It was one of the shortest drives we’ve had this year, from Sierra Vista, AZ to Deming, NM about 208 miles. Arriving early in the afternoon we took time to rest and relax. The next day we made our way to the Deming visitors center where we acquired the walking tour map. It took about an hour and covered the downtown core of 4 blocks. It’s an interesting little town with roots that go way back to 1881. Some of the buildings are older. When the walk was over we went back to Palma’s Italian Grill for a great lunch. We recommend it for the food and lead waitress/host Debbie, she’s charming. After our lunch, we drove down the street to the edge of town for a visit to St. Clair Winery where we bought a couple nice wines and a port.
Next day, we headed north, 50 miles on hwy 180 to Silver City, NM. Silver City has a similar history to Virginia City of Nevada, in that, once silver was “accidently” found there a town flared into existence. Silver City got it’s start in 1870 when a group of prospectors found out that the dark blue dirt they were casting aside was really valuable silver ore. In 10 months the little town grew from a single building to a town of over 80 buildings. In spite of the crude methods of processing, Silver City mills were producing $16,000 of bullion a week by 1875! After July 21, 1895, Silver City’s Main Street was no longer the principal artery. Floodwaters engulfed the streets as “an immense wave of rolling water 12’ high and 300’ across, roared through the heart of town.” By the next morning, the waters had receded and local residents saw a monstrous ditch 35 feet below the street level. Later floods, especially one in 1903, scraped the ditch down to bedrock at 55 feet. The excavation ran about 15 miles. The Big Ditch, as it’s referred to now, is a community park with paths and picnicking area and two foot bridges. Many famous people came through or grew up in Silver City. One such notorious person was Henry McCarty (Billy the Kid), though born (abt. 1859) in New York his mother and step-father came to Silver City when he was young. He was a good student at the local school and a book worm. The pics of the wooden cabin are NOT the cabin they lived in but typical of houses in the area. But the cabin IS on the spot where the family cabin sat. Across the street and about 100 yards away now sits the Forest Service warehouses on the spot where a jail used to sit. It was in that jail where Henry McCarty was jailed when he was 15 for robbing a Chinese laundry. Then subsequently he escaped by climbing through a chimney. It was all very interesting to learn and to study. Young Henry’s mother, Catherine, died of tuberculosis and is buried in the Memory Lane Cemetery. During our visit to Silver City, we had lunch at Vickies Eatery just a block off the main downtown street. We had such a nice day away from the coach, not wanting the good time to end, we stopped a short while at City of Rocks State Park. It’s just 3 miles off hwy 180. An interesting geological spot of a rock out cropping eroded away by numerous rains and floods.