Title: New book spotlights Alamogordo
Author: Michael Johnson
Publisher: Alamogordo Daily News
There's a piece of Alamogordo's history that is now available on bookstore shelves.
I've only just begun delving into it, but the book is titled "Images of America: Alamogordo." It was put together by Pete Eidenbach, an anthropologist, historian, preservation planner and teacher at New Mexico State University-Alamogordo whose 38-year professional career has focused on the archaeology, history and traditions of southern New Mexico.
The book is a collection of historic photographs supplied by numerous people and historical organizations.
It begins with an introduction from Eugene Manlove Rhodes, who nicknamed Alamogordo and its surroundings "Arcadia."
The historic photographs are fascinating to browse. It is interesting to see how Alamogordo has changed from a railroad town to what it is today.
But as I browsed through the photos and read about its history, I was saddened to learn that Alamogordo has lost much of its "Old West" charm.
The town in which I formerly lived, Cody, Wyo., was founded in 1896 by William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody and has managed to maintain its "Old West" look despite its many modern conveniences.
The name of this column is a play on Cody's famous "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World" shows in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
I love Western history. Alamogordo and the Tularosa Basin has plenty of it. Unfortunately, I hadn't been able to find anyone or have anyone tell me who knows an extensive history of Alamogordo.
Then, Eidenbach's book arrived in the mail late Thursday.
I took it home and read through the first chapter. Although there isn't much text, the photographs speak volumes.
If I had been born and raised in Alamogordo, I can only imagine the stories I could tell about its history. Eidenbach's book has given me a brand new perspective.
Before this book, I didn't know White Sands Boulevard was once known as Pennsylvania Avenue. I didn't know Alameda Park once contained a large swan pool and rustic foot bridges. I also didn't know that part of Alameda Park's purpose was to separate the railroad from the town.
But as I browsed the photos, I saw one thing that has not changed: the view of the Sacramento Mountains. Each day that I am able to look at those mountains is a blessing.
The book also includes much information about Cloudcroft, High Rolls, Tularosa and Mescalero.
The most fascinating photo is on page 34 of a single open-passenger Balley-Claire excursion car and mail trail crossing the Mexican Canyon Trestle en route to Cloudcroft.
It's a good book, although it is only 128 pages. The photos alone are worth a thousand words.