Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Quick Trip to Silver City, NM

We got up and had breakfast yesterday with the intention on heading out to see Silver City.  But first, we saw that Jerry and Jenny were packing up so we went over there site and had a nice chat.  We exchanged hugs, got their email address and wished them well on their trip back to Tucson.

We took US 180 from Deming to Silver City in our Honda.  Since it was only a day trip, it didn't make sense to take the coach on the 52 mile trip.

The drive was familiar in some parts but not in most.  As a nine year old, our family would drive down and back to Deming now and then.  We passed by the Grant County airport and then the turn off to the Gila Wilderness and also the City of Rocks State Park. We went to all those places when we lived in Silver City in the 1960's.

I remember Bayard and the Cobre High School Indians.  I thought it was 10 miles from Silver City.  The sign said 5 miles.  Both towns must have spread out and are now closer together.  Once we got into the outskirts of Silver City I didn't recognize anything.  It wasn't until we passed by the corner market and drug store where Silver Office Supply used to be that I started to figure things out.  Now it is a drugstore and a Sears store.

A rush of thoughts flooded my mind as I tried to remember.  Let's see--over there on the right must be the doctors office when my mom took me when I found out I was allergic to penicillin.
On the left must be where the Dairy Queen used to stand.  My grandfather would walk us down here from our house for some ice cream when he visited.
OK - where was the vacant lot we used to have 2 a day Little League baseball practices with the Anderson Blue Sox?  Hmm, no more vacant lots...

We continued on through town to where the road T's into a three way stop.  My dad's offices with the US Forest Service were over there on the right.  Now,  the building is a series of little shops.
As we turned left and went through the main drag down main street I remember the Datsun (later Nissan) dealer on the right.  My dad thought those were neat cars.

I barely remember most of the downtown area and then we turned right and went up the hill past the old post office.  It is now for rent and has since moved somewhere else.
It was all a little surreal...I don't remember as much as I thought I would.
We drove around through some back streets looking for the Church of the Good Shepherd but didn't find it.  We probably could have if I had worked at it.

Instead we went back through town and I found Juniper Avenue.  Hmm, the hospital (Hillcrest??) on the left is gone... nada...  A chain link fence around the property is now where it stood.  No parking lot, no buildings, no debris... it just vanished.  It is just a big empty lot now.  Maybe someone is going to build on the property.

Up the hill and into our old neighbor hood, we went past Mrs. Borenstein's house (our 4th grade teacher-- tough lady, strict, mean? ugh), turned left at Bobby Jackson's old house,  then up the hill.  There is was!  our old house.

Hmmm, a bit run down but looks amazingly like it did in 1965.  We never had anything on the front porch or things outside along the basement.  In fact, my dad took it upon himself to put in the front lawn.  We hauled dirt and planted grass and it's still here.  The big tree on the left is one we climbed a few times.  I only remember falling out of it once thinking, "This is what it is like to break your arm..." ...only scared me no real damage...

I remember playing endless touch football games in the street in front of our house before we got curbs and before the road was paved.  This is where I learned it was not good to go flying (or get pushed) into big tumbleweeds.  Those babies hurt!  We had plenty of scuffed knees and hands from the football games.

And we had a couple of hay bales set up to hone our archery skills in the vacant lot across the street.  It is now fenced and looks a lot smaller.
And the pasture down at the end of the street is now a subdivision.

Next, we drove around neighborhood where Mike Cobb, Bill Baltouser and Scott Nichols used to live.  Their block had some good hills and that is were we took apart our roller skates, fit a 10 or 12 inch 2x4 piece of wood and nailed it together---our first skateboard.  We spend hours going down the sidewalks over near their houses.

Next, we set out to find North Silver Elementary School where Reid (my twin brother) and I went to 4th, 5th and 1/2 of sixth grade.

They renamed it Jose Barrios and added more classrooms in the front of the building and it has all changed.  And the playground shrunk....

Next time, we will call a few days ahead of time to give people a heads up.  Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't...  We called our neighbors (who owned the home across the street and were our landlords) but they had commitments and we were not able to see them.  Hopefully we can come back and do some more exploring.

It seems like Silver City continues to grow and prosper.  The downtown area looks like it has gone through a renewal of sorts with a lot of artsy, crafty stores and quite a few outdoor hiking, biking camping things going on.

On the way out of town, we stopped for a Lot-a-Burger.

 It is New Mexico's version on In-N-Out or Sonic Burger.  It started in the early 1950's in Albuquerque and continues to be a popular spot for a hamburger.  It was good.

We arrived back in Deming at Dream Catchers RV park and decided to get on the road.  The prospect of leaving on Tuesday morning and going through rush hour traffic in El Paso was not too appealing.

As we were leaving fellow blogger and Facebook friend Grant Webb stopped by to say hi.  That was neat!  He knew we were in Deming and drove into the campground about 5 minutes before we left.  It was nice of him to say hi!  He and his wife Kathy have a great blog you might want to see.

After we had some brief 'hi's' and 'goodbyes' we checked out (almost $36 for two nights) and hit the road.  It was a nice afternoon to be driving.  The RV park at Fort Bliss was full so we kept driving until we got to Van Horn Texas.  The Eagles Nest RV park is a nice over night stay.  The sites are fairly wide, the campground is well taken care of and it was fine ($27/night).

That was our day yesterday -- thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!


  1. Thanks for the tour and pics of your hometown, it was quite interesting. It's always a bit of back and forth to return to the places we grew up and to see the changes that have taken place - some better, some not so good. It sure is a great way to trigger the old memory cells though - long lost thoughts come to life out of nowhere.

  2. Randy and Pam, what a lovely remembrance of old Silver City. I have lived here for 10 years and often hear the 'old' stories from people who have lived here 'forever'. It's funny that I saw the picture of your old home and knew where it was! Just so you know, Hillcrest Hospital stood vacant for many years and was the source of contraversy. The town sold it, then bought it back for more $ and then couldn't afford to take it down for many years. Finally, 2-3 years ago it came down. I also hear stories about the old hardware store downtown that is now The Buffulo Bar. And there was a department store named Maxwell's - -now a church. I work at Coldwell Banker on the highway - - this building used to be a gas station. I hope enjoyed your visit. Have a great trip! -Linda@silvercity-realestate.com

  3. Hi Linda and thank you Pam and Randy for your post. I was born in Silver and my family goes back generations there and Tyrone. I now live out of state. I am doing some research on family history and wonder if you know any more info on Hillcrest Hospital or how I might find out if any of its records were somehow salvaged? Do you know what year it closed? Anyone with any info can email me at Silvertowne@live.com
    Thank You

  4. Love the blog. I was born in 1951 in the Hillcrest Hospital in Silver City. My dad had TB and was in the hospital at Fort Bayard during that time. My mom had rented a room from a lady by the last name of Weaver. Supposedly, we were there until I was about 6 months old when we came back to Texas. I have never had the opportunity to go back there and would love to do that one of these days.

  5. My neighbor is Jeff Lime, and he says they used to be the only ? Chinese family in town and he would get bullied in school :) Their family home is still there. I am going to show him this article! Thanks, and after maybe 28 times of driving to TX from CA, I hope I can get my husband to stop and smell the roses in Silver City. The Lotaburger might do it.