Archive for the 'Las Cruces' Category

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

HANG ‘EM HIGH

“There is going to be a real old-fashioned lynching on the Rio Grande….”

With these words, the Las Cruces newspaper announced that Clint Eastwood would soon arrive in Las Cruces — to film HANG ‘EM HIGH.

The co-producer of the movie, Leonard Freeman, had been in town for several days and had already found the perfect location for the opening scene: a spectacular, lonely tree on the west bank of the Rio Grande River, about 12 miles north of Las Cruces.

In the opening scene, which appears even before the credits, Eastwood is dragged across the Rio Grande River, and then lynched.

clint-eastwood-movie-hang-em-high-river-scene-6-29-67

clint-eastwood-movie-hang-em-high-hanging-scene-6-29-67

The lynching is the driving event of the movie. Eastwood plays ex-lawman Jed Cooper. He is herding cattle he has just purchased back to his ranch when he is brutally arrested by a citizen’s posse. Unknown to the posse, the person who sold the cattle to Cooper had killed the true owners just prior to selling them to Cooper. The remainder of the movie consists of Cooper ruthlessly pursuing the men responsible for his hanging and enacting suitable revenge.

clint-eastwood-movie-hang-em-high-double-walter-scott-6-29-67

Formal shooting of the film began June 21, 1967. The hanging scene was filmed June 29. Eastwood did the entire scene himself, except for the swinging by his neck, which was done by his stunt double Walter Scott (shown in photo). The Las Cruces location shooting wrapped July 1.

The tree where Eastwood was hung is no longer standing and the riverbed is now overgrown with thick brush.

Source: Screen With A Voice: A History of Moving Pictures in Las Cruces, New Mexico

See also:
Screen With A Voice – A History of Moving Pictures in Las Cruces, New Mexico

Filed in: Book Reviews, History, Las Cruces, Odds And Ends, Theaters, Theatres | Comments Off on HANG ‘EM HIGH

 

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

New Book on Las Cruces History

Screen With A Voice – A History of Moving Pictures in Las Cruces, New Mexico

Screen With A Voice - A History of Moving Pictures in Las Cruces
The first projected moving pictures were shown in Las Cruces 110 years ago. Who exhibited those movies? What movies were shown? Since projected moving pictures were invented in 1896, why did it take ten years for the first movie exhibition to reach Las Cruces? Who opened the first theater in town? Where was it located? These questions began the history of moving pictures in Las Cruces, and they are answered in this book. But so are the events and stories that follow.

First movie shown in Las Cruces
First theater in Las Cruces
First talkie shown in Las Cruces
Invention of drive-in theater in Las Cruces
Opening of Rio Grande Theater
Impact of Great Depression on business
Raffle of six-week-old baby girl at Mission Theater
World premiere of first BILLY THE KID movie
Second world premiere of a BILLY THE KID movie
Arrival of Organ, Rocket, Fiesta, and Aggie Drive-Ins
Shooting of Clint Eastwood’s HANG ‘EM HIGH

There have been 21 movie theaters in Las Cruces – all but three or four are forgotten. They are unremembered no longer. And one, especially, the Airdome Theater which opened in 1914, deserves to be known by all movie historians – it was an automobile drive-in theater, the invention of the concept, two decades before movie history declares the drive-in was invented.

To supplement this history are 102 photos and illustrations. These include ephemeral documents such as the 4-page flyer for Las Cruces’ third movie exhibition, at the Rink Theater; historic photos of theaters; aerial photos of drive-ins; and never-before-published photos of the shooting of HANG ‘EM HIGH.

Winner 2017 Pasajero Del Camino Real Award for best history book on Southern New Mexico.

Cover: Depicts the 1930 world premiere of BILLY THE KID, starring John Mack Brown as Billy, at the Rio Grande Theater in Las Cruces.

See also:
HANG ‘EM HIGH

Filed in: Billy the Kid, History, Las Cruces, Main Street, Theaters, Theatres | Comments Off on New Book on Las Cruces History

 

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Shootout at the O. K. Corral — 133 Years Ago Today

The renowned shootout at the O. K. Corral, the subject of innumerable books and movies, the source of Wyatt Earp’s and his brothers’ enduring fame, occurred 133 years ago. An excellent, eye-witness account of the gunfight was printed in the San Francisco Chronicle several days latter, and republished in newspapers across the country, including in the local Las Cruces paper, the Rio Grande Republican. Here is that account:

A STREET FIGHT

Three Cowboys Killed in a Battle in Tombstone

“A Tombstone, Arizona, special to the San Francisco Chronicle of the 27th ult., gives the following graphic account of the fight between cowboys and the authorities of the town:”

“The liveliest street battle that ever occurred in Tombstone took place at 2:30 P. M. to day, resulting in the death of three persons and the wounding of two others, one probably fatally. For some time past several cowboys have been in town, and the fight was between City Marshal Virgil Earp, his two brothers, Morgan and Wyatt Earp, and Dock (sic) Holliday on one side, and Ike and Billy Clinton and Frank and Tom McLowery on the other. The Clanton and McLowery brothers are known as cowboys, and Ike has been in town for the past week drinking pretty freely, and was arrested this morning for carrying concealed weapons, he having appeared on the street with a Winchester rifle and six-shooter on. After paying his fine he is reported to have made threats against Marshal Earp and his brothers, and it is known that bad blood has existed between them for some time. About 2:30 o’clock the Marshal requested his brothers, Morgan and Wyatt, and Dock Holliday to accompany him to aid in disarming the cowboys, as trouble was feared in the evening. They started down toward the O. K. Corral on Fremont street, and a few doors below the Nugget office saw the two Clantons and the McLowery brothers talking to Sheriff Beban, who had requested them to disarm. The Marshal called out, ‘Boys, throw up your hands; I want you to give up your shooters.’

THIRTY SHOTS IN A MINUTE

“At this Frank McLowery attempted to draw his pistol, when Wyatt Earp immediately shot him, the ball entering just about the waist. Dock Holliday then let go at Tom McLowery with a shotgun, filling him full of buckshot under the right arm. Billy Clanton then blazed away at Marshal Earp, and Ike Clanton, who it is claimed was unarmed, started and ran off through the corral to Allen street. The firing then became general, and some thirty shots were fired, all in such rapid succession that the fight was over in less than a minute. When the smoke cleared away it was found that Frank McLowery had been killed outright, with one ball through the intestines, one in the left breast, and one in the right temple, the latter two wounds being received at the same instant. Tom McLowery lay dead around the corner of Third street, a few feet from Fremont’s, the load of buckshot fired by Holliday killing him instantly. Billy Clanton lay on the side of the street, with one shot in the right waist and another in the right side, near the wrist, and the third in the left nipple. He was taken into a house and lived about half an hour in great agony.”

INJURIES OF THE WOUNDED

“Morgan Earp was shot through both shoulders, the ball creasing the skin. Marshal Earp was shot through the fleshy part of the right leg. Wyatt Earp and Dock Holiday escaped unhurt. The shooting created great excitement, and the street was immediately filled with people. Ike Clayton was captured and taken to jail, where he now remains. The jail is guarded by a number of citizens to prevent lynching, of which there is no apparent danger. The three dead bodies were removed to the Morgue, where they now lie. It is reported that several thousand dollars were found on the bodies. The feeling of the better class of citizens is that the Marshal and his posse acted solely in the right in attempting to disarm the cowboys, and it was a case of kill or get killed. Clayton’s father was killed with four others a few months ago in New Mexico by the Mexicans while driving a band of cattle up to this market. The town is fairly quiet, and the authorities are fully able to maintain order.”

Rio Grande Republican, November 5, 1881.

See Also:

The Arizona Cowboy
Death of Johnny Ringo – King of the Cowboys

Filed in: Arizona Cowboy, Billy the Kid, History, Las Cruces | Comments Off on Shootout at the O. K. Corral — 133 Years Ago Today

 

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

New Book on the Hermit of La Cueva

Giovanni Maria de Agostini, Wonder Of The Century — The Astonishing World Traveler Who Was A Hermit

Giovanni Maria de Agostini Book
This book is about a remarkable man, Giovanni Maria de Agostini, born in Italy in 1801, who combined two seemingly contradictory aspirations: a fervent desire to devote his whole life to “perfect solitude” and an astonishing urge to travel incessantly.

As his decisions and actions emerge from the lightless silence – the time-covered past – a unifying purpose becomes evident.

Following extensive travel in Europe, Agostini takes vows revocable only by formal dispensation from the Pope. He immediately leaves forever his “beloved Italy” for South America. Twenty-one years he spends traversing that, at the time, greatly unexplored continent, visiting Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Chile – and so doing multiple times. During this spectacular solo Odyssey, he survives a trip down the Amazon River by canoe, crosses the Alps by foot several times, walks vast distances, and endures living alone in scalding deserts and subzero mountains. In spite of oppressive and infuriating obstacles, including death threats, unjust arrest, deportation, jail, and forced confinement in a mental asylum, Agostini persists undeterred in the solemn goal he set for himself when he left Europe.

Seeking change and another continent, Agostini leaves South America for Mexico, passing through Panama and Guatemala, and then Mexico for North America, passing through Cuba. In Cuba, he is hailed as an extraordinary adventurer, his photograph is taken, and he is proclaimed “The Wonder of Our Century.” After arrival in New York, he walks to Canada, where he spends almost a year, then “goes west,” eventually reaching, in the midst of the American Civil War, the Territory of New Mexico, where he meets his merciless fate.

Agostini is remembered in many places — in South America as Monge João Maria, in North America as Ermitaño Don Juan Agostini; however his life story is encrusted with myth and false fact. As the veritable events of his life are unveiled, a man of fascinating originality, prodigious endurance, intelligence, self-discipline, and self-sufficiency, infused with an indomitable spirit of adventure, emerges.

Today in Argentina, as many as 15,000 people participate in a yearly festival initiated by Agostini at Cerro Monje, “Monk’s Hill.” In Brazil, at Cerro Campestre, “Campestre Hill,” and Santo Cerro do Botucaraí, “Holy Hill of Botucaraí,” over 10,000 people celebrate annual events founded by Agostini. In Lapa, Brazil, a national park protects the pilgrimage route to Gruta do Monge, “Monk’s Grotto.” At Araçoiaba Hill, near Sorocaba, Brazil, the Trilha da Pedra Santa, “Trail of the Holy Rock,” is climbed annually by thousands of people desiring to pay respect to the memory of the Monge do Ipanema, the “Monk of Ipanema.”

These are just a few examples of Agostini’s cultural legacy, 145 years after his death.

“David G. Thomas has finally pulled back the veil of obscurity that long shrouded one of the most enduring mysteries in New Mexico’s long history to reveal the true story of the Hermit, Giovanni Maria de Agostini. Tracking Agostini from Italy throughout South and North America to his final resting place in Mesilla, Thomas has once again proven himself a master history detective. Of particular interest is the information about the Hermit’s life in Brazil, which closely parallels his remarkable experience in New Mexico, and required extensive research in Portuguese sources. Thomas’s efforts make it possible to understand this deeply religious man.” — Rick Hendricks, New Mexico State Historian

20 maps and 65 photos, including 2 rare photos of Agostini, one taken in 1857 and one taken in 1861.

Table of Contents here.
E-Book here

See also:
La Cueva – Hermit’s Cave

Filed in: Dripping Springs, Hiking, History, Las Cruces, Organ Mountains, Parks | Comments Off on New Book on the Hermit of La Cueva

 

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

La Cueva – Hermit’s Cave

La Cueva (“the cave”) is the name of a rock formation in the foothills of the Organ Mountains in the Dripping Springs Natural Area. You can see it here:
La Cueva - Dripping Springs Las Cruces
At the center of the photo, where you see the two trees, is the cave that gives the formation its name. You can see the entrance here:
La Cueva - Dripping Springs Las Cruces
Once you enter the cave, you see:
La Cueva - Dripping Springs - Hermit's Ca ve
The cave has been used as a shelter by humans for at least 5,000 years. You can easily see the blackened ceiling caused by innumerable fires:
La Cueva - Dripping Springs - Hermit's Cave
Also inside the cave a Parks Service plaque giving information on the most famous occupant of the cave, the Hermit de Agostini. Like almost all the information published about the Hermit, this plaque is full of incorrect facts.
La Cueva - Dripping Springs - Hermit's Cave
His birth name was Giovanni Maria de Agostini and he was born in 1801 at Sizzano, Piedmont, Italy (not Lombardy as other sources say). After he began his travels and on his passport, he called himself Juan Maria d’Augustine. Physically, he was short, had brown eyes and a long face.

He come from a fairly well-off family and received a formal education, learning Latin, French, and studying theology.

In his early-twenties he began his life as a wanderer, visiting religious sites in Italy, France, and Spain. In 1838 he took the rule of Saint Anthony the Abbot – a decision to lead a Monastic life of poverty and the most austere practices of virtue. Shortly thereafter, he departed Europe for the New World, arriving by boat at Caracas, Venezuela. He was 38 years old.

In South and Central America he traveled in Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Panama, Guatemala, and Mexico.

In 1861 he left Mexico for Cuba, then New York City. He walked from New York City to Montreal, Canada. From Canada he went to St. Louis, Missouri, then Westport, Missouri, then Council Grove, Kansas. Except when he took boats, he always traveled by foot.

The story on the Parks Service plaque is more or less correct about how he got to Mesilla, after spending several years in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

The reason for his murder is unclear. The motive was clearly not robbery because his large silver cross, silver rosary, and several other items of silver jewelry were not taken. A local priest was indicted for his murder but never tried.

Related posts:

New Book on the Hermit of La Cueva


Hiking Dripping Springs – Part 3

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Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Organ Mountains – Early December Snow

Snow on the Organ mountains this morning.
December Snow - Organ Mountains - Dec 12, 2011
December Snow - Organ Mountains - Dec 12, 2011

 

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Rio Grande – 3 Photos

“The Rio Grande is the only river I ever saw that needed irrigation.” — Will Rogers

“I never realized what beauty water added to a river until I saw the Rio Grande.” – Mark Twain

Rio Grande River
Rio Grande River
Rio Grande River
Photos taken October 13, 2011 at Las Cruces.

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Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Robledos and Dona Anas

Every visitor to Las Cruces is struck by the beauty of the Organ Mountains, east of town. But there are numerous other mountain ranges in the area, including the Robledos and the Dona Anas, both north of Las Cruces. The Robledos are on the east side of the Mesilla Valley, the Dona Anas west of the valley.

Neither range are as spectacular as the Organs, and it’s hard to capture their beauty.

Here are two photos of Robledo Mountain taken after a light snow, yesterday. Robledo Mountain is the highest peak in the range, 5890 feet. The mountain was named for Pedro Robledo, who was killed May 21, 1598 and was buried nearby. Pedro Robledo was a lieutenant in colonizing expedition to New Mexico. Pedro Robledo was survived by a wife and five children, and his descendents still live in New Mexico. (.)


If you look east from the Robledos, you can see the Dona Anas. The highest peak in the range is 5835 feet. (Photo taken December 29, 2009.)

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Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Rain Granted

The last post (Sunday) noted that rain was predicted. Monday we got it. It rained almost all day, an unusually long rain at an unusual seasonal time.

Tuesday morning the clouds completely obscured the Organ Mountains. There had been a very light snow during the night, so it was reasonable to expect snow on the Organs.

About 12:30 pm the cloud cover cleared and the Organs became visible (click for a larger image):



Organ Mountains - Las Cruces


The rock formation in the foreground in this photo is known as La Cueva, because of the cave at its base:


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Sunday, November 29th, 2009

Organ Mountains – Rain Expected

It has been raining today and the forecast is for quite a bit more rain. We’ll see. Here’s what the Organ Mountains looked like this afternoon: