Ghost Town & Church Tour
Hosted by George Austin and Donita Privett
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Join George Austin and Donita Privett for a Ghost Town and Churches tour October 25 and 26, 2021. Our home base will be the gorgeous Inn of the Mountain God’s Resort just outside of Ruidoso, NM. Late October should be peak time for fall foliage in the Southern New Mexico mountains, adding to the beauty of our trip.
Monday morning, Oct. 25, we will tour the historic town of Lincoln, NM. This National Historic Landmark is considered by many historians to be the most authentic old west town remaining in the United States. There are 17 structures and out buildings in the Territorial Style of adobe architecture found in the South West. Center of the bloody Lincoln County War, this small community was launched into the history books by a host of famous characters including Billy the Kid, Kit Carson, Pat Garrett, John Chisum and Lew Wallace.
Following lunch, we will visit Fort Stanton, NM, just a short drive from Lincoln. Fort Stanton, established in 1855, is said to be one of the most intact 19th-century military forts in the country and is the best-preserved fort in New Mexico. This 240-acre site is best known for its roles in the Indian Wars and the Civil War. Fort Stanton’s 12-building parade ground appears much as it did in the mid-1800s, making it easy to imagine military life in the Old West. Here, you can also learn about some of the most unusual and little-known chapters in New Mexico history. There are 88 buildings on this historic site, some dating back to 1855. Built of local stone, the sturdy buildings have lasted, however, most are in need of preservation. There is also a Merchant Marine Cemetery at Fort Stanton, with rows of white crosses. It’s a dramatic site not far from the fort.
If the weather allows, George will lead a night sky safari on Monday evening. More information will be available on this adventure as we get closer to our dates.
Tuesday, October 26 is church day! Although, there are a couple of great churches to photograph on Monday as well. We will start Tuesday in the Hondo/San Patricio valley. After stopping at several small churches, we will visit the Hurd la Rinconada Gallery and have a picnic lunch. The Hurd Gallery is the original home of Peter Hurd, Henriette Wyeth-Hurd and their son Michael. There is plenty of art to enjoy at the gallery, as well as wine tasting.
Tuesday afternoon our first stop is the St Francis De Paula Church in Tularosa. This white adobe church held its first Mass in 1869. Settlers built the church after it took them 10 years of fighting the Apache Indians to establish a farming community in Tularosa. Even though the footprint is twice the size of the original building, this church is packed with history.
Our last stop will be the St Joseph Apache Mission in Mescalero. This church is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Mission was built as a labor of love by Father Albert Braun, a priest who came to Mescalero on his first appointment in 1916 when it was little more than a few teepees. It took Father Albert 20 years to complete the church with help from volunteers. The Mission was built in the form of a cross, 64 feet wide and 131 feet long, 50 feet to the rafters and 80 feet to the roof peak. The tip of the cross on the bell tower is 103 feet high and the bell tower walls are four feet thick at the base. The Mission was completed during the Great Depression in 1939. The church couldn’t afford glass or lighting for decades. The windows openings were covered with boards until 1961 when glass was installed.
Attendees will receive one Merit for attending.