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The Chronicles of Grant County

This column will feature items that relate somehow to Grant County - the name of a street in the case of the first one, and maybe other streets, or the name of a building or whatever catches the fancy of the contributor, Richard Donough. Readers are encouraged to send him topics of interest to them, so he can do the research and write an article.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

silver city post office 412 west broadway national park service 2012The United States Post Office operated from this building on Broadway Street from 1935 through 1976. (The photograph was provided through the National Park Service, 2012.)

Year 2021 is the 150th year of the post office operating in Silver City. The initial site of the United States Post Office serving the Town was located at the corner of Main Street and Broadway Street. It began operations in 1871.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

Initial Businesses In Silver City: Mining Life

silver city from boston hill copyA view of Silver City from Boston Hill. (This photo provided with permission from Mary Alice Murphy)

The initial survey for the Town of Silver City indicated a number of businesses in operation in 1873. This news column highlights one of those enterprises, the Mining Life newspaper.

According to the survey, Mining Life had an office at the southwest corner of Yankie and Bullard Streets. Several reports indicated that this was the first newspaper in Silver City. "A new paper to be called 'Mining Life' will shortly be started in Silver City," according to a news article dated January 28, 1873, in The Weekly New Mexican. "The press, etc. was purchased in this place, and is now on the road to its destination. Grant county needs a paper to herald abroad its wealth and resources, and we wish the proprietor Mr. [O. L.] Scott, and his enterprise every success."

The Chronicles Of Grant County

Initial Plans For Town Of Silver City

silver city town site 50This image shows the initial street grid for the Town of Silver City. (The image of the General Land Office of the Bureau of Land Management of the U S Department of Interior was provided through the courtesy of The National Archives and Records Administration.)

With one major exception, as you travel around downtown Silver City, you'll be on streets that carry the same names as the ones laid out in the initial plans for the Town. That one major exception is the result of the impact of water on the development of Silver City. The Town Site survey did not take into account the geography of the area. That's one likely reason that key segments of Main Street planned in the 1870s have long ceased being a roadway. These road segments were destroyed in floods and are now part of the Big Ditch Park.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

Christmas Of 2020

christmas murray hotel silver city december 15 2018 diann bayes 50The Murray Hotel in Silver City was decorated with a Christmas Tree, ribbons of lights, and stockings in December of 2018. (The photograph was provided courtesy of Diann Bayes through Flickr, December 15, 2018.)

Christmas in 2020 is going to be different for many, if not most, Christians this year as compared to years past in Grant County. This year's celebrations will likely have far more in common with Christmas of 1918. Residents of Silver City and the rest of the world were faced with a pandemic that was invisible to human eyes. Reports detailed sickness and death most days during the Pandemic of 1918-1919.

According to the United States National Archives and Records Administration, "In one year, the average life expectancy in the United States dropped by 12 years."

The Chronicles Of Grant County

Grant County Airport

grant county airport benjamin coffey august 10 2019 65A plane is flown by Benjamin Coffey from the Grant County Airport. (The photograph was provided courtesy of Mr. Coffey through Instagram, August 10, 2019.)

Residents and visitors to communities in Grant County – as well as nearby counties – have access to air transport through the Grant County Airport. Located south of the Town of Hurley, this Airport includes a variety of services for both general aviation and commercial scheduled air service as well as for other governmental services to protect lands throughout the Southwest.

This Airport is operated today by Grant County. It opened to the traveling public at the current site in December of 1951. At different times in its history, the Airport's name was the "Silver City - Grant County Airport." A tornado hit the Airport, according to several news reports, on October 12, 1957.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

White Signal

white signal view from white signal looking towards silver city a j brittain may 20 2011A view from White Signal looking towards Silver City. (The photograph was provided courtesy of Steve Douglas through Flickr, May 20, 2011.)

A small community in Grant County has its roots, like many other communities, in the mining industry. White Signal was initially named "White Quartz" by settlers with European heritage. On March 13, 1894, the Southwest Sentinel of Silver City reported that "What used formerly to be known as the White Quartz gold district adjoining the Cow springs district, is now being reorganized by the claim owners and has been named the White Signal district." Another news article – this one in the Deming Headlight on July 31, 1914 – noted that White Signal got its name from the white quartz dike [dyke] in the area. This news article indicated that "this white landmark was regarded as valueless, in a 'mining sense'..." until "copper ores [were found] a few feet below the surface." Gold and silver were also found, according to this news article, along with the copper.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

Montana Street

lake mcdonald glacier national park david mark pixabay november 20 2015 50Lake McDonald is the largest lake within the Glacier National Park in Montana. According to the National Park Service, this lake is ten miles long and nearly 500 feet deep. (The photograph was provided courtesy of David Mark through Pixabay, November 20, 2015.)

Lake McDonald is the largest lake within the Glacier National Park in Montana. According to the National Park Service, this lake is ten miles long and nearly 500 feet deep. (The photograph was provided courtesy of David Mark through Pixabay, November 20, 2015.)

Montana Street in Silver City gets its name from the State of Montana. In the Spanish language, "montaña" means "mountain." Much of western Montana is in the Rocky Mountain range. Please note that a roadway with a similar name, La Montana Drive, located to the southwest of the Town of Silver City, is named after a mountain in the area rather than the State of Montana.

The Glacier National Park is located within the borders of Montana. "Numerous Native American tribes utilized the area around and within what is now the park for hunting, fishing, ceremonies, and gathering plants," according to a statement from the National Park Service. "When the first [European]…explorers began arriving in the region, the Blackfeet controlled the prairies on the east side of Glacier [National Park], while the Salish, Pend d'Oreille, and Kootnei lived in the more forested west side."

Like a number of western states, including New Mexico, portions of Montana are governed by Native American nations. "The original 1855 Blackfeet Indian Reservation encompassed most of the northern half of the state of Montana," according to a statement from the Blackfeet Nation. "The present reservation is located in northwest Montana, bordered by Glacier National Park to the west and Canada to the north. Spanning 1.5 million acres, the Blackfeet reservation is one of the largest in the United States."

Prior to statehood, Montana was part of several different territories established by the Federal government. Hard to believe today, but the bulk of Montana used to be part of the Louisiana Territory and the Missouri Territory. At different times, parts of the state were also included in the Oregon Territory, the Washington Territory, the Nebraska Territory, and the Dakota Territory. In 1863, the lands now part of much of Montana, all of Idaho, and the bulk of Wyoming were consolidated together as Idaho Territory. Initially, this new territory was to be called "Montana Territory." Instead, "Idaho" was chosen as the new territory's name. The year later, the Montana Territory was created out of Idaho Territory. In 1873, a small spit of land where the border of Montana met the boundaries of Idaho and Wyoming – officially part of Dakota Territory – became part of Montana. The boundaries of Montana Territory became the borders of the State of Montana when it was admitted to the Union in 1889.

Montana has two nicknames, one official nickname and one likely more common nickname. Officially, Montana is the "Treasure State." That name originated from the various minerals – treasure – mined in the state. A more common nickname associated with Montana may be "Big Sky Country."

According to the Montana Department of Commerce, "In 1962, the State Highway Department was having a promotion and needed a name. One of the men working there had read a book called The Big Sky, written by a Montanan author, A. B. Guthrie, Jr. This book was about trapping and the outdoors. Mr. Guthrie gave the State Highway Department permission to use the name, and Montana has been 'Big Sky Country' ever since."

grizzly bear bozeman montana sage scott pixabay june 29 2017 50The grizzly bear is the state animal on Montana. This grizzly bear was seen near Bozeman, Montana. (The photograph was provided courtesy of Sage Scott through Pixabay, June 29, 2017.)

Do you have questions about communities in Grant County?

A street name? A building?

Your questions may be used in a future news column.

Contact Richard McDonough at chroniclesofgrantcounty@mail.com.

If your email does not go through, please contact editor@grantcountybeat.com.

© 2020 Richard McDonough

The Chronicles Of Grant County

thanksgiving november 22 2012 facebook jimmie and gene booth arenas valley photo by manda clair jost 50Thanksgiving in happier times in Grant County. Jimmie and Gene Booth (left to right) are seen here in Arenas Valley with namesake apple pies in 2012. Both are doing well this Thanksgiving. (The photograph was provided courtesy of Manda Clair Jost, November 22, 2012.)

Thanksgiving in Silver City and Grant County this year will be different from most other Thanksgiving celebrations that have been held in New Mexico in years past. But there was at least one year – during the Pandemic of 1918-1919 – when many in New Mexico and throughout the United States determined that Thanksgiving should be celebrated in private ways, among only close family members.

Editor's Note

Four NEW classifieds for furniture and an REI screen house

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