Archive for the 'Odds And Ends' Category

Saturday, February 20th, 2016


“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.



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.


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


Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Did Billy the Kid Stay at La Posta in Mesilla?

“Best history of Mesilla.”

“La Posta: From the Founding of Mesilla, to the Corn Exchange Hotel, to Billy the Kid Museum, to Famous Landmark” consists of 5 sections:

  • Chapter 1 is a history of Mesilla, beginning with its founding in 1850 by Rafael Ruelas.
  • Chapter 2 gives the original and early ownership of all the properties around the public square in Mesilla, identifying previously uncertain locations such as the Butterfield Overland Stage location.
  • Chapter 3 is a history of the Corn Exchange Hotel, founded in 1874, the most famous hotel in New Mexico at the time. Almost all the major participants of the Lincoln County War stayed at the hotel.
  • Chapter 4 is a history of the Billy the Kid museum and its founder, Mesilla pioneer and impresario George Griggs.
  • Chapter 5 is a history of La Posta, Mesilla’s most famous landmark.

“Mesilla is full of Billy the Kid history. It’s where he started off rustling with Jesse Evans and it’s where he was tried and convicted of murder. At one point, rumor has it, he even stayed at the Corn Exchange Hotel (along with many of the other heavy hitters from the Lincoln County War).”

“For someone who grew up in the area of Mesilla, it’s nice to have a well-researched book about the area — and the giant photographs don’t hurt either (honestly, I love to see photos that take up the whole page so you can actually make out the detail)….”

“And the thing I was most excited to see is a photo of the hotel registry where the name of “William Bonney” is scrawled on the page. I knew this registry had existed at one point but I always thought it was missing…. There is some debate as to whether or not Billy the Kid really signed the book, which the author goes into, but what would Billy the Kid history be without a little controversy.”

Billy the Kid Outlaw Gang Newsletter, Winter, 2013

See also:
Billy the Kid’s Grave – New Book
Pat Garrett’s Marker


Sunday, November 13th, 2011

The Electric Light

Every day some new suggestion is made as to the probable use of electricity. A San Francisco professor thinks the time is coming when swamps and sewers will be deprived of their unwholesomeness by strokes of lightning, or, in other words, by electric currents that will kill the germs and spores that communicate disease to the human system. This is based upon the germ theory of disease, which is to the effect that malarial and other foul air contagions are due to animalcule, or infusoria, which multiply in the victim’s body after inoculation. But would it not be a miracle if all atmospheres were rendered wholesome by electrical discharges? The electric light has made one change in cities which may lead to important results. It has enabled buildings and other public works to be constructed at night as well as day. Laborers are employed in eight and twelve hour shifts, and edifices are completed in less than half the time required when only day work could be employed. In summer laborers prefer to work at night. Scientists tell us, as yet we only dimly appreciate the marvelous changes that will be wrought by electricity in human conditions.

Rio Grande Republican, February 18, 1882 (Newspaper)

See also:

First Electric Light in New Mexico

Tags: , .


Saturday, August 13th, 2011

First Electric Light in New Mexico

The following advertisement from the June 23rd, 1881 Las Vegas Optic newspaper probably documents the VERY FIRST appearance of electric light in New Mexico.
First Electric Light in New Mexico - June 23, 1881
Regarding the electric light shown in the illustration, the advertisement says:

All under the most perfect sun-eclipsing ELECTRIC LIGHTS, which are exclusively used to illuminate the VAST METROPOLIS OF EXHIBITION TENTS.

William Washington Cole, who began his circus in 1871, promoted new technology — “marvels” — in his expositions along with traditional circus acts. The electric light advertised here would have been a Brush Arc Light, which American inventor Charles F. Brush began selling commercially in 1879. Brush had invented the first modern electric dynamo in 1876. One or more of Brush’s dynamos, powered by a steam engine, would have powered Cole’s electric arc lights.

Electric arc lights were quickly shown to be much cheaper than gas, the prevailing technology, and to provide more light. By 1881, Brush had sold over 6,000 arc lights, including the following:

  • 800 lights in rolling mills, steel works, shops, etc.
  • 1,240 lights in woolen, cotton, linen, silk, and other factories
  • 425 lights in large stores, hotels, churches, etc.
  • 250 lights in parks, docks, and summer resorts
  • 275 lights in railroad depots and shops
  • 130 lights in mines, smelting works, etc.
  • 380 lights in factories and establishments of various kinds
  • 1,500 lights in lighting stations, for city lighting, etc.
  • 1,200 lights in England and other foreign countries.

Thomas Edison invented his incandescent light bulb in 1879 which would replace fairly quickly the arc light.

Note that the word “electric” in the advertisement is written with “lightning” characters, a typographic convention evidently already established in 1881.

See also:

The Electric Light

Tags: , , ,


Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Car Crash

Somehow the driver of this car managed to crash into this fence in mid-day on a 35-mile an hour city street, just missing on-coming traffic. According to people at the scene, he immediately jumped out of the car carrying two paper bags and ran off.

A blow up of the interior of the car reveals how he accomplished this:

Tags: , ,


Friday, December 8th, 2006

56 Merc

This wonderful 1956 Mercury Montclair is owned by a local citizen. He purchased it new in 1956 and has owned it ever since. This is the original color, although it has been repainted on the outside.



Thursday, November 9th, 2006

Stairs First

How often are stairs built first?

From the top landing:

When the building catches up with the stairs, this will be the view:



Saturday, October 21st, 2006

The Trashers

Everywhere in the desert around Las Cruces you see the offal of The Trashers. Not just a few cans, papers, bottles, but pickup loads.



Friday, October 20th, 2006

Fall Flowers

Some last flowers.



Monday, October 16th, 2006


This guy’s been here for a couple of years, so it’s not a Halloween thing. Any garden is long gone.

“Just me and my Bud Light.”