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Yeso and the Santa Fe

Expected Release Date:  2024

The Life and Death of a Railroad Town in the American West

The Santa Fe Townsite Company was responsible for the town’s existence, and it came into being because of the Belen cutoff, as did so many towns along the Eastern Slope.

Years ago there were a few wild horses, some wild mules. The first settlers were indeed pioneers in a seemingly inhospitable land.

When the flu hit the nation in 1918, Yeso came in for more than its share, and there was not a family that was not hard hit.

The steam railroad industry kept Yeso going, but after WWII when railroads converted to diesel and no longer needed water stops, it was the beginning of the end for Yeso.

“Like all ‘end of track’ towns when the railroad was a-building, Yeso had its rough element, its hard-drinking, hard shooting, hard fighting characters, but the gangs moved along eastward, Yeso settled back to become an important community of this New Era.”

SKU: 643950456833 Category:

The Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe Railroad created an internal company, the Santa Fe Townsite Company, to organize and develop town- sites as track construction extended far into the west. The Santa Fe needed water for their locomotives, and housing and other businesses to support construction crews as they moved deeper into the isolated terrain. Yeso grew up out of the New Mexico prairie, as the railroad built a new and less mountainous route across the Belen Cut.

This documentary explores the life of Yeso as the railroad expanded opera- tions, and families flocked to the town for jobs, homes, and a new future. Soon Yeso boasted a hotel, school, church, and a host of businesses and houses across the flat ground around the depot. The future looked bright for a time, but changes from steam to diesel on the Santa Fe, and the limitations of the land eventually led to decline as people and businesses abandoned Yeso for other places. The schools closed in the 1960s and spelled the end for Yeso. This is the story of the emergence of a boomtown on the isolated New Mexico prairie, and how changes in the 20th century left Yeso a crum- bling ghost town where only the wind remembers a once prosperous past.

Length 58 minutes


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