Thursday, March 30, 2023

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Letter | Los Pinos is a ghost town

This is in response to the history article in your Feb. 2 issue by Mr. Arnold Clifford. This is only to clarify a location that he mentions: Los Pinos, New Mexico.

Los Pinos does not exist anymore. It was washed away in a flooding of the Rio Grande in about 1878 when the river swelled to record levels. Locals observed that you could only see the tops of cottonwood trees. When the waters receded, the river below Isleta Pueblo changed its course.

The new riverbed was where Los Pinos used to be, and the old course became swampland. After the Dust Bowl, the Farm Services Administration cleared and drained the swamp and resettled about 80 farming families by lottery. The impacted farmers were mainly from Harding and Taos counties, New Mexico.

The old Spanish village is gone, and in its place is the village of Bosque Farms, a conservative, mostly Republican community today. It has a small library next to its village office with many historical archives. The U.S./Navajo wars were about the same time as the Civil war. The Union army appropriated some of the large haciendas in the area as staging areas for a few battles with the Confederates but also engaged with the Navajo and Apache. Both mainly responded to the need for slavery as practiced by the Spanish and New Mexicans.

There were silver mines in Mexico, so there was a demand for enslaved workers. The U.S., a fresh presence in the southwest, did not listen to Navajo concerns because it was fighting to end slavery in the south while fighting to preserve it in New Mexico.

Ed Singer
Cortez, Colo.


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