Tuesday Bag o’ Local Color

Our niece Rebecca’s been working toward a master’s degree in social work at Western New Mexico University. She did a semester in residence a couple of years back, then moved back to Seattle to finish her coursework on line. She graduated last Friday and we went with her to Silver City NM to watch her walk across the stage. Congratulations, Rebecca!

Rebecca combined her graduation with a trip to Tucson to see us. She flew in Wednesday from Seattle with her husband Nate. Her father Steve arrived from London that night and also stayed with us. The five of us drove to New Mexico on Thursday. We spent two nights in Silver City and drove back to Tucson Saturday. Steve flew home Sunday; Rebecca and Nate left Monday afternoon (after a detour to the local cineplex to watch Mad Max: Fury Road, and as you can probably guess I watched it with them).

Friday morning, while Rebecca was at rehearsal at WNMU, the rest of us drove to nearby Santa Clara to explore spooky old Fort Bayard, an abandoned Army post that for many years was a VA tuberculosis hospital (my mother spent a year in such a place in the early 1950s). The fort and hospital were shut down many years ago. The old wooden officers’ (later physicians’ & nurses’) quarters were briefly used as HUD housing but are now empty and quickly falling apart, as are the hospital buildings, roads, and other structures. Locals say the place is haunted.

Here are some photos from Rebecca’s graduation weekend, plus another set of photos from Silver City and Fort Bayard. Click on the thumbnails to see the full sized images on Flickr.

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Rebecca & Nate

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Honors ceremony

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Donna at our Silver City hotel

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A rainy ceremony

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Rebecca & her dad Steve

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Happy uncle, niece, & aunt


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Downtown Silver City

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Ft Bayard, main hospital

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Ft Bayard, old nurses’ quarters

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Ft Bayard: officers’/physicians’ quarters

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Ft Bayard

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Ft Bayard


Silver City is a mining town with a 1940s appearance and vibe, similar to Arizona mining towns like Bisbee, Globe, and Superior. It’s in the mountains of southwestern New Mexico, not far from the Arizona border, a three-hour drive from Tucson. We have a few Tucson friends who own vacation property in the hills outside Silver City, so I don’t think including it in the “local color” category is much of a stretch. I’ll visit southwestern New Mexico again … I like the hills and mountains and am already planning a return trip, this time on the motorcycle.

© 2015, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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