Mike Lord

Mike Lord

4th generation Santa Fe Gringo.

In 1896, Col. Henry Inman published this book detailing his experiences on the Santa Fe Trail.  It is a comprehensive history of the Trail from the 1840s through the 1890s, when the coming of the railroad ended its usefulness.  The best single book about the Trail that I've read.  You can find it here:


Monday, 28 May 2012 17:42

Lt. DeForest Lord, Jr. - 1944

My dad, Lt. DeForest Lord Jr., US Navy, 1944. He died in 1975 from a brain tumor, most likely caused by radiation exposure he received while working as a contract dentist in Los Alamos.

In May, 1946, there was an accident involving a sphere of plutonium encased by two hollow half spheres of beryllium.  The lead scientist, Louis Slotin, was using a screwdriver to gradually bring together the two halves of beryllium and measure the radiation increase.  The test was called “tickling the dragon’s tail” because it was so dangerous and was being observed by 7 others in the room.  The screwdriver slipped and the pieces made full contact.   A blue light filled the room and Slotin felt a wave of heat over his body.  He manually separated the spheres and the reaction stopped.  My father later told me that he was called in to remove fillings, crowns and all metal work from the teeth of the participants so that doctors and scientists could determine how much radiation they had received and because, as my mom told me, "they were so hot."  Slotin died 9 days after the incident.  The plutonium core had also been involved in a previous accident in August, 1945, that killed scientist Harry Daglian.  It became known as the Demon Core.

Dad was a delayed casualty of WWII and I miss him still.  Thanks for your service.

--Mike Lord

Louis Slotin arms Gadget 7 16 45

Once the Gadget was in place at the top of the 100-foot steel tower, Dr. Louis Slotin did the final arming to prepare it for the test scheduled for very early morning on July 16, 1945.

Saturday, 26 May 2012 15:49

Santa Fe - 1873

Photo taken by Timothy O'Sullivan in 1873.  Visible is the old hospital, La Parroquia (with the Cathedral under construction), Sena Plaza, Barrio Analco, the Plaza (with Civil War monument) and the Delgado house.

Photo by Timothy O'Sullivan


Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy began construction of the Cathedral around La Parroquia in 1869.  This detail, from a photo by Timothy O'Sullivan in 1873, shows the walls rising at the front and side of the old parish church.  The oldest photo of Cathedral construction I've seen thus far.

Photo by Timothy O'Sullivan


Sunday, 20 May 2012 17:47

Toonerville Trolley: Mystery solved

From the New Mexican, August 2, 2009

Last month, the Museum of New Mexico asked readers if they recognized anyone in this photograph by Santa Fe photographer T. Harmon Parkhurst, which is drawing attention in the New Mexico History Museum.

Turns out the photo is of the Studebaker entry in a 1929 fiesta parade that was published in the New Mexican on Oct. 2, 1929.  The Historic Santa Fe Foundation found the original story in its fiesta files.

The paper identified the people in the photo, left to right, as:  Mrs Margery Wilson, George Gormley (adjusting the trolley), Joe Schultz (perched on the rear platform), Mrs. John March (in the first window), Mrs Martin Gardesky (in the comfortable leaning pose), Mrs. Christine Gormley (in window No. 2), Mrs. DeForest Lord (in No. 3), Jane Bigelow (in Dana Johnson's Mexican sombrero), Norman Magee (with the parasol and ringmaster whiskers) and Mrs. Margery Bigelow (spurning his advances).  The two youngsters are George March and Sarah Bigelow.  On hands and knees is "Duke" Bigelow, who from a cockpit inside the car navigated the bus.  In the vestibule are Glenn Brill, Mrs. Jeanette Schultz and the skipper, Agustus "Gus" Wilson.

The caption said the photo will appear in the Studebaker News, the national house organ of Studebaker.  The trolley, according to the caption, was built on a Studebaker chassis.

In this photo are my Grandfather DeForest Lord's first wife (Lucille - my Grandmother) and his soon to be second wife (Jeanette.)  Lucille moved back to Chicago after they divorced in 1930.

Correction:  Arthur Seligman Scott (Pete) has identified the woman in the first window as Franc E. Seligman, wife of Governor Arthur Seligman, not Mrs. John March.

Photo by T. Harmon Parkhurst


NMHM No. 117681

--Mike Lord

Friday, 18 May 2012 16:00

Lynch Law in Las Vegas - 1882

This poster is no joke.  The law was sparse and none too effective in the Territory during the 1880s and vigilantes often took justice into their own hands.  The following is from Miguel Antonio Otero's autobiography "My Life on the Frontier."

"On the same day that witnessed Judge Prince's resignation (June 9, 1882), James McHan, a good-natured half-wit employed on the railroad at the Pecos River crossing, was being mercilessly ridiculed by a fellow employee, John Graves.  Graves, as well as other section hands, had become accustomed to tantalizing the ignorant McHan on every conceivable occasion.  Probably they derived some kind of imaginary amusement from seeing the poor imbecile writhe under their tongue lashing.  McHan, aroused to the point of insanity,  suddenly drew a gun and fired point-blank at Graves, who dropped dead at his feet.

McHan immediately struck out for the mountains, followed by twenty members of an impromptu deputy sheriff's posse.  He was captured and placed under guard.  Shortly before midnight of that same day a mob of forty enraged section hands, who had been friends of Graves, made an armed attack upon McHan's protectors, wresting their victim from them.

Half dragging, half carrying the seventeen-year-old McHan to the railroad trestle east of the Pecos yards, they strung him to one of the cross-ties.  Once again, a man had gone to oblivion via the 'Rope Route.'"

Here's a link to the stonemasons who recently restored the cross and entrance stonework on St. Francis Cathedral.


This photograph illustrates how the Cathedral was built around La Parroquia.  I'm looking for the photographer and date, so if anyone can help, please post.  I would estimate the date to be the late 1870s - early 1880s.

Photographer and date unknown.

Friday, 04 May 2012 17:28

La Parroquia

La Parroquia, the Catholic Parochial church, was built in 1714 - 1717 on the site of an even earlier church that was destroyed in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.  In 1869, Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy began the construction of Saint Francis Cathedral.  In order to not disrupt services, the Cathedral was built around La Parroquia, which remained in use until construction was completed in 1889.  The old church was then dismantled from the inside and the rubble was used on Santa Fe's streets.  The only remaining part of La Parroquia is the small Chapel of Our Lady, home of La Conquistadora, located on the north side of the Cathedral.

Photo by Nicholas Brown


--Mike Lord

Friday, 04 May 2012 16:09

The Stone House at #12 La Vereda

In the late 1940s, my parents bought this house from my Great-grandmother, Marietta Renehan for $8,000.  We lived there until 1955 and I spent my early years roaming the hills above La Vereda.  I have always wondered about its origin, and the only thing I've found is that it may have been the main building of the Fischer Brewery.  I don't believe this to be the case, since the house is above and behind the brewery site and does not appear on city maps until after the brewery was demolished in 1906.  I asked my mom about it, and she said that she had heard that it was built by an old Italian stonemason who had worked on the Cathedral.  He also built all of the original stone walls on La Vereda and had built a second stone house somewhere in Santa Fe.  Since the Cathedral was completed in 1889, it is conceivable that the house could have been built by "an old Italian stonemason" after the brewery was gone.

I recently found the obituary of Joseph Anthony Berardinelli, Jr. which included the following:

"Joseph was a descendent of one of the oldest and best known Italian families in Santa Fe. Joseph's Great Grandfather, Gaetano Palladino, and his wife, Filomena Digneo Palladino, arrived in Santa Fe in 1877 where Gaetano and his nephew, Vicente Digneo, resumed stone masonry work on the Basilica Cathedral of Saint Francis at the request of Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy after the departure of his French stone mason, Antoine Mauly. They were later joined by Joseph's Grandfather, Michele Berardinelli, who married Gaetano's eldest daughter, Guilia Palladino Berardinelli. Michele and Guilia had eight children, Margarita (Maggie), Peter, Edward, Federico, Sophia, Annie, Michael had Joseph Berardinelli, Sr. The Palladino-Digneo-Berardinelli stone masonry firm prospered after completion of the Basilica Cathedral, going on to construct many New Mexico landmark buildings in the late 1890's and early 1900's. Among the many historic stone buildings worked on by Gaetano Palladino and Michele Berardinelli were the Archbishop's burial crypts under the high altar at the Basilica Cathedral, the Catron Block occupying the Northeast corner of the Santa Fe Plaza, Santa Fe's Guadalupe Church, the original dam in the Santa Fe water shed canyon, Hodgin Hall, the first unit of the University of New Mexico, original buildings for the Normal School in Las Vegas (now Highlands University), original buildings for Socorro's School of Mines, the original Bernalillo County Courthouse, the ornate brownstone Nicholas T. Armijo building in Albuquerque, and many of the brick homes along South Don Gaspar Avenue which is designated on the historic 1900 King Survey as "the Berardinelli Addition." The historically designated "Michele Berardinelli Building," constructed by Michele as his residence in the 1890's, still stands at 644 Don Gaspar Avenue."

The Palladino-Digneo-Berardinelli stone masonry firm could have very well built this house and the original walls at La Vereda.

If anyone has any additional information about the house, please post.

Photo by Mike Lord

September, 2011


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