A Treasure From The Archives
Included in my recently discovered treasure trove of lost images was this trip to Cuervo, New Mexico in September of 2005. The photos were unedited so, to match the look of my more recent ghost town work, I transferred the images to my phone and edited them with Snapseed. I'm pretty sure I shot these with a first generation Canon Digital Rebel and the 18-55mm kit lens that came with it.
One Day They All Left
While visiting Cuervo, you expect to see the word "Croatoan" carved in a tree. It's like the inhabitants of the town all went on an ill fated field trip. Many of the houses are still furnished and even the hair salon looks ready for business... sorta. Do keep in mind that this was in 2005, there's no telling what is or isn't there now.
A Bit Of History
Cuervo was founded in 1901 when the railroad came through. In 1910 the surrounding land was opened to cattle ranching and this gave more people a reason to live there. In the 1940's, when Route 66 came to town, the population peaked at over 300. Despite a rapidly dwindling population, Cuervo managed to keep it's own post office until September 10, 2011 but it does still have it's own zip code of 88417.
Today, Cuervo is considered an unincorporated community. It is located roughly 17 miles east of Santa Rosa off I-40. If you go there, don't go alone. There are still a few observant locals living in the hills above and they are most certainly aware of any visitors to the ghost town. In fact, the last time I was there (circa 2011) my group was confronted by a local with a rifle. After chatting with him for awhile, he turned out to be friendly but nonetheless you wouldn't want to be there alone. Additionally, there are plenty of things like uncovered wells that are overgrown with weeds and many ways to get hurt. Don't go ghost town exploring alone, it's just not a good idea. And, as always, take only photos and leave only footprints.
Time Gone By
These images were originally published on a previous incarnation of The Dry Heat Blog on March 1, 2009 following a road trip from Albuquerque, NM to Las Vegas, NV for the annual WPPI convention. So, not only is the town old but so are these photos!
Ashfork is a must-see stop on Route 66 through Arizona. If memory serves, the nine hour drive from Albuquerque to Las Vegas took two and a half days due to all the Route 66 photo stops. It was time well spent!
All of these photos were shot on a Canon 50D with a Lensbaby 2.0 and edited with some fancy Kubota Actions which were purchased at WPPI.
Rescued From Obscurity
Not the town of Seligman, Arizona. It's as obscure as ever and probably more so now than when these photos were shot.
It's the photos themselves that have been rescued. In the past five years, I've moved across the country twice, broken some eggs, made some omelettes. One of the causalities of all this upheaval was almost all of my fine art photography portfolio. Gone without a trace. But then a minor miracle happened and I discovered that an old incarnation of the original Dry Heat Blog was still live on the interwebs and on it were many of my photos that I thought were gone forever. Sadly, these are not the high-res print files but they are at least good enough for viewing here on the current Dry Heat Blog.
These images were originally published on March 1, 2009 after a road trip from Albuquerque, NM to Las Vegas, NV for the annual WPPI convention.
Lots of good Route 66 stuff on the way!
These photos were shot on a Canon 50D with a Lensbaby 2.0 and edited with some fancy Kubota Actions that I purchased at WPPI.
A Relic Of The Past
I've been driving past this Route 66 landmark for years and have stopped to photograph it many times. Unfortunately, most of those images are lost to time and upheaval so I have gone once again to photograph what's left of the Whiting Bros. Filling Station and Motel that is off of I-40 west of Albuquerque, and about 10 miles east of Grants. These photos were shot on May 26, 2019.
The Whiting Bros. company was established in 1926, the same year that U.S. Route 66 was designated across the southwestern United States. Whiting Bros. was based in St. Johns and Holbrook, Arizona and, at it's peak, operated more than a hundred filling stations and fifteen motels (including at least forty on the former U.S. Route 66 through Arizona and New Mexico).
This particular station had a motel, according to the sign, but that building was apparently torn down. Next to the gas station there is a concrete foundation with nothing on it.
All photos shot with a Motorola MotoX4 and edited with Snapseed.
A Curious Place in Old Town
I've been fascinated with this little chapel since I first discovered it back in the day, that day being sometime around 2008. It's well hidden and most regular visitors to Old Town don't even know it's there. I feel like it exists in a slanty dimension and will reveal itself on a need to know basis.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel was built in 1976 for the students of Sagrada Art Studios, giving them a place to pray as a group. The project was headed up by Sister Giotto Moots, making this a chapel built by nuns that is not a church.
Not a church.
Which is why I like it.
For me, the biggest attraction is the large round window depicting the phases of the moon. In case you were wondering, the window also has a name. It's official title is Feast Days Of The Virgin and Phases Of The Moon. FYI, nowadays the window is barely attached so don't lean on it, touch it, breathe on it, or look at it funny. Be respectful.
Over the years, I have shot more portrait sessions in and around this chapel than I can count but I never noticed, until viewing these images that I shot with my phone, that there are spots in the wall on either side of the big window that have been closed up. Once upon a time there were two other windows in that wall. According to the chapel website, these windows are now in storage but it doesn't say when they were removed. It may have been after the dumpster fire in 2010 that spread to the roof of the chapel and caused a good deal of smoke damage, but the website doesn't specify.
In other news, the chapel is also haunted and is a featured location on the Old Town Ghost Tour. It has also been visited by paranormal investigators from across the country. I'm not usually there at night but visitors have claimed to see the apparition of a "woman in black" who sits on the built-in benches in the main room either meditating or praying. I don't think anyone has died in this chapel but the now quaint tourist-trap that is Old Town has a violent history. Long before the art galleries and Kokopelli incense burners, this area was very much The Wild West so it doesn't seem far fetched to think that an Old Town ghost would make itself at home in this friendly chapel.
Our Lady Of Guadalupe Chapel is open to the public. Anyone may go there to oogle the round window, look for ghosts, or to pray. The chapel website bills the location as a wedding venue and I suppose that could work so long as the wedding does not require guests or chairs.
For more information about Our Lady Of Guadalupe, visit their website by clicking here.
All photos shot with Motorola MotoX4 and edited with Snapseed.
I am DeAnna Vincent, fine art and portrait photographer in Los Lunas, New Mexico. These are the photos from my everyday adventures.