In the Rearview

Looking back: 10, 25, 50 years ago – October 18

Blackstone Ranch expansion greenlighted, Tiwa classes axed, Highway 64 boosters celebrate link

By Mary Beth Libbey
Posted 10/17/18

--10 YEARS AGO --' Green light for Blackstone Ranch project, 'By Andy Dennison, Oct. 16, 2008. Today it's on the auction block, but 10 years ago Samuel "Pat" Black III, owner of Blackstone Ranch, was asking …

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In the Rearview

Looking back: 10, 25, 50 years ago – October 18

Blackstone Ranch expansion greenlighted, Tiwa classes axed, Highway 64 boosters celebrate link


--10 YEARS AGO -- 'Green light for Blackstone Ranch project', By Andy Dennison, Oct. 16, 2008

Today it's on the auction block, but 10 years ago Samuel "Pat" Black III, owner of Blackstone Ranch, was asking - and receiving -- permission from Taos County to further develop the ranch as a conference center on various sustainability issues.

According to Dennison's report, the request "sailed through" the county's planning commission that week with only one naysayer. The previous hearing of this matter had taken three hours with a dozen people objecting to potential traffic and future development of the site.

Apparently, they had their questions answered, even though the Institute had already renovated the ranch and guest houses to include, among other things, 28 guest rooms. And, the Institute had acquired a 10-acre parcel near State Road 240 where it planned to build administrative offices. Institute officials told the commission that the bulk of the acreage would remain "a working farm," according to its application.

The Blackstone Ranch Institute planned to uses the 180-acre ranch and massive facilities for conferences and workshops on various aspects of sustainable living. The Institute's website indicates that since 2008 it has helped to fund various education efforts although it seems that few of those get-togethers occurred in Taos.

Black is an Erie, Pennsylvania-based investor in biodiesel fuels. He bought the ranch in 2003 from the George McCarthy Survivors' Trust, according to Dennison's report.

-- 25 YEARS AGO -- 'Tiwa course discontinued, different factions blamed', By Rick Romancito, Oct. 21, 1993

In the second of a series of articles, Rick Romancito explored why a senior elective class in the Tiwa language had been abruptly canceled at Taos High School.

The course had funding from the state Department of Education under an "innovative projects" division and had been offered that fall at Taos High with Larry Torres, Dorothy Gusdorf and John Romero, Indian education coordinator, as teachers.

The classes primarily consisted of Romero correctly speaking "basic kinship terms and words used every day" into a tape recorder and then each student doing the same. Indians and non-Indians were enrolled. And that was part of the problem.

Romero said the Taos Pueblo Tribal Council demanded that the course be discontinued because non-Indians were being taught Tiwa and the curriculum involved writing down Tiwa words, allowing non-Indians one more avenue "to invade the Pueblo's religion and culture," Romancito's report read. Romero also told Romancito that the class "was probably doomed from the start" because it was changed into a language-based curriculum.

Romero said that he did approve of plans to create a phonetic dictionary of Tiwa words, "one of the main sore points leading to the council's decision," Romancito reported.

Meanwhile, the Pueblo pointed to a letter exchange between the superintendent of Taos schools, Juan Aragon and then-Taos Pueblo Gov. Jose Samora, which seemed to reflect the understanding that the language class would be for only Pueblo students, and another letter from then-War Chief Don Espinosa that assumed that "Native American culture, issues, etc., are going to be part of the curriculum, perhaps with an emphasis on the Pueblo culture and/or Taos Pueblo in particular."

The last letter seemed to indicate the council had no problem with the course as long as those two specifics were met.

What evolved, however, was not to the council's liking. And although Romancito reported that the superintendent intended to write the council a letter to see if a compromise could be worked out, Romero said later, "You know as well as I that whatever decision the council makes is final."

-- 50 YEARS AGO -- 'Highway 64 Session Near', Staff report, Oct. 17, 1968

It may be difficult to imagine now since this part of the state brings in millions of dollars and plenty of traffic from tourists, fishermen, hunters and other outdoors enthusiasts, but an organization of citizens existed 50 years ago to push highway officials to connect Northern New Mexico towns north of Santa Fe with an east-west highway.

This story had to do with their upcoming annual meeting at which the group they planned to discuss, among other things, a contract by the State Highway Commission to build the "last remaining link," on U.S. 64, a right of way across Carson National Forest near Hopewell Lake. "It won't be a paved link, but it will be improved the entire length between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla," as the article points out. Paving was scheduled for 1970.

The citizens group, the New Mexico Highway 64 Association, had been meeting for 10 years and included representation from towns along the route. "Several dozen people expected from communities along the route -- Clayton to Shiprock," were expected at the confab at the Kachina Lodge. The article's author referred to this meeting as the last of the "wishing" meetings since the highway was close to being "finished." The group's next task that would be big on its agenda: promotion. M.B. Packard, of Taos, association president, said, "Our next step will be promotional, with brochures--and this isn't a small item."

The author added that this was Packard's way of "reminding members that dues still must be paid by some."

Today, US 64's western terminus is Teec Nos Pos, Arizona in the Four Corners and runs about 2,300 miles to Nag's Head, North Carolina. And, yes, it crosses New Mexico from Farmington to Clayton.


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