Historical snippet: NW Quadrant
Let’s start this glimpse behind Las Campanas and beyond with Buckman. What does the name mean to you? Perhaps it first brings up Buckman Road and the transfer station! Think also of the Buckman Direct Diversion project, Henry Buckman, Buckman Ghost Town, the Chili Line Railway, and the 31,000acre Buckman Ranch. That ranch was purchased by Suzanne (Zannie) Hoyt and her first husband, Bob “Bumble Bee” Weil, in 1960 from the Bond family and was operated as a working cattle ranch.
Head northwest from the center of Santa Fe for about 15 minutes, and in parts of the original Buckman Ranch lie the residential areas of Las Campanas, La Tierra, La Tierra Nueva, and the smaller subdivisions of Salva Tierra and Tierra del Oro. La Tierra and La Tierra Nueva, the “big lot” 10-acre-minimum subdivisions, were created by Zannie and Bob in the 1970s. In the 1980s, they sold 4,700 acres to Lyle Anderson, who had the vision to create Las Campanas, the master-planned communitywith two Jack Nicklaus Signature golf courses. Set in rolling ranch lands surrounded by mountains, Las Campanas has world-class equestrian facilities, a full-service spa and tennis center, and a clubhouse with superb fine and casual dining. The success of Las Campanas has economically and philanthropically benefited Santa Fe with employment and other advantages.
Large portions of the original ranch exist close to Santa Fe. The principle holding, a unique parcel of land nowknown as the Santa Fe Ranch— with a headquarters house, guest house, caretaker’s residence, and extensive livestock facilities — crowns 542 glorious acres that encompass some of the very best, far-reaching mountain views found in the county. The land is spectacular and is only 20 minutes from Santa Fe.
The narrow guage (36-inch) Chili Line Railway was the Santa Fe branch of the Denver & Rio GrandeWestern Railroad (D&RGW). The “Chili Line,” as it became known, not surprisingly since it transported chilis amongst other freight, was started in the mid 1880s and ran between Santa Fe andAlamosa. With the advent of road transportation, the Chili Line saw decreasing use and was eventually abandoned in 1941.
For history buffs, it can still be seen. A section of the old Chili Line crosses close to the south boundary of the Santa Fe Ranch, and further along today’s Buckman Road an old trestle is clearly visible and marked. Along the stretch of Buckman Road where it turns north towards the Rio Grande, remnants of its grade can be explored.
Looking back to the late 1880s, Henry S. Buckman, an Oregon lumberman, built a plank bridge over the Rio Grande. Old Buckman Town became a small community alongside the railway, centered around a sawmill. In 1888, a post office was established and the community flourished until 1921, when the bridge collapsed. The ghost town is located about five miles south of San Ildefonso Pueblo, but virtually no trace can be seen. Currently it’s the site of the Buckman Direct Diversion Project, supplying purified Rio Grande water to Santa Fe since 2011.
We hope you enjoyed this journey to bygone days!
(The Santa Fe Ranch is offered for sale — www.thesantaferanch.com— Please call the authors of this article for details!)
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