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An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988
  Around Town

Horses roam in Cedar Creek subdivision of Placitas —Photo credit: Steff Chanat

Wild horse (or was it livestock) trespassing case goes forward

—Ty Belknap

A charge of criminal trespass was filed in Sandoval County Magistrate Court against Placitas resident Christine Landers on October 11, 2011. The Wild Horse Observers Association (WHOA) depicted her as a pro-loop road realtor who schemed to let the horses go so one might be killed in the road, giving the wild horses a bad name. WHOA asked supporters to encourage Sheriff Wood to press charges.

A pre-trial conference is scheduled for January 10, 2012, at 1:00 p.m. at the office of Judge Zanoti, located at 1000 Montoya Road, behind the Wal-Mart in Bernalillo.

The Criminal Complaint filed with the court states that Landers did knowingly enter upon posted private property of Patience O’Dowd without possessing written permission. Deputy Luis Ruiz wrote in the complaint that at about 7:30 p.m. on September 1, he was dispatched to the intersection of Camino de las Huertas and Camino de las Brisas in reference to a dispute involving some horses, and that a female had released some penned-up horses in a temporary corral. Maryann Mouton told Ruiz that she had witnessed Landers opening panels of the corral and chasing the horses out. Mouton stated that she told Landers to stop what she was doing because the horses were not hers and she was going to call the Sheriff’s Department. Mouton also stated that she alerted Patience O’Dowd and some of the WHOA volunteers to help round up the horses. The report states that a Ms. Goodwin said she gave WHOA permission to round up the horses and to pen them on the property where she had verbal permission of the unnamed landowner. Goodwin said they would be moved to a safer location where they would be out of traffic. Deputy Ruiz reported that he contacted Landers at her residence, and that she admitted that she had indeed entered the property and released the horses. He reports that Landers told him that the horses were wild, and she did not think it was right for them to be penned up, that the horses were muddy and in danger and being abused.

WHOA moved the herd to a safe haven at Monero Mustangs Sanctuary. WHOA announced that this solution was accomplished with the cooperation of the herd’s owner, the sheriff’s office, and the state livestock board. The horses, dubbed the “Placitas Eight,” were deemed livestock by WHOA because they were owned, presumably by Ms. Goodwin.

For the past year or so, Cedar Creek and surrounding subdivisions had been home to a herd of free-range horses that had “gotten loose” from the Goodwin’s corral. These were the same horses, and their progeny, that were acquired through the state livestock board “for their own good” during the drought of 2002. The herd, which residents say numbered seven before the birth of three foals (one died) and the addition of two mares from somewhere else, was generally well-accepted, fed, and watered by the neighbors, many of whom looked forward to their nearly daily visits. During the drought, the herd from Cedar Creek shared the area with horses that were considered wild and they all became increasingly tame. WHOA posted signs in the area, advising people not to feed or pet the horses and warning drivers of the wild horse corridor.

Landers was one of several residents who appreciated the horses—be they wild or be they livestock. She could have saved herself some trouble if she was trying to keep them around, because the Goodwin horses are still in the neighborhood—at least a herd of eight-to-ten horses that look a lot like the Placitas Eight. Residents of the adjoining Placitas Ranchettes subdivision routinely chase them back into Cedar Creek where they seem to remain popular. The Ranchettes residents object to the environmental degradation and copious amounts of manure left by the large and growing herd of free range livestock.

Whether all of this confusion will shoot holes in the State’s case against Landers remains to be seen until January 10. Some people say we don't have a horse problem, we have a people problem. It's probably a little of both.

—Photos courtesy of the Sandoval County Historical Society­

History of Bernalillo—Part IV

Bernalillo in the 1900s

—Martha Liebert, Sandoval County Historical Society

Change flows freely over artificial time delineations such as century marks and so it was in the transition between the 19th and 20th centuries in Bernalillo. It continued to evolve from its rural agricultural roots to a more urbanized community. It had always been a trading crossroads center from prehistoric times and continued to do so with the growth of the mercantiles and expansion of roads and bridges. In 1905, Sandoval County was created out of Bernalillo County by Perea and Sandoval families who were the political powers of the time.

Several French and Italian families came into the Bernalillo and Corrales area at the turn of the century and planted vineyards and orchards.  The Mallet Fruit Ranch was such an example, operating from 1901 to 1920. Luis Gros had vineyards and orchards of peaches and apples and sold his produce in a roadside market on Highway 44. By 1917, he had opened a winery. George Rinaldi came to Bernalillo in 1918 to farm vineyards and orchards until his death in 1932. Both he and Gros worked with the Christian Brothers making wine and later Rinaldi worked with NMSU experts to improve the grape strains.

Abenecio Salazar was an adobe-and-brick mason who worked with Carlos Sena, a carpenter and roofer. They built many buildings in Bernalillo and surrounding towns including Peña Blanca and Cuba. Salazar and his crew of sixty adoberos single-handedly built the town of Hagan. The largest remaining example of his work is the two-story high school building built in 1922, now called El Zócalo and owned by the county.

The Bibo Mercantile, well-established since 1873 by Nathan Bibo, changed its name to Bernalillo Mercantile Company in 1903. It burned in 1906 and moved a block south to continue to serve. In 1921 it was sold to Bibo’s cousins, the Seligmans who ran it until 1981 when it was sold to the H.J.Torres / Abouselman family with a name change to T & T Supermart and TaGrMo.

In 1909, Joseph Budagher opened a slaughterhouse and barbershop. Early in the 1900s Santa Ana Flour Mill operated in El Llanito with Leo Garcia. 1911-15 saw L.B. Putney’s Mercantile and flour mill go in. Benito Torres opened City Bakery in the early Thirties which burned down. He then started The Economy Store in 1938 which he passed on to his son, Lalo Torres. It closed in 1987.

The Tonque Brick and Tie Co. factory was established on the site of the Tonque Pueblo in an arroyo of the same name east of Bernalillo. Its bricks were used to construct many buildings in Bernalillo and it operated til 1942. By the 1920s, there were a flurry of bars—sixteen in one mile, so it was said. There were at least three bar and dance hall combinations: Pete Hernandez’s, Ignacio del Valle’s, and the Pavillion. Silva’s Saloon was opened by Felix Silva in the 1930s.

1924 brought the greatest change with the advent of the huge sawmill operation, White Pine Lumber, which logged a track in the Jemez mountains, and eventually became Bernalillo’s largest employer with 500 men in forest, mill, machine shops, and trains. They hired all employable local men and brought in others to fill their needs. Lyman Porter was the owner/manager. A large base camp operation in the Jemez mountains known as Porter served the foresters and their families as they cut timber which was hauled to the mill in Bernalillo on the Santa Fe Northwestern Railroad line. It ran out of the forest through the Gilman tunnels, over the Guadalupe Box tressle, and down along the Rio Jemez, crossing the Rio Grande north of the Coronado State Monument. From there it ran through town to the multi-acred mill pond where the logs were unloaded. Early in the operation they logged with horses and two-man saws. Later they used mechanized equipment and trucks.

In 1926 through 1927, the Corps of Engineers, with Federal money, dug a conservancy ditch from Cochiti Pueblo south to Socorro through central New Mexico. The ditch was designed to prevent flooding, provide irrigation, and control malaria. This dropped the water table and made more of the town usable for housing.

With all these pluses in the economy, more businesses came in to town. José Sena had a mortuary with a horse-drawn hearse and later a motorized one. Two drugstores started up about this time, working with Dr. Hemmings, who came in 1944 and practiced til his death in 1974. Joe Lovato had a soda fountain which is still in use in the Range Café. His pharmacy was also the Greyhound bus stop and a gathering place for the teenage crowd into the Fifties. A Japanese family named Inoda had the Sun-shine Cafe, and Mike Luna had a cafe as well. Christo Melitani had a hotel and bar at the south end of town.

A great loss was sustained on March 29 of 1926 when the Sandoval County Courthouse burned. It was a Victorian mansion which had belonged to the Perea family. Almost all the records from 1903 through 1926 were lost.

A new yellow brick two-story courthouse was built in 1928 on the same site. In the 1960s a new addition in territorial style was added to the front of the building. The 1896 stone jail behind remained intact.

With the stock market crash of 1929, Bernalillo’s fledgling prosperity met a snag, and the great depression hit hard, closing of the mill due to dropping lumber prices. The economy of Bernalillo crashed on March 15, 1931 when White Pine Lumber closed its doors. Many businesses followed suit, including the Pitacio Hernandez service station.

In the 1930s, most of the population on the Rio Puerco moved away to Cuba , Bernalillo, and Albuquerque. The villagers of Cabezón, San Luis Ojo del Padre, and Guadalupe couldn’t make a living any longer due to the repeated flooding which washed the overgrazed topsoil.

Several Lebanese families located in Bernalillo at this time. George Abouselman tried a grocery store which closed in 1933. He then opened El Royale Bar instead. Lazarro and Nellie Mahboub had a rooming house and pool room through the Thirties and Forties. George and Mary Khoury had an antique store. Tony Ziede had a pharmacy. James Silva had a grocery, curio shop, museum, and theatre.

Prohibition severely impacted the local wine industry. Some growers tore up their vines and planted orchards, but, since this was traditionally a wine producing area, some retained their vineyards. A lot of bootlegging went on in Bernalillo, Alameda, and Corrales. It was a time of hardship and confusion for all.

During the 1930s, as part of the Federal Relief Programs, the Civilian Conservation Corps had a direct and positive impact on the local area. Men employed in the CCC received thirty dollars a month—25 dollars of which went home to their families, immediately stimulating the economy. The men worked in forests, built check dams, repaired roads and completed all manner of conservation projects. They were well-fed and housed in army-like barracks. Because they learned rudimentary hygiene, discipline, and cooperation, the men were better prepared for military service than others when WWII came along. Most advanced quickly in army service. Later still, many became political leaders.

Another federal program in the 1930s was the Works Projects Administration. The WPA built Roosevelt School which provided first- through eighth-grade education in Bernalillo.

On July 27, 1931, the local economic situation reversed itself with the rebirth of the sawmill operation, now called New Mexico Lumber and Timber. This breathed new life into the town

New Mexico Public Service built an electric generating plant to use the waste timber from the sawmill. The branch line railroad was abandoned in 1940, and trucks of 180-ton capacity were used instead to haul logs to the mill.

In 1948, Bernalillo, as the county seat of Sandoval County, was the location of many Federal and State offices. NM Public Service provided the town with electric power and natural gas. Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph provided telephone service.

In December of 1947, the Town of Bernalillo voted to incorporate, and in April of 1948 elected AF. (Hooky) Apodaca as its first Mayor. He had led the move to incorporate because of a need for water and sewer systems. His first Council was made up of Trustees Ben Torres, J.J. Gaddy, Reynaldo Baca, Al Vadez, and Recorder Gilbert Garley. Successive mayors were Gilbert Garley, Manuel Aragon, Filomeno Lucero, George Abousleman, H.J. Torres, Joe Kloeppel, Mike Foster, Ron Abousleman, Ernie Aguilar, Charles Aguilar, Patricia Chavez Mast, and Jack Torres.

And so the Town of Bernalillo, now a legal entity, closed the first half of the 1900s.

Reprinted and edited with permission from El Cronicón, the official publication of the Sandoval County Historical Society.



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