We are working our way north towards the Balloon Festival. We traveled about 80 miles from Las Cruses to Elephant Butte. Lakeside RV Park is beautiful. When we pulled in the pea gravel, which covers the park was raked smooth. We are in the native garden section with large pull through sites. The sites are defined with rocks as the entire park is comprised of pea gravel.
After settling in and having a bite to eat we headed to Chloride, a “ghost town.” This was an 80 mile round trip. The road took us up, down and around the hills west of Truth or Consequences, NM. Chloride was a silver mining boom town. At it’s peak 2-3,000 people lived there, today there are 9 permanent residents. There were only three buildings open for viewing. The gallery was one of the nine former saloon and dance hall, the museum which was a general store and a cabin that was move to the site. Other old buildings in town could be seen from the road. The museum building was purchased by the couple whose daughter currently runs the museum and gallery. When they purchased it, it was a time capsule. The building had been closed up for some time and had become a home for rats and bats. It was completely full of store merchandise just as it was left when the store closed. Everything had to been cleaned of years of dirt.
The museum’s owners knew a couple of local old-timers personally. The story of Cassie Hobbs was a gem and is one that I will remember.
Cassie had not lived with a roof over her head until she was 14. Until then her family kept on the move, traveling by covered wagon.
At 16, she married Earl Hobbs a cowboy, who had trouble holding a job. He would come home and tell Cassie he was fired and to pack up. She would put their meager possessions into burlap bags and they would leave. Eventually they settled in Chloride.
Cassie is a classic example of a pioneer woman. She was uneducated and had few skills when she was married. She taught herself everything. On display were examples of her handiwork. Dress, shoes, handbag, furniture and copper work. Each place Cassie’s family lived she would make willow furniture and when they set up housekeeping in Chloride she made a houseful of wooden furniture with only a hammer, axe, saw and jack-knife in a workshop she called a doodle-dum.
I wish the folks good luck with their efforts to preserve Chloride’s history.