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Episode 29 - From Melrose to Hollywood
Michael Swickard here. Welcome to Enchanting Stories of New Mexico, sponsored by the Fresh Chile Company in Las Cruces, NM. Our award-winning Hatch Green and Red Chile is brought to you from locally owned farms in Hatch, NM, The Chile Capital of the World.
On Saturday mornings as you were growing up did you get your breakfast over with really fast so you could sit in the living room and watch cartoons? Many people in the 50s through the 80s did so and one New Mexico name was on the television screen: William Hanna as in the Hanna-Barbera Company that made many cartoon series such as Tom and Jerry.
In 1957 William Hanna teamed up with Joseph Barbera and they founded the Hanna-Barbera Company that had in the next few decades many hit shows such as The Jetsons, The Flintstones, The Huckleberry Hound Show, Scooby-Doo to name a few.
Since I talk about New Mexico, why should I mention William Hanna? You see William Hanna was born July 14th in 1910 in the very small town on the east side of New Mexico, Melrose. He was the third child of seven and later described his family as a red-blooded Irish American family. His father worked on the railroad as a construction superintendent which was why the family was for only a couple years living in Melrose, New Mexico.
William Hanna was just one of the many people who were born or came to New Mexico for a few years and then, hopefully, remembered The Land of Enchantment fondly. The railroad brought many people from other states here in construction crews starting in 1880. New Mexico today has nearly two thousand miles of track though at the height, New Mexico was home to three thousand miles of track.
The value to the development of New Mexico is that trains can carry very heavy loads that wagons would not be able to economically transport. The mining industry in New Mexico was and is founded upon having trains. But there are many other train uses.
Goods such as cattle and sheep could go to market in a day or so on a train where it took months on a cattle drive. But one more point: it allowed the first New Mexico Tourists to visit the Territory and then in 1912 state easily and that pushed some people to move to our little slice of paradise. And one more: in 1911 the first United State President of our country to visit the state, came through the Las Cruces area on the presidential train. William Howard Taft, the 27th President was important to New Mexico. He was the one that decided New Mexico had been a Territory too long such as 62 years so he signed the papers on a Saturday in Washington, D. C. January 6, 1912, for us to be the 47th state in the union. One last bonus was that construction workers building the railroads from 1880 to about 1920 got a good look at our state and many decided to stay, which is a blessing since it increases the technical work force. The other great move forward was the Interstates starting in the middle 50s so that families could travel through and see our beauty.
Many people have said to me that they were on I-10 going to Arizona when they stopped for lunch in Las Cruces and after a great Chile infused lunch they were inspired to move to las Cruces. Now one time when I was doing Talk Radio, I asked a man how he happened to move to Las Cruces in Southern New Mexico. He said, “I was living in Michigan, and it snowed one hundred days in a row, and I snapped. I tied a snow shovel to the top of my car and drove south until someone pointed to the snow shovel and said, say, what is that thing?” It was in Las Cruces, so I moved here, he said. I’m not sure I believe that story, but I sure do like it.
Michael Swickard here with Enchanting Stories of New Mexico sponsored by the Fresh Chile Company in Las Cruces, N.M. Hit subscribe to automatically get these podcasts.
Speaking of New Mexico Railroads, at this time in 1854 was the Gadsden Purchase which straightened the southern border of the United States with Mexico. It allowed years later the Southern Pacific Railroad to do a transcontinental southern route east to west across our country where it was quite unlikely to be snowy in the winter like the northern transcontinental railroad every year experiences.
One time someone asked why when they look in some areas of New Mexico it seems the towns are symmetrically placed about twenty miles apart. That is because after the railroads were built the crews taking care of the tracks could do about ten miles on each side of a time and so the towns ended up being about twenty miles apart. You will find ghost towns now where the towns used to be and then the railroads didn’t need to be so close.
From 1881 to 1883 the Southern Route transcontinental Railroad came through El Paso, Las Cruces, Deming, and Lordsburg in New Mexico. The Mesilla Treaty in the Gadsden Purchase added about 30 thousand square miles to present day Arizona and New Mexico. The treaty was negotiated by U. S. Ambassador to Mexico James Gadsden and President of Mexico Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
One final historical note. I saw in the news this week there was a story about a student wearing the Gadsden Flag on his backpack and the school did not recognize it and thought the worst for it. Now it said with a rattlesnake, Don’t Tread On Me. It is a historical flag from the Revolutionary War. It was named for Christpher Gadsden, James Gadsden’s grandfather.
Since people are talking about the Gadsden Flag and I am living near the Gadsden Purchase, the Gadsden Flag was designed in 1775 and named for Christopher Gadsden, a delegate in the First and Second Continental Congresses and also a Brigadier General in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. The flag flew on Continental ships and was carried by soldiers. It was the most popular symbol of the American Revolution.
We have a birthday person coming up September 14. He was born in 1968 and is seen by millions of people who usually are not looking at him unless there is a fuss going on at Home Plate. Yes, Home Plate where the batter, the catcher and here he is, the Umpire stands.
I’m talking about Doug Eddings who was born in Las Cruces. He recently called his three thousandth game as a major league umpire on June 13th of this year. Like most professional baseball umpires, Doug Eddings started out by umpiring Little League games at age 14. Later he worked through the minor leagues and at age 30 he started working in the bigs as they say. First it was only American League games and then by the year 2000 it was both leagues.
Doug Eddings will turn 55 on September 14th which as an umpire is right in the middle of his career. Watch on television and see if they say his birthday next Thursday, September 14.
Another birthday. We should also note that yesterday was the birthday, September 7, 1936, of Charles Hardin Holley, better known as Buddy Holly. In his rise to fame, he decided that Nashville producer Owen Bradley was wrong in the way he recorded Buddy Holly and went to Norman Petty’s recording studio in Clovis, New Mexico. That is where That’ll be the day was recorded in a way that Holly liked. The recording studio I understand is a museum in Clovis, well worth the trip to see.
Michael Swickard here with Enchanting Stories of New Mexico sponsored by the Fresh Chile Company in Las Cruces, N M. Hit subscribe to automatically get these podcasts.
Let us talk about some new products just released. First up is Hatch Sweet Onion Dressing. About ten percent of the onions grown in our area are Sweet in nature meaning they are not as strong which is what some people like. This Hatch Sweet Onion Dressing is so very good, words are not enough, you must try it. But there is more.
You can turn your next BBQ into a Fiesta with The Fresh Chile Company’s Hatch Tequila Lime BBQ made with 100% certified Hatch Chile. Authentic Mexican flavors of tequila & lime transform the bold flavors of Hatch Chile into a cookout favorite. Create excitement in every bite at your next backyard BBQ cookout.
But there is even more new flavors: a special reserve release of the Hatch Green Chile varietal Big Jim in a 16-ounce jar. Varietal means that this product will only be made with Big Jim Chile, which is sweet and has a medium heat level. Big Jim is very popular in New Mexico restaurants & homes.
Speaking of good tasting Hatch Valley Chile, You can get it just Green Chile Big Jim, a blend of Red and Green Big Jim or you can get Big Jim Enchilada Red Sauce.
There is a Local Honey with Hatch Red Chile that is great. Hatch Hot Honey - Sweet & Spicy We make this product by infusing real Sun-Dried Hatch Red Chile into 100% local (Mesilla Valley) honey from Clayshulte farms. It's the same wonderful honey you have bought from us in the past. Only now we have infused this honey with our wonderful Hatch Red Chile. This Hot Honey is thick and rich with just enough heat to make everything you put it on better! Me, I like it best on sourdough homemade biscuits.
Another product just released is our Hatch 575 Green Chile and Hatch 575 Red Chile is bold in flavor. Made with the Hatch Green and Red Chile these sauces will take your taste buds on a trail of the Southwest. Remember, Hatch, New Mexico, the Chile Capital of the world is in the 575 Area Code which is why this wonderful product is 575 Green and 575 Red Chile.
Let me do one more good taste recommendation. Hatchup - Spicy Hatch Red Chile Ketchup which is made from sweet and spicy Red Chile Peppers from Hatch, New Mexico, The Chile Capital of the World. Enjoy this spicy ketchup on burritos, eggs, hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries. When you want ketchup, reach for Hatchup for a flavor your mouth just cannot resist. My favorite use of Hatchup is on French fries. Yum and double yum!
One thing that happens when people live in Las Cruces or happen to be in our little slice of paradise. They can come by the Fresh Chile Company Gift Shop at 1160 El Paseo Rd, Suite D7A in Las Cruces, NM. It is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This is Michael Swickard with Enchanting Stories of New Mexico brought to you by The Fresh Chile Company. Thank you for your time today. We will have lots of News and stories about New Mexico for you on these Podcasts, If you have something or someone you want me to talk about, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great rest of your day. Oh yes and eat plenty of that good Hatch Valley Chile. Like I always say, “Some Chile is good, more is better as long as it is Hatch Valley Chile.” Bye for now.