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After 130 Years, Old West Rides Again In Never Before Seen Images of New Mexico and Colorado

An auction of a scrapbook in the United Kingdom is giving one more glimpse of the forgotten old west of Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado.

On Friday, photographs of cowboys, indigenous peoples, ranch life and the dusty towns of Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico will be auctioned.

The 83 silver gelled photos provide an intimate look into the real lives of the men who worked cattle along the borderlands of the Santa Fe trail and Colorado from Taos, Raton Pass and the Spanish Peaks in Colorado.

The images are a collection taken by William A. White, a well-known Raton photographer, and an unknown British farmhand.

How they landed in the United Kingdom is still a mystery.

“The story is an Englishman went to the U.S. and made his fortune ranching, and came back to the U.K.,” according to Keith Petts, director of Flints Auction.

Petts said a collector held the album until putting it up for auction. The auction house wasn’t able to trace it back to a family.

Raton Pass, AT & Santa Fe Railroad

The ATSF in the 1890s. Today this is the route for Amtrak’s Southwest Chief. The tunnel was modified in 1909.

Spanish Peaks

While the photos are labeled the “Spanish Peaks” they are difficult to make out in these photos. There is some doubt the photo “View from Urraca Ranch, E-town [Elizabethtown]” on the left may actually be referring to Little Costilla Peak. There was a newspaper clipping in 1914 of a Urraca ranch near Cimarron, N.M. which could be the ranch in one photo. 

W.A. White’s photo (the Spanish Peaks are hard to see), however, may be of Colorado’s Spanish Peaks as Mr. White did make excursions into Southern Colorado. 

Elizabethtown, a ghost town today of a few walls of a hotel, was located along New Mexico’s Highway 38. It was New Mexico’s first incorporated town.

San Geronimo Day in Taos

A tradition continued to today, San Geronimo Day is a celebration and feast in Taos, N.M. with a traditional foot-racing dance and mass at the San Geronimo Chapel.

Good Friday in Santa Fe

Procession attendees kneel along the Santa Fe Plaza across from the Governer’s Palace. 

W-Old West White Flint Auction-0059-June 03, 2019

Ranch Life

The personal account of the men some boys who worked and rested on the ranches is shown in these striking images.

The Real West

It took more than trains and rail to get cattle and crop to market – it took thousands of men and women in small boom and bust towns to feed and grow the West. 

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