RSS

Monthly Archives: December 2020

Bennett, New Mexico

The 205 south of Jal is also known as Frying Pan Road. Who comes up with such names for desolate highways out in the middle of nowhere? I never knew Bennett existed and the only reason for my visit was to find a geocache. Lea County and I have a long past and I’ve spent far more time in that county both physically and in the pages of books than you may know. But I never knew of this place because, well, there’s nothing there but a geocache and some weeds, concrete, and pump jacks. Oh, and the smell of rotten eggs. Did I mention that this is southeastern New Mexico? This is Lea County, home of the single most important oil discovery in the history of the state of New Mexico. And Bennet is a ghost town.

I found some information on Bennett.
Vanished and Ghost Towns of Lea County, NMgenealogytrails.com › lea › history_vanishedtowns

According to the information in this geneological website, There was an oil boom during the 1930’s and the star player in the world of oil production was El Paso Natural Gas. Bennett (Bennettville) showed up on the map in the late 30’s to 1957. As with all towns, there must be a post office. The life of this post office started in 1940 and ended in 1957 due to falling population. Bennett’s post office opened in April of 1940 with Callie Marshall as postmaster. The post office was closed in March 1957 when the population dropped below 100 people, of those, the mail employer was still El Paso Natural Gas. More information found shows there were four post masters of the post office of this little oil town. There is is not much information found on this town so I’ll have to return to Jal or Eunice on my next trek to NM and explore the library, interview the oil people with histories. And there are a lot of them.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 23, 2020 in New Mexico, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The Road To The Stars

There’s nothing real “wow” about this image because I had nothing in the foreground, such as a cabin, tent, or anything of interest. I was looking for the north star in that massive star filled sky. I acquired the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer and it had not been out of the box but 48 hours so I had yet to learn to set it up. It’s not difficult and I have the needed apps. But when new at something, it takes some learning. For the fun of it, I set up my other tripod and grabbed some shots just to see what I’d get out there. The first is is a six second shot facing north at Big Bend National Park. The second is a Milky Way image shot as is (on tripod) with Star Watcher set up yet. I shot these at “Dugout Wells”. There was no one out there. A windmill behind me squeaked in the breeze. I did shoot more Milky Way photos, those in a private gallery. But a couple images here as test shots.

God created this!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 19, 2020 in sky, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

Brownfield, TX

Brownfield is one of those towns you drive through to get somewhere. You may never stop but you remember the main drag on the route from point A to point B and this town of around 9000 plus-or-minus is one of those. I remember the first time I had passed through on my way to a town in NM sometime back in 2000 and had not been there since I was a kid and my heart sang. In those days, we shopped in Lubbock because there was not much where I lived. And Brownfield was on the way to and from Lubbock. I don’t ever remember stopping there even for gas or drink. For the past 15 years, I make a point to spend time in Brownfield as time allows and soak up history and some dust.

Cotton and peanuts is what I remember being grown there and we’d see acres of crops while driving the 62, or maybe it was the 380. Occasionally the 137. Last time I was in town, I made a point to turn down Main Street headed West. The day was late and the sun hung low in the Western sky so there was not much time left. Furthermore, the shadows lengthened. I pulled up next to the Rialto Theater and learned I was not the only photographer with the same goals. We shared time and space and he had a model to shoot with her little dog.

According to records, this theater was opened  May 7, 1925. It saw it’s fair share of visitors, films, musicians and the like. It does not appear to have any type of activity or business at this time except for that Coke machine that collects a few more dollars. I’ll keep up with it as I travel again in West Texas.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 16, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Terlingua

These pictures are only a few of this ghost town, mostly of the cemetery. If you google “Terlingua” you’ll find the town is known for being the Chili Capital of the World in 1967. There are all sorts of exaggerations and fabrications told in stories of this little town I call a scenic “pit stop” on the way to Big Bend National Park. You can look up all of that on your own time in your own library.

On my list of places-to-see/things-to-do, I did not expect Terlingua to be so populated. Maybe it was the lovely weather, but there was traffic like I did not expect. There is one Alon gas station in town on the highway 118 and it seems to be the only filling station in the area. The line was long. The morning was beautiful, not too hot, a perfect day to be under the Texas sun. There were several RV’s in front of me, a dozen or more motorbikes parked here and there either at gas pump or randomly placed in the large parking area in amongst any types of automobiles.

The sign on the door at Alon demanded there was a limit on how many people could be inside the store. pulled open the glass door and stepped in side. The heavy set clerk said, “your the last one”. I quickly turned to the right and walked to the back of the store, grabbed a couple large bottles of water out of the glass door cooler and then a Coconut Red Bull on the next refrigerator . There wasn’t much water left. I had enough gas to avoid the long line. Plus, Panther Junction has fuel in the Park.

I drove along the 170 west, turned off on Ivy Road and found the cemetery. So did many others. There was so much traffic. I had always imagined the cemetery, all of Terlingua, in fact, to be isolated out along a lonesome highway in the middle of the Texas desert. There is a Covid pandemic and people are packing in the restaurants and gathering areas.

The dead at the historic cemetery shared space with about six tourists, most standing around the signs at the entrance. One middle aged woman walked along the trails in the cemetery and could be heard on the other side talking to various people on her phone (speaker phone) and by the end of my visit, I knew where she’d been, where she was going and what she had for breakfast. The sky was brilliant blue, the air was still. Carrying my IR camera I explored the cemetery and the dilapidated structures to the West.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 15, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

Shafter, Texas

When I couldn’t find a motel in Presidio, I looked north on my internet search and found Shafter and googled “lodging Shafter”. I had no idea this was a ghost town. In fact, I did not know what was there until I arrived while headed north on the 67. This was after I found my lodging on the north part of Presidio. What captured my attention of Shafter were the dilapidated structures on the east side of the road and then ahead a large church building.

Sacred Heart Catholic Mission Church is the church in this town of somewhere between 20 and 30 people. “No Trespassing” signs are found throughout the towns properties but you can park in front of the church. Did I mention the church is on “Church Road”?

Known as the “the richest acre in Texas”, Shafter was a silver mining town in the 1800’s. Much of what is left are stone and adobe ruins and a chain link fence or barbed wire to separate the curious from the ruins. There is a geocache here as well and I decided to drive deeper into town to find it at the cemetery. I watched as a couple appeared around the curve with their dog. They watched curiously as I sat in front of the cemetery in my car looking at the geocaching map. There as too much briar and weeds plus I knew I was being watched. I expect they were suspicious of my presence in this ghost town and feel the need to protect what is there. I moved slowly forward and headed back to the church. Their dog ran ahead of my car and I slowed as I turned left. I waved. They returned the greeting with a distrustful smile. Muggles, we call them in the geocache world. If Covid was absent, I probably would have stopped and talked with them.

Most of the houses I passed in town were boarded up with “No Trespassing” signs. There were a few that looked lived in. I know more live on the outskirts of town.

Headed North.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 5, 2020 in Texas

 

Tags: , , , , ,