Home Is Where We Park It: Dream Catcher RV Park, Deming, New Mexico
September 27, 2019
Deming Luna Mimbres Museum and Custom House – Deming and the Railroad
Well, we needed the heat again this morning. Just a tad on the cool side but not bad. Days have been really nice, low 80’s with a strong Southwest wind blowing straight through Graybeard. The past two days there’s been no need for the AC.
This afternoon all the weather warnings were screaming. The sky began to get black. Then the rain came. Straight at us from the front. The wind howled and we rocked. I would hate to think how bad it would have been if we had been sideways to it. Fifteen minutes later it was all over. The sun came back out and that’s the way the day finished.
Let’s finish up our tour of the Deming Museum and the Custom House.
Deming (although it really had no name at this point in time) was once located on the US-Mexico border and was once an important port of entry on the border. Hence the need for a custom house.
The Customs office as it might have looked.
All of this changed with the Gadsden Land Purchase of 1853. It assigned to the US 30,000 acres of Northern Mexico, now southern Arizona and New Mexico, for a payment of $10 million dollars. It was prompted in part by those who wanted to establish a second transcontinental railroad which would pass through this territory. The Treaty was secured by the US Minister to Mexico, John Gadsden.
Deming was formally founded in November 1881. Named for Mary Deming Crocker, wife of a railroad magnate of the Southern Pacific Railway system,
it was the result of railroad expansion to the West. The Southern Pacific, building toward the Pacific coast, reached this point in late 1881, and made preparations for the construction of a round house and repair shops. This activity furnished the incentive for the erection of a city of tents and shanties. Six months later, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe completed its junction with the Southern Pacific at Deming, thus assuring Deming a prominence in the Southern part of New Mexico.
The early station.
One of the problems for those who traveled by train in the early days was the food, more to the point the lack of it. Food was only available at different stops but it was of poor quality. In addition, the stops were so short no one really had time to eat. Into the gap stepped Fred Harvey and his Harvey Girls.
Fred Harvey resolved to make mealtime a pleasant experience. The Santa Fe Railroad accepted his proposal and a Harvey House (a restaurant owned by Fred Harvey) sprang up at every Santa Fe station. He would staff his restaurants with women of high caliber who were called Harvey Girls. He drew up rigid qualifications each Harvey Girl had to meet. Each girl was between the age of 18 and 30. Each girl went through 6 weeks of intensive training in social skills, in poise, and in culinary skills.
A Harvey Girl who served at the Deming Harvey House.
The Harvey Girl,s workplace was an elegant dining room. Spotless tablecloths and fine china were on the tables. Only the freshest food was served brought in continually by the railroad. When the train was about a mile from the station the engineer would blow the whistle and the first course was put on the table. Sixteen people could be served in twenty five minutes.
Artifacts recovered when the Harvey House in Deming was closed.
We’ll call it for tonight. Tomorrow we’ll pick up Deming’s history at WW I and move on to the present. Stay tuned there is much more to come. As for the railroad, we can definitely testify to the fact that it is still alive and well in Deming. Numerous freight trains rumble through every day like clockwork. There is also an Amtrack train that makes a stop here.
That was our day on The Road of Retirement. It was another great day spent in one another’s company, napping, reading, taking care of bills, and getting caught up on other odds and ends. The blog continues with much more to come tomorrow.
Thanks for joining us again today. We always enjoy your company and your comments. Catch you tomorrow.
These are the voyages of Graybeard and it’s two intrepid travelers. Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before
See you on down the road!