When I was in fifth grade, my mom visited Red River, N.M., and came back with a book called Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of New Mexico, which I still own today and occasionally look at. At age 11, I was immediately hooked and fascinated by the idea of a once-thriving town given over to abandonment with only relics left to indicate that people once lived and interacted there. Anyone who has followed my blog here knows my fascination with abandonment. A lot ot the towns in that book first published in 1969 have since been reborn as tourist attractions or artist colonies. Madrid and Cerrillos come to mind. But over the past four decades many towns across New Mexico have crossed into the ghost town category. A couple of days ago, I came upon Cuervo on the high plains of eastern New Mexico. It's not as isolated as you might think. In fact, I-40 slices right through the town and many ruins are situated on its access roads. Still, thousands whiz by daily clearly oblivious to the ruins scattered in their midst. For me, this was Disneyland, a whole town all to myself just open for exploration. I can't find a lot of history on this place. Like most towns along I-40 from Oklahoma City to California, Cuervo was born with the railroad. Later, Route 66 came through, and I'm sure it added some life to the place, although probably not much more than a few gas stations and cafes. Judging by the wreckage and ruin I saw, Cuervo hung on into at least the middle 20th century before abandonment set in. Today, a few homes remain occupied and there's a gas station/garage along the highway, but no stores or active churches. The post office looks to have closed in recent years. So many interesting interiors to explore. The desert climate preserves wood so well, I never once found myself standing on floorboards that didn't feel incredibly solid. If this were more toward my part of the country, I'd be a little more concerned about those things. All of the houses were very simple. Some like this one was quite tiny. Look inside. It's one room! I guess when nature called, there was a privy out back. Walking around here reminded me of how simply people lived, even well into the 20th century. Compare that to how much so many of us own these days. Another house had floors covered with detritus that provided an interesting time capsule into mid cenutry life. For example, a Saturday Evening Post from 1964 Amarillo Daily News, 1961 The church - I'm sure it was Catholic, this being New Mexico - is no longer active but is clearly maintained and locked up. The streets are still maintained and marked. This is Bond Street. There's also Beck Street.I didn't want to overload you, so tomorrow I'll do a second post showing Cuervo's school and Baptist church.