Today in History

President Abraham Lincoln was born on this day in 1809.

The Library does not have any archival material from the 16th president*, so instead today we’re sharing the stories behind his namesakes in New Mexico.

Map of the Territory of New Mexico

Lincoln County was created by the territorial legislature in 1869 to honor the president. It was originally much larger than today (see pink county in the middle of the map). Chavez, Eddy and Otero Counties were carved out of it, reducing it to its current size today.

The town of Lincoln, formerly known as La Placita Del Rio Bonito, was one of the largest towns in the region that became Lincoln County. It was the county seat until the county offices were moved to Carrizozo in 1909. Lincoln county came to fame/ infamy with the Lincoln County Wars, 1878-1881.

Lincoln Forest Reserve, named for the town and county (both of which were named after the president, so we’re including it) was created in 1902, and renamed “Lincoln National Forest” in 1918.

For more information check out Lincoln Historic Site

*If you have something of President Lincoln’s and are interested in donating, please email us (historylibrary@state.nm.us)

Information from “Place Names of New Mexico” by Robert Julyan.

Book cover of “The Place Names of New Mexico” by Robert Julyan

Today in History

Santa Fe Trail wagon ruts near Fort Union, New Mexico
Photographer: Wyatt Davis
Date: 1939?
From the New Mexico Magazine collection,Negative Number HP.2007.20.105

On this day in history, Jan. 29, 1822, William Becknell, founder of the Santa Fe Trail, returns to Franklin, Missouri, after his first trading expedition to Santa Fe. Legend has it that Spanish gold and silver coins fell from his leather pouch onto the streets, sparking a “trade rush.”

New Mexico History Museum’s small business project featured on KRQE

Museum curator Alicia Romero spoke with KRQE news about the research project about small independent businesses serving communities throughout New Mexico. We are seeking input from the public about their experience and memories of these small businesses which will help inform a future exhibit.

For more details and how to submit your own suggestion, check out this recent blogpost.

Local favorites

US Post Office and Emilio Cordova General Store, Cordova, NM, circa 1928. Palace of the Governors Photo Archives # HP.1975.51.42

What’s your favorite New Mexico small business?

Were you the owner? Did your family run one for decades and decades? Did you work for one? Or did you just frequent a favorite shop around the corner?

The New Mexico History Museum is researching historic and modern small businesses to explore for a possible exhibition in the future.

New Mexico has many memorable and iconic establishments that would help to tell this story. In particular, we’d like to focus on sole-proprietor operations and family-owned businesses that sold goods or provided services to local communities in every part of the state.

(We’d like to avoid national chains and franchises.)

We’re looking for corner stores, tienditas, general stores, barber shops, moms & pops, cobblers, meat markets, bookstores, record stores, radio stores, repair shops, feed stores, trading posts, very small restaurants and cafes, tailors and seamstresses, laundries, bicycle shops, and so on, that were unique, characteristic, or served as anchors in their neighborhood or town.

Here’s a very simple form where you can add ideas from anywhere in the state.

https://forms.gle/wmuUvhfkVBjoyaBSA

Thanks for your help! Please spread the word to anyone who might be interested.

Working On the Railroad – The Virtual Exhibition

A view of the entrance of the Working on the Railroad exhibition

When the railroad came to New Mexico in 1879, it brought thousands of job opportunities for local people from rural villages, reservations, and larger towns. In addition to the homegrown workforce, the railroad also brought immigrant Chinese, European, and Mexican laborers to our state. The workforce included women and people of color, immigrants and Native Americans, young and old.

Told through historic and contemporary images from the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives and the The Library of Congress, “Working on the Railroad” fosters appreciation for these people—the steel gangs and machinists, car cleaners and conductors—included in the story of how the railroad changed New Mexico. Along with the photographs, artifacts such as oversized machinist’s wrenches, early twentieth-century railroad lanterns, brass locks, and railroad tie dating nails help the visitor imagine what it was like working on the railroad.

While we remain closed, please enjoy this virtual tour of NMHM’s “Working on the Railroad.” You can watch the New Mexico PBS ¡Colores! episode, “Albuquerque’s Historic Railroad Shops” from within the exhibition.
https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=z9uNNHsiPED

Fray Angélico Chávez in His Own Words

POGPA Negative # PA-MU-082.05

“My parents were the grandchildren of the founders of Wagon Mound, New Mexico. My Chavez grandfather was brought as a child from Belen. My mother’s side were Roybals from the Jacona district. Again, her father was brought as a child to Wagon Mound. I was born in 1910, exactly nine months after they were married–to the day. There were ten children in all.”

“From Mora to the Mission : Fray Angelico Chavez”, Turn Left at the Sleeping Dog: Scripting the Santa Fe Legend, 1920-1955 / by John Pen La Farge.