THE BLUE DOOR & GATE
In traveling to New Mexico, I am pulled to the warm way of gates and doors there. This one in La Mesilla is one I have drifted by for almost forty years.
During all seasons it beckons. It begs me to hear the weathered squeak as I let myself enter. Ah, to have the courage to cross, to share my story with the walls and the occupants, just so I could hear a little of theirs.
It would be worth the price of admission I’m sure. ††† en theos ††† jimwork
An image made at the Basilica of San Albino,which lies at north end of the Plaza of La Mesilla, New Mexico. Originally built of adobe in 1855. The church was rebuilt to its present structure in 1906. It became a basilica on November 1, 2008.
I love the church’s statement of faith:
“The Basilica of San Albino Roman Catholic Church
is a bilingual community of believers
on a faith journey. We are called to love one another,
as God loves us by prayer, service and sharing
the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
The church has witnessed a lot of history. Mesilla was a lively social center in the 1880s. People came from as far as the City of Chihuahua and Tucson to attend bailes (dances), bullfights, cockfights and theatrical presentations. As a social center, the town attracted more than its share of violence. It was not uncommon to see differences settled in the streets with guns. The famous and the infamous, such as Pancho Villa, Kit Carson, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid frequented many of the bars and dances in town. It was at the jail and courthouse on the southeast corner of the plaza that Billy the Kid was tried and sentenced to hang in 1881. It is said that Carson ate regularly in the old La Posta Inn (still a functioning restaurant today), a thick-walled fortress against rampaging Indian attacks as late as the 1860’s.
The town of Mesilla was as wild as the West ever was.
The village was also the crossroads of two major stagecoach lines, Butterfield Stagecoach and the Santa Fe Trail. The village of Mesilla was the most important city of the region until 1881. In 1881 the railroad bypassed Mesilla in favor of Las Cruces, four miles to the northeast. With this event, the county seat was moved to Las Cruces and Mesilla’s importance was soon dimmed by its neighbor. As a result, Mesilla has experienced little growth until recently, and so, has retained much of its original nineteenth century feeling.
Make some history on your journey†††nada te turbe†††jim