Early residents eager to settle in state

As we prepare to celebrate the 100th birthday of New Mexico, we might look back to see what was happening in our area as we became a state.

By looking at a few of the businesses already in place, we can see how our growth had begun during territorial days. For instance, we had contractors and builders to help with the growth. Foxworth-Galbraith Co. sold all sorts of building materials, including bricks of which many of our businesses were constructed. The Tucumcari Concrete Co. specialized in pouring sidewalks and foundations. Sosteno Gallegos was a major adobe maker and helped with the building of many homes and businesses. J.A. Ware Construction Co., housed in the Israel building, helped with the planning and construction of homes and businesses.

One of the more historical businesses was Eagle Cornice Works, owned by W.E. Cecil. His advertisement said he had capital of $40,000 and manufactured copper and galvanized iron cornices, steel ceilings, and sky lights. Although much of that work has been lost, we still have a few examples of the beautiful cornices on the Federal Building (Sands Dorsey) which should be donated to the museum to be preserved as some of the early creations in our area. We used to see those cornices on many of the business buildings, but they have been replaced or were destroyed when the buildings were razed.

We should also have a few examples of the steel ceilings in some of the remaining buildings — probably covered by more modern ceilings. We used to see the steel ones in almost all of the early buildings. Of course, we didn’t think much about any of those items because they were a part of the scenery. Little did we know we would lose most of that scenery and replace it with less attractive structures. If we look through some of our treasures, we might at least find several examples in the many pictures taken during the early days.

We can almost feel the excitement as we read about the pride those early citizens of our county were taking in building a new town and many communities.

People were eager to settle in this area and were just as eager to make it a wonderful place in which to live.

Let’s continue celebrating our history as we approach the New Year and gather that same eagerness to celebrate the present.