Friday, June 14, 2013

Cross Road Blues: Vaughn, New Mexico

These days Vaughn, New Mexico is probably best known for its police force, which consists of a single drug-sniffing dog named Nikka. Last year there was a police chief, but he owes tens of thousands of dollars in child support and was accused of selling one of the town's rifles and keeping the proceeds. A second officer recently pleaded guilty to assault and battery, but he was never officially certified anyway. That leaves Nikka and the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Department to keep the peace in Vaughn which, despite it being considered a stopover for drug smugglers, probably isn’t that difficult. But Vaughn, with a population of 438 (down from 539 in 2000), wasn’t always as quiet as it is today.

In fact, Vaughn used to rattle and clack quite a bit. That's because by 1905 it was where the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (ATSF) and El Paso & Southern Railroads intersected, the only place in New Mexico where two major railways crossed. It was also a division point for the railroad, with a roundhouse, multiple tracks, and a railroad office. After the arrival of the automobile, it became the town where three US Highways--54, 60, and 285--met.

But before Vaughn even had a name it was a favored resting place during drives on the Stinson Cattle Trail. Jim Stinson worked for the New Mexico Land and Livestock Company and, beginning in 1882, would bring up to 20,000 head of cattle at a time from Texas to homesteads and forts in the Estancia Valley of east-central New Mexico.

Vaughn got its name from Major G.W. Vaughn, who was a civil engineer for the ATSF. Right off the bat there was a water shortage and, in 1908, the ATSF built a water tank and two underground cisterns to try to collect as much of the precious liquid as they could. Drinking water was brought in by tanker from nearby Willard and Negra. The El Paso & Southern did a little better, having their water transported via wooden pipe from Bonito Lake, 100 miles to the southwest. In 1909, the ATSF figured it would just be easier to pay the El Paso & Southern 24 cents per thousand gallons than try to collect their own water any longer.

In 1910, the Los Chavez Harvey House opened, named after the Chavez family, who arrived in the area with Don Juan de Onate and the first European settlers in the late 1500’s. The Harvey House in Vaughn served as kind of a minor league team for newly recruited Harvey Girls who were just learning the proper way to look nice and be good. The hotel itself never saw many guests and closed in 1936.

Charles Lindbergh even stopped in Vaughn, but not because he particularly wanted to. In 1928, engine failure forced him to land his plane and wait in town a few days for a replacement part to arrive. He stayed at the Harvey House and, apparently, despite the best efforts of the girls, was not interested in socializing with them in the slightest. To read about another stranded traveler who felt an initial distaste for Vaughn, yet eventually came around, I used to recommend a stop at Viva New Mexico, but it's gone now. However, you can still read the piece if you head over to New Mexico Magazine.

Vaughn wasn’t incorporated until 1919, but by 1920 it had a relatively healthy population of about 1000. However, the number of residents may never have climbed much higher than that. One Harvey Girl, Alice Garnas, said in 1926, “Vaughn was a shocking place. There was no place to go, nothing to do. Just Vaughn and those wide plains on all sides--cattle country. But it was for me.”

And it might be for you, too. But if, like many, you’re just passing through, try to make a stop at Penny’s Diner. Look for the restaurant at the crossroads that appears to be inside a large aluminum Airstream trailer. Once you enter, it’ll be 1955 all over again and you’ll swear you can hear that clickity-clack as the iron horses rumble through.

Like the previous post, on the town of Encino, most of the hard-to-find information and quotes included here came from Dixie Boyle’s excellent book, “A History of Highway 60 and the Railroad Towns of the Belen, New Mexico Cutoff.” Ms. Garnas' quote came from "The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened the West," by Lesley Poling-Kempes. I also grabbed a bit from Wikipedia, the aforementioned Viva New Mexico, and the LA Times, believe it or not.

Next time we’re going to one of the best ghost towns I know, Cuervo, NM.

NOVEMBER 2014 UPDATE: A reader recently sent in some postcards and stories about the Sands Motel, which their grandfather built and owned. This history was so extensive that I wanted to present it here. Happily, I was given the go-ahead. So, here's the story of the Sands Motel:

"My name is Dana McElyea and I live in Texas. These pictures are of the Sands Motel in Vaughn that my grandfather Jack Cormany built in the early 1960's. The motel was just as you came into town from the west. We spent every Christmas and summer traveling there when we were young.

"My grandfather was an incredible man that could do anything. He had several inventions and had Dr. Pepper bottling companies at one time before the motel. He moved to Vaughn for the climate and built the motel there due to the intersection of highways. I still have linens and dishes from the motel and the cafe.

"He sold the motel and moved to a 17-room house there in Vaughn that used to be a clinic from what I understand. That was farther down the street, right next to a church that was on the corner. It was a really nice house. They had named each of the 17 rooms, some according to what they had been when it was a clinic; baby room, waiting room, blue room, book room. The house had a beautiful rock fireplace that covered a wall. It really was beautiful inside for Vaughn. ;)

"Me and my two older brothers used to play in the glass enclosed check-in office at night. We would turn out all the lights and when a car drove past on the highway we would see who could 'hit the deck' the fastest before it saw us. Ha! If you look close on the far right side of the motel there’s a cement pad. That is where my brother shot me in my little toe with a BB gun because I wouldn't 'dance' like he told me to. Haha! Many good childhood memories in Vaughn. ;)

"I especially remember how wonderful my grandparents were to anyone staying in the motel. It was more like a bed and breakfast. Sometimes people stayed for days if they were snowed in. I have pictures of the snow up to the roof line and my grandfather having to use his tractor to clear it away.

"My grandfather passed away in the late 1970s. My grandmother continued to live in Vaughn until we moved her to Texas around 2000. She has passed as well.

"I read in the comments where someone inquired about the Cassidy family. My grandparents were very good friends with the Cassidy's and I believe they even traveled together some in my grandfather’s trailer.

"I just thought you might like some history on the motel. It was always so nice when my grandfather had it. I have many fond memories of Vaughn. It's heartbreaking to see the condition of it now."

Many thanks to Dana McElyea for sharing her postcards and memories.


Julie Ferguson said...

I never hear of Vaughn so it was great to read about the history. I love photos of old worn out signs.

jmhouse said...

Yeah, Vaughn isn't talked about too much. Without Dixie Boyle's book, I wouldn't have been able to say much about the place. There's very little on the web.

As always, thanks for stopping by! JM

Unknown said...

JM. I was born in Vaughn then moved to the little brown house in Encino that you took pics of. I believe I was 2 days old then. Great pics in Vaughn JM. Godd work.

jmhouse said...

You were born in Vaughn and then arrived at the little brown house two days later, eh? That's very interesting!

Along with a return visit to Encino, I think I also need to get back to Vaughn and photograph the old downtown area. I might even have to do another post on the town since I feel like I missed a lot. Let me know if you have any stories to contribute! JM

Anonymous said...

You should join Vaughnians on Facebook... lots of comments there !!

jmhouse said...

Thanks for the heads up, Anonymous! I've done as you suggested. I have a few questions about places in Vaughn that I might ask the folks on Facebook about somewhere down the road. Thanks again, JM.

Dan W. said...

I have Jeff Brouws' book Approaching Nowhere, and he has a couple of nice photos from Vaughn in it. Hopefully I won't forget to check this place out next time I'm around there.

As always, thanks for the write-ups.

jmhouse said...

I'd never heard of Jeff Brouws, but he's got some great stuff, eh? I found a Vimeo video of every page of Approaching Nowhere. I saw the shot of the Ranch House Cafe (in better days). Are there more of Vaughn? And where was the Western Motel off I-40 shot? That looks familiar. Flagstaff?

As always, thanks for the kind words. JM

Stewart said...

Thanks for the great read on this and Encino. My grandmother was born in Encino so we spent a great deal of time in this area when I was a kid. I especially liked the picture of the old "Ranch House Cafe" sign. It was a real treat when my parents would take us there, probably closed ~1995 or so after the new diner opened up on the southern end of town. Thanks again for all the memories!

jmhouse said...

Thanks for the kind words, Stewart. I love to get comments like yours that offer a uniquely personal perspective on these places.

Thanks again, JM

Pintada Kid said...

Ive lived in Vaughn over 50 years and it has nice people and it could be a thriving place if the SF railroad would move further north and straightened towards Vaughn at Yeso in which the SF could meet further north of Vaughn and allow the town to grow further north and to not worry about noise or toxic spills. We need to get rid of the Old buildings use as bathrooms and homes for hitchikers. and Across from the Allsups get rid of those Giant Bombs of Propane tanks and gas tanks and put a Family Dollar there. A warehouse for Walmart and other big companies to come and pick up their Trailers in the center of N.M. where the 2 railroads meet also open the Weigh Station 24 hours would create jobs and revenue from the big rigs that tear up our roads and from the the merging of 2 railroads and remember I 40 is only about 18 or 20 miles north of Vaughn for these big Rigs to get back on I 40 without even going into Vaughn. el pintada kid

jmhouse said...

Thanks for your perspective on Vaughn after having lived there for 50 years. So many small towns around America seem to be having trouble these days, mostly stemming from economics. I guess we shall see what the future holds.

And let me just say that your name precedes you, El Pintada Kid! Thanks for stopping by. JM

Unknown said...

Two friends and I stayed in a Vaughn motel in 1982, en route from Texas to Colo. The next morning, 3 miles out of town, the thermostat housing on my 1974 AMC Hornet cracked and we lost all coolant. We hitchhiked back to Vaughn, expecting to wait days for a replacement part (AMCs were becoming rare even then). To our surprise (and to the surprise of the clerk in the tiny auto parts store), there was one in stock! We hitchhiked back and quickly did a roadside repair.

My second visit to Vaughn was two days ago, my wife and I detoured through from I-40. Contrary to what some of this blog might suggest, there is very heavy freight train traffic passing Vaughn on both lines, and there are maintenance personnel at the BNSF station. But automobiles and locomotives today are not like my Hornet; there's much less breaking down in Vaughn and more passing through without stopping.

jmhouse said...

Thanks for the story, Jefferson Adams. It seems like Vaughn certainly used to be a popular place to break down. My friend at Viva New Mexico! has a similar tale in which the good people of Vaughn also got him back on the road in short order. You can't say they didn't know how to get a vehicle running again.

I guess I did make it sound as if the trains didn't roll through Vaughn at all anymore. I meant to imply only that they don't STOP, but kinda got carried away. The trains still pass near places like Yeso and Taiban, too, but it was really the loss of the depot and that scheduled stop that hurt.

Thanks again for stopping by. JM

Lynette Butler said...

Im trying to find information about a WF Cassidy that lived in Vaughn around 1953. Are there any Cassidys still around there? If so, could you give me a phone number? I found an old photo with this name on the back. I think the photo is of my great grandmother. So, I'm wondering who WF Cassidy is and why he had my grandmas picture.

jmhouse said...

Hi Lynette,

I'm not going to be able to help you with your query, but I can send you to the best place to get it answered. There is a Facebook page called VAUGHNIANS that is a forum for current and past residents of the city to talk about all things Vaughn-related. I bet someone there could help you out. If you're on Facebook, you can join the group and ask directly. They're very friendly folks. The page is HERE. Tell them City of Dust sent you!

Best of Luck! JM

jmhouse said...

Lynette Butler, I don't know if you're receiving updates on this post, but recently I was sent this message:

"I am reading your blog and saw a post from Lynette Butler wanting information about WF Cassidy. Was that posted prior to 2009? Anyway I knew a Lynette and her Grandmother worked at the El Corral Bar for about 30 years owned by Bill Cassidy. If you have a phone number or her email I would to talk to her. Vyvyane Rogers was a great friend of mine and I am still in touch with all of her descendents. I am the one that told you about Vaughnians."

Lynette, if you would like to get in contact with this person, drop me a line at the e-mail address associated with my profile and I'll put you two in touch.

Best, JM

Adventurous Boomer said...

What a great blog. We drove thru Vaughn last week and I was like "WTF"? Fortunately a friend told me to be sure to fill up on gas in Roswell because we were headed to Santa Fe and there was no gas in between, none that I saw anyway. I have to read all your posts because they are so interesting.

jmhouse said...

Thanks for the kind words, Greg! They're much appreciated. You know, I *think* Vaughn might have a functioning gas station just down from Penny's Diner. But I could be misremembering. Better safe than sorry, anyway!

Let me know if you make it through all the posts! That would be worth of a trophy. Or at least a nice certificate. I'm not sure anyone but me has made it through every one. And I'm not even 100% sure about me.

Thanks again, JM

Dona Wells said...

Oh wow Dana Tumey McElyea. This has brought back so many memories I had in Vaughn NM! Even though there wasn't much to do there, we still had fun. Lol I remember playing on the train tracks with my brother and sister. My brother always said he was going to tie me down to the tracks. Haha
My grandparents loved running that hotel! They treated every customer like they were family...and they didn't mind staying a few extra days because the hospitality was so great! �� I remember my Grandmother changing the sheets and cleaning the rooms and making them just right! I remember her always carrying tissue in her pocket to wipe the sweat off her face because she worked so hard. I miss her dearly.i remember my grandpa loved to go camping in the Big Silver Stream Line camper! He loved that!
Now that clinic they bought after the motel sold was great! I remember the little dolls Nanaw had in all those rooms. I remember the big room they had behind the clinic they lived in and Nanaw never threw anything away.. LOL Aawwww the memories of traveling to Vaughn NM were some of the best! Might have been a "pass through town" and not much going on but it was a lot for all of us! I miss them and the times we had there. Thank you Dana for sending this story in and sharing the memories. ❤️ Thank you John for the article!

jmhouse said...

Thank you very much for your comment, Dona. I'm thrilled to have such wonderful memories recorded here. I think we can safely say that City of Dust has the most complete history of the Sands Motel, Vaughn, NM available on-line!

I wonder if that house/clinic is still standing. Do you know? I may have to have a look for it next time I'm in Vaughn.

Thanks again! JM

Unknown said...

Interesting town .Peggy feeds a lot of meal for the money. Plus she has the only all night commode in town or for 40 miles in any direction.

Unknown said...

I attended Vaughn Grade School in 1963/64 and unable to loacte the address for the school...can anyone help me?

jmhouse said...

Thanks for stopping by, Shelia Hayden-Wilson! Someone here might well have the address of Vaughn Grade School. Another resource, if you have Facebook, would be the VAUGHNIANS group, which discusses Vaughn-related matters and includes many people with connections to the town. I'm certain someone there would know the address. They might even know you, too!

Good luck, and let us know if you get that address! JM

Tom Vaughan said...

I LOVE your blog approach to local history! You're bringing stuff out of the woodwork and getting stories told that would never see the light of day otherwise! We went through Vaughn last Monday and took some pictures, which are posted in an album at We also stopped in Duran and took pictures there, which are also posted on my Facebook page. In both cases, finding your blog and reading it and all the comments helped greatly to understand what we had seen.

As you point out in the lede to the Duran posting, the story of being built by the railroad and killed by the highway bypass is all too common across the Southwest!

In Vaughn, was that two-story brick building with the Kelvinator sign near the tracks the Harvey House?

Keep up the good work!


jmhouse said...

Tom Vaughan, thanks for your comment! I really appreciate your kind words for City of Dust! I'm glad you enjoy the site. I tried to have a look at your photos, but was unfortunately confronted by that Facebook page featuring a bandaged thumb, which I guess means something went wrong. Alas.

However, if you liked Vaughan and Duran, I'd also highly recommend visiting nearby ENCINO, as well.

As for that brick building in Vaughan near the tracks, that actually wasn't the Harvey House. I can't really say what it was. I'm having a hard time picturing it right this second, which distresses me! But you can see a picture of the now-gone Vaughan Harvey House at the bottom of THIS PAGE. It looks like it was a beauty and I sure wish I would've seen it.

Thanks again! JM

Mike Huber said...

I noticed on the page for the Harvey Houses that there was a listing for Carlsbad NM and no picture or description....I'm from Carlsbad and was wanting some info on it.....BTW....I love your blog and facebook page....Ghost-towning is one of my hobbies and you've got a great resource here....Thanx....Mike Huber

jmhouse said...

Glad you enjoy City of Dust, Mike Huber. Thanks for stopping by!

As for the Harvey House in Carlsbad, NM, that is an interesting case, isn't it? I see that blank entry for Carlsbad, too, but there aren't any photos to be found anywhere on-line as far as I can tell. I've never heard anything about that Harvey House myself. The Palace of Governors digital NM photo collection didn't turn up anything either. It's a bit of a mystery.

Well, let us know if you turn anything up. I'll also keep my eyes open and report back if I come across any info on the phantom Carlsbad Harvey House.

Thanks again! JM

teddflinstone123 said...

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jmhouse said...

Thank you for the info on Carlsbad, teddflinstone123. Do you know of any abandoned buildings in the area? Actually, I happen to know of a few in Whites City, NM, as well as this AWESOME ROAD.

Thanks for stopping by! JM

Kirk Hansen said...

FYI... Just filled up at a Phillips (Allsup?) on the west side of Vaughn. Thanks for the interesting post.

jmhouse said...

Thanks for checking-in, Kirk Hansen! Hmm, Allsup's on the west side? Any chance you meant east side? That one I know quite well! I've even been known to get one of those fruit pies there now and then.

Safe travels! JM

Unknown said...

Took pic of the liquor store/beer joint cpl years ago and posted this week on Facebook. Friends asked where was it? Had to go back and look. I studied it closer and noticed faint sign painted it had live music. Hum since I grew up West TX playing music and live here in Tn, my curiosity got flowing..anybody know who might have played there in days gone by?. Since Vaughn is just a waystop across USA, might have been fav pickup gig for traveling bands? Any help out there?

jmhouse said...

Thom Edwards, that is a great question! I haven't come across any mention of who played at the Spurs Saloon. However, it struck me as the kind of place that might've seen some great gigs, too. So much so that I photographed the band Spindrift out front. Bob Christensen took a nice photo of it in 2000 in which you can see more of the signage.

But there is another former beer joint to the southeast, near Kenna, NM, on the Roosevelt-Chaves County line, that I've been able to dig up some information on. It was called the Pioneer Tavern and was close to Clovis, where folks like Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison recorded. Also, Chaves County was not dry while the surrounding counties were, which I'm sure was a draw. The list of performers did include Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison, as well as Waylon Jennings (although perhaps when he was with the Crickets?), among others. Hank Thompson apparently said it was one of his favorite places to play. It's mostly a ruin now, but you can see it HERE.

Anyway, thanks very much for your comment. Maybe someday somebody will be able to give us some names for the Spurs Saloon. And say hello to TN for me (I used to live in Knoxville). JM

Rita Selgado said...

My father and his family grew up in Vaughn. Thank you for this story. Now his grandkids can read about his hometown. He talks about it often especially when his sisters came to visit us.

jmhouse said...

Thanks for your message, Rita Selgado. I'm glad your father's grandchildren will be able to learn about Vaughn via City of Dust! JM

Clotilde Eaker said...

I spent many summers in Vaughn, NM. My father, John Wallis Eaker, had a sister Elizabeth Eaker Allen and her husband Archibald Ray Allen, who my father was quite close to lived there. Sometime in the 60's I started going from Texas to Vaughn. We had another relative, Hattie Pearl Eaker Blair, who lived next door to Aunt Elizabeth.Aunti Beth and Uncle Ray were sweet Baptists, but I don't remember what church they went to. Aunt Hattie was a sweet alcoholic, who died of the diseases. All three are buried in the cemetary there in Vaughn. Daddy had said many time that Auntie Beth and Uncle Ray owned a grocery store there, but when the railroad quit going through Vaughn, it had all died up. Auntie Beth and Uncle Ray had one child, Arlen Ray Allen, who married, but I can't remember her name. Cousin Arlen was a crop duster there in Vaughn. My second cousins were the ones I hung around with. We went to so many of the abandoned Native American sites. They taught me to eat jalapenos, and chase it down with Real Lemon. As their mother, Arlan Ray's wife worked at a restaurant there. I think it was the Cactus, but again, it was so long ago that I cannot remember. Beautiful sunsets. Lovely family. Vaughn was my favorite place to go when I was growing up

jmhouse said...

Clotilde Eaker, thank you so much for sharing your recollections. They paint an evocative vignette of Vaughn and I'm thrilled to have them posted on City of Dust. So many family businesses went under when the railroad began to pass by towns like Vaughn--both in New Mexico and across the country--and I'm sorry to hear your aunt and uncle were also so-affected. I think it's very important not to forget these American stories, so, again, thanks for your memories.

Best Regards, JM

Anonymous said...

I drove through there last year by accident. I was coming back to grants NM from see a place like that saddens me. Old houses and buildings just left to rot away. I would love to see the buildings restored. If you like old architecture this is a must stop. I would go back just to get photos of the buildings before they are gone forever.

jmhouse said...

Anonymous, I believe we're on the same page. I'm trying to capture these places as fast as I can. Many have disappeared in the relatively short time since I first shot them.

As for Vaughn itself, I'm told it's difficult to even get property insurance in the town these days, so I'm afraid there probably isn't much restoration in the offing, sadly. All we can do is keep photographing!

Thanks for your comment! JM

truckmen said...

Hello all,

Driving a tractor trailer throughout the 48 states, I'd also driven through Vaughn during the 80s and 90s and was always intrigued with the old Allen's Garage. It had a lot of cars in the field out back and an old, large wrecker out front.

I have just recently a chance to drive through last week and see that all of the old cars and that wrecker is gone. I was wondering how I may get in touch with the current owners of that property. The only thing the town hall could tell me was that relatives of Mr. Allen currently live in Phoenix. Anyone know where I may be able to get more information on this building?

My email is:

jmhouse said...

Thanks for your comment, Ralph M Bohm! I'm not in touch with the Allen family directly, but if you go to the City of Dust Facebook page, and THIS POST, in particular, you'll find a comment by Arlan R. Allen, who is clearly knowledgeable about the building and its contents, both currently and in the past. A second Facebook post about Vaughn, found HERE, has an additional comment from Mr. Allen and a response by another family member. If you have Facebook it might be worth replying to their comments and/or messaging them.

Hope that helps! JM

Vicky said...

I spent a summer in Vaughn in the early 60's. My sister and I stayed with the Cuthbertsons at their motel and restaurant. I can't remember the name of the motel. Anyone familiar with it?

jmhouse said...

Vicky, thanks for your comment! The only motel I can speak to would be the Sands Motel, which is discussed above. It was constructed in the early 1960's and was across from the Ranch House Cafe. While it probably would've been brand new when you were in Vaughn, it was built by Jack Cormany, not Cuthbertson.

So, there's a little bit of a mystery here! Perhaps someone will be able to give us some information about a motel in Vaughn that was once owned by the Cuthbertson family. I'm intrigued!

Thanks for stopping by City of Dust! It's always good to hear from someone with a connection to Vaughn! JM

truckmen said...

Big rigs bring the products you use. Please don't blame trucks.

I'm a 20+ year professional driver having logged more than 2.5 million miles. I find a warm place in my heart for Vaughn. I've driven through there since 1981.
I would like to buy and re-open Allen's Garage but cannot find any of the relatives to ask more about the place.

jmhouse said...

Thanks for your comment, Ralph M Bohm. Are you referring to the comment about trucks above? I don't believe I blamed big rigs for anything regarding Vaughn. In fact, the Belen Cutoff is still one of the busiest rail freight lines in the country, it's just that the trains don't stop in Vaughn anymore.

Otherwise, I have actually been in sporadic contact with one of the Allen's and, if I understand correctly, the family still owns the property. It would be a heck of a restoration job, but if you want to get in touch with him it might be possible. Are you on Facebook? I could also pass along your e-mail.

Thanks again! JM

truckmen said...

Hello jmhouse and all readers!

Yes, if you can touch base with the Allens, I would appreciate your passing on my email address. I was maybe going to ask if the Allens would also like to donate any of the remaining cars to my local high school in Maine where I currently live.

Ralph M Bohm

jmhouse said...

Hi Ralph,

Okay, I gave it a shot. I'll let you know if I hear anything back from Mr. Allen or he might contact you directly. It's been awhile since we've exchanged messages, but you never know! JM

Unknown said...

I hope you see this, I know you are who I have been looking for for so long. My name is Michael Dixon and I was born and raised in Albuquerque in a wrecking yard named East central auto wrecking. There has always been this amazing shop/grocery store combo that has captivated my dreams there in Vaughn, Allen Motor co. I have a dream of someday restoring that shop to its former glory, keeping the original structure and doors intact, hopefully soon but I have been on hopeless road to contact the owners. Me and my wife to buy would love to make an offer on this place, we just need to know who owns it and how big the lot actually is. It is on the NW corner of Magnolia and 8th. My email is if you see this please contact me asap! This will need so much work ots crazy I know and it will cost more then a fortune but in time I know I can do it if given the chance, and maybe bring back shining a relic from the past. In turn keeping the families hard work and memory a bit more alive! I look forward to hearing from you, thanks for reading.

Unknown said...

I have been looking a very long time for info like this. My name is Michael A Dixon and I was born and raised in Albuquerque New Mexico in a very old junk yard named East central Auto wrecking. As long as I can remeber there has been a garage/grocerie store combo in Vaughn that has captivated my dreams on the corner of Magnolia and 8th, a beautiful bulding of such unique old American design I could never bare to see it destroyed. It is my dream to restore this place to its former glory as it so desperately deserves, and run my online hot rod shop out of it while my wife to be uses the grocery store as her ceramics shop. Though I know it will be a daunting task and cost a fortune I'd love the operatunity to make this happen with time, love and hard work. I hope so deeply that you see this, this is my life dream and I am ready to make an offer but need to know the size of the actual lot and who I need to talk to. I hope my search is nearing an end at long last for the owners of the old Allen Motor Co. I wanna help the families hard work and legacy live on in a way by bringing back this shining relic from a simpler time, keeping most of the old tools and furniture of the era intact. Please if anyone who can help this happen sees this my email is please contact me immediately so I can save this beautiful structure before its too late.

jmhouse said...

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your message! That's wonderful that you want to save the Allen property and have such fantastic plans for it! The only contact I've had with Arlan Allen is through Facebook. You probably noticed the message from Ralph M Bohn above asking if he could be put in touch with Arlan, as well. I did contact Mr. Allen through the comments on a City of Dust Facebook post the other day and let him know about Ralph's inquiry. He replied, "Thank you," so he is paying attention. I don't know how he might respond beyond that though.

About the only thing I can offer is to suggest you contact him through FB, too. Maybe in both the comments section of the post and by sending him a message. You can find his comment and FB address HERE.

Mr. Allen has commented on some of other Vaughn-related posts of mine and I think his family still owns the Allen appliance store building on Cedar St.

Anyway, good luck! And let me know if there's anything more I can do.

Best Regards, JM said...

Lived in Vaughn 1967-1970. Sad to see what the passing of time has done to the town. My parents had a homestead east of Vaughn in the late 20's/30's. Would like to contact the Selgado family.

Unknown said...

I went to school there in the 4th grade and my grandmother owned the Sands motel and Cafe resturant. Crazy to see how things have changed dramatically. I’m 31 years old now and thinking about taking a trip.

jp said...

Hi. What happened that Vaughn is a host town compared to its condition in yesteryear?

jp said...

My sentiments exactly,Pintada.
1. What do you attribute the severe lack of amenities in Vaughn to?

2. What do you think can be done to renovate the whole town...require absentee owners of properties to met their responsibilities as property OWNERS!!?

jp said...

Yes, Ralph, I suggest getting the physical address to the property, and going to the guadalupe County office and
2. The county clerk located in the santa Rosa, NM.
3. The administrative office in the courthoise will give you a 911 emergency letter for the correct 911 address, for your records.

The county clerk will give you the current owners name that is on tje deed filed with the County . that owners name is the official owner of record and the person that I s responsible for pay g the property tax.

The tax office in the same building will give you the tax ID and tell you name and address of person who has been paying the property taxes.

Hope this helps and good luck.
Cordially, Joel

jmhouse said...

Thanks for your comments, jp! Much appreciated! I should say that Vaughn isn't a ghost town, despite the significant drop in population. However, the railroad, once the lifeblood of the town, just can't support the community the way it did 70 or more years ago. Also, I-40 has been most folks preferred route of travel across the state for 50 years, a further blow to Vaughn. Finally, New Mexico is the second poorest state in the country and there's just not much in the way of resources for outstate areas.

I guess that final point gets to your question about what's needed to renovate Vaughn. The answer must surely include money and commerce and opportunities for young people to make a living. Unfortunately, all those things are hard to come by in eastern NM right now. But that's true of rural areas all across the country. I highly recommend watching the You Tube video at this page for Lost Americana, a project documenting the larger socioeconomic issues facing towns like Vaughn across the United States: Lost Americana Movie.

Thanks for stopping by City of Dust and providing some info on tracking down property records. I hope it helps someone buy a piece of Vaughn to take care of!


Helen Rigmaiden said...

I was born in Vaughn in 1949. In my grandmother's home. They were Santos Duran and Barbara Herrera Duran. My brother Manual Duran lived with my grandparents in the cozy Adobe house that sat near the railroad tracks. My Uncle Louis Duran lived there all his life.

Unknown said...

Very interesting...thanks for sharing!