Photo of the week — What a difference 26 years make!


ATSF 152273 — photo by Karl Geffche

ATSF 152273 in Whippany NJ on June 28,1979.


ATSF 151955 — photo by Joe Rogers

ATSF 151955 in Paris, SC on August 28, 2005.

Photo of the Week — A conservationist comes to the “territory”


Theodore Roosevelt in the territory of New Mexico in 1899.  Photo courtesy of the Museum of New Mexico.

The above photo is of Col. Theodore Roosevelt at the first annual Rough Riders Reunion in front of the Castañeda Hotel in Las Vegas, N.M., in June 1899.


Hotel Castaneda, originally built in 1898, is currently being refurbished to once again serve as a hotel. See this article from the Houston Chronicle article. Photo courtesy Denver Public Library.

I am a fan of Roosevelt’s efforts to establish numerous National Parks, Forests and Wildlife Refuges.

A interesting book  that emphasizes his conservation efforts is–

Here is an excerpt of a review for the New Yorker–

Theodore Roosevelt spent the day of July 1, 1908, the tenth anniversary of the Battle of San Juan Hill, creating forty-five national forests. In this biographical study of T.R.’s campaign to save hundreds of millions of acres of wilderness, Brinkley writes that “the forestry movement would be forced down his opponents’ throats.” Roosevelt’s intense love for nature was, Brinkley makes clear, a conqueror’s love—triumphal Darwinism—and included a “blood lust” in hunting the wildlife he championed. 

It is a bit long (actually very long at 960 pages), but it gives a great overview of his work in conservation.  Of all our Presidents, he probably had the largest, most positive impact on conservation overall.


Willie Stargell’s Roswell Incident and other Roswell and New Mexico Baseball Goodies


1966 baseball card for Willy Stargell.

If you haven’t noticed, along with my love of New Mexico, trains and conservation, I like baseball, especially Chicago White Sox baseball.  (See post of April 19, 2014) Expect a post or two in the future on the White Sox, but I have been sparing you thus far.  I like golf too but we’ll see if any traffic comes from that.  (There is both an American Indian and a Roswell local who did well on the links from the State).

Here’s a few baseball tidbits from Roswell.  There’s not much to work with.

Roswell has hosted a number of minor league teams over the years with a number of colorful names–Giants (1923), Sunshiners, Rockets, Pirates and Invaders.

A “Roswell Incident” of a different sort

According to a brief biography, one of my favorite major leaguers growing up had a Roswell incident of his own.

In a 1959 Minor League game in Roswell, Stargell, playing for the Roswell Pirates, was approached by a man with a shotgun. Pointing it at his head, the man threatened to kill Stargell if he played in that night’s game. Nothing more resulted from the incident, and the determined Stargell still played in the game. Even as a nineteen year old, he showed a lot of promise, collecting 87 RBIs and hitting .274 that year for the Roswell team.  In 1961, the Pittsburgh Pirates would call him up to the big leagues.  He would spend his next 21 years there.


On Oct. 17, 1979, Willie Stargell would hit a home run giving Pirates a win in Game 7 of World Series.

Fortunately, Stargell shook off the guy with the shotgun,   He would go on to hit 475 major league home runs and drive in 1,540 runs over his career.

A real Roswellite–The short career of Lefty Scott

Unbelievably, only one native of Roswell has ever made it to “the Show.”  Lefty Scott was born on Thursday, July 15, 1915. Scott was 29 years old when he broke into the big leagues on June 15, 1945, with the Philadelphia Phillies. He pitched in eight games.  Sadly, that was it.  There is a picture that is alleged to be his photo on the internet, but it is so poor that it doesn’t merit being in the post.

There have been about 25 major leaguers from New Mexico, but Roswell has been largely infertile for the cultivation of major leaguers thus far.

Here are a few from at least southern New Mexico.

Steve Ontiveros

Steve Ontiveros was born on Sunday, March 5, 1961, in Tularosa, New Mexico. Ontiveros was 24 years old when he broke into the big leagues on June 14, 1985, with the Oakland Athletics.  He enjoyed one of the more successful careers of the handful of native New Mexicans to play in the big leagues.  He played from 1985 to 2000.  He moved around some, but spent the bulk of his seasons with the Athletics.

Scott Terry

Scott Terry was born on Saturday, November 21, 1959, in Hobbs, New Mexico. Terry was 26 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 9, 1986, with the Cincinnati Reds.  He had a respectable career.  He pitched in 236 games over a six year career.

Jimmy Freeman

Jimmy Freeman was born on Friday, June 29, 1951, in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Freeman was 21 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 1, 1972, with the Atlanta Braves.  Sadly, Jimmie’s career was rather short.  He only appeared in 19 major league games, all for the Braves.

Quicksand kids?

Probably the best known major leaguer native to New Mexico is Ralph Kiner.  Kiner was born in Santa Rita, NM in 1922.  Due to back problems he only played from 1946 to 1955, but he had many great seasons, including leading the league in homeruns six consecutive seasons.  Kiner was not especially fast and contrast to the 1950 Phillies “Whiz Kids,” he and his fellow outfielders during his tenure in Chicago were referred to as the “Quicksand Kids,”   He died from natural causes on February 6, 2014 at the age of 91.


Hall of Fame left fielder Ralph Kiner

A famous quote was attributed to Branch Rickey when Kiner was traded to Chicago from Pittsburgh.  Rickey reportedly told Kiner, “We finished last with you, we can finish last without you.”  During his nine years of play, Kiner hit 369 home runs and batted in 1,015 runs.

Kiner’s voice became very well known to New Yorkers.  He broadcast Mets games from 1962 until 2006.  Kiner spent some of his childhood in California, but not a bad career for a kid born in what is now a ghost town in New Mexico!


Business district east of Santa Rita, 1919,  Now a ghost town. –Photo courtesy Silver City Museum

Layout progress report #3

The track crew has been busy! (Well, kind of busy)

The ATSF has now come to the north end of Roswell.


Track looking north towards Portales. The main line north is to the left.  The spur to the Budweiser distributor goes to the right.


Aerial of area modelled above. Structure is Budweiser distributor.  Track at top heads north towards Portales.


Boxcars waiting to be unloaded at distributor.

Photo above shows box cars along what will be the Budweiser spur.  Given the unusual shape of the distributor, it will be a challenge to model.  Only a portion will be modelled given the limited space.


Close up of BN and ATSF “beer caddies.”


Boxcars parked at distributor in 1993. –C Hunt photo


Front of Budweiser distributor, 1993. Rail spur (not visible) is on right side of building. Note trailer with old Budweiser logo to the left. –C. Hunt photo

Well, at least the track crew is making some progress.  The next area to be worked on will be the middle of town near the old depot including the spur to the bakery and team track where flour, lumber, plastic pellets and more come in.

For more on beer shipments in to Roswell in the 1990s, see–How about a cold one? (February 15, 2014), A Dinosaur comes to Roswell (February 20, 2014) and Beer is proof that God loves us…(Series beginning April 27, 2014)

BN 734087 Casper WY June 5 1999 Dave Krumenacker Photo

“Beer Caddie” visiting Casper Wyoming in 1990s, BN 734087 — Dave Krumenacker Photo

Photo of the week — A tragic loss in New Mexico in 1892.


Territorial Capitol of new Mexico built in 1886. Photo courtesy of Museum of New Mexico.

The Territorial Capitol in Santa Fe, built in 1886, was destroyed by a suspicious fire in 1892. A new building was erected a few years later on the site of what is now the Bataan Memorial Building. (Top: Photographer unknown, Museum of New Mexico Negative No. 16710; bottom: photographer unknown, Museum of New Mexico Negative No. 72384)

New Mexico became a state on January 6, 1912.

Virtual Railfanning (or… A virtual roadtrip to Brownfield, Texas)

Though limited to the date that cameras gathered on the ground and aerial images, one can “railfan” throughout the world (especially the US) courtesy the various mapping websites such as Google and Bing maps.

One day, I decided to go back and visit Brownwood, Texas, which was the subject of one of my Photo of the week posts (March 2, 2014).  (Brownfield was once along the ATSF.   Today, Brownfield is serviced by the West Texas and Lubbock Railway.)


Brownfield Cotton Compress, 1992.

Here is the same place circa, 2014.


Brownfield Cotton Compress, circa 2014.

From my virtual visit, I can see a lot has changed.  I am not sure if the company is still rail served.  There is still a spur.  It is possible.  The West Texas and Lubbock Railway’s website lists the primary commodities hauled as fertilizer, construction aggregates, grain, cotton, chemicals, peanuts and plastics.


Brownfield Cotton Compress, circa 2014. Green dots shows the location of the box cars photographed in 1992 (March  2, 2014 post).

From our virtual roaming around town, there is a fair amount of other rail business.


West Texas Guar Processing

The aerial shows a number of covered hoppers spotted at West Texas Guar.  I had alluded in a past blog that I would do a post on this industry.  Unfortunately, the company is apparently in bankruptcy and the future of this traffic is uncertain.  Guar is an extremely drought resistant bean that has utility particularly in the oilfield for fracking purposes.


Spenko Solutions Oilfield Products

Spenko Solutions is another business utilizing rail service in 2014.  It offers a number of product useful in the oilfield including frac sand and fluids.

Agriliance Company in Brownfield was being serviced by the West Texas and Lubbock Railway during the day that the on-the-ground images were captured.



Agriliance Company in Brownfield, TX

Agriliance distributes and markets crop nutrients, crop protection products and seed.

There is more to see and other rail served business in Brownfield you can visit online.  Again, railfanning this way only gives you a snapshot of rail activity in a locale.  Businesses that look busy, may by out of business later.  Or, dormant business may spring to life with rail activity only various times of the year.  A great deal can be learned from virtual ralifanning in the placement of track and businesses even if you model an earlier era.  Many of the buildings and most the track arrangement is still similar in Roswell now as it was in the early 1990s  I am studying online modern resources such as these as I lay the track.

Hope you enjoyed the virtual trip to Brownfield, Texas.  With its reasonable size traffic of agricultural and oilfield related commodities, it would be an interesting site to model.  You could have a wide variety of covered hoppers, box cars and tank cars.  I also like the simplicity of the scenery.  You wouldn’t have to have a lot of complex tree and grass scenery features so that would allow you to more easily evoke the essence of the area.

Photo of the week — Bringin’ the lumber


WP 38141 — Photo by Greg Dickinson

Here is a nice photo of a Western Pacific boxcar in Elmira NY July 4 1989, about the same era as my ATSF in Roswell in the 90s layout.

Here is a similar car in Longview Texas on June 3, 2006.


WP 38224 –Photo by Neil Stuzman

These cars delivered lumber and other commodities for the Western Pacific throughout the country.  Many of these cars are still on the rails today serving a similar role for the Union Pacific. (The Union Pacific bought the Western Pacific in 1983.)