Saturday, March 21, 2009

RAILROAD LORE




Many people, especially those in other countries and those Americans who disliked history classes in high school, neither know nor understand the role of railroads in the settlement of this vast country. Its a long distance between the Atlantic seaboard and the Pacific shore, and after the upheaval of the American Civil War, thousands of people packed up and headed west, partially inspired by talk of our 'Manifest Destiny.' Going by wagon train and horseback took too long, and that is where the railroads came in. Lines like the Southern Pacific and the AT&SF pushed west, establishing small towns along the way, then selling lands to the pilgrims wanting to start a new life 'out west.' Belen and Los Lunas were two such towns that profited immensely from the railroads over the years. Belen became a hub city, with lines crossing it east to west and north to south An early Los Lunas wooden train station was saved from destruction by citizens who wanted to save some or the towns early heritage. It is pictured above, much the same as when it was first built. The town also uses a sketch of the building on its village license plate. Residents are not required by law to have or use the plate; it costs ten dollars., but many wear it proudly on their cars. to show others where they are from. Both the station and the license plate are pictured above.












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