Monday, August 17, 2009

Madrid, New Mexico

Back in the long ago days when we lived in New Mexico the first time, one of our favorite places to go was Madrid, NM, the little coal mining ghost town around a bend in the road on NM 14 between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. There wasn't much there -- just the remnants of the old coal mine, a funky little museum, a train to climb on, a general store, the old company homes standing deserted in a row along the road, and an elementary school long since abandoned. You could almost feel the history and memories there. You could hear the wind rustling the trees back then.

Well, it's been 39 years now and Madrid is a completely different place. It's been rediscovered, reborn, remade - and not as interesting as it once was, to me, anyway.

The bend in the road is now lined with art shops, gift shops, restaurants, cars, people, activity. Looks like up in the hills new houses have been rebuilt and many of the old ones renovated. We were through there on Saturday and it even appears someone is renovating the elementary school.

Madrid has become a major tourist destination. Somehow I liked it a lot better 39 years ago.


Buck said...

It would be interesting to see your photos of 39 years... if any... juxtaposed with these newer ones. Got scanner? :D

That said... New Mexico tourist traps, even with all their predictable kitsch, are preferable to most other forms of the genre... dontcha think?

Towanda said...

Been trying to find them. I think most pictures we took back then would have been on slides John took. He might have even more trouble finding those!

Jenny said...

I went to Madrid once! Not long after I moved to ALB (fall 1991) some friends from school and I heard there was a music festival going on, so we set out to find the place on the other side of the mountain. Unfortunately for us hicks, it was some hippy music. LOL! But I do remember us going to the mine.