Datil Well

Magdalena Trail

brochure Datil Well - Magdalena Trail
The Magdalena Trail The picturesque Sawtooth Mountains rise to an elevation of 9,240 feet. Kelly Gatlin, La Luz Photography A Livestock Driveway The Magdalena railroad depot was built in 1915 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It now serves as the village library. The newly renovated Boxcar Museum is on the north side of the depot and open to the public. The stockyards, shown as they appear today, were the destination for untold thousands of cattle and sheep. Example of a trough installed by the CCC— this one is at BLM’s Datil Well Campground. Quemado’s Sacred Heart Church Leave No Trace: Plan ahead and prepare - Travel and camp on durable surfaces - Dispose of waste properly - Leave what you find - Minimize campfire impacts - Respect wildlife - Be considerate of other visitors. U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management Magdalena Stockyards circa 1885 THE CCC: In July of 1935 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp DG-42-N was established between Magdalena and Datil in anticipation of work projects to improve the Driveway. The camp was under the jurisdiction of the Division of Grazing, as indicated by the “DG” in the camp name. Courtesy Palace of the Governors (MNM/DCA) neg. #147671 In 1916 the Stock Raising Homestead Act was passed, allowing for much larger homestead claims of 640 acres —a square mile each. Stockmen were worried that these large homestead claims, especially if fenced, would block the trail. They petitioned the Secretary of the Interior for formal withdrawal of the lands for moving livestock to the railhead or between summer and winter range, which was provided for within the Act. This withdrawal designated the trail as a Stock Driveway, and most accounts refer to it as the Magdalena Stock Driveway after this designation in 1918. CCC construction of Stock Driveway fence In the 1930s, drought and overgrazing threatened to reduce western rangelands to a dustbowl. In response, the Taylor Wells were established by the CCC at 10-mile intervals along the Driveway. Ten miles was considered one day’s War raged between the U.S. Army and the Apache and Navajo in Territorial New Mexico, with varying intensity, for 40 years. Much blood was shed on both sides. After the Civil War, Black Regulars (also known as Buffalo Soldiers) came west to serve in the frontier army, and some were among those who fought the Apache here. After Victorio and most of the Warm Springs Apache band were massacred at Tres Castillos, Mexico in 1881, a remnant band led by Nana (who was lame in one foot and about 80 years old) went on a revenge raid over a vast portion of New Mexico, Nana, Warm Spring Apache covering about 3,000 miles in two months. They eluded their pursuers leader, ca. 1885 for the most part, and won the seven major engagements that did take place. Several of the battles occurred in this area. OCEAN TO OCEAN HIGHWAY: Well before Route 66, the Ocean to Ocean Highway spanned the U.S. from Santa Monica, California to Virginia Beach, Virginia. In New Mexico it stretched from Quemado to Clovis. It followed an old wagon road from Springerville, Arizona to Socorro, New Mexico—a road that may go as far back as Kit Carson in the mid-1800s. Modern Highway 60 follows the general route between Socorro and Springerville. Take your time, exploring as the side roads beckon. Remember whose footsteps you follow—Native American hunters and villagers, great Apache warriors, a retreating Confederate army, cowboys, sheepherders, outlaws, and Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry. Slow down, get comfortable and think of those who came before. Remember to honor private property rights and federal and state laws as you cross these lands, and please do not move or remove any natural or manmade object from its place in this very The New Buffalo Soldiers portray Comspecial landscape. pany D, 9th Cavalry in a re-enactment. In the early 1920s, World War I veteran Clyde Norman, a Texan who liked to bake, began making dried apple pies at his business on a rocky ridge on the Ocean to Ocean Highway, later to become U.S. 60. The word got out that the best pies anywhere were to be found in what came to be known as Pie Town. You can still satisfy your pie craving at one of several eateries in Pie Town. Featured in the movie Contact, The Very Large Array (VLA) is part of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. One of the world’s premier astronomical radio observatories, it consists of 27 dish radio antennas in a Y-shaped configuration on the Plains of San Agustín. Each antenna is 82 feet in diameter. The data from the antennas are combined electronically to give the resolution of an antenna 22 miles across. There is a visitor center just south of Highway 60. Photo by Pam Kogler In addition to the VLA visitor center, a selfguided walking tour features informative signs and a trail leading to the base of one of the giant dish antennas. Eagle Guest Ranch dining room at the Datil Crossroads was built around 1900, and has been serving hamburgers, steaks and pies ever since. Bureau of Land Management Socorro Field Office 901 South Highway 85 Socorro, New Mexico 87801 575/835-0412 or www.blm.gov/new-mexico BLM/NM/GI-07-01-1220 The Driveway was five to 10 miles wide in places so that enough grass would be available for the trailing herds. It was open range, however, and was often overused by adjoining ranches or slow-moving herds. Because of the great distance traveled and the lack of adequate water and forage, livestock often arrived in Magdalena in poor condition, resulting in a reduced sale price for producers. The CCC had been established two years earlier as part of President Roosevelt’s “New Deal.” The CCC’s purpose was to help conserve natural resources and to provide jobs and training for unemployed young men between the ages of 17 and 23 who were U.S. citizens. A force about three million strong, they lived in work camps and earned a base pay of $30 a month, most of which was sent home to their families. The Corps was abolished in 1942. Highway 60 will take you through Magdalena, Datil, Pie Town, Quemado, and on to Springerville, Arizona. After two decisive Civil War battles occurred in New Mexico in 1862 at Valverde and Glorieta, Confederate General Henry Hopkins Sibley and his ragged, hungry troops passed through this area on their retreat back to Texas. Confederate General Henry Hopkins Sibley Photos by Brenda Wilkinson except as noted. THE BEGINNING: The livestock trail began in January of 1885 when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad completed its branch line from Socorro to Magdalena. Ranchers from a vast area of western New Mexico and eastern Arizona began trailing their cattle and sheep to the Magdalena railhead, a journey of over 120 miles for some herds. The peak trailing year was 1919, when 150,000 sheep and 21,677 cattle made the trip. The Pie-O-Neer is one of several places in Pie Town for a great meal or snack. Ben Wittick Photo, Courtesy Palace of the Governors (MNM/DCA), #16321. Courtesy Palace of the Governors (MNM/DCA) neg. #164502 The Taylor Grazing Act outlined a cooperative approach to grazing administration, which led to the formation of the Magdalena Stock Driveway Committee in 1936. The group was made up of livestock growers and government officials. They considered many issues, including placement of water wells and fences along the Driveway. THE HISTORY: The story and the trail begin much earlier than the cattle drives. Prehistoric bison may have traveled through Datil Pass as they migrated between the North Plains and the Plains of San Agustín, where some fell prey to Folsom hunters some 10,000 years ago. Courtesy Palace of the Governors (MNM/DCA) neg.#50541 The Magdalena Trail ranks in importance with the famous Chisum and GoodnightLoving Trails. What sets it apart is its continued use into the 1970s. Grazing Act was passed in 1934, regulating public land grazing for the first time through permits, and establishing the Division of Grazing. In 1939 the Division of Grazing was renamed the U. S. Grazing Service. Then, in 1946, the Grazing Service was merged with the General Land Office (GLO) to form the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). DRIVING TOUR: You can tour the trail via Highway 60 from Socorro to Springerville or the other way around as the livestock did. journey for cattle, and two days’ journey for sheep. Once the CCC fences and wells were in place, livestock actually gained weight on the trip to Magdalena. In 1956 rancher George Farr described the Driveway trip as “a pleasure, as well as profitable.”

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