Sunday, October 27, 2013

CITY OF DUST Now on FACEBOOK



Because I only manage a "real" post here once or twice a month, I've created a City of Dust page on Facebook. I will try to add a new ghost town or abandonment photo every day and, while most of the shots will be from New Mexico, I'm sure I'll get distracted every now and then. I hope this Facebook page might spur more discussion and interaction, as well. There's lots of stuff I'd like to know about the places I shoot and now it'll be easier for folks to tell me. However, never fear, this blog will always remain my bread and butter. If you want to have a look at the Facebook page, go HERE.

Speaking of getting distracted, below is a haunted house just in time for Halloween. This was taken in September in Sacred Heart, Minnesota, way out on the prairie. The photo above was also taken in Sacred Heart, believe it or not.

The next post here should be on San Antonio, New Mexico, from where the line runs directly down the old railroad tracks to...Paris Hilton. Until then, thanks for your interest and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Spindrift - "Ghost of the West" Released Today



We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to mention that Spindrift’s fantastic new album, Ghost of the West, was released today. The band is a totally compelling blend of Tex Ritter, Ennio Morricone, Pink Floyd, and Hawkind. When was the last time you heard something like that? To listen to a sample track, visit this recent piece at the Onion’s A.V. Club.

While you’d want to buy the record just for the music, I personally think the cover art is kinda cool, too. Yup, that’s the First Presbyterian Church of Taiban. While I might consider letting almost any band use one of my photos (well, except Foreigner or the Eagles), it sure makes things nicer when the band in question is one of such quality and style. Not to mention, their interest in the West is real. This will become even clearer when a DVD of their 2012 Ghost Town Tour is released next year. Did I mention the album is on vinyl, too? Check Tee Pee Records, Amazon, etc.

Also, for those of us in Albuquerque, Spindrift is playing Low Spirits next Tuesday, October 29. See ya there.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Company Town: Gamerco, New Mexico



With a population of 1,956 as of the 2012 census, Gamerco, New Mexico might be the biggest town we’ve ever featured on City of Dust. It ain’t a ghost town, that’s for sure. But it’s also lost its original reason for existing: coal. Gamerco is actually an acronym for the Gallup American Coal Company, which operated area coal mines for two years before lending its name in 1922 to the town developing around its operations.



At one point, five hundred miners and their families lived and worked in Gamerco and reportedly loved it. The company took care of them by paying well, ensuring a safe workplace, and keeping hours reasonable. Along with the processing and power plants and the rail spur needed for its day-to-day business, GAMERCO built homes and apartments for its employees, as well as a church. Workers even passed on unionizing figuring things couldn’t get much better. Well, those days seem to be long gone most everywhere and for Gamerco they left in the 1960’s. That was when the company closed its mines, shuttered the power plant, and moved the rail spur.

People still live in some of the old residences and in the former Gamerco offices. I badly wanted to explore the old plant, but a group of people seemed to be living in a trailer out back there, too. Someone might have also been living inside the plant. In any case, I figured I wouldn’t go down and say “hello.”

Gamerco used to be just off U.S. Route 666, the “Devil’s Highway,” but that treacherous stretch of road was renamed U.S. Route 491 in 2003. Although, I believe it’s still just as treacherous. Happily, the Safeway in Gallup still hasn't got the memo. Without any coal, Gamerco’s most well-known export is perhaps Onawa Lacy, Miss New Mexico 2006 and a competitor in the Miss USA pageant. The town might soon be annexed by Gallup. Whether that means Gamerco will then lose its name, too, who can say?



Gamerco was good enough for Philip Varney, so it’s good enough for us! Other information came from Gamerco’s Wikipedia page. Ghosttowns.com also has an entry and some nice photos. Beyond that, there just isn't much out there on the old town.

Until next time.