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Monday, October 24, 2011

Town of Montoya, NM

Monday p.m.
One last picture from Tucumcari – just an old sign on a vacant lot across from the RV park.
Yesterday evening we decided to take a ride west of town. I wanted to see what was left of the tiny town of Montoya – once a community of over 1000 on old Route 66.
Off we went – got off the Interstate one off-ramp too soon and found ourselves on narrow, cracked weed filled 66. Right next to the Interstate no problem. Oh, Oh – suddenly it was dirt and headed right under the I-40 – a very narrow pathway – probably a way for the water to flow under the highway. Through it and up the dirt on the other side back to the asphalt 66.  Sure glad we were doing the drive in the car and not in the motorhome.  We couldn’t have made it through the pass through.
Eventually we neared Montoya – the first thing we saw was an old cemetery. Of course we had to stop. Hummmm it was surrounded by a barbed wire fence – Except for a small part where the fence had been cut away!
Checked out some of the markers. Lots of people born in the 1800s and passed away in the early 1900s. But some from as recent as 2002. This view just reminded me of an Old West scene.
On towards what was left of the town. This was the sign for a gas station and store.
The front of Richardson’s Store – it is now surrounded by a chain link fence.
Here is a story I found about it on the web. http://www.theroadwanderer.net/66NMex/montoya.htm
Interesting to read. I guess several years ago there was an old gas pump there too.
Now there’s just an old broken down chair. And a sign saying Tucumcari East 66
Tried to get a shot of the whole building. You can see the fence around it. Would have loved to get closer to it. Guess it closed for the final time in the mid 1970s.
At the back of it is a modern post box and several old rusted mail boxes. According to the web story at one time the back of the building served as a post office.

Off in the distance across the railroad tracks we could see a two story red rock building. So we headed over there.
We passed some ruins that might have been an old bank building.
The old main road of the town runs north/south and crossed the railroad tracks. Just before the gravel road turned towards the building we were going to it passed the entrance to a large cattle ranch. As we approached the two story building just beyond it we saw a fifth wheel and truck inside of a fenced area. There was a cowboy outside with a campfire going. (I say cowboy ‘cause that is what he looked like. Light colored cowboy hat, stripped blue and white cowboy shirt, jeans and boots. He had dark shaggy hair and a beard. – why did I describe him – well that becomes important later.) Bill stopped so I could get out and take some pictures. Figured if we shouldn’t be there the cowboy would tell us.  The front of the building – notice the big crack in it.
Just a closer look at the top floor.
As I was taking the pictures Bill pulled up next to the fifth wheel and started talking to the cowboy. So glad he did. Turns out the guy was the great, great ?? grandson of the builder of the four room house. He still owns the patch where his 5th wheel was parked. His many times grandfather came from Ireland and settled in Virginia way back when. He joined the army and was sent to Colorado and eventually during the Mexican war he came to Montoya and built his home. The home was called Casa Alta and was built by Sylvan Hendren. It was a four room house. His parents are buried in the old cemetery.
He asked us if we wanted to see a picture of the town in the early 1900s – of course we said yes. He went into the 5th wheel and came out holding a pouch – we expected him to pull some old sepia photos out of it. Much to our surprise – the cowboy – pulled out his IPod and pulled up the photo. Guess we are all guilty of stereotyping. Anyway the picture was from 1900 when the town had 1000 people. In it was the bank when it was still a bank. He told us that Montoya was settled to be a loading point of cattle for the Southern Pacific Railroad.
So many interesting things and people in this country of ours. And if Bill is around we meet them.
Back onto the Interstate to Alfie.

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