Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Friday, January 31, 2014
NM proposes sale of national historic landmark
Cavalry Officers, Ft. Bayard, 1886
A Western outpost made famous by the Buffalo Soldiers and the U.S. military's campaign to capture Geronimo is up for sale, one of a number of landmarks nationwide facing the wrecking ball amid tight budgets and a shift in Washington about what history is worth saving.
Abandoned now, Fort Bayard has become a drain on New Mexico's coffers and the state is desperate for ideas as historic preservation has lost funding under the Obama administration. With most large-scale preservation efforts, it's not hard for the cost to outweigh sentimentalism. It's no different in southwestern New Mexico, where the community is split over whether some of Fort Bayard's buildings need to be leveled to make way for fresh economic development. Historic preservation was championed during the Clinton and Bush years, first with Hillary Clinton's founding of the Save America's Treasures program and later through Laura Bush's support for a program focused on preserving the country's cultural and natural heritage. However, the Obama administration pointed to the two programs for elimination in 2010, saying the benefits were unclear. Standing at the Gila Wilderness' gateway, Fort Bayard was established in 1866 by the Army to protect miners and other settlers from the Apache. It was one of many outposts west of the Mississippi established by the all-black Buffalo Soldier regiments tasked with battling Native American tribes.
With the capture of Geronimo in the 1880s, the Apache threat subsided and the fort transitioned to a research center and hospital for tuberculosis patients. During World War II, it was home to German prisoners of war.
The state estimates the 145,000-square-foot hospital costs about $100,000 annually to maintain. The officers' quarters, historic theater and other buildings also are in need of repair...more