Mike Lord

Mike Lord

4th generation Santa Fe Gringo.

In the summer of 1540, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado arrived at Hawikuh (today's Zuni Pueblo) in search of gold, silver, land and souls for the Catholic church.  He brought with him the attitudes of arrogance and cruelty that had already demolished Indian cultures in Mexico and Peru.  He stayed for 2 years before admitting failure and returning to Mexico, where he was tried and acquitted of cruelty to the Pueblo Indians.

There remain a few eyewitness accounts of the activities of Coronado and his army, most notably Pedro de Castañeda's narrative.  These document the brutal attempts of the Spanish to force the Indians into submission and the Indian's fierce determination to resist.  Dennis Herrick has written this historical novel to present not only Coronado's story but also what could have been the Indian's perspective.  The events are historically accurate and the entire story is a worthy read.  It has a semi-happy ending:  Coronado left in defeat and the Pueblos had another 2 generations before the Spanish returned to stay.

--Mike Lord

Wednesday, 12 June 2013 00:09

1943 - 1945 Los Alamos Home Movies

In 1943, the top scientists from the United States and other nations gathered in Los Alamos, NM for the Manhattan Project. Among them was physicist Hugh Bradner. With informal permission from the U.S. Army, he shot a collection of home movies of life in a place that officially didn't exist, and of people working on a project that ultimately changed history. His footage represents the only look at life in the Los Alamos area during that time.  I understand that there exist about 4 hours of film.  Here are the first 10 minutes to be released.  I can't wait to see the rest.

My dad, Dr. DeForest Lord Jr. was the first civilian dentist in Los Alamos. In 1946, he, my mom and one year old me moved to Los Alamos where we lived until early 1948. My earliest memory is sitting on the floor of our converted barracks home playing with a red toy truck. During the next 5 years we regularly went to Los Alamos to visit my parents friends. They partied there, worked there, skied there, hiked there and passed it all on to me. These images are very dear to me.


Built in the 1850s, the Nusbaum House was located on the corner of Washington Ave. and Nusbaum St.  It was torn down in 1960 to make room for a City Hall parking lot. The Hotel de Chimayo is currently on the site. The demolition was a result of the deliberate "adobification" of Santa Fe and led to the founding of The Historic Santa Fe Foundation, which has been successful in saving many other 19th century buildings.


This is an extremely comprehensive history of the Code Talkers.  Give it some time to download.


On April 25, 2013, I photographed this wagon on NM 14 near Cedar Crest.  It turns out that Randy Boehmer has been traveling the American West since 2008.  Here’s his story from the May 28, 2011 Denver Post.


Saturday, 06 April 2013 16:26

Dolores, NM - The West's First Gold Rush

In 1821, Spain signed the Treaty of Córdova and New Mexico became part of the new Republic of Mexico.  In 1827, placer gold was discovered in the Ortiz Mountains, the mining camp of Dolores sprang up almost overnight and the first gold rush in the West began - 22 years before the California gold rush.

In the early 1830s the gold quartz veins, source of the placer deposits, were discovered and developed by two wealthy Santa Fe merchants, Jose Francisco Ortiz and Ignacio Cano, on the Santa Rosalia lode about a mile up the hill from Dolores.  This led to a large influx of miners from as far away as Missouri.  The population after this is unknown, but there are estimates that it reached over 2,000 people.

In 1870, Real de Dolores had a population of 150, an ore stamping mill, a mercury separation facility, a store and a church, Nuestra Señora de los Dolores.  In May, 1900, Thomas Edison constructed a mill to test a new separation process which used an electric blower and static electricity to separate heavier gold from the lighter waste material.  An electric line was run from Madrid to power the mill and it was reported that the mill's electric lights could be seen from Santa Fe.  The project was unsuccessful and Edison abandoned it 6 months later.

By 1905, very little gold remained and Dolores was abandoned.  It is estimated that, during its 80 year existence, 100,000 ounces of gold were recovered.

Today, the ruins of Dolores are on private property and are not open to the public.  One can drive to the fenceline (about 2 miles north of Cerrillos on NM 14) and see what's left.

Photo taken in 1904 - 1905

Photographer unknown

--Mike Lord

While researching the Scenic Highway, we came across this map.  It's one of my favorites - and I have a lot of maps.

--Mike Lord

Friday, 15 March 2013 16:27

Site Map - List of All Articles

I've just discovered (I'm a slow learner) that if you scroll down to the very bottom of the page and click "Site Map" in the bottom right-hand corner a list of every post on the website comes up.  You can then click on the individual article.  We'll add a prominent Site Map button soon.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 01:27

Bicycling in Santa Fe, 1900

All of these guys but one are riding the original high front wheel bicycle (called a penny farthing bicycle.) They were dangerous as a small stone in the road could cause you to flip over the handlebars, and it was a long way down. The guy on the tricycle is riding the earliest machine I've ever seen designed to prevent this problem

Any guesses as to where this photo was taken?

Photo by Dana B. Chase.

--Mike Lord

This is the plan drawn by Lieutenant Jeremy Gilmer in 1846 for the construction of the original Fort Marcy.

--Mike Lord

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