Monday, February 13, 2012

Pinos Altos ...

Last Friday we took an afternoon and 'did' Pinos Altos.  Actually, you could 'do' PA in about an hour.  It is about seven miles north of Silver City on the continental divide.  We visited the museum first and while on Main Street I took pictures of some of the few remaining original buildings in town.  The museum is in need of renovation but it is housed in this old building which was interesting in itself.  The gift shop is pretty decent and featured lots of typical native American crafts such as baskets, weavings and blankets.  Our favorite part of the museum was the great old pictures of the town when it was a booming mine town.  Silver and gold.

Pinos Altos Historic Museum & Gift Shop
Across the steet from the museum is the Buckhorn Saloon.  We had dinner there the first week we were in town.  It has great atmosphere and your typical over-priced but average food.  But it is so unique they can do that...  We enjoyed it!

Buckhorn Saloon, Pinos Altos NM -- not much to look at outside but unique inside.
Next to the Buckhorn is the Pinos Altos Opera House.  It is still in use for entertainment venues, such as musicians, plays, and cowboy poetry readings with music.  Cowboy poetry is big in this part of the country.  It seems like there is always an event scheduled in one of the towns hereabouts every weekend.  We have a new neighbor next door (in the other half of this duplex).  He is obviously a cowboy singer.  He warms up (practices) then takes off in his western wear (sort of Porter Waggoner-ish).  He's here for a week.

The Pinos Altos Opera House (obviously they need to repair that sign ... or should they?)

After we covered Main Street we visited the "Hearst" Church.  Actually it was an M.E. Church (Methodist-Episcopal) when it was built.  But W.R. Hearst's mother donated the $500 it took to build it back in the day, so locally it is known as the Hearst Church.  Today it is an art center which features rotating exhibits.

The Hearst Church, now a center for the arts, in Pinos Altos NM.

There were some unusual graves in the local cemetery so we spent a lot of time walking around there.  It is next to an abandoned Catholic church.  The first part of the cemetery, near the church, is the Catholic cemetery, then there are several boundary markers and from there on, to the north, it is called the Pinos Altos Community Cemetery.  No fence, just this imaginary border, heavily posted.  Very interesting ... I'll bet there's a story there.  The Catholic Cemetery primarily consisted of graves with Mexican-American surnames.  Their graves are often completely blanketed with artificial flowers!  Very colorful and eye catching!  And all of the graves in both cemeteries were fenced or bordered in some way.  It might be a concrete wall, a stone wall, an iron fence, or just a simple border of large stones -- something to define each grave or family plot.  Most graves are protected in some way such as this:
Graves might be covered with a concrete slab (such as this), or with
crushed stones, wall-to-wall stepping stones, etc., within a foundation.

While in the cemetery we had a visit from a mule deer.  She just watched us for a while, then ran away.  In a short time she returned with a friend ... I guess they were checking us out.  Obviously these deer are used to people.  They are like Indiana's white-tail deer in size and markings but they have huge ears (like a mule ... duh ...).

It was a good day.  If you'll notice, the sky is blue blue blue; I love it.  Weather has been in the high 50s to mid 60s almost every day.  Almost always sunny.  Nice.