St. Helen's Chapel, Pastura, NM

by Bridget Harrington - Michael Moore February. 09, 2018 2125 views

Pastura, NM is halfway between Santa Rosa and Vaughn. Present population
is 23.

It was established in 1901 as a watering spot for steam trains on the Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1903, the US Postal Service built a post office in Pastura in response to its growth, and in 1907, the Southern Pacific Railroad built a 142-mile wooden pipeline from the Sierra Blanca mountain range to Pastura.

The small town began to decline when it was bypassed by Route 66, which passed 20 miles to the north. When the steam locomotives were replaced by diesel locomotives in the 1940s, the railroad no longer needed to use Pastura as a watering stop, and the town declined even further. Today the area is a small farming community. Rudolfo Anaya, Chicano author of Bless Me, Ultima, was born in Pastura.

St. Helen's Chapel was built in 1926 by the citizens of the town. It was the only place for miles where mass could be celebrated. Since it has fallen into disrepair, services have not been held inside for some time. The descendants of the families in the town are beginning to repair the chapel, as time and money permit. If you have interest in contributing funds or time, contact information for those managing the effort can be found here. The Chapel itself and the repair efforts are currently under the care of St. Mary's parish in Vaughn.

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Sully Sullivan 2 years, 2 months ago

Thank you so much for your beautiful pictures of our beloved Chapel, as well as posting a link to our page. smile

2 years, 2 months ago Edited