my knowledge of the West.

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  9. How interesting, Celia. I had no idea there were two Las Vegas cities. I can almost see that adobe house you had. It would be a good character in a book.

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