Still Lurid

by wjw on June 8, 2018

IMG_2803Here’s another lurid sunset photo.  I think this one has little or nothing to do with any forest fires that may still be burning, but more to do with the cloudburst that passed just before I snapped the picture.  The setting sun is causing storm clouds to glow red.

The big forest fire in northern New Mexico has completely dropped out of the news over the last four days, which tells me that the fire is more or less contained and that the evacuated towns of Cimarron and Ute Park were not incinerated.

Cimarron has an interesting history.  It was founded around 1850 by Lucien Bonaparte Maxwell, a mountain man turned land baron, who at one time was the largest private landowner in the United States.  He owned this huge stretch of mostly empty land in Colfax County, and he had a problem with squatters who homesteaded the area without his permission.  He build Cimarron because he could, and because he thought his land was so vast that it needed a kind of capital.

One of the town’s landmarks is the St. James Hotel, once a territorial-style showplace, now a B&B.  Jesse James stayed there, under his alias RH Howard, and so did the Earp family, Bat Masterson, Kit Carson, and others.

When the hotel was renovated in 1901, they found more than 400 bullets in the ceiling over the bar.  The builders, aware of the danger from local gunslingers, built the ceiling of extra-thick timbers so the guests above wouldn’t be killed in their sleep.

So that landmark, and many others, are spared the flames, at least until the next fire comes to Droughtland.

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