The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Touring Hagan. Free parking!
Touring Hagan. Free parking!

An old window in the ruin
An old window in the ruin

All Aboard! Old train station at Hagan
All Aboard! Old train station at Hagan

Ruin, showing cement "thrown" plaster
Ruin, showing cement "thrown" plaster

No Diving! The old "reservior" at Hagan is empty.
No Diving! The old "reservior" at Hagan is empty.

A trip to the ghost town of Hagan

The information below was handed out by the Las Placitas Association at the park-and-ride on October 28 at 10:00 a.m., just before approximately seventy-five of us caravaned up I-25 to the San Felipe exit. We resolutely followed each other up the dirt road past the Diamond Tail ranch house to discover the abandoned town of Hagan. The day was perfect.

The coal-mining town of Hagan was established in 1902 and closed up in 1931 after running out of coal. Although leased briefly in 1939, the mines were closed forever shortly thereafter. The hundred plus adobe structures of Hagan were built by the preeminent Bernalillo adobero Abenicio Salazar with a team of 100 laborers and 60 masons over a period of three years. Aside from the adobes made on site from transported materials, brick from Golden, Tonque, and the Santa Fe Penitentiary was used in the chimneys and wall junctures. Electricity and running water were common throughout the town. A coal-powered plant supplied the electricity and water came to the reservoir above the town by clay tile from a spring two miles away.

During the boom years from 1924 to 1930, Hagan’s population grew to 200 people. The community consisted mainly of Italians and Slavs migrating from the coalfields of Raton and Dawson, and Hispanics from Madrid and Cerrillos. Seventy children were educated at the eight-grade schoolhouse. The center of activity wes Hagan’s general store which was a two-story, 100,000 square foot structure housing a barbershop, a pool hall, a bank, the post office and the general mercantile.

After finding the place and swarming all over it, photographing, and recording every possible shred of evidence that this was a great civilization, we took lunch down into the cool shade of the cottonwoods. We ate lunch along the gently flowing water that was coming down the arroyo from god knows where. Then we went down to the spring, which is now a tree-of-heaven grove.

Remnants of an apple orchard and vineyard were also evident, along with a small cattle pond. On the way out we stopped to see petroglyphs in two different areas. One of a horse, very nice, right by Hagan, where the village and school used to be. The other panels were found on the way back to I-25 on San Felipe land, but right on the side of the road. The main figures here were sheep or deer. Very nice representations found on this perfect day.

El Rinconcito español

Vale más tortilla con amor que gallina con dolor.
Better (as a meal) a tortilla with love than a chicken with sorrow.

Lo que se ve, no se pregunta.
What you can see, you don’t ask. (Don’t ask the obvious.)

La zorra nunca se ve su cola.
The fox never sees her own tail. (It’s easier to see the defects and limitations of others than to see one’s own.)

*Gracias a Ruth Calderón for her contributions.

Submitted by, Placitas—Spanish instruction that focuses on oral communication skills.

LPA seeks tales of encounters with gravel trucks

Almost all Placitas residents have at least one tale of horror about an accident or a near miss, being cut off or forced to the shoulder of the road by aggressive truck drivers, or being hit by flying gravel or loose rocks. These stories are more than just the “fine whines” of an inconvenienced neighborhood or the longings for the golden past of rural tranquility. These stories represent a very real and serious safety threat to the community and strongly reinforce the fact that gravel mines and residential communities are incompatible neighbors.

Las Placitas Association's current efforts to stop plans for another gravel mine in Placitas are focused on gathering information and compiling evidence of the negative impacts of the existing gravel mines on health, safety, and the quality of life in Placitas. As part of this effort, LPA is asking community members to send their truck tales, windshield woes, or accounts of dust, noise, and safety concerns to its Web site ( They would also like to know if complaints have been filed, with whom, and if any action was taken in response to the complaint.
If all goes as planned, the Bureau of Land Management, who manages the four thousand acres of land in Placitas, will begin the long and expensive process of revising its Resource Management Plan in 2007. This plan allows for gravel mining, which many believe is an incompatible land use in light of the growth of residential housing that has occurred in Placitas since adoption of the plan in 1986. In the revision process, BLM will be calling on community residents as well as the gravel companies and other interested parties to give input about how this land should be used. LPA believes that it is important to enter this planning process well-prepared to justify the withdrawal of mining from Placitas lands.

For an update on what is happening with the efforts to stop the mine from becoming a reality, community members are invited to attend LPA's Annual Meeting and Holiday Party, on December 10 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Anasazi Winery in the village of Placitas.

A thank-you and an invitation from the Placitas Community Library

The board of the Placitas Community Library would like to thank all those who have responded so generously to our Friends of the Library membership drive. Your contributions cover all our operating expenses for the year. We are still entirely volunteer-run and extremely frugal, but your donations keep the rent paid and the lights on. If you have not yet had a chance to respond, please take a moment now to join at whatever level is comfortable for you. Together we can make sure that all the adults and children in our community have access to high-speed Internet and word processing and can learn from a wide variety of books, tapes, and videos.

The board would also like to invite everyone to our Holiday Open House on Saturday, December 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We will have a bilingual story time starting at 11:00 a.m., followed by a piñata celebration and refreshments all afternoon. Who knows what other surprises we have in store for you? Perhaps Santa will even make an appearance. Watch for more information on flyers around town.

In mid-December, we plan to have our accessibility ramp and the garage remodeling completed. This will make it much easier for those with mobility issues to visit us and provide a clean place for us to sort and process all your fabulous book donations. Please hold off on those book donations until after January 1 to allow us the time and space to make these improvements.

Your library now has an extensive selection of the Santa Fe-produced radio program Aspectos Culturales. These weekly broadcasts, hosted by Roberto Mondragon, are dedicated to the preservation and sharing of Hispanic culture. They also support bilingual language development, with music and interviews. Mondragon brings alive the flavor of the New Mexican landscape. CDs of these broadcasts are available at the library for a three-week check-out period.

Our gang of catalogers is to be congratulated! They have now entered over eight thousand titles into our computer system, making it faster to check books out and easier to answer your questions about titles we have available.


• Friday, December 1: Story Hour. 9:30 p.m.
• Monday, December 4: Library book club discusses A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains, by Isabella Bird. 4:00 p.m.
• Saturday, December 9: Holiday Open House. Spanish/English story time, piñata celebration, and more. We would love for young and old to join us to share this special time of year. 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
• Friday, January 5: Preschool story hour. 9:30 a.m.
• Monday, January 7: Library book club will discuss Henderson the Rain King, by Saul Bellow. 4:00 p.m.
The discussion groups will be held at private homes, due to the cool temperatures in the library; please call 867-3355 for directions.

Placitas plans Open Space cleanup

The Las Placitas Association invites you to bring your sun hat, heavy gloves, rain gear, and join us to remove an antiquated barbed-wire fence that runs through the middle of the Placitas Open Space, obstructing both people and wildlife. We'll meet at the Placitas Merc at 9:00 a.m. on December 9 and carpool to the work site. Members of the Albuquerque Open Space Division will be there to help with the work and advise us on the ongoing work of implementing the Placitas Open Space Master Plan.

This is a free event sponsored by LPA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving open space, restoring ailing watersheds, and enhancing the quality of life in Placitas. LPA will provide tools, drinks, and snacks for this event. Lunch is also available by sending an RSVP. Log onto and use the Contact Us link to send an e-mail on how many will be in your group. Computer-less? Leave a message with Lolly Jones at 771-8020.

Learn more about LPA’s hikes, special events, and mission by visiting

Club Culturale Italiano donates clothing to Bound For Success

Rosealba Maniaci, an officer of the Club Culturale Italiano, with Peggy Koontz, a representative for Bound For Success, a nonprofit organization operating as Nearly New Boutique at 836 Camino del Pueblo in Bernalillo, donated clothing collected by the membership of the club. Maniaci is also chairman of Club Italiano’s annual Christmas Potluck Dinner, which will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 3, at Our Lady of Sorrows Church Hall, in Bernalillo.

The purpose of the Club Culturale Italiano is to further the understanding of Italian culture. If you are interested in attending the potluck or learning more about other club activities, call 867-6842 or 822-1806.





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