A cool business to model from the early 1990s


Roswell 1992 sharp

Maloof distributor in Roswell NM in 1992 –©photo by C. E. Hunt

This is largely a freshened up post from February of 2014.  My pictures are much better now that I have purchased a competent scanner.


As I wrote in 2014–

South of town sat this lonely white structure. The green Burlington Northern box cars spotted there were almost as large as the structure. This venue connected Roswell with Golden, Colorado about two or three times a month or so. It was always nice to see a new car spotted there as I drove south out of Roswell on Hwy 287. 

This another cool thing about modelling the early 1980s, single (or two) car shippers were still very common which is ideal for modellers and a great deal of beer was hauled by boxcars.  Though a lot of beer is still shipped by rail, including intermodal, most beer was hauled by boxcar up until probably the middle to late 1990s.


Roswell 1992 Coors

Front of Maloof Distributor, 1992–©photo by C. E. Hunt (Anybody know what kind of car the yellow one is?  AMC?)

Beer cars are great to model.



Scene from the Rails West layout.  A lot of beer was brought into the Roswell, NM Miller Distributor in SL-SF boxcars like this one in the early 1990s.  See this post. The trailing ATSF boxcar was a frequent visitor to the Roswell Budweiser distributor.




In another scene from the Rails West layout, this filthy WP beer car has just been collected from the distributor.



A load of beer being spotted on B. Smith’s LCR RR which is set in 1990.


photo 4 (10)

A string of beer cars on the Rails West layout before backdating the layout to 1982.  No more “plain jane” ATSF beer cars sadly.  They were very common at the Bud distributor in Roswell throughout the early 1990s.


If you’re not thirsty yet, check out one of my all time favorite Rails West posts here on the Golden Age of beer advertisements.  Here’s a sample of what you’ll see..






One cool flag…


The flag of New Mexico consists of a red sun symbol of the Zia on a yellow background. The colors are said to honor the flag of the Aragon Crown and reflects to colors of the modern day flag of Catalan in Spain.  A flag bearing similar colors was reportedly carried by the conquistadors exploring New Mexico in the 1500s.

But the flag’s history doesn’t begin in 1912, the year New Mexico became a state.   The original state flag is shown below.


Original flag of New Mexico from 1912 to 1920. Image by Josh Fruhlinger.

The Daughters of the American Revolution encouraged New Mexico to design a contemporary and unique flag in 1920. A contest to design the new state flag was won by Dr. Harry Mera of Santa Fe. Mera was an archeologist who was familiar with the sun symbol of the Zia Pueblo.  The symbol has sacred meaning to the Zia related to the life significance of the number four.  

The salutation to the flag still reflects this connection to one of the original cultures of New Mexico– “I salute the flag of the State of New Mexico and the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures.” 

Did Hemingway really pick Cubero, New Mexico to write a novel about the sea?


Ernest “Papa” Hemingway in 1958.

Legend has it that one of my favorite novelists went to one of my favorite states to write.  The legend is that Hemingway stayed at the Villa de Cubero Tourist Courts in Cubero, NM to write Old Man and the Sea.  Now, I have stomped around a number of “Papa’s” haunts in Paris and Key West.  He liked exotic venues for his writing.  Not sure I buy this one, but I suppose it could have happened.


Postcard of the Villa de Cubero “De Luxe” Tourist Courts.

The store is still nice.


However, the tourist courts have seen more “de luxe” days.


How did I learn of this legend?

From one of the best “forgotten places” sites out there–City of Dust.

If you haven’t checked it out, you are missing out!

Anyway, this site recently had a post which led me to this great post on the legend.


Could this have been Papa’s room? –photo from http://www.dukecityfix.com/profiles/blogs/the-cubero-adventures

I could try to summarize the post, but I likely wouldn’t do it justice.  Not sure El Diablo Puerco is translated correctly, but other than that minor detail, it is a great post.  The author(s) did a great job describing the legend and their exploration.

Pretty sure you’ll enjoy it.  Make your own decision.

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

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.

Road trip further west! — petroglyphs, pistachios and gypsum? (Part II)

Little hungry after connecting with thousands of years of history?  Let’s go get some pistachios.

Eagle Ranch Pistachio Groves is a great place to visit on the north side of Alamogordo.  They sell some wonderfully tasty bags of flavored pistachios.


Pistachio trees next to the visitor center at Eagle Ranch.

Unfortunately, Pistachios can only be grown in a few places in the world.  They are a member of the family Anacardiaceae which contains such widely known plants as the cashew, mango and, oddly enough, poison oak.

The history of pistachio cultivation in the US is rather interesting.  From the Eagle Ranch website:–

It is a deciduous tree, requiring approximately 1,000 hours of temperature at or below 45° F. in order to grow normally after its winter dormancy. Pistachio nut trees, generally, are suited for areas where summers are long, hot and dry, and the winters are moderately cold. A native desert tree, it does not tolerate high humidity in the growing season. 

The trees are dormant from December through February and begin to bloom with the arrival of warmer weather in late March. The male pollinates the female via the April winds, and the shell of the nut is fully developed by mid-May. Before June ends, the seed inside the shell has begun its rapid expansion and by the first of August, the seed has filled the shell. The nuts, splitting at the seams, are usually ready to be harvested the first week of September.

Pistacia vera L. probably originated in Central Asia where large stands of wild trees are found in areas known today as Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan. The first commercial plantings in these countries were most likely started from seeds collected from the best wild trees. The tree was introduced into Mediterranean Europe at about the beginning of the Christian era. The climate in the Tularosa Basin is almost identical to the pistachio producing areas of Iran and Turkey. The altitude of both areas is identical.

Although the pistachio was first introduced into California by the US Department of Agriculture about 1904, very little interest was generated until the 1950’s. Since that time, pistachios have become a significant farm commodity in California.

Plantings have also been made in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in those areas that meet the climate criteria. The tree flourishes and bears well in well-drained soils, but its root system will not tolerate prolonged wet conditions. It seems more tolerant to alkaline and saline conditions than most other commercial trees. The vigor and productive life of the tree is extremely long lasting. In the mid-East, there are trees on record of having productivity of several hundred years.


The Eagle Ranch Pistachio Grove (also known as “Heart of the Desert”) has a very nice visitor center in Alamogordo.

The company offers pistachios in a number of wonderful flavors inspired by the cuisine of New Mexico–Green Chile, Red Chile, Garlic and Green Chile and just plain roasted and salted.  All of them are great.  They also sell wines from the Heart of the Desert vineyards and a number of other great New Mexico treats.

In the mountains to the east of Alamogordo, high-quality apples and cherries are also grown.

Another site I used to enjoy checking out was the Alamogordo sawmill.  It operated from 1899 to 2007.  Many times I spotted mostly Southern Pacific and Cotton Belt 50-foot boxcars spotted at the sawmill.  The logs came from the nearby Sacramento Mountains.   A rail line once existed that would haul logs to the mill.  Relics of the logging rail line can still be seen in Lincoln National Forest to the east.


Dusty, old spur heading up to the former Alamogordo sawmill.


Closer view of former sawmill,  Note lumber kiln to the right.


Typical of the 50-foot SP and Cotton Belt boxcars I saw spotted at the sawmill in the early 1990.

Next stop and final leg of the road trip will take us to the Gypsum sands to the west also known as White Sands.